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 more than 3,000 stories on over 500 Alaska athletes.

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

May 26, 2017

Devonaire Doutrive basketball

Devonaire Doutrive

He might come off the bench for the EYBL’s U17 Cal Supreme Elite, but Devonaire Doutrive of Anchorage has managed to stay relevant.

The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging 9.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 12 games this spring against some of the nation’s premier high school players.

“I’ve never played with so much talent,” he told D1circuit.com. “I’m used to being the best player on the team.”

Doutrive, of West High fame, is averaging 22 minutes per game on a squad featuring two sons of former NBA players in 7-foot-2 Bol Bol and 6-foot-9 Shareef O’Neal.

Doutrive was part of West’s 2015 Alaska Class 4A state championship before moving to California. He now attends Birmingham High and helped the team reach the state semifinals this year as a starting guard.

He is one of the top Class of 2018 players on the West Coast, yet he hasn’t signed.

That doesn’t mean he’s gone unnoticed, though.

Doutrive has received scholarship offers from New Mexico State, UTEP, Arizona State, Loyola Marymount, Utah State and UC Santa Barbara.

To get more offers, he must improve self-perceived weaknesses on the court such as getting stronger and quicker, and working on his shooting form to get more lift on his jumper.

“I’m gonna keep working and see where it leads,” he said.

This weekend in Los Angeles, California, is the fourth and final EYBL session.

May 25, 2017

Rachel White softball

Rachel White

Anchorage’s Rachel White is part of the greatest softball team in Corban University.

The Salem, Oregon, school has won 43 games and qualified for its first NAIA Softball World Series.

White, of South High fame, is a sophomore pitcher.

The right-hander has a 3-2 record with a 3.55 ERA. She ranks third on the team with 23.2 innings in eight games.

In the first round, Corban will face on Friday a 47-win Marian team making its third World Series appearance.

Marian [Ind] leads the NAIA in fielding percentage with a .974 overall mark.

Corban ranks second in the NAIA in doubles per game [2.1] and hits per game [10].

In addition, the Warriors rank sxith with a .347 team batting average.

May 24, 2017

Dylan Baker baseball

Dylan Baker

After the string of injures that kept him off the baseball field for the last three years, Juneau’s Dylan Baker is back on the pitcher’s mound.

And he’s brought his famous fastball with him.

The 24-year-old rocket right-hander is with the Double-A Akron Rubberducks of the Cleveland Indians organization. He’s coming out of the bullpen for the first time in his career as coaches ease him back from Tommy John surgery and other injures.

Baker, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, has pitched in seven games, posting an 0-1 record with 4.91 ERA in 7.1 innings.

The numbers don’t jump off the page, but he’s trusting the process. He’s yet to walk a batter, which was his Achilles heel in the past.

“I’m throwing strikes and getting ahead of counts, which is great,” Baker told Let’s Go Tribe. “I’m giving up a few more hits than I’m used to, but I’m getting out of innings with low pitch counts. I’m definitely happy. It’s been a long road to get here so I’m ecstatic with the results.”

Adjusting to life as a relief pitcher hasn’t been as easy as he thought. For example, the preparation is way different in terms of physical and physiological.

“I’m embracing it. I like hanging out in the bullpen and seeing it from a different perspective,” he said. “I’m enjoying it now and I’m still getting used to it. I’m talking to all the guys in the pen and picking their brains about getting in a different mindset. It’s coming along and I’m enjoying it.”

Once he heats up, Baker can throw the ball 100 mph.

“I did it in junior college once and in my first start of 2014 before I broke my leg,” he said. “I was told I was sitting 96-100 and then spring training before I had Tommy John. I was told I was mostly 96-100 all spring. That’s what the gun reads, so I’m gonna take it. I’ll claim it.”

Right now he’s sitting in the 96-97 range, which is still MLB quality, which is probably why the Indians have kept Baker on their 40-man roster for the last two years despite him not being on the field.

