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 2,400 stories on over 300 Alaska athletes.

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

August 1, 2015
Jake Heun Mixed Martial Arts

Anchorage’s Jake Heun was victorious tonight in the World Series of Fighting 22 MMA event in Las Vegas, defeating Davin Clark by submission in the final round.

Heun is better known for having a straightforward, striking style; he just assumes slug it out and see who is left standing.

But this fight went to the ground and ‘The Honey Bear’ eventually used an arm triangle choke hold to get Clark to tap out.

Heun has won six of his last eight fights and improved to 8-4 in his professional career.

July 30, 2015

Conor Spink BaseballEagle River’s Conor Spink of the Lincoln Saltdogs saw his impressive scoreless streak snapped in a 3-0 loss against the Sioux City Explorers.

The left-handed relief pitcher gave up a two-out double in the eighth inning that scored a runner from first, snapping his 12.2-inning scoreless streak.

It was the first run he had allowed since July 3, stretching a dozen appearances.

Spink, of Chugiak High fame, has a 3-4 record and 3.85 ERA in 32 games this season in the American Association.

The fourth-year professional pitcher has appeared in 126 career games, the sixth most among Alaskans in the minor leagues. Last month he passed Ryan Shaver [116] of Fairbanks.

The only Alaska pitchers to throw in more pro games are Chris Mabeus [243], Marshall Boze [221], Corey Madden [213], Chad Bentz [195] and Joey Newby [180].

July 29, 2015

Adam Manzer baseball

Adam Manzer

Anchorage’s Adam Manzer played a big role in leading the Novato Knicks summer baseball team to a double crown in the Sacramento Rural League.

Novato beat AB Baseball of San Jose 9-8 last weekend in California in the playoff title game, giving the Knicks the regular-season and tournament championships.

Manzer, of West High fame, led the team in stolen bases and played outfield, third base and catcher for the Knicks.

Manzer hit .321 this summer, with 14 extra-base hits, including 10 doubles and a home run. He swiped 11 bags.

This was his second season with the Knicks after taking last last summer off.

The Alaska all-star is entering his season season as a starting outfielder for Sonoma State. As a junior he hit .287 with 4 HRs and 13 RBIs in 29 games.

July 27, 2015

Dane Kuiper BasketballWhen University of New Mexico freshman Dane Kuiper of Wasilla plays his first college basketball game this fall he will see a familiar face on the court.

His big bro Braydon plays for the other team.

The Kuiper brothers will tip off the season Nov. 3 when Colorado State University-Pueblo visit ‘The Pit’ in Albuquerque in an exhibition game.

Dane Kuiper is a heralded 6-foot-7 swingman who left Wasilla High after his sophomore year and played his senior season at Corona del Sol in Tempe, Arizona, where he was ranked among the top players on the West Coast.

He helped Corona del Sol win a pair of state championships, including last season, when he bagged 17 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in the final.

He signed with D1 New Mexico two years ago and is expected to finally make his much awaited college debut this fall.

“The only reason why I played Pueblo is because Dane Kuiper’s brother plays there,” New Mexico coach Craig Neal told reporters when the school released the 2015-16 schedule.

“That was a decision, a family decision, a team decision,” he added. “Dane’s committed to us. It’s my responsibility that he feels part of the family. I think it’s pretty cool that he gets to play his brother one time.”

Braydon Kuiper basketball

Braydon Kuiper

Braydon Kuiper, of Wasilla High fame, is a 6-foot-6 junior forward for CSU-Pueblo, where he averaged 2.4 points in 8.7 minutes in 30 games.

July 26, 2015

Janay DeLoach Soukup2Janay DeLoach of Fairbanks was the top finishing American at the Diamond League competition in London over the weekend.

The 29-year-old long jumper finished sixth with a mark of 20 feet, 9 inches.

The Olympic bronze medalist jumped 21-8 two weeks ago in Diamond League Monaco.

Injuries have forced the Alaskan to jump off her right leg, the opposite leg that she claimed glory on for her entire star-studded career.

No worries, DeLoach is showing the world she is a formidable jumper off either leg.

How many world-class athletes can say that?

July 25, 2015

Brian Way baseball

Brian Way

After experiencing his first rough outing of the season, Brian Way of Sitka jumped right back in harm’s way and came away unscathed.

