Connecting You With AK Athletes Outside the 907

The Alaska Sports Blog is sponsored by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and provides daily updates on local athletes outside the state. The blog was created in 2009 to fill a void of media coverage once Alaskans left the 907 area code. Former Anchorage Daily News sports editor and Alaska Press Club award winner Van Williams has been with the blog since the beginning and written almost 4,000 stories on some 1,000 Alaska athletes.

Follow us on Twitter: @AKsportshall, Instagram: alaska_sports_hall, and Facebook.

Click here to read more about Van Williams and the Alaska Sports Blog.

May 18, 2019
Tanner Ealum track and field

Tanner Ealum

Tanner Ealum of Anchorage helped Liberty University win the women’s team title at the Atlantic Sun Conference Track and Field Championships in Jacksonville, Florida.

In the final event of the night, she ran leadoff in the 4×400-meter relay that set a school record of 3:35.77. Ealum had a 54.5 split.

She just missed a gold medal as Liberty finished just five-thousandths of a second behind race champion Jacksonville.

The previous school record of 3:36.56 was achieved by Kimone Green, Ealum, Dowling and Dansbury at the 2018 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.

Ealum, of ACS fame, was also third in the 800 in 2:07.95.

May 17, 2019
Travante Williams basketball

Travante Williams

Anchorage’s Travante Williams has another gear when it comes to playoff basketball.

He goes from good to great, shifting his game into overdrive and leaving the competition in his dust.

His latest playoff performance resulted in 27 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. And, of course, his team won.

The 6-foot-4 guard led Portuguese League power Oliveirense to a 92-69 victory over Illiabum in Game 3 of the first-round best-of-5 playoff series.

Williams, of Mt. Edgecumbe High fame, was 5-for-5 from downtown to match his career high for 3-pointers in one game.

Oliveirense has won nearly 90% of its games with the former UAF star on the court, rattling off 67-of-75 and a 12-0 run in the playoffs, including last year’s Portuguese League championship.

May 16, 2019
Everett Evanoff track and field

Everett Evanoff

Palmer’s Everett Evanoff wanted one last crack at earning a qualifying time for the 400-meter run.

The Southwestern Oregon Community College sophomore got his opportunity and made the most of it by clocking a time of 51.65 seconds at the SWOCC Last Chance meet in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Evanoff, of Colony High fame, finished second out of five runners in the race, just .03 seconds behind the winner.

SWOCC track and field coach Jason Cash heaped high praise on the Alaskan.

“Almost every meet this season he has set a personal best,” Cash said. “And even with that he was in and out of the Top 16. On the final weekend to qualify he ran an almost 1 1/4 second best to now rank 13th and punch his ticket.”

The NWAC Championships are next week in Gresham, Oregon.

Evanoff started the season with a PR of 56.51 and shaved nearly five seconds.

As a result of his incredible improvement, Evanoff was named NWAC Athlete of the Week for men’s track and field.

“This season he devoted himself to improvement, hit the weights like he never had before, took a leadership role as a team captain and did all the small things to improve,” Cash said.

May 15, 2019
Sean Rash bowling

Sean Rash

Anchorage’s Sean Rash defeated Missouri’s Kyle Sherman in a battle of champions during the PBA playoffs Round of 16 Race to 2 Points matches that aired on FS1 from Portland, Maine.

The sixth-seeded Rash knocked off the No. 11 seed by scores of 227 to 175 and 237 to 214 in the two-game series to advance to the Round of 8, which will air May 27.

Rash, of Dimond High fame, is a 13-time champion on the PBA Tour; Sherman a 7-time winner.

“I had a good ball reaction in both games and was fortunate to take advantage of the opportunity I was given,” said Rash. “You need to fill frames anyway you can, but in the end, I felt like I only threw one bad shot.

“I was pretty much in control and Kyle was struggling in the first game. It came down to strong finishes in both games. Kyle’s an excellent player and I didn’t want to give him too much hope.”

The Race to 2 Points format means each game won is worth one point. If the players split the first two games, a ninth-and-10th frame roll-off will award the deciding point.

Rash will face No. 14 Dom Barrett of England in the quarterfinals.

May 13, 2019
Paul Steffensen baseball

Paul Steffensen

Kenai’s Paul Steffensen played a key role in helping the Mesa Thunderbirds earn an 8-7 walk-off win over the GateWay Geckos in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.

With the win, Mesa punched its ticket to the NJCAA National Championships for the first time since 2014.