“I don’t know if it will fully come back,” Baker said, “but if it doesn’t, that’s fine. I’ve been through a lot and I still feel like 97 is good enough.”

May 23, 2017

Ruby Matthews volleyball

Ruby Matthews

A phone call helped Talkeetna’s Ruby Matthews make a tough call.

The high school volleyball standout was torn between similar scholarship offers from Whitman College and Seattle Pacific University. She liked both schools and was having a hard time deciding where she wanted to go to school.

“It was a toss-up,” she told me.

At one point, she thought she wanted to go to Seattle Pacific before a phone call changed her mind. It was Whitman coach Matt Helm.

They had talked on the phone before, this time conversation was different.

“He sounded like he really cared and it was important for me to attend Whitman as if it were my destiny,” Matthews said. “He told me, ‘Taking risks helps create growth.’”

Just like that, she was hooked.

“I was sold on the small school with big ideas of Whitman,” she said.

Matthews, of Su Valley High fame, has already signed her letter of intent with the NCAA D3 school and will head to Walla Walla, Washington, this fall.

“Whitman is the perfect place to progress my mind,” Matthews said. “I absolutely adore children. It is my calling to help kids in need. I plan to study psychology and get deep into understanding the mind in humans, especially kids. And then we will see what that leads to.”

On the court, the 5-foot-11 all-conference middle blocker led the Class 2A Rams to the state tournament in each of her final two seasons.

She plays a defense-minded position but can easily slide over to play outside hitter when needed.

“I enjoy smashing the ball into the ground,” Matthews said.

She sparks the offense on and off the court, so much so they call her ‘Firecracker’ for her ability to spark her teammates.

“Encouraging my teammates to achieve their best is the most rewarding. That is why I love volleyball,” she said.

Playing for Su Valley taught her discipline and determination, which will serve her well at the next level.

“Being underrated in our region, I learned that one can always get better,” she said. “My old principal used to tell us a quote, ‘Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Til your good is better and your better is best.’

“I felt like it was very appropriate quote for my team and this is why I want to play college. I would like to better my volleyball skills and develop my relationships and Whitman is the perfect place for that.”

May 21, 2017

Taria Page softball

Taria Page

One moment she was down to her final strike. The next moment Anchorage’s Taria Page was rounding the bases it what could be the greatest individual moment in Alaska softball history.

The Louisiana Tech’s sophomore slugger crushed a game-tying, pinch-hit home run with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the seventh and final inning against No. 1 Minnesota at the NCAA Tournament.

In extra innings, however, the top-ranked Gophers capitalized to score three runs in the ninth inning and win, 5-2, in an elimination game at the Tuscaloosa Regional in Alabama.

With her team trailing 2-1 and down to its final strike, Page sent a full-count pitch from Minnesota All-American pitcher Sara Groenewegen deep over the right-field wall to tie the game at 2-2. It was only the seventh home run surrendered by Groenewegen in more than 200 innings this year, and it was the fifth for Page.

“I slowed the game down like people say to,” Page told the school’s website, referring to her at-bat. “The game seemed like it almost stopped. I saw the ball, but when the ball came across the plate, after that my mind went blank. Next thing I knew I was rounding first and I saw everyone at home plate. I really did blank out for a good three seconds.”

For Page, it was her second straight pinch-hit RBI base hit at the College Softball World Series. She had a run-scoring single in Saturday’s win over Albany.

LaTech coach Mark Montgomery said it was tough to hold a power hitter like Page out of the starting lineup, but his idea to save her for a big moment paid off big time.

“You aren’t going to go down with one of your best at bats not getting a chance to hit,” he told the school’s website. “When it became game on-the-line, last at bat potential, it’s now or nothing. Did I see a home run? No. But is she someone who can hit a home run? Absolutely. We were trying to save her for the moment when we had two or three runners on, but we never got that chance.

