Connecting You With AK Athletes Outside the 907

The Alaska Sports Blog provides daily posts on Alaska athletes doing great things at the professional, international and collegiate level outside the state. The blog was created to fill a void of coverage once Alaskans left the 907 area code. Since 2009 former Anchorage Daily News Sports Editor Van Williams has written more than 2,300 stories on over 300 Alaska athletes.

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

May 26, 2015

Alisha Allen track and field

Alisha Allen

There is another wonderful women’s long jumper from Fairbanks who won a conference title with a college from Colorado.

First there was former Colorado State All-American Janay DeLoach Soukup.

Now there’s Alisha Allen.

Allen is a junior track star at the University of Northern Colorado, where she holds the school record in the long jump after posting a mark of 20 feet, 5.25 inches in a second-place finish at the Big Sky Championships last week.

She won the Big Sky indoor title earlier this year.

Allen, of Lathrop High fame, qualified for the NCAA West Regional with that jump, which is the 13th best mark out of 48 women.

This is the second straight year the Alaskan has qualified for West Regionals.

Allen broke the school record in the long jump by three inches, and she did it during the heptathlon competition and on the same day she anchored Northern Colorado’s 4×400-meter relay.

“This girl is just full of heart and we ask a lot from her, and I couldn’t be more proud of how she’s performed,” her coach Amanda Schick told the schools’ website.

May 25, 2015

Molly Callahan Track and FieldMolly Callahan of Fairbanks turned in a couple terrific finishes at the Pac-12 Championships for track and field in Los Angeles.

The University of Arizona junior ran to a sixth-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and posted a 12 th-place finish in the 5,000.

Callahan, of West Valley fame, completed the steeplechase with a PR time of 10 minutes, 27.83 seconds.

It was good enough to qualify her 30th for the NCAA West Regional, which begin Thursday.

Her time in the 5,000 was 16:50.10.

Last year, the Alaska distance runner qualified for the NCAA West Preliminaries in the 5K, finishing 38 th in17:10.02.

May 24, 2015

Alev Kelter Rugby and SoccerEagle River’s Alev Kelter found her way into the scoring column once again for the USA Women’s Eagles rugby team at the IRB Sevens World Series in Amsterdam.

She converted a try in the second half against England but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save the Americans from a 15-14 loss that denied them an automatic berth to the Olympics.

Now the Americans heads back to qualifying. Their first shot will come in three weeks at an international tournament in North Carolina.

Team USA and England faced off in the fourth-place game of the Amsterdam tournament in a winner-takes-all sweepstakes for an automatic berth to 2016 Rio Games.

Kelter, of Chugiak High fame, started all five games for Team USA in Amsterdam as the team finished 3-2.

The IRB Sevens World Series featured six tournaments all over the world, culminating with the one in Amsterdam. New Zealand finished No. 1 with 108 points, followed by Canada with 96, Australia with 94, England with 76 and Team USA with 76.

This was the best scoring tournament for Kelver, a former two-sport star for the University of Wisconsin in hockey and soccer.

In addition scoring against England, she scored a 5-point try and a 2-point conversion in a 36-14 win over Fiji.

The first-year rugby player has collected 4 tries and 3 conversations in her brief international career.

May 23, 2015

Isaac Updike Track and FieldKetchikan’s Isaac Updike didn’t collect his second national championship, so he settled for a school record instead.

The Eastern Oregon University senior runner came close to winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NAIA Track and Field Championships in Alabama, finishing second to collect his fourth All-American result of his college career.

He won the race in 2013.

Updike, of Ketchikan High fame, made his move with four laps left in the race and held that front position until he was passed by Wayland Baptist’s Benard Keter with 300 meters to go.

Updike finished in 8 minutes, 47 seconds – a time which broke his own school record.

His twin brother Lucas was fifth in 9:06.64.

This was the fourth time Updike finished in the top 10 – he was eighth as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore, first as a junior and second as senior.