The 20-year-old relief pitcher tossed a perfect ninth inning and collected his sixth save as the Bellingham Bells beat Victoria 2-0 in West Coast League action.

Way lowered his ERA to 1.42 over 15 appearances.

The 6-foot-7, 270-pound right hander was coming off his worst performance of the season against the same Victoria team. He gave up three runs in 1.1 innings of work.

It was only the second time in 15 games that gave up a run.

Way, of Sitka High fame, has a 4-0 record with 20 strikeouts in 20 innings.

July 22, 2015

Jack Heun Mixed Martial Arts MMA

Jake Heun

Anchorage’s Jake Heun picked a fight on social media and it landed him a spot in the World Series of Fighting.

The 27-year-old professional MMA fighter will return to the WSOF for the third time in his career after earning a late invitation to the Aug. 1 event in Las Vegas.

Initially snubbed on the WSOF22 undercard, the Alaska fighter nicknamed ‘The Honey Bear’ took to social media to express his disappointment.

Ask and you shall receive.

“This happened via me making an ass outta myself and calling WSOF out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook while also inciting my crazy fans and family to do the same,” he told me. “My friends are all a little off, so that helps.”

Heun is a little crazy himself.

Outspoken, provocative, always smiling – he is a party waiting to happen.

He’s also a good fighter, owning a 7-4 career record and a 1-1 mark in the WSOF. He beat Kendrick Miree in WSOF11 in 2014 and lost to Clifford Starks in WSOF19 earlier this year.

“It’s important for me to get back and have a better performance than last time,” Heun said. “I really prepared for one type of fight and ended up getting a totally different opponent, but that’s on me. I should have handled business.”

The 6-foot-2 light heavyweight normally fights at 205 pounds but will have to cut weight for this next fight against an unknown opponent.

“I was planning on going down to 185 for my next fight so my weight is actually really low right now it’s not going to be an issue to cut,” he said. “I’m excited to get out there and put on a show, and show some people some vintage Honey Bear.”

July 21, 2015

Taylor Ostrander

Taylor Ostrander

Soldotna’s Taylor Ostrander of Willamette University has been chosen for the 2014-15 NCAA D3 All-Academic Track and Field Team as selected by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Each All-Academic athlete owned a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 or higher (4.0 scale), while either competing at the NCAA Championships or by finishing the regular season ranked in the top 35 nationally in an individual event or in the top 25 in a relay event.

Ostrander, of Kenai High fame, just completed her junior season at Willamette, where she is a three-time qualifier for Nationals.

She finished 13th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, reaching the final for the second straight year and clocking a time of 11 minutes, 5.29 seconds.

Her career-best time of 10:40.86 was at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, during the Oregon Twilight in 2014. She ranks third all-time at Willamette in the steeplechase. She is fifth on the all-time list in the 5,000-meter run and is seventh in the 10,000-meter run.

As a student Ostrander has a 3.8 cumulative GPA and is majoring in Exercise Science.

July 18, 2015

Jalil Abdul-Bassit BasketballWith their college days behind them, Anchorage’s Jalil Abdul-Bassit and Damon Sherman-Newsome are ready to get paid.

Both players put in work this week at the Worldwide Invitational Camp in Las Vegas, where they show off their skills in front of professional coaches, scouts and general managers with hopes of landing an opportunity with a team.

Each of the eight teams at the two-day, four-game showcase was led by coaches from different international teams.

Abdul-Bassit, of West High fame, averaged 10 points and scored as many as 17 in one game. He also had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in his best performance.

The 6-foot-4 guard out of the University of Oregon sank 8-of-17 3-pointers.

He is trying to become a professional like his father Muff, who played in France back in the 1980s.
Damon Sherman Newsome
Sherman-Newsome, of Bartlett High fame, averaged 5.2 points and 2.7 rebounds. He also helped his team go 3-1, the best record in the league.

The 6-foot-4 guard from Colgate University had a game-high 7 points and made 5-of-17 3s.

July 17, 2015

Jordan Clark track and field

Jordan Clarke

Anchorage’s Jordan Clarke and Janay DeLoach of Fairbanks each earned sixth place in their respective events during tonight’s Diamond League competition in Monaco.

In the men’s shot put, Clarke had a best toss of 67 feet, 9 inches.

This is his first season on the Diamond League circuit after a star-studded career at Arizona State University.

Clarke, of Bartlett High fame, is currently tied for third in the season points race. His season was highlighted by second-place finishes in Rome and New York.