In the ninth inning, Steffensen singled to put the winning run in scoring position. Two batters later, Mesa walked off to clinch a postseason berth.

He finished the game 2-for-5 with a double. He batted .308 (4-for-13) in the three-game series.

Steffensen, of Kenai High fame, ranks third on the team with a .327 batting average, first with 16 doubles and second with four home runs.

Mesa will now head to Enid, Oklahoma, for the NJCAA National Tournament, which runs May 25 to June 1.

May 12, 2019
Alev Kelter rugby

Alev Kelter

Eagle River’s Alev Kelter was instrumental in helping the Team USA women’s sevens rugby team earn a bronze medal at the Canada Sevens event in Langford, British Columbia.

The 28-year-old scored 30 of the team’s 106 points in six games as the Americans finished 5-1 and beat France 26-5 in the third-place game.

The victory propelled Team USA to a No. 2 world ranking and all but assured the squad a berth to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Kelter was a 2016 Olympian with the team.

It was also the fourth straight medal for the Americans, who are the only group to have finished in the top four at every tournament this season on the five-stop World Rugby Sevens Series tour.

Kelter, of Chugiak High fame, was at her best on Day 1 in Langford as she was responsible for every point in a 12-0 win over host Canada.

In the semifinals against New Zealand, Kelter received a red card for a dangerous tackle and was sent off. The Americans trailed 7-0 when she left and eventually lost 26-12, dropping them into the bronze-medal game.

Two weeks ago, Team USA upset No. 1 New Zealand 26-19 in Japan behind Kelter’s 11 points on a try and three conversions.

She leads the Americans in scoring on the year with 123 points, which ranks No. 7 in the world.

The series wraps up June 15-16 in Biarritz, France.

May 11, 2019
Sierra Rosenzweig softball

Sierra Rosenzweig

Sierra Rosenzweig of Anchorage singled and scored the tying run in the seventh and final inning as the MIT softball team beat Eastern Nazarene College 5-4 for its second straight walkoff win at the NCAA D3 Championships in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The starting left fielder finished 2-for-3 with a run and RBI from the No. 9 spot in the lineup.

Rosenzweig, of East High fame, might bat at the bottom of the lineup, but Rosenzweig has a reputation for coming up big in the biggest games of the season.

Last year, she kickstarted a late-game rally that led to a 7-5 win over Williams College in Game 3 of the NCAA Super Regional. She led off the inning with a walk and later scored the go-ahead run.

This time she tripled in a run in the second inning and then singled and scored the tying run.

It was her fifth triple of the season. Last month she broke the single-game school record with three triples in a 10-6 victory over Emerson.

The junior is hitting .271 in 41 games with one home run and 10 RBIs.

Rachel White softball

Rachel White

Anchorage’s Rachel White of Corban University was the only Alaskan among the 28 softball players named to the first or second all-league team in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.

This is the first all-conference nod for the pitcher in her four seasons.

White, of South High fame, was especially excellent in league play as she went 9-3 in 15 starts. She finished with the third-lowest ERA in the CCC (2.27) and held opponents to a .239 average.

She also had five complete games and two saves in 89.2 innings.

White will be in the circle next week when Corban opens play in the NAIA National Tournament. The team from Salem, Oregon, will play No. 15 No. 15 Campbellsville of Kentucky in the first game.

This is the third consecutive year Corban has advanced to the postseason.

White enters the playoffs throwing the ball as well as ever as a college pitcher.

Two weeks ago, she threw shutouts on back-to-back days as Corban swept a four-game series against Northwest Christian in the final home series of the season.

White tossed a 3-hitter in Game 1 and then spun a 1-hit gem in Game 3 for the only two shutouts of the series.

May 10, 2019
Kacey Duffield softball

Kacey Duffield

Kacey Duffield of Fairbanks just wanted an opportunity to prove she could play softball at the highest college level when she walked on the team at University of Texas El Paso.

Two years later, she walked away as one of the program’s finest first basemen.

Duffield led the Miners with a .388 batting average, .640 slugging percentage and .482 on-base percentage in addition to ranking second with 10 home runs and 89 total bases.

Defensively, she showed lots glove love with a .933 fielding percentage. She had 13 assists and made only two errors on 280 total chances as UTEP registered the lowest amount of errors is a season in program history.

Duffield, of Lathrop High fame, made a little history with the bat as well.