May 22, 2015

Conor Spink BaseballLast summer Conor Spink of Eagle River kicked around the idea of giving up his summer job.

But he isn’t ready to say goodbye to professional baseball.

The 27-year-old pitcher opened his fourth season with the Lincoln Salt Dogs of the American Association independent league.

The left-handed reliever threw a scoreless inning in a 4-2 loss to Kansas City in the season opener tonight.

Spink, of Chugiak High fame, has pitched in 95 pro games. He has struck out 94 batters in 113.2 innings and his career ERA is 3.33.

Spink is one of two Alaskans currently playing professional baseball. The other is Dylan Baker of Juneau. The 23-year-old pitcher is playing in A+ ball with Lynbchburg.

May 21, 2015

Louis Wilson Basketball CoachBasketball coach Louis Wilson of Anchorage has always been a winner; as a player, as an assistant, as a coach. So it only makes sense others would covet him.

Utah State University men’s coach Tim Duryea made the veteran coach an offer he couldn’t refuse – a ticket to the big time.

Wilson, of East High fame, will return to NCAA D1 basketball after Utah State hired him to join Duryea’s new coaching staff as an assistant.

Wilson has coached for 23 years, most recently the head coach at NCAA D2 Adams State, where he had been since 2010 and posted a 95-46 career record.

His .674 winning percentage is the highest of any Adams State coach while his win total ranks third in school history.

“Simply put, Louis is a winner,” Duryea said in a statement. “He is exceptional in all areas of our profession, and his ability to relate with recruits, their families, and his own players are outstanding.”

Wilson already had ties with the state of Utah, where he spent six seasons as an assistant with D1 Southern Utah University and helped the Thunderbirds win an American West Conference championship in 1995.

He also has coaching experience at Idaho State and Cal State Northridge, including an NCAA tournament appearance in 2009.

Jani Lane RunningThe NCAA D2 Track and Field Championships just started yet and already Jani Lane of Anchorage is a winner.

The Michigan Tech junior runner was presented with the prestigious NCAA Elite 89 Award at a pre-national meet ceremony.

Lane, of Service High fame, has qualified for NCAAs in the 1,500 meters. He is scheduled to run in today’s prelims.

He was an All-American in the race last year.

The NCAA Elite 89 Award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 89 championships.

Lane has a 3.94 GPA in mechanical engineering, ranking him No. 1 out of the roughly 400 men.

May 20, 2015

Jahnna Hajdukovich basketball

Jahnna Hajdukovich

As the daughter of a prominent Alaska basketball player, Jahnna Hajdukovich of Fairbanks got plenty of feedback from her father Jimmy over the years.

“My dad always has something to say,” she told me. “He always has to critique something; how to perfect my moves, perfect drives, perfect my shot, but it’s why I’ve become the player I am. He’s definitely helped me with my game.”

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but with this family it’s more like the ball doesn’t leave the court. Both her parents played basketball at the University of Alaska Anchorage and they have passed down their toughness, desire and skill to shape this 5-foot-7 guard.

Hajdukovich, of Lathrop High fame, was widely considered one of Alaska’s top freshmen this season and now she’s in Colorado this week to participate at the USA Basketball Women’s Under-16 National Team Trials.

This is the second straight year a Fairbanks girl has been invited. Last year it was Ruthy Hebard from West Valley.

Hajdukovich is among a national pool of 158 players that will take part in skill sessions and scrimmages that will eventually determine the 12 roster spots for the national team.

“I’m very excited. I’m ready to show off my skills to coaches,” she said. “This is my second time doing something like this. I went to John Lucas [combine camp] before and I think it’s going to be a similar experience and I really liked John Lucas, but I think USA Basketball is going to be up a level.

“I definitely think I can compete.”

As a freshman at Lathrop, Hajdukovich averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. She was voted third team all-state by Class 4A coaches and twice selected tournament MVP.