“You don’t witness our everyday practices. That kid is one of the phenomenal hitters in the nation. She is hitting with a bulging disc in her back, a herniated disc. We have done multiple things just to make it through the season. When she is healthy, that kid is 25 or 30 home run kid and I’m not playing. She has been slowed down by that injury. We try to limit what she does in a [designated hitter] role.”

May 20, 2017

Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks believes her best basketball is still to come at the USA Basketball’s U19 women’s team trials.

Rather than rest of her laurels, look for the 6-foot-4 forward to go all out on Sunday, the final day of the junior national team tryout in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I think I have a good chance of making this team, but I need to get better every session because there are some big and very well-rounded posts they could pick over me,” Hebard told me.

“No matter the outcome I am blessed to have had the opportunity to be in Colorado Springs.”

Visiting the U.S. Olympic Center has become a habit for Hebard, who went there in 2014 for U16 tryouts and again in 2016 for U18 tryouts.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, is among 32 players participating at this weekend’s U19 tryout alongside some of the country’s top NCAA underclassmen.

The competition on the court is tough. There are no weak players, no easy basket.

“I’m playing alright. Wish I was doing better,” she said. “My emotions have been up and down all weekend. I have confidence just like last summer.”

In 2016, Hebard was selected to the USA Basketball U18 team that won a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championships in Chile.

She went on to earn All-Pac-12 honors as a freshman at the University of Oregon, where she led the 23-win Ducks with a 14.9 scoring average, 8.5 rebounding average, .588 field-goal percentage and 49 steals.

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Hebard scored the winning basket in the final seconds and then swatted away a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer to preserve Oregon’s 71-70 win over Temple.

She’s done so much for Oregon people might get it twisted and think she’s from there. She’s not. She’s from The Last Frontier.

“Alaska will always be home,” Hebard said, “but Oregon is definitely a big part of me now as well.”

May 19, 2017

Roderick Scooter Bynum baseball

Scooter Bynum

Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks sparked an 11th inning rally that helped Northern Illinois beat Miami of Ohio 11-7 in extra innings during Mid-American Conference action in Oxford, Ohio.

It’s fitting since the leadoff hitter from Alaska has been on fire for the last month.

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic fame, has been scorching at the plate over the last 16 games with a .428 batting average.

The junior transfer a big reason why Northern Illinois is playing in the MAC Tournament for just the second time in the last decade.

Bynum went 2-for-4 with a walk and run scored in tonight’s win over Miami. He led off the 11th with a single and eventually scored the go-ahead run.

He leads the NCAA D1 Huskies in batting average [.307], slugging percentage [.434], stolen bases [13], total bases [82] and runs [35] in 51 games.

Bynum also almost single-handedly carried Northern Illinois into the postseason. Over the last 16 games, the team’s winning percentage is .375 [6-10]. That might not seem like much until you consider the Huskies were 10-26 before Bynum’s hitting spree.

He collected base hits in 14 of those 16 games and raised his season average 51 points.

May 18, 2017

Kelsey Griffin basketball

Kelsey Griffin

She’s been the team’s centerpiece for the past five years, so it only makes sense for the Bendigo Spirit to bring back Eagle River’s Kelsey Griffin.

The 29-year-old all-star signed a one-year deal with the Australian women’s professional basketball team that she led to WNBL championships in 2013 and 2014.

Griffin, of Chugiak High fame, is a three-time Bendigo MVP in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

“Kelsey is a true champion, in every sense of the world,” Spirit coach Simon Pritchard told the Bendigo Advertiser. “The other players look up to her and understand how important she is. ”

In 114 career games, she has averaged 15.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

The 6-foot-2 forward is a naturalized Aussie citizen and last spring was in contention for a spot on the Australian Olympic team. She had participated in training camp until she was cut on the eve of the Games.

“Her selection in the Opals training camp in the lead-up to the Rio Olympics was great reward for her hard work, and we are looking forward to her strong leadership again this year,” Pritchard said.

Last year, had her typical solid season by averaging 15.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 24 games. She also led the Spirit with 35 steals and 27 blocked shots.