She is just the third Alaska woman to hit double-digit dingers in a single season at the NCAA D1 level.

17 Lillian Bullock North Carolina A&T 2007
12 Pauline Tufi Louisiana Tech 2015
11 Pauline Tufi Louisiana Tech 2016
10 Kacey Duffield UTEP 2019

After Duffield hit 31 home runs and drove in 126 RBIs at Indian Hills Community College, she took off the 2017 season and all of the D1 offers dried up.

She basically recruited UTEP and then walked on the team without the promise of playing time.

“She has so much character, she never quits,” coach Tobin Echo-Hawk told the El Paso Times. “That’s how she is, she wants to be successful. We couldn’t have been luckier that she came here.”

Her gamble paid off.

Duffied hit .341 in her two seasons and her 15 home runs were the most by a D1 player from Alaska since Taria Page’s 15 bombs with Louisiana Tech from 2016 to 2018.

Philip Wall baseball

Philip Wall

With its back against the wall, the University of Northwestern-St. Paul turned to Juneau’s Philip Wall.

The sophomore starter pitched 7.1 strong innings and the Eagles scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to assure a 6-2 victory over the No. 1-seeded St. Scholastica Saints in an elimination game at the NCAA D2 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament in Duluth, Minnesota.

Wall scattered nine hits and three walks, dancing around baserunners and dodging danger to keep alive his team’s season.

Only one of the two runs he surrendered were earned.

Wall, of Thunder Mountain High fame, improved to 5-3 on the season. His five wins are the most among college pitchers from Alaska.

Northwestern led 3-2 going into the ninth before adding three insurance runs.

Wall lowered his ERA to 2.80 in 64.1 innings. He has struck out 40 batters and walked 23. He also has two 9-inning complete games to his credit.

May 9, 2019
Gavin Petterson baseball

Gavin Petterson

Soldotna’s Gavin Petterson closed out a 7-6 victory for Columbia Basin College that kept alive the team’s NWAC playoff chances.

The sophomore relief pitcher recorded the final seven outs against Wenatchee Valley.

First, he wiggled out a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning. Then he struck out the side in the eighth inning. Finally, he worked a clean ninth inning.

He now has 3 wins and 2 saves for Columbia Basin.

Petterson, of Kenai Central High fame, lowered his ERA to 3.16 in 25.2 innings with 30 strikeouts.

Columbia Basin hosts Spokane on Saturday in a crucial doubleheader.

Two victories would give Petterson and the Hawks an outright NWAC East Region championship. One win would assure a playoff spot and two losses might knock them out of the playoff picture altogether.

Cody Curfman baseball

Cody Curfman

Northern State University starter Cody Curfman of Chugiak carried a shutout into the sixth inning and allowed only two runs in seven innings of work, yet the super playoff performance was all for naught.

The No. 7 Wolves lost a 4-2 heartbreaker in 10 innings to No. 2 Minnesota State in the first round of the NCAA D2 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Curfman was spectacular, allowing only two hits and no run through the first six innings as Northern State led 2-0. In the seventh, Minnesota State used two singles, a sac bunt, a groundout and a fielder’s choice to manufacture a couple runs to tie the game.

He deserved better than a no decision.

He walked two and struck out four batters to give him 57 punchouts in 62.2 innings.

Curfman (4-4) owns a 3.59 ERA and a 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

He pitched seven innings in five of his final seven starts, dropping his ERA more than two full runs during that stretch.

Curfman was named CIC MVP as a senior in 2016.

May 8, 2019
Nicolette Dabbs softball

Nicolette Dabbs

Anchorage’s Nicolette Dabbs was named to the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference All-Region second team.

The 5-foot-8 sophomore outfielder logged innings at all three outfield positions and provided a consistent presence in the offensive lineup.

Dabbs, of East High fame, hit .322, with 18 RBIs, six home runs, four doubles and 17 runs in 34 games.

May 7, 2019

Wearing an Alaska Endurance Project singlet, Todd Parrish wrapped up his World Marathon Majors quest with a bang.

The 52-year-old Anchorage resident finished Japan’s Tokyo Marathon on March 3 in 3 hours, 30 minutes and 2 seconds, a personal best of about eight minutes.

Parrish had previously finished the other five World Marathon Majors: Chicago, Boston, New York, Berlin and London.

In Toyko, Parrish placed 4,463 among more than 27,000 men.