She is the only Alaska player at the USA Basketball tryout.

“I’m hoping to make the team,” she said. “I know that’s low chances, but I’m going to work really hard and if it doesn’t happen I understand. I’m still going to learn a lot from it and compete against the best, which is what I’m really looking forward to.”

May 18, 2015

Brad Oleson basketball

Brad Oleson

Anybody that saw Brad Oleson of North Pole play at UAF knows about his all-around game.

Now the rest of the world knows what we knew 10 years ago.

Oleson is on the verge of eclipsing three major milestones for his professional career and could get one of them this season with Spanish power Barcelona.

The 6-foot-3 shooting guard has played 426 career pro games, starting with Dodge City of the USBL and graduating all the way to the Euroleague.

He’s been a winner every step of the way.

Oleson, of North Pole High fame, has won championships and averaged 11.4 points for his career.

He has piled up a total of 4,863 points, 911 rebounds and 830 assists.

Barcelona currently sits in second place in the La Liga at 24-9, two games back of Real Madrid as the regular season winds down.

May 17, 2015

Trevor Dunbar running

Trevor Dunbar

Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar finished third and pocketed $1,800 for his efforts over the weekend at the 10th annual Medtronic TC 1 Mile in Minneapolis.

The 24-year-old runner finished in 4 minutes, 11 seconds on the rain-soaked course. He finished one second out of second and two seconds out of first.

The race is the second leg of the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour.

Dunbar, of Kodiak High fame, made Alaska running history in 2013 by becoming the first Alaskan to run a sub-four-minute mile [3:59.06].

He was an Alaska state champion in high school and an 8-time NCAA All-American in college.

Now he’s a professional, trying to make a living while trying to bring some of the mojo back to the mile.

The Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour consists of four races with a total prize purse of more than $80,000 plus a $7,500 for the Grand Prix purse.

May 15, 2015

Maia Claman rowing

Maia Claman

Anchorage’s Maia Claman will represent more than just Columbia University at the Ivy League Championships on Sunday in New Jersey.

She will compete on behalf of The Last Frontier.

The junior rower will be the only Alaskan to participate in the regatta as Columbia shoots for its first Ivy League title. This will be only the second time the Lions will compete in the prestigious meet that dates back to 1974.

Claman, of West High fame, is a starter on Columbia’s women’s varsity eight squad. The team is coming off a second-place finish at the EAWRC Sprints two weeks ago.

The Lions have had success on the Cooper River already this season when they clocked the second-fastest time in the preliminary and grand final heats.

May 14, 2015

Tyler Thompson baseball

Tyler Thompson

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson stayed hot in the NCAA playoffs today as he banged out a double and 4 RBIs to lead Pacific Lutheran University to a 7-2 victory over Birmingham Southern on Day 2 of the NCAA D3 Tournament’s South Regional in Georgia.

One day after clubbing a solo home run, the former Dimond High star delivered a three-run double in the fifth inning to make it 6-0 and basically cement the team’s second postseason win in two days.

This one came over a 35-win Birmingham Southern team and kept the second-seeded Lutes undefeated in the double-elimination regional.

Thompson now has 39 RBIs in 41 games this season.

The all-league third baseman drove in his first run in the third inning on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-0 PLU. Then in the fifth he cleared the bases with a double.

PLU [32-12] will play again Friday at 3 p.m. ADT.

Ben Welch Running CoachWhen Ben Welch of Wasilla started coaching track and field at Eastern Oregon University 22 years ago he probably assumed he would have some Alaskans on his team, but it’s unlikely he knew they would bring him so much success.

The Alaska pipeline spewed a couple more champions and a ton of points as the Mountaineer men claimed the Cascade Conference championship and the women finished third.

Seniors Isaac and Lucas Updike from Ketchikan finished 1-2 in the men’s steeplechase, senior Hans Roelle of Anchorage defended his 800-meter title and junior Kailey Wilson of Kenny Lake scored points at the conference meet for the third consecutive year.