Griffin was a NCAA All-American at Nebraska and played in the WNBA for five years.

May 17, 2017

Tanner Ealum track

Tanner Ealum

For the third consecutive year, Liberty University swept the team titles at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Charleston, South Carolina.

This time, though, there were a couple Alaskans that help make it possible.

Freshman Tanner Ealum of Anchorage won the 400 meters and was part of the 4×400 relay as the Liberty women racked up their 16th all-time Big South outdoor crown and scored their most points [253] since 1999.

Ealum, of ACS fame, ran a time of 54.65 to complete a sweep of the Big South indoor and outdoor 400 crowns.

In the very last race of the meet, Ealum teamed up for a dominating victory in the 4 x 400 relay. Their time of 3:42.31 produced a winning margin of six seconds as Liberty repeated its title from 2016.

She also ran the 4×100 relay that clocked a season-best time of 46.52 and finished second.

Michael Todd track and field

Michael Todd

On the men’s side, sophomore Michael Todd of Anchorage helped Liberty make it 11 straight Big South men’s outdoor titles and 22 championships in the meet’s 24-year history.

He was part of a victorious 4×400 relay team that finished in 3:14.93 to claim the NCAA D1 school’s first Big South championship in the event since 2001.

Todd, of ACS fame, led the Flames’ trio of 800 finalists with a runner-up finish in 1:51.43.

May 16, 2017

Travis Thompson basketball

Travis Thompson

Anchorage’s Travis Thompson isn’t just a shooter.

He’s got a little grind to his game too.

The 6-foot-1 guard was named second-team all-conference and first-team all-defense for the Fraport Skyliners of Frankfurt, Germany.

Thompson, of Dimond High fame, led his team in scoring at 19.2 points in 17 games. He added 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

He made a team-high 62 3-pointers and his .431 shooting clip was 11 percentage points higher than the team average.

The Fraport Skyliners compete in the Bundesliga Pro B division and lost in the first round of the playoffs to top seed Bernau.

May 15, 2017

Dalton Chapman baseball

Dalton Chapman

Even though Anchorage’s Dalton Chapman stood alone on the pitching mound, he was never by himself on the baseball field.

His Everett Community College teammates had his back and they came up huge to help the sophomore right-hander pitch a no-hitter.

Chapman, of West High fame, threw a 7-inning no-no with five walks and six strikeouts in a 15-0 win over Shoreline in NWAC action in Seattle, Washington.

The 6-foot-5 Alaskan struck out the final batter to close out his first no-hitter in college, and second since high school.

“My fastball was working well. I had really good velocity and threw it right by hitters,” he told me. “My slider was the best it’s ever been and I could locate it whenever I wanted to.”

Everett carried a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning before plating a dozen runs to put things out of reach. Under different circumstances, Chapman would have likely been pulled because of the lopsided score.

With a no-no brewing, though, he stayed in the game.

He opened the inning by getting Shoreline’s Sheldon Rouzan of Anchorage to ground out to third for the first out. Then he finished it off with back-to-back strikeouts.

“I was never nervous,” Chapman said. “I just took it one pitch at a time.”

He improved his season record to 6-2 and lowered his ERA to 1.71 in 63 innings over 12 starts.

This masterpeice cemented his place among the top pitchers in the NWAC this season.

“Although I pitched a no-hitter, I give full credit to everyone who was a part of it,” Chapman said. “The coaches called the right pitches, my defense made plays and my catcher was right there with me. They made my job pretty simple. Throw what your pitching coach calls, execute a pitch, trust your defense.”

May 14, 2017

Taria Page Pauline Tufi softball

Page [33], teammates mob Tufi

With one swing, Anchorage’s Pauline Tufi erased a decade of frustration for the Louisiana Tech softball program.

The senior first baseman crushed a solo home run in the seventh inning to supply a 1-0 victory over Florida International and catapult the Lady Techsters to the school’s first Conference USA championship since 2008.