“Japan was a fantastic experience,” Parrish reported on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Chandler Kemp placed eighth Sunday at the Vancouver (Canada) Marathon in 2:27:16.

After starring in running at Haines High School, Kemp competed at Cornell University. He now lists Stanford, Calif., as his hometown.

Kemp won the 25-29-year-old age group and finished with a pace of 5 minutes, 37 seconds per mile.


May 6, 2019

Ruthy Hebard (second from right)

Even when she’s not wearing a University of Oregon jersey, Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks still represents the color green.

And in Las Vegas, she was money at the USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships.

The Oregon junior helped the Ducks win their second straight title in their third consecutive finals appearance with a 21-20 win over Drive in the gold-medal game in Nevada.

Oregon improved to 20-2 all-time in the tournament with Hebard, a 6-foot-4 all-star and one of the premier power forwards in the country.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, was joined by Oregon teammates Sabrina Ionescu Otiona Gildon and Lydia Giomi in the winner’s circle.

Oregon finished the two-day tournament with a 6-1 record and advanced to the championship game by defeating DePaul 17-15, Stanford 21-17 and Defend 19-13.

The two-day event, which was held outside in Las Vegas for the first time since it was launched in 2012, also served as the 2019 USA Basketball Women’s 3×3 National Team trials.

All eligible athletes will be considered for selection to the 2019 USA Women’s 2019 U.S. Pan American Games 3×3 Basketball Team.

May 5, 2019
Mario Chalmers basketball

Mario Chalmers

Already the greatest basketball champion from Alaska, Mario Chalmers of Anchorage tested his magic touch in Europe.

He went from hitting jumpers to hitting another jackpot.

The 32-year-old cashed in on his first Champions League title with Italy’s Segafredo Virtus Bologna to give him one of the game’s greatest resumes.

“I just wanted to leave an everlasting mark, do what I could to help the team,” Chalmers said.

Chalmers had previously racked up two high school state championships with Bartlett High, an NCAA championship with the University of Kansas and two NBA championships with the Miami Heat.

Few players in the world could rival that kind of success.

That’s not hyperbole.

Chalmers helped Bologna end a 10-year title drought with a 73-61 victory over Spain’s Iberostar Tenerife in the Champions League final in Belgium.

The 6-foot-2 guard came off the bench to contribute 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 19 minutes.

His jumper with 1:13 remaining stretched the lead to eight and proved pivotal for a Bologna team that had a 17-point lead dip to six late in the second half.

“I was able to get to my spot and knock it down,” Chalmers said.

It was a big week for Chalmers, who was also selected in the second round of the BIG3 draft for the upcoming summer season.

He was picked by the 3-Headed Monsters, who are coached by Gary Payton and feature players like Rashard Lewis, Reggis Evans and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

May 4, 2019
Willy Homza baseball

Willy Homza

Willy Homza of Anchorage crushed a two-run home run in the third inning to kickstart Brown University’s 5-3 win over Harvard during an Ivy League doubleheader in Providence, Rhode Island.

It was the fifth homer of the season for the senior infielder, which is tied for the second most among the record 49 Alaskans playing college baseball.

Homza, of South High fame, had two home runs in 95 career games over his first three seasons.

Now he’s got five in 38 games.

In Game 1, he drew a pair of walks to give him 39 on the year, which broke the single-season school record of 37 that had stood since 1986.

Homza ranks among Brown’s top 5 in home runs, total bases (59), RBIs (22), batting average (.259) and on-base percentage (.432).

Brenner Furlong track and field

Brenner Furlong

Soldotna’s Brenner Furlong helped Dakota State University capture the men’s 4×100-meter relay title at the 94th annual Dakota Relays at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The relay team hit a national qualifying time of 41.54 seconds in the race, which is currently the 13th fastest in NAIA this year as well as the third fastest in school history.

The freshman sprinter also finished fifth in the 200 with a time of 22.21.

May 3, 2019
Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks kept alive her dream of playing in the title game for the third straight year at the USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships.

She and her team with the University of Oregon finished 1-1 on Day 1 of the tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Ducks beat Michigan 14-11 under the sun and then lost 17-16 to Miami under the lights. They will play the LA Dream Team Saturday in a pivotal pool-play game.

Oregon’s four-player squad is comprised of Hebard, Sabrina Ionescu, Oti Gildon and Lydia Giomi.

The winning team at this year’s national championship will qualify to represent the USA at the Pan-American Games.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, has won 15 of 17 career games in this 3-on-3 tournament.

