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.

March 25, 2019
Zoe Hickel, Tori Hickel hockey

Zoe Hickel & Tori Hickel

Playing professional hockey together for the first time resulted in a Clarkson Cup for sisters Zoe Hickel and Tori Hickel of Anchorage.

Both former Service High skaters logged ice time for the Calgary Inferno and big sis Zoe Hickel scored a pair of goals in a 5-2 win over Montreal in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League championship game in Toronto, Canada.

Zoe Hickel, a CWHL All-Star, was named first star of the final.

A year ago, she prevented Calgary from playing in the Clarkson Cup after she assisted on the winning goal for her former team as the KRS Red Star beat the Inferno 1-0 in triple overtime in the semifinals.

The 26-year-old forward signed with Calgary as a free agent. Two months later the team drafted Tori Hickel, a 24-year-old defenseman in the fifth round.

This is the second time each Hickel sister has hoisted a championship Cup.

Last season, Tori Hickel won her first title in Sweden with Djurgarden, which swept the best-of-3 series. She was named MVP of the championship game.

In 2016, Zoe Hickel won the Isobel Cup with the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League.

March 23, 2019
Rachel White softball

Rachel White

Anchorage’s Rachel White pitched two scoreless innings for Corban University in a 13-0 win over Providence in Salem, Oregon.

Her team led 12-0 when she left the game, allowing the coaching staff to empty his bench.

White extended her scoreless streak to 7.1 inning dating to March 17 and reduced her season earned-run average to 1.47 in 43 innings.

The senior has enjoyed a breakout season in the circle, pitching two complete games and posting a 5-0 record with two saves.

White, of South High fame, has 20 strikeouts on the year and 49 for her career.

Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

Under the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament, Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks comes alive.

All shine, no shade.

The 6-foot-4 All-Pac-12 forward with the University of Oregon has recorded five double-doubles in nine tournament games while helping the Ducks post a 7-2 record.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 78-40 win over Portland State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Eugene, Oregon.

She sank 9-of-13 field goals and matched her season high with four steals.

Hebard is averaging 18.6 points and 9.6 rebounds for her career in the NCAA Tournament.

March 22, 2019
Nolan Walker hockey

Nolan Walker

Nolan Walker of Anchorage scored the go-ahead goal midway through the first period to lead top-ranked St. Cloud State to a 5-2 win over Colorado College in the first semifinal of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Walker and teammate Patrick Newell scored goals 24 seconds apart, with the second goal from Walker giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead.

St. Cloud State advanced to Saturday night’s championship game.

Walker has scored twice in the last four games and leads all St. Cloud State rookies with 8-19—27 totals in 34 games.

Walker leads all Alaska skaters this season in points at the NCAA D1 level.

Kotzebue’s Joshua Roetman became the first Alaska wrestler since 2012 to win a wrestling match at the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The junior at the Naval Academy bounced back from a first-round defeat to win his first consolation match to improve his season record to 26-11.

Roetman, of Kotzebue High fame, scored a 14-3 major decision over 22nd-ranked Sawyer Root of The Citadel.

Root beat Roetman 9-1 earlier this season.

Roetman advanced to the next round, where he will face fifth-ranked Jacob Warner of Iowa.

March 21, 2019

Sixteen-year-old Kendall Kramer of Fairbanks is set to make her World Cup debut this weekend in Quebec City and may be the youngest American Nordic skier ever at that level.

“I think I’m definitely the youngest at this World Cup,” Kramer said by phone Wednesday from Quebec City, which is hosting the three-race World Cup Finals Friday through Sunday.

Kramer’s father, Mike, provided a little more context.

“Head coach (Chris) Grover says he can’t remember (a younger American skier) in his 20 years,” said Kramer, a state champion track runner at Lathrop High School in the 1980s.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard was unable to provide official records verifying its youngest skiers.

Kramer with Johannes Klaebo in Quebec City

Kramer, a West Valley High School junior who will turn 17 on June 26, earned the World Cup starts by meeting the U.S. Ski Team’s criteria of a Top 10 finish at the World Junior championships. Kramer placed a historic fourth in the 15K classic on Jan. 24 in Lahti, Finland, while racing against women 2-3 years older than her.

Upon receiving the invitation, Kramer knew right away that she’d accept it. (Fellow U.S. junior Novie McCabe, 17, declined hers).

“It’s such as awesome opportunity for my first World Cup experience,” Kramer said.