“To hit that home run for my team was a dream come true,” Tufi told me. “To be honest, I whispered ‘For my Family and God’ right before I entered the box, then boom, God blessed me with a home run.

LaTech had lost nine straight games to Florida International, including four in the last week. Not this time, though. Not after Tufi lined a 1-1 pitch over the centerfield fence.

With the win, LaTech punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.

“I was so emotional running the bases and then seeing my team freak out at the plate for me, then with me, was the best feeling ever,” Tufi said.

Teammate Taria Page of Anchorage – the LaTech starting designated hitter – knew it was gone off the bat.

“We all creeped out of the dugout and when it landed on the other side we lost our minds,” Page told me. “To be a part of that moment was the best feeling ever. Nobody deserve that moment more than Tufi because she works the hardest and overcomes all controversy.”

Pauline Tufi softball

Pauline Tufi

Tufi, of West High fame, picked up the MVP trophy after batting .429 [6-for-14] with four doubles, a home run and six RBIs in the five games.

Tufi has eight home runs this year and 35 for her career, which is the most for a NCAA D1 player from Alaska and breaks a tie with Anchorage’s Lillian Bullock, who hit 34 for North Carolina A&T from 2008 to 2011.

This home run might have been her favorite since it brought so much joy to her team.

“The best feeling ever was celebrating with the team after Krystal struck out the final batter to end the game,” Tufi said. “To be the C-USA champions is an honor. To represent ourselves, each other, our coaches, and family and ultimately God is an honor.”

Taria Page softball

Taria Page

Page, of East High fame, started all five games of the conference tournament and finished 3-for-15 at the plate with two RBIs.

The sophomore slugger leads LaTech in RBIs [39] and on-base percentage [.493] and ranks second in slugging percentage [.538]. She has four home runs.

Together, Alaska’s ‘Slam Sisters’ provide most of the pop in the middle of the lineup.

“It’s crazy to know we went from winning championships together [in Little League] to against each other in high school, then on a team again,” Page said. “It’s been a ride, but it doesn’t stop here. We can’t wait to see where we go for the NCAA regional and it’s time to just grind and shine.”

The NCAA Tournament field will be announced Sunday night.

May 13, 2017

Kamaka Hepa basketball

Kamaka Hepa

You can tell Barrow’s Kamaka Hepa is special because he keeps helping teams do big things for the first time.

The Barrow Whalers had never won an Alaska Class 3A state title before he arrived.

The Jefferson Democrats had never won an Oregon Class 6A state championship until he got there.

And the Portland Basketball Club had never won an EYBL game in the elite U17 division before last night.

The 6-foot-9 Alaskan has been a catalyst in all three ground-breaking achievements.

His latest achievement came in Atlanta, Georgia, where he led Portland BC to an 85-77 win over UPLAY of Canada for the team’s first win in nine EYBL games this season. The team’s previous eight losses came by an average of 17.3 points.

“Obviously, the competition is a lot better than what we’re used to in the local area, but I think it’ll be good for us,” Hepa told www.d1circuit.com. “It will only help us for college and the future. A lot of the guys we’re seeing now we’re going to see in college.

“I’m trying to play against the best players in the country because that’s the only way I’m going to improve.”

Hepa, of Barrow High fame, led the way for Portland BC with 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

He is averaging 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds with shooting percentages of .514/.758/.368.

Hepa is a 4-star national recruit and one of the most highly touted power forwards on the West Coast. He has been offered a scholarship by virtually every school in the Pac-12. He also has an offer to play professionally in the Philippines.

A lot can happen between now and the end of the summer, so he will leave his options open.

“We’ll see in the next couple months,” Hepa said. “I haven’t sat down and talked with my parents yet, but definitely after my last year of AAU basketball we’re going to have a serious conversation about that.”

May 12, 2017

Allie Ostrander track and field

Allie Ostrander

Boise State’s Allie Ostrander of Kenai ran to her third individual championship in the Mountain West Conference.