Welch was also named Cascade Conference Men’s Coach of the Year.

Isaac and Lucas Updike have dominated the steeplechase over the last three years, alternating victories with Isaac winning in 2013, Lucas in 2014 and Isaac in 2015. Isaac also owns the conference record of 9:10.8.

This year he also owns bragging rights over his brother – but barely. Isaac won in a photo finish – 9:28.02 to 9:28.08.

Roelle, of West High fame, repeated as 800 conference champion in a tactical battle against a deep field thanks to a strong effort over the final 200 meters. His time was 1:51.58.

“He used his trademark kick to break the race open,” Welch told me.
They three Alaskans weren’t finished scoring points.

In the 5,000, the Updikes came up clutch again when Isaac finished second and Lucas fifth. Isaac just missed winning, finishing less than a second behind the winner.

Finally, Roelle sealed the deal when he anchored a third-place finish in the 4×400 relay that was good enough to secure EOU’s first conference men’s track title since 2007.

It was also the closest first through third battle in the 21-year history of the event.

Wasilla’s Taylor Owens was part of the 4×100 relay team that also scored points.

In the women’s steeplechase, Rachel Roelle of Anchorage was fourth and Wilson was seventh.

May 13, 2015

Garrett Brown BaseballThe Pacific Lutheran University baseball team out of Washington won a huge playoff game today and Alaska’s fingerprints were all over it.

Anchorage’s Garrett Brown earned the win and Tyler Thompson hit a home run in a 9-6 win over Emory on opening day of the NCAA D3 Tournament South Regional in Georgia.

Brown, of Service High fame, threw 5.1 innings of one-run relief to keep his team in the game after the Lutes fell behind 5-3 in the third inning. He allowed just four hits and two walks. He struck out five and the run he allowed wasn’t even earned.

“He gave us a chance to win,” Thompson told me.

After Brown got the final out in the top of the third inning, Thompson came up in the bottom half and hit a home run that pulled PLU within 5-4.

“When Tyler hit his home run it pumped me up especially since I was pitching at the time,” Brown told me. “He’s been clutch all year.”

Tyler Thompson baseball

Tyler Thompson

It was Thompson’s fifth homer of the season, which is the most among college players from Alaska this season.

But Brown was the story here.

The junior right-hander was a starter much of the season before getting moved to the bullpen for the NCAA playoffs. Rather than pout, he pounced on his opportunity, and shined bright when his team needed him most.

He pitched 5 scoreless innings before Emory – last year’s NCAA D3 runnerup –plated an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning.

“I just threw strikes and worked the ball to the outside of the plate. I threw majority all fastballs and was commanding both sides of the plate,” said Brown, who improved to 5-1 and lowered his ERA to 3.72 in 14 games.

“It felt amazing. I knew if I kept us close then we were gonna get some runs because we always come through late in games.”

And that’s exactly what happened. PLU rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eight to pull away, improving to 31-12 on the season and remain undefeated in the double-elimination tournament.

PLU plays again Thursday. First pitch is 3 p.m. AST.

“We need to take care of business tomorrow then we will be sitting in great position into the weekend,” Brown said.

Michael Rosenberg baseball

Michael Rosenberg

Just because his father was a Marine and his sisters are active duty Air Force didn’t mean Michael Rosenberg of Eagle River was destined for a military life.

Then again, that’s exactly what it means.

Rosenberg continued a family tradition after the 18-year-old signed his letter of acceptance of appointment and commitment to play baseball for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.

“I never felt any pressure as far as them wanting me to join. It’s just the way I was raised,” Rosenberg told me. “The honor of serving in the military, that’s all I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.”

The senior all-star first baseman for the Eagle River Wolves won the Gold Glove defensive award in the Cook Inlet Conference last year when he led Eagle River to the ASAA state tournament for the first time in school history.