Because the races are in North America, the United States is part of the “Nation’s Group” that receives extra spots. The U.S. will field a team of 27 athletes, 15 of them women. Nearly half are Alaskan, and the group includes 10 members of the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center, along with Kramer and fellow junior phenom Gus Schumacher of Anchorage.

Schumacher, 18, and Kramer each won four gold medals at the recently concluded Junior Nationals championships at Kincaid Park.

Kramer has no expectations at the World Cup Finals and says she anticipates being “brought back to Earth” regarding results. Joining her at the races is her FXC club coach Alasdair Tutt.

Kramer will start the mini-tour on Friday with a freestyle sprint, continue Saturday with a 10-kilometer classic mass start and conclude Sunday with a 10K freestyle pursuit.

Kramer is admittedly star-struck being in the presence of Nordic legends she’s used to watching on television. She spotted World Cup overall leader Ingvild Oestberg on Thursday and had her picture taken and Johannes Klaebo, the sport’s biggest current star, on Friday.

Meanwhile, Schumacher is also racing the World Cup for the first time. He’ll have the company of Anchorage coach Jan Buron.

“Mentally it is easier to race if you have less expectations,” Schumacher told Fasterskier.com. “The biggest deal is not putting too much pressure on myself here.”

-By Matias Saari, Alaska Sports Blog Contributor

Kacey Duffield softball

Kacey Duffield

Kacey Duffield of Fairbanks is playing like a MVP in Conference USA.

The UTEP senior first baseman is one of only two players in the NCAA D1 league to rank in the top-10 in four major offensive categories.

She is second in on-base percentage (.516) and fourth in batting average (.403), slugging percentage (.708) and home runs (7). All are career highs.

Duffield, of Lathrop High fame, also ranks sixth in walks (17).

March 20, 2019
Sierra Rosenzweig softball

Sierra Rosenzweig

Anchorage’s Sierra Rosenzweig accumulated two hits and two runs in two games as the fifth-ranked MIT softball team opened the NCAA D3 season with a doubleheader sweep of Simpsons University in Brighton, Massachusetts.

The junior started both games – once in left field, the other in center field – and finished 2-for-6 overall, adding a stolen base and RBI.

Rosenzweig, of East High fame, is a career .324 hitter in 77 games.

March 19, 2019
Ashlynn Burgess basketball

Ashlynn Burgess

Eagle River’s Ashlynn Burgess delivered a do-everything performance for Wenatchee Valley to lead the Knights past Umpqua 74-70 in the NWAC women’s basketball championship game in Everett, Washington.

The 5-foot-10 sophomore amassed 16 points, five rebounds, four steals, two blocked shots and one assist. She was named tournament MVP.

Burgess, of Chugiak High fame, finished her two-year career as Wenatchee Valley’s all-time leading scorer with 1,138 points.

She is bound for NCAA D2 Seattle Pacific University next season.

Burgess averaged 18.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 33 games.

Mackenzie Millen hockey

Mackenzie Millen

For the third time in four seasons, Mackenzie Millen of Anchorage is a national champion.

The State University of New York Plattsburgh senior helped the No.2-ranked women’s hockey team beat fourth-ranked Hamline 4-0 in the NCAA D3 Women’s Hockey Championships in Mendota Heights, Minnesota.

Millen, of South High fame, earned two assists in the national title game.

This is the second time the Alaskan has record a point in the big game; she had an assist in the 2017 championship game.

During her career, Plattsburgh won 110 games and captured three national championships in 2019, 2017 and 2016. Twice, the team won a school-record 29 games.

Check this: Millen scored more goals (11) this season than her team lost (8) in her career.

She collected impressive 30-60—90 career totals and each season bagged more goals, assists and points than the previous season.

Here’s a closer look at Millen’s season by season scoring:

Year/Goals/Assists/Points
Fr 3-8—11
So 7-11—18
Jr 9-16—25
Sr 11-25—36

March 18, 2019
Kenny Hausinger hockey

Kenny Hausinger

Anchorage’s Kenny Hausinger closed the season with seven points in the final eight games to help the University of Massachusetts-Lowell junior forward bag his 60th career point.

He is the state’s active career points leader among Alaskans at the NCAA D1 level.

Hausinger, of Dimond High fame, bagged two goals and an assist in the three-game series against Boston University in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

He finished the season with a career-high 13 goals and 22 points in 37 games.

He also posts career best totals in power-play goals (3) and shorthanded goals (2).

Hausinger’s career scoring totals are 32-38—60 in 105 games.