Already a conference champion in cross country and track’s distance medley relay, the diminutive dynamo added a 10,000-meter title to her list of accomplishments.

The redshirt freshman clocked a time of 35:51.20 and executed her game plan to perfection of hanging back early and closing late.

“Coach Ihmels wanted us to take out the first few miles really conservatively because of the altitude and the heat,” Ostrander said in a press release. “He didn’t want anyone to burn up and he wanted us to work together as a team. After that we were supposed to slowly build and work towards getting faster and getting into the regional qualifying time range.”

Ostrander has plenty left in the tank at the end and finished with relative ease.

“I know my strength isn’t in my top-end speed, it’s in my ability to maintain a pretty good speed,” Ostrander said. “I really tried to make it a longer kick to get rid of her a little bit earlier.”

This is just the latest impressive showing by the Alaskan this outdoor track season.

She smashed her home stadium record in the 5,000 [16:09.27], posted the school’s third-fastest time in the 1,500 [4:18.9] and collected the school’s second-fastest time in the 3,000 steeplechase [9:55.61].

She dominates every event she enters.

“Allie did a nice job,” Ihmels said. “It was a tough environment tonight with it being a little humid and hotter than what we’re used to, but she did a good job and hopefully it didn’t take too much out of her really moving at the end like that, but it was still really good to see.”

May 10, 2017

Pauline Tufi softball

Pauline Tufi

Not even a 4-hour delay could slow down Pauline Tufi of Anchorage in the Conference USA tournament opener in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The Louisiana Tech senior slugger doubled twice and finished with a career-high five RBIs in an 11-1 victory over Charlotte in the first round.

Tufi, of West High fame, laced a two-run two-bagger in the first inning to highlight a four-run frame.

In the bottom of the fourth, she cleared the bases with another double.

The game started nearly four hours late due to back-to-back extra inning games in earlier tournament games.

Anchorage’s Taria Page finished 1-for-2 with an RBI in that big first inning.

Together, the Alaskans helped LaTech put this one away early.

The Lady Techsters [34-21] advanced to the double elimination portion of the tournament. They will face No. 2 seed Florida International on Thursday.

May 9, 2017

Scooter Bynum baseball

Scooter Bynum

His most productive weekend as a college baseball player has Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks flirting with a benchmark.

The Northern Illinois University centerfielder went 6-for-12 with three walks in a three-game series against Central Michigan to raise his season average to .299 in 45 games.

Bynum, of Monroe Catholic High fame, scored a eight runs and drove in six runs in the series.

In Game 1, he scored a career-high five runs, doubled and had two RBIs.

In Game 2, he ripped two triples in one game, scored three runs and drove in two more.

Bynum, a junior, raised his average 20 points since the beginning of April.

He also swiped 10 of his 12 stolen bases on the season in the last five weeks.

May 8, 2017

Brian Way baseball

Brian Way

Sitka’s Brian Way recorded the final two outs to preserve Cumberlands 16-7 victory over Campbellsville in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

With the win, Cumberlands captured the Mid-South Conference Tournament and earned an automatic berth to the NAIA championships next week.

Way, of Sitka High fame, induced consecutive flyballs to secure the title and set up a dramatic dog pile at the mound.

It was his second appearance during the Mid-South Conference Tournament. He also pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a 7-1 first-round win.

The 6-foot-7 junior transfer has pitched in 12 games this season for Cumberlands, starting three games and posting a 2-0 record. He has struck out 16 batters and posted a 4.81 ERA over 24.1 innings.

May 7, 2017

Jalil Abdul-Bassit basaketball

Jalil Abdul-Bassit

His jumper was so wet, Jalil Abdul-Bassit made it rain in Australia.

The 24-year-old guard from Anchorage drained eight 3-pointers and collected a career-high 34 points as Toowoomba beat Logan T. 88-71 in the QBL.