She was part of the 2018 title team that went 8-0 and was on the 2017 squad that finished 6-1 and reached the finals.

Last year’s group of Ionescu, Hebard, Gildon and Erin Boley won the event and earned the right to represent Team USA at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup in the Philippines.

The 6-foot-4 All-Pac-12 forward just wrapped up her junior season at Oregon, where she scored 1,798 career points in 111 games to rank No. 2 all-time among Alaska women at the NCAA D1 level.

May 2, 2019
Allie Ostrander track and field

Allie Ostrander

Kenai’s Allie Ostrander is rarely tested in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, but she faced a stiff challenge from the University of New Mexico’s Adva Cohen at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford, California.

The Boise State University All-American runner from Alaska eked out a victory over the Israeli international by just five-hundredths of a second in a battle between NCAA favorites.

Ostrander made a statement in making her season debut in the event she dominates as the two-time defending national champion posted of 9:45.66 – the fastest steeplechase time by a collegian this year.

Her time is actually the third best in the world this year. Yes, the world.

Cohen is considered to be the biggest threat to stop Ostrander from winning her third straight NCAA title.

Cohen’s PR of 9:29.74 set last year in Berlin, Germany is faster than the 9:38.57 Ostrander posted a year ago at Stanford.

But on this night, it was Ostrander who got the best of Cohen.

The runners were stride-for-stride with two laps to go. Cohen took the lead back with five barriers to go as the Mountain West competitors pulled away from the rest of the pack.

Ostrander built a slight lead after the final barrier and just barely hung on after out-leaning Cohen at the finish.

May 1, 2019
Ben Ross baseball

Ben Ross

When it comes to the top college baseball home run hitters from Alaska, the main power source hails from the Valley.

Wasilla’s Ben Ross of Corban University and Palmer’s Matthew Palmer of Waldorf University have combined for 13 of the state’s 24 home runs and rank 1-2 in the race to be the home run king of the 907.

Ross, of Colony High fame, is the leader in the clubhouse with eight homers in 43 games. The 6-foot-4 outfielder is a graduate student for the NAIA team in Salem, Oregon.

Ross hit home runs in three consecutive games in early April.

Matt Palmer baseball

Matt Palmer

His 19 home runs over his last three seasons are the most for a college player from Alaska since Tyler Thompson of Anchorage bashed 17 home runs from 2014 to 2016 at Pacific Lutheran University.

The No. 2 home run hitter from Alaska is Palmer, who has five bombs in 48 games for the NAIA team in Forest City, Iowa.

Palmer hit home runs in back-to-back games in February.

Palmer, of Colony High fame, leads all Alaskans with 42 RBIs.

Paul Steffensen baseball

Paul Steffensen

Kenai’s Paul Steffensen of Mesa Community College, Anchorage’s Willy Homza of Brown University and Juneau’s Michael Cesar of Pacific Lutheran University are tied for No. 3 with four home runs apiece.

Steffensen, of Kenai High fame, hit two homers in February and two more in April to go with a bunch of other extra-base hits.

The sophomore outfielder is batting .329 with 31 RBIs, 15 doubles and two triples in 41 games.

He has twice as many triples (12) as he does home runs (6) in his career in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.

Willy Homza baseball

Willy Homza

Homza, of South High fame, belted all four of his dingers during a nine-game stretch in March for the NCAA D1 team in Providence, Rhode Island.

The senior infielder leads all Alaskans with a .435 on-base percentage and 35 walks in 36 games.

He has hit twice as many home runs this year than he did his his previous three seasons in the Ivy League.

Cesar, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, has been the hottest player in April with three homers and 12 RBIs since April 6.

Michael Cesar baseball

Michael Cesar

The freshman catcher ranks No. 3 among Alaskans with 26 RBIs in 30 games.

College Home Run Leaders from Alaska
8 – Ben Ross, Wasilla, Corban University
5 – Matthew Palmer, Palmer, Waldorf University
4 – Paul Steffensen, Kenai, Mesa Community College
4 – Willy Homza, Anchorage, Brown University
4 – Michael Cesar, Juneau, Pacific Lutheran University
2 – Cooper Bailey-Parsons, Anchorage, Olympic College
1 – Parker Johnson, Anchorage, Indiana Wesleyan University

April 30, 2019
Daisy Page softball

Daisy Page

Daisy Page of Anchorage dug deep to deliver her best performance in extra innings for the Mississippi Valley State University softball team.