During the Legion season he was selected to the All-State Team of Excellence for the second straight year. Then he participated with the Alaska Baseball Academy in the Arizona Fall Classic, where he turned heads and held his own to validate his desire to play at the next level.

“It’s a dream come true to serve in military and get to play baseball,” he said. “I’ve been in contact with the baseball coach. Guys from all over the country are coming to this academy and it’s going to be tough because we have to go through Coast Guard basic training. We’re going to build that brotherhood I hear a lot of people talk about.”

Rosenberg is also a star in the classroom, where he carries a 4.12 GPA.

“My dad always told me to give 100 percent,” he said “Not only do I take that advice to school but I take it to the baseball field too. If I’m diving for a ball, if I give it 100 percent, I’m happy with myself. In terms of grades, coaches want players that are going to be responsible to be able keep playing. It shows responsibility.”

May 12, 2015

Tyler Thompson baseball

Tyler Thompson

This week is the start of the college baseball playoffs and we have three Alaskans taking part in national tournaments at NCAA D3 and NAIA.

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson and Garrett Brown helped Pacific Lutheran University of Washington earn its first postseason berth since 2007.

Meanwhile, Aaron Miller of Anchorage has Mayville State University of North Dakota back in the playoffs.

PLU earned the No. 2 seed in the South Region of the NCAA tournament and will travel to Georgia to begin play Wednesday in the six-team double-elimination tournament.

“This is huge for our program,” Thompson told me. “There’s been years in the past before I was here where the team thought they did enough to get in and didn’t, so it feels really good to finally get a shot at a regional tournament.”

There was no denying the Lutes, who have posted a 30-12 record and won the Northwest Conference regular-season championship.

But they had to wait for the NCAA to make the official announcement late Sunday night.

That’s not the case with Mayville State, which has known for a week it was bound for the NAIA tournament after winning the North Star Athletic Association tournament title.

The Comets [39-20] are the No. 5 seed in the Bellevue bracket in Nebraska and will face Madonna University on Tuesday in the opening round.

“My first two years we made nationals by an at-large bid from rankings, but this year we made it by winning our conference and it is a sweeter feeling getting in by winning the conference tourney,” Miller told me.

Aaron Miller BaseballMiller, of Service High fame, is batting .341 in 53 games this season. He leads Mayville State with 50 RBIs to go with 4 home runs, 13 doubles and 15 stolen bases.

“It feels great being a contributing part of this team’s success,” he said.

The junior outfielder is a major clog in an offensive hitting .319 as a team.

“I like our chances this year,” Miller said. “We have a senior-dominated team and a close group of guys that all believe we are going win this and make it to the World Series in Lewiston.”

At PLU, Thompson and Brown have also played a key role in helping the Lutes get back to the national stage.

Thompson, of Dimond High fame, is batting .305 in 39 games and ranks second on the team with 4 home runs, 34 RBIs and 29 runs.

“My mindset will be the same it’s been all year,” the junior third baseman said. “Don’t add any pressure. Just be myself and play my game.

“To me, I try to not make it any different than the regular season, but I know it won’t always be that way.”

Garrett Brown BaseballBrown, of Service High fame, has started 8 of 13 games and is 4-1 with a 4.10 ERA. The junior right-hander has 56 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.

Look for all three Alaskans to continue playing well, even though the circumstances are much different. Now every play, every pitch and every at-bat matter more than ever.

“It’s do–or-die baseball,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be really fun to get out there and compete with my teammates.”

May 11, 2015

Andre Laws basketball

Andre Laws

The older he gets, the better he gets. The bigger the game, the better Andre Laws of Anchorage seems to play basketball.

The 34-year-old guard with Sao Jose in Brazil turned back the clock during the playoffs against defending league champ Flamengo before losing in a decisive Game 5 in the quarterfinals.

He’s playing like a much younger man.

“Even saying I’m 34 sounds weird to me but I don’t feel like I’m old. When I step on the court I’m still one of the quickest guards on the floor so physically my body hasn’t taken much of a hit,” Laws told me.