Elle Gray softball

Elle Gray

Six games in three days was no sweat for Sitka’s Elle Gray, who soaked up the Florida sun and scorched opposing pitchers to help St. Lawrence start the NCAA D3 softball season with a 5-1 record.

The senior shortstop batted 9-for-22 with three doubles and a home run.

She also recorded her 100th career base hit in a 9-2 win over Geneva College in the sixth game.

Gray, of Sitka High fame, had at least one base hit in all six games and scored a total of six runs.

She has a .351 career batting average on 100-for-285 hitting in 98 games.

The Saints will play another stretch of six games in three days starting Wednesday to conclude the team’s Spring Break trip.

March 17, 2019
Dajan Treder wrestling

Dajan Treder

Anchorage’s Dajan Treder made school history for the University of Providence as she became the first women’s wrestler to earn All-American honors at the NAIA Invitational in Jamestown, North Dakota.

The senior transfer won the third-place match and finished 3-1 in the tournament, outscoring the opposition 26-11.

She prevailed in the third-place 8-4 over Macy Higa of Eastern Oregon after she won the final six points of the match.

Treder, of West High fame, won 14 of 16 matches on the season.

It was the second time in her college career that she earned national recognition. In 2016, she earned WCWA All-American honors with Jamestown University.

March 16, 2019
Willy Homza baseball

Willy Homza

Willy Homza of Anchorage delivered three hits and three RBIs in two games, including his first home run of the season, for Brown University in a doubleheader loss to Fairfield in Providence, Rhode Island.

The senior third baseman crushed a two-run bomb in the first inning of a 13-8 loss in Game 2. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI in a 7-6 loss in Game 1.

It was his first home run of the season and the third of his career with the NCAA D1 Bears.

Homza, of South High fame, raised his season batting average to .238 in 13 games

More impressive is his team-leading .418 on-base percentage, fueled by 13 walks in 13 games.

Homza has drawn more walks this season than he did last season (12) in 23 fewer games. His career on-base percentage was .325 entering his final year.

Josh Roetman wrestling

Josh Roetman

Naval Academy junior wrestler Joshua Roetman of Kotzebue went 4-2 and finished in fourth place in the 197-pound division at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships in Vestal, New York.

He was one of five Navy grapplers to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships, making him the first Alaskan to qualify for the D1 tournament since 2012 when Peters Creek’s Cayle Byers at Oklahoma State and Anchorage’s Nathan Hoffer at Arizona State did it.

Roetman, of Kotzebue High fame, has won 25 of 36 matches this season.

“Josh Roetman was the best I have seen him this season,” Navy coach Joel Sharratt said. “He was at one of the most challenging weights in the event and really exemplified some of our basic skill sets in the areas he did not display earlier this season.”

The Mids placed fifth as a team with 92.5 points. Lehigh was the winning side with 153.

Roetman was a two-time Alaska state champion in high school and in 2015 became just the sixth wrestler from the 907 to win the Reno Tournament of Champions. He was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

He enters his first NCAA Championships with a 40-22 career record.

March 15, 2019
Mario Chalmers basketball

Mario Chalmers

Anchorage’s Mario Chalmers has been a winner at ever level of basketball, so it makes sense that he would enjoy instant success in Europe.

The two-time NBA champion recently signed with Italy’s Segafredo Virtus Bologna and this week helped the team reach the Champions League quarterfinals.

Chalmers, of Bartlett High fame, came off the bench to collect 9-3-2 totals with a steal in an 81-58 win over Le Mans of France in the deciding game of the series.

This was only his second game with Bologna for the Alaska Sports Hall of Famer.

The dynamic point guard gives Bologna a proven winner and playmaker from his nine seasons in the NBA and three seasons at the University of Kansas.

He is the only Alaskan to win championships at basketball’s highest level in high school, college and the pro ranks.

Now he’s shooting for a title overseas.

Bologna will face Nanterre of France in quarterfinals, a home-and-home series March 27 and April 3.

Chalmers last played in the NBA last season with the Memphis Grizzlies.

After this season concludes in Europe, he will return to the States with hopes of playing in the BIG3, a pro summer league founded in 2017.

The league announced this week that Chalmers will be part of the 2019 draft pool.

March 14, 2019
Michael Cesar baseball

Michael Cesar

Good things have happened this season for Pacific Lutheran University when freshman Michael Cesar of Juneau is at the plate.

Four of the catcher’s 10 RBIs have tied the game or given the Lutes the lead.

The former Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year has a .271 batting average and .988 fielding percentage through his first 16 games with the NCAA D2 team.