Abdul-Bassit, of East High fame, finished 12-of-24 overall and added six rebounds in 38 minutes.

This was his second game in the Australian pro league. He had 21 in his debut.

May 6, 2017

Sagan Osborne baseball

Sagan Osborne

Sagan Osborne of Anchorage homered to lead off the top of the 10th inning to secure Dickinson State’s 5-4 win over Presentation College and keep the Blue Hawks alive in the North Star Athletic Association tournament in Jamestown, North Dakota.

The senior slugger deposited the first pitch of extra innings over the right field fence, capping five unanswered runs by the Blue Hawks.

Osborne, of Dimond High fame, leads the team and ranks fourth in the NAIA conference with a career-high 13 home runs and 58 RBIs.

He’s believed to be just the third college baseball player from Alaska with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in a single season.

The first two were Juneau’s Rob Conway [who posted 10/54 totals at Iowa State in 2000] and Anchorage’s Jamar Hill [who amassed 13/53 totals with Santa Ana in 2002].

Osborne is batting .402 this season and rocks a .709 slugging percentage.

May 5, 2017

Isaac Updike track steeplechase

Isaac Updike

Ketchikan brothers Isaac and Lucas Updike ran together in high school, at Eastern Oregon University and now for Team Run Eugene in Oregon.

Tonight, they finished second and third in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Oregon Twilight at iconic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Isaac lost a photo finish and his brother won a photo finish.

Isaac finished second with a time of 8:40.05 – just behind winner and Team Run Eugene teammate Tripp Hurt’s 8:39.39.

Lucas took third in 8:58.41, just .56 seconds ahead of fourth place.

Lucas Updike track steeplechase

Lucas Updike


The Updike brothers combined for 10 NAIA All-American finishes at Eastern Oregon University.

Isaac earned six of them, including four in the steeplechase. He won the NAIA national championship in 2013.

Lucas was an All-American in both track and cross country.

May 4, 2017
Ryan Green football

Ryan Green

Lawrence Technological University hasn’t fielded a football team since the 1940s, but the school is getting back on the gridiron.

And Anchorage’s Ryan Green wants to be part of it.

The all-state linebacker signed with the NAIA school in Southfield, Michigan, and is eager to be part of something brand new.

“I loved the fact that this inaugural class could set the tempo for years to come,” he told me.

Green, of East High fame, is brains and brawn. A state champion on the football field and an honor student in search of a higher education.

“I plan on majoring in Mechanical Engineering,” he said. “Being one of the top engineering schools, Lawrence Technological University will open a lot of doors for me in the future.”

Lawrence Tech fielded football teams when the school first opened in 1932 until the start of World War II when most students left school to fight in combat. The school tried to bring football back in the 1940s, but ultimately it disappeared in 1947.

Green said his decision to play football at an engineering school was easy.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder is a tough player with a chip on his shoulder.

“I want to prove many things in college,” he said. “That Alaskan athletes can compete with the Lower 48 and to prove that you don’t necessarily have to be tall to be an outside linebacker.”

Green was part of East’s 2016 championship season and credited East coaches for preparing him for the next level.

“The coaches were involved and I made it my interest to become a better football player and athlete,” he said.

May 3, 2017

Pauling Tufi softball

Pauline Tufi

Pauline Tufi of Anchorage has her softball swing on point.

The senior slugger for Louisiana Tech crushed her team-leading seven home run of the season in a 6-4 win over North Texas in Ruston, Louisiana.

Tufi, of West High fame, launched a two-run shot as part of a five-run third inning.

She has now 34 career home runs, tying her with Anchorage’s Lillan Bullock for the most by an Alaska player at the NCAA D1 level. Bullock, of Dimond and Service High fame, hit 34 bombs for North Carolina A&T from 2008 to 2011.

Earlier this season, Tufi surpassed Bullock’s 138 RBIs to become Alaska’s all-time RBI leader in a passing-of-the-torch type scenario.