The 6-foot freshman pitcher posted season highs of 9 innings and 6 strikeouts in a 10-7 win over Jackson State in Southwestern Athletic Conference action.

The former Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year has been incredible over her last four appearances.

Page, of East High fame, has a 3-0 record with 12 strikeouts and 2.42 ERA in 26 innings.

April 29, 2019

Tony Tomsich (center) with Chad Trammell (left) and Forest Tarbath (right)

Tony Tomsich qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Sunday with 11 seconds to spare.

“I feel pretty on top of the world. Everything I could have imagined came together yesterday,” Tomsich said by phone on Monday. “I threw my hands up like 20 meters from the line because I knew I was going to get it.”

Tomsich, formerly of Fairbanks and now living in Vancouver, Canada, ran the Eugene Marathon in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 49 minutes to punch his ticket to the 2020 trials.

Tomsich achieved the 2:19 standard while placing second overall and winning $500. Kyle King of Denver, Colo., triumphed in 2:18:04 and separated from Tomsich after mile 15.

Tomsich metronomically clocked a pace of 5:18 per mile and now ranks 5th all-time among Alaskan marathoners.

The result was a personal best by more than seven minutes and a remarkable improvement from last September’s Berlin Marathon, which he dubbed a “classic blow-up marathon horror story” after he slowed dramatically towards the end and finished in 2:26.

“It took a little time to mentally regroup from that,” said Tomsich, a former cross country and track coach at UAA who competed collegiately at Western Washington University.

Tomsich, 32, ran the first 12 miles with Anchorage’s Chad Trammell and Forest Tarbath, who were entered in the half marathon. Tarbath, a Service High School grad, placed 11th in 1:09:23 while Trammell was 13th in a personal best 1:09:25. Both the marathon and half marathon finished at the 50-yard-line of Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

Anna Dalton of Anchorage raced to 19th place among women half marathoners in 1:21:10.

Two other Alaskans have previously qualified for 2020. South Anchorage High School grad Aaron Fletcher won the Indianapolis Marathon in 2:17:23 in November, 2018, and Dalton ran 2:44:24 in December, 2018, at the California International Marathon to qualify for the women’s trials by 36 seconds.

As of April 18, 159 men and 286 women had qualified for the marathon trials, which will be Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.

“It’s an incredible celebration of distance running in the U.S.,” Tomsich said.

-By Matias Saari, Alaska Sports Blog Contributor

April 28, 2019
Tanner Ealum track and field

Tanner Ealum

The 4×4 relay is like a 4×4 truck because it’s rugged and requires a strong motor.

Good thing Liberty University features two rough-and-tough runners from Alaska.

Anchorage’s Tanner Ealum and Michael Todd have etched their names in the record book among the fastest men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relay teams for the NCAA D1 school in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Both former ACS athletes helped Liberty sweep the 4×4 relay titles at the Virginia Grand Prix at Lannigan Field in Charlottesville.

Michael Todd track and field

Michael Todd

Liberty’s customary women’s quartet of Ealum, Ty’Asia Dansbury, Delaney McDowell and Cortney Dowling raced to a season-best time of 3:37.22, crossing the finish line eight seconds ahead of runner-up Virginia.

The time ranked No. 2 all-time and was just 0.66 seconds away from the school record and likely qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet for the second straight year.

On the men’s side, Todd teamed with Christian Gilliam, Jahquez Durham and Alejandro Perlaza Zapata to post a season-best 3:10.04, beating UVa by 7.4 seconds and joining the school’s all-time top-10 list at No. 2.

Todd also finished second in the 800 with a season-best 1:50.40.

April 27, 2019
phillip Wall baseball

Philip Wall

After uncharacteristically losing his previous two starts, Philip Wall of Juneau bounced back in a big way.

He isn’t the active leader in wins among college pitchers from Alaska for nothing.

The right-hander with the University of Northwestern-St. Paul spun a seven-hitter for his third career 9-inning complete game in a 3-2 victory over Crown College in NCAA D3 action in Minnesota.

Wall, of Thunder Mountain High fame, improved to 4-2 on the season and 9-5 for his career.

Wall walked two and struck out just three of 36 batters faced, pitching to contact and trusting his defense. He got nine flyball outs and 15 groundball outs.

The game was tied 2-2 before Northwestern took the lead in the seventh inning.

Wall owns a 2.86 ERA in 116.2 career innings.