“As you get older, you read the game differently and know when to pick and choose your spots. The game becomes much more mental than physical, almost like chess. So by maturing, the game becomes easier and even though the speed of the game is fast, the perception of each play in your mind slows down.”

This was his 11th professional season and one of his finest. The former playoff MVP averaged 10 points on 55 percent shooting in 39 games this year.

“I’ve been blessed with great health and I enjoy the competition so every night I go out I’m excited about playing against other guys in the league and teams who I’ve battled against in the past that have turned into great rivalries,” he said.

Laws, of East High fame, played an instrumental role in helping 11th-seeded Sao Jose take the No. 3 seed to the brink of elimination. His performance was indicative of just how valuable he remains.

“Playoffs are always the best part of the season. I always tell people the playoffs are your reward for all the preseason, regular season games you have to go through,” he said. “It’s the dessert of that fine restaurant you go to. It’s where guys make their names, teams create their history and rivalries are born. You can’t create a better roller coaster ride of the ups and downs of playoff basketball. It’s enticing and addictive.”

How much longer does he plan to play?

“My body feels great and I still enjoy the game and competition,” he said. “Each year now I take the time off to re-evaluate things and ask myself if the situation is good for me to return. If the team has a chance to fight for a championship and make a deep playoff run, then

“I definitely take that into consideration before making any decisions. To come from our small city of Anchorage and be able to play D1 and then continue to play professionally for over a decade has been a complete blessing and I’m grateful for it. What lies in the future we’ll just have to see.”

May 10, 2015

Beau Kittredge ultimate disc frisbee

Beau Kittredge

The reigning MVP in the American Ultimate Disc League isn’t letting up this year.

Beau Kittredge of Fairbanks leads the league in blocks and has the San Jose Spiders undefeated after six games and in first place in the West Division.

He posted a +12 rating in a 20-18 victory over San Francisco.

Kittredge, of Lathrop High fame, finished with 7 goals, 3 blocks and 3 assists.

Last year he was the only player in the AUDL to collect more than 30 assists, goals and blocks.

brad_oleson_basketball_actionNorth Pole’s Brad Oleson contributed double figures in limited playing time as Barcelona won a key game in the Spanish League to remain in the hunt for the No. 2 seed for the playoffs.

The 6-foot-3 guard came off the bench to score 10 points and hand off 4 assists in just 17 minutes as No. 3 Barcelona beat No. 4 Bilbao Basket 80-73.

Oleson, of UAF fame, is averaging 6.4 points in 22 points this season as he has battled injures.

He made all four free throws to raise his season percentage to .905 [19-for-21].

Barcelona trails second-place Unicaja by one game entering their final meeting of the season next Sunday.

There are two games remaining in the Spanish League regular season.

May 9, 2015

Jani Lane RunningWith his national berth in the 1,500 meters already secured, Jani Lane of Anchorage figured he’d push his luck in the 800 at the North Central last-chance meet in Illinois.

The Michigan Tech University junior runner tried to hit an NCAA D2 provisional mark in the 800 and started with a bang before fading at the end.

No matter, Lane owns a top-10 national qualifying time in the 1,500 and is a threat to challenge for the title.

He posted a PR of 3:46.64 two weeks ago at the 49 th Hillsdale College Relays. Ten days earlier he beat a 90-man field in winning the Al Owens Open in 3:48.89.

Lane, of Service High fame, has collected 20 career top-10 finishes on the track, including three in the 1,500.

May 8, 2015

Trevor Dunbar Track and Field

Photo courtesy of University of Oregon Eric Evans

Former University of Oregon running star Trevor Dunbar returned to his old stomping grounds and put on a show.

Dunbar and current NCAA champion and former teammate Edward Cheserek crushed it on the track en route to crushing the field in the men’s 3,000 meters at historic Hayward Field.