LaTech [33-18] has already clinched the West Division championship title in Conference USA, heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

The Lady Techsters have registered 22 wins at home this year, marking the first time since 1987.

Tufi is hitting .267 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs this season.

May 2, 2017

Dalton Chapman baseball

Dalton Chapman

Everett Community College has the best record in the NWAC’s North Region and Anchorage’s Dalton Chapman is a big reason.

The sophomore right-hander won all three decisions in the month of April to help Everett streak to the top of the league standings at 14-2. The team’s 28 wins is tied for the second most in the NWAC.

Chapman, of West High fame, is 4-1 on the season with a 1.62 ERA over 10 appearances.

He was especially effective in April when he went 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 24 innings.

Chapman leads Everett in ERA and games started [9] while ranking second in wins and third with 45 strikeouts.

The season is coming down to the wire, with just 12 days remaining until the NWAC playoffs.

May 1, 2017

Nicole Leman cross country

Nicole Leman

LeTourneau University in Texas hasn’t inducted a Hall of Fame class since 2005.

But Anchorage’s Nicole Leman changed that.

The greatest cross-country runner in school history was one of two athletes honored recently by the NCAA D3 in Longview, Texas.

Leman, of Grace Christian fame, is one of only two athletes in LeTourneau history to qualify for the national championships in any sport.

She originally came to LeTourneau to play volleyball before joining the cross-country team prior to the 2010 season. By 2012, she was arguably the top female runner in program history. In her senior season, she became the first runner in school history to win the individual title at the American Southwest Championships.

Among her accolades were five first-place finishes and three ASC Runner of the Week awards. She was also named to the Academic All-ASC Team in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Leman also earned the ASC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete Award in 2012. Nicole was also named the Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year for cross-country in that same season. Following the 2012-13 season, she was named LeTourneau Scholar-Athlete and Student-Athlete of the Year.

Following graduation, she helped coach Grace Christian to boys and girls state cross country championships in 2013 and in 2014 ran a 50-mile race from Cooper
Landing to Hope.

Leman was an active volunteer in many community engagement activities throughout her time at LeTourneau. She served on student mission trips to Mexico, Utah and Austria and researched wheelchair design for third-world use and went on a mission trip to Kenya to confirm her findings.

She tragically passed away on December 9, 2015 from a fall while hiking in a mountainous region and traversing the face of a challenging slope in Rabbit Pass at Matukituki Waterfall near Wanaka, New Zealand.

Carolyn and Loren Leman

She was the youngest child of former Alaska Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman and his wife Carolyn. The parents along with their son Joseph were in attendance to accept the Hall of Fame plaque and share in the celebration of Nicole’s accomplishments and legacy.

April 30, 2017

Allie Ostrander track and field

Allie Ostrander

The BSU crowd brought out the best in Boise State’s Allie Ostrander.

The Boise State University redshirt freshman from Kenai smashed the stadium record in the women’s 5,000-meter race at the Dona Larsen Park facility with a time of 16:09.27 to win the event Saturday at the Border Clash in Boise, Idaho.

Her time virtually assuring herself of a spot at the NCAA West Regional Championships.

Two weeks ago, the All-American made her debut in the women’s 1,500 at the 59th annual Mt. SAC Relays in Torrance, California, and posted the third-fastest time [4:18.9] in Boise State history.

Two weeks earlier she won her debut in the women’s 3,000 steeplechase at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California, with the second-fastest time [9:55.61] in school history.

Ostrander, of Kenai High fame, was running the 5,000 for the first time since last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

She stayed close to the pacers for the first three kilometers before breaking solo for last two kilometers to cross the finish line under the NCAA standard of 16:10.

“It was really cool to compete in front of the people that support us,” Ostrander told the school’s website. “We don’t have a lot of home outdoor meets, so our fans follow us from afar. It’s awesome for them to get the chance to see us race and for us to show how much we appreciate their support.”

Ostrander, of Kenai High fame, ran the 5,000 at last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.