Cesar, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, hit his first home run earlier this week in an 6-5 loss to Puget Sound. The game was tied at 2-2 in the eighth inning until Cesar went yard to give PLU a 4-2 lead.

He ranks third on the team with 10 RBIs and seventh with 13 base hits.

Emmie Jennings swimming

Emmie Jennings

Boise State University swimmer Emmie Jennings of Eagle River was part of two relay teams that placed in the top one-fourth of the women’s competition at the CSCAA National Invitational Championship in Cleveland, Ohio.

This is the second time the junior has participated in the NIT for college swimming.

Jennings, of Chugiak High fame, competed in two relay races for Boise State, which placed eighth out of 32 teams in the 400-yard medley relay and 10th out of 32 teams in the 200 free relay.

She earned all-conference honors in both events at last month’s Mountain West Championships.

Jennings is also a member of the 200 medley relay that owns the school record.

March 13, 2019
Jacob Calloway basketball

Jacob Calloway

Juneau’s Jacob Calloway pumped in 12 of his 15 points in the second half to help Southern Utah University beat Idaho State 94-80 in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament in Boise, Idaho.

The 6-foot-8 junior forward canned a 3-pointer with 14:48 to give the T-birds the lead for good at 54-52.

Calloway, of Thunder Mountain High fame, finished 3-for-3 from downtown to raise his season 3-point percentage to a career high .391.

This was his 15th double-figure scoring game in 29 games.

Southern Utah has now won a first-round game the Big Sky Tournament for each of the last three seasons.

The public is welcome to join us from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at the Anchorage Museum Atrium for a special evening to celebrate the Class of 2019!

The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame’s annual ceremony and reception is free and open to the public and will feature the enshrinement of the Class of 2019 inductees and presentation of the annual Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Directors’ Awards.

Former Major League Baseball player Chad Bentz of Juneau and two-time Olympic bronze medal winning trap shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein of Eagle River will headline the Class of 2019 inductions into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.  They are joined by Alaska Run for Women from the event category and Kodiak’s upset of perennial powerhouse East Anchorage in the 2001 high school state title game from the moment category.

The Directors’ Awards winners will be announced later this month.

This is an after dinner event with light snacks and a no-host bar available. Standing room available if needed. No need to RSVP unless you’ve received a VIP invite.

Email info@alaskasportshall.org with questions.

March 12, 2019
Ashlynn Burgess basketball

Ashlynn Burgess

Eagle River’s Ashlynn Burgess was selected as one of the four region MVPs and joined Anchorage’s Sandin Kidder and Barrow’s Kuutuuq Danner among the NWAC women’s basketball all-league award winners.

This was the second straight year that Burgess and Kidder were named all-stars.

Burgess, of Chugiak High fame, was named Eastern Region player of the year for Wenatchee Valley after she produced one of the most balanced seasons in the league.

The 5-foot-10 sophomore is tied for ninth in the NWAC in scoring (18.4), sixth in field-goal percentage (.545), seventh in free-throw attempts (5.3) and 12th in free-throw percentage (.768).

She also averages 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game, and has posted four double-doubles in 31 games.

Burgess, who is headed to NCAA D2 Seattle Pacific next season, has high games of 31 and 28 points and twice grabbed 13 rebounds. She had four or more assists in six games.

Want more proof of her MVP impact? In the last 10 games she has nine blocked shots and 33 offensive rebounds.

Burgess was voted to the Eastern Region First Team last season.

Sandin Kidder basketball

Sandin Kidder

Kidder, of East High fame, challenged for the NWAC scoring title all season before finishing fourth at 20.3 points per game and earning Western Region First Team honors for Grays Harbor.

The 5-foot-10 sophomore also averaged 6.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game and collected five double-doubles in 28 games.

She put up huge game highs in points (37, 30, 29, 28) and rebounds (14, 13, 12).

She wasn’t just offense. She also had game highs of five steals and three blocked shots.

Kidder was second in the league with 18 field-goal attempts per game and 10th in the NWAC in free-throw percentage (.700).

She was voted Western Region Second Team last season.

Kuutuuq Danner basketball

Kuutuuq Danner

Danner, of Barrow High fame, earned Northern Region Second Team honors in her first year in the NWAC.

The 5-foot-9 freshman finished second for Peninsula with 9.9 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She added 1.7 assists per game.

Danner started 25 of 28 games, bagged two double-doubles and averaged 2.3 offensive rebounds per game.

Her game highs were 21 points, 11 rebounds (twice) and eight assists.

Danner keyed Peninsula’s 11-game winning streak with seven double-figure scoring games.