Cheserek won in 7:57.97. Dunbar was second in 7:58.73.

They were the only two runners in the field of 18 to break the 8-minute mark. The third place runner crossed in 8:17.

Dunbar, of Kodiak High fame, was a NCAA All-American for Ducks before completing his college career last year. Now he’s a professional and sponsored by Nike.

Older brother Miles Dunbar was third running unattached in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:27.72.

May 7, 2015

Hannah SoudersHannah Souders of Anchorage has added her name to the University of Portland track and field record books for the fourth time.

The junior sprinter ran a PR in the 400 meters at the Oregon State University High Performance meet.

She won her heat in 58.56 seconds, the No. 10 fastest 400 time in Portland school history.

Souders, of Service High fame, ran the school’s sixth-fastest 200 time of 25.73 earlier this outdoor season.

Last year, she ran to the fifth-fastest 100 time of 12.54 and was member of the school record 4×100 relay team that clocked a time of 47.8.

May 5, 2015

Julia Rumley TennisGrinnell College junior Julia Rumley of Anchorage found the winning touch at the end of the tennis season.

She and doubles partner Sydney Banach won their final four matches and finished the year 9-1, including an 8-0 mark in dual meets.

Rumley, of East High fame, won 13 of 19 doubles matches overall and has a 32-20 career record with a partner.

She’s even better on her own.

Rumley has posted a 36-16 career singles record, highlighted by a career-high 15 wins this year.

She was most effective at No. 5 singles but was undefeated at No. 4 in limited action.

With a strong senior season next year, Rumley has a chance to crack triple digits in singles and doubles victories.

May 4, 2015

Brian Way baseball

Brian Way

Sitka’s Brian Way was 4-0 as a reliever and now he’s undefeated after two starts.

And Edmonds Community College is 12-0 when he pitches.

There’s no doubt the 6-foot-7, 270-pound freshman has been a lucky charm, but there’s nothing lucky about what he’s done on the mound.

The right hander is 6-0 with a pair of saves and a 1.10 ERA in 12 games.

His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 23-6 in 32.2 innings.

“I just go out there and try to best the guy at the plate by any means, whether that’s coming out of the pen or starting,” Way told me. “I just do all I can to win us games.”

From the start, he showed no fear. He recorded a save in his second college appearance.

“Being raised playing Juneau and Ketchikan in very intense games since I was 11, I think it made me be able to handle the pressure that college baseball has brought to the game,” Way said.

Edmonds has won 31 of 38 games in the NWAC and have captured the North Region pennant and secured a playoff berth.

May 3, 2015

AllanSpanglerSome stereotypes about Alaska aren’t misconceptions; like the one about how many remarkable runners the state produces.

Add Allan Spangler’s name to the list.

The 28-year-old from Anchorage dominated the Capitol Peak 50-miler in Washington, winning by 50 minutes and posting the second-fastest time in race history of 6 hours, 32 minutes, 12 seconds.

“This win was a fun one,”Spangler told me. “I was comfortable with my position for most of the race, which allowed me to relax and enjoy the course.”

The Capitol Peak course features a mix of trails that run through the forest just outside Olympia. The race starts with a 9-mile hillclimb that gains 2,000 feet in elevation. Then it’s down and back up the hill.

“Because once wouldn’t be enough,” Spangler quipped.

He missed the course record by 23 seconds.

“I was happy with the win but I was mostly focused on my time,” he said. “I wanted to get a time very close to the record, which is held by Seth Swanson, who was second at the Western States 100 last year and was a very good collegiate runner.

“This convinced me that I could be competitive with some of the top trail runners in the country.”

Palmer’s Cody Priest – Spangler’s roommate – won the Capitol Peak 55-K by a comfortable margin and Anchorage’s David Apperson was 11th.

“Alaska runners and perhaps more so Alaskan races have a rugged reputation in the Lower 48 and it was satisfying to uphold that,” Spangler said.