March 11, 2019
Tevin Bayne basketball

Tevin Bayne

Sitka’s Tevin Bayne and Anchorage’s Moses Miller were both named to the NWAC men’s basketball all-league team and Anchorage’s Anthony Parker was selected to the all-defensive team.

Bayne, of Sitka High fame, was a Northern Region First Team selection after he led Whatcom with a 16.4 scoring average and ranked second with 6.5 rebounds per game.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore forward had game highs of 38 and 34 points, 12 rebounds and four steals and two blocked shots. He also had one double-double and started 20 of 22 games.

Moses Miller basketball

Moses Miller

Miller, of East High fame, was a Southern Region Second Team pick after he led Southwestern Oregon and ranked in the top 10 of the NWAC with 19.6 points and 5.9 assists per game.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore guard had four double-doubles with points and assists in 27 games. He started them all.

Miller had games highs of 36, 34 and 31 points.

He had nine or more assists in nearly one-third of his appearances.

Miller was voted to the region’s All-Freshman Team last season.

Anthony Parker basketball

Anthony Parker

Parker, of Dimond High fame, was named to the Eastern Region All-Defensive Team.

The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard led Spokane and ranked in the top 20 of the NWAC with 4.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

Five times he had four or more steals in a game. His game high for assists was 10.

Parker added 7.8 points per game and started 22 of 31 games.

March 10, 2019
Allie Ostrander track and field

Allie Ostrander

Kenai’s Allie Ostrander walked away with her 10th career All-American finish after running to a fourth-place finish in the women’s 3,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.

With the pack constricted into a tight group, Ostrander found herself trapped in the inside lane towards the back of the field. After multiple attempts to get into better position failed, she was forced to bide her time.

Ostrander, of Kenai High fame, finally found an opportunity to pass on the inside lane entering the final third of the race, but was clipped on the shin rounding a corner.

She recovered as the lead pack of Jessica Hull, Weini Kelati, Taylor Werner and Erica Berk began to pull away. On the backstretch of the final lap, Ostrander found her final gear to pass Berk and take fourth in 9:04.76.

Here is a breakdown of each of the 10 NCAA D1 All-American finishes for Ostrander in cross country and track and field dating to 2015.

NCAA All-American finishes
2019 3,000m indoor
2018 Cross Country
2018 *3,000m steeplechase outdoor
2018 5,000m outdoor
2018 3,000m indoor
2018 Distance medley relay indoor
2017 Cross Country
2017 5,000m outdoor
2017 *3000m steeplechase outdoor
2015 Cross Country
*NCAA champion

Cathryn Papasodora riflery

Cathryn Papasodora

For the second year in a row, Northway’s Cat Papasodora delivered a near-perfect performance for the University of Kentucky rifle team at the NCAA Championships.

The senior marksman was accurate on 97 percent on 1,200 attempts with scores of 589 in air rifle and 579 in smallbore.

Her overall score of 1,168 was tied for the second-highest total for Kentucky and two points better than her total from last season.

The Wildcats finished fifth as a team after winning the 2018 NCAA title.

Papasodora, of Eagle River High fame, finished 16th out of 44 shooters in smallbore and placed 21st out of 44 in air rifle.

Of her 12 rounds of 100 targets, she had four rounds of 99 – two in each discipline.

March 9, 2019
Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

University of Oregon junior Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks torched UCLA for 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 6-foot-4 forward added 12 rebounds to complete her second straight double-double and 12th in 31 games this season. She is shooting 72 percent in both tournament games.

The 28 points was her second-highest scoring total, trailing only the 34 points she scored against Washington State in January.

She is averaging 16.5 points on .690 field-goal shooting and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, now has 1,713 career points – the third-most among Alaska woman playing NCAA D1 hoops.

NCAA D1 1,000-point scorers from Alaska
Women

2,033 Kelsey Griffin, Nebraska/Chugiak High
1,766 Jeannie Hebert, Miami/Monroe Catholic High
*1,713 Ruthy Hebard, Oregon/West Valley High
1,664 Talisa Rhea, Oregon State/Seattle U/Juneau-Douglas High
1,596 Andrea Lloyd, Texas/Juneau-Douglas High
1,519 Brit Jacobson, Kansas State/Chugiak High
1,374 Molly Tuter, Arizona State/Soldotna High
1,346 Chandice Cronk, Santa Clara/Wasilla High
1,233 Jessica Moore, Connecticut/Colony High
1,149 Natalie Jones, Arizona/East High
*-Active player