Janay DeLoach track

Janay DeLoach

In the women’s long jump, DeLoach had her best jump of 21-10 but lost a tiebreaker for fifth place, dropping her to sixth.

Clark and DeLoach are the only two Alaskans currently participating in the Diamond League.

July 15, 2015

Andrew Kurka handcycle

Andrew Kurka

The Alaska Challenge, the longest, toughest handcycle race in the world, turns 27 next week.

Palmer’s Andrew Kurka is only 23, but he is very familiar with one of the state’s most cherished sporting events. These guys are to handcycling what mushers are to the Iditarod, drivers to the Iron Dog and runners to Mount Marathon.

Kurka can’t wait to test himself against the best.

“It’s the longest, toughest race and there have been some long-standing records I hope to beat someday,” Kurka told me.

Don’t doubt him.

Kurka is a U.S. Paralympian downhill skier and winner of multiple medals at the world level. He’s also a veteran of the X Games.

But he’s never competed in an extreme event like the Alaska Challenge, a 362-mile, 8-stage race that makes stops in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Healy, Nenana, Talkeetna and Palmer.

“I’ve been cycling on and off for some time now,” Kurka said. “My summer just seemed a little too relaxed. I wanted something to keep me busy and this was a challenge I was willing to accept.”

The Alaska Challenge is comprised of eight stages ranging in distances from a quarter-mile time trial to a 58-mile road race.

Kurka is one of three Alaskans in the race.

“I definitely feel being an Alaskan coming into this is important, not only to represent my state but the race in general and Challenge Alaska, the foundation that has helped me make it to where I am.”

Challenge Alaska is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980 and dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities through sports, recreation and education.

Ten years ago Kurka got in a bad accident on his ATV and severely damaged three vertebrae in the middle of his spinal cord. He was 13 at the time.

Then he got involved with Challenge Alaska and it changed his life.

“Challenge Alaska has helped me leaps and bounds throughout my career and I am nothing but honored to be their representative,” Kurka said.

The Alaska Challenge handcycle race features competitors from Florida, Utah, Washington, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and California. There’s also a guy from Scotland.

Mike O'Neill handcycle

Edwin Jones

The other Alaskans are Edwin Jones and Mike O’Neill.

Jones, 59, of Anchorage, started wheelchair racing in 1987 and competed in the inaugural race, then called the Midnight Sun Wheelchair Race.

He has participated in the race several other times over the years, placing as high as second and third.

Jones is married with three children and six grandchildren.

O’Neill, 65, is originally from Bristol Bay, where he was a commercial fisherman. He now lives in Anchorage.

Edwin Jones handcycle

Mike O’Neill

He is a Vietnam veteran and told the Challenge Alaska website that “the support from the Alaska and Puget Sound VA Healthcare Systems and the VA Paralyzed Veterans Racing club is outstanding.”

O’Neill has competed in the Alaska Challenge races five times.

July 14, 2015

Conor Spink Baseball
His season didn’t start well, but Eagle River’s Conor Spink is doing everything he can to get it back on track.

The 27-year-old left-handed relief pitcher with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association professional independent league is currently enjoying one of the best stretches of his four-year career.

Spink will carry a 9-inning scoreless streak into his next appearance.

That might not sound like much, but you have to consider he pitches no more than two innings a game and bounced back from the kind of sorry start that forces an early retirement.

Take a closer look at his turnaround that makes Spink a candidate for the league’s comeback player award.

First 9 games: 6.92 ERA
Next 17 games: 2.63 ERA

Spink, of Chugiak High fame, went from the doghouse to the penthouse in a matter of weeks. He’s back to his eighth inning role and picked up a save in last night’s 5-2 win over the Grand Prairie AirHogs.

Spink is one of only two Alaskans currently playing professional baseball and is one of seven Alaskans to pitch in more than 100 pro games.

July 13, 2015

Alev Kelter Rugby and SoccerEagle River’s Alev Kelter captured her first major medal with the Team USA rugby sevens women’s team.

The Americans won a silver medal after losing to Canada in the championship match at the Pan American Games in Toronto.

Canada won 55-7 in Sunday’s final and beat the United States 34-12 earlier in the day.

Team USA finished 4-2.

Kelter, of Chugiak High fame, scored a total 53 points in six games.

She scored against Brazil, Columbia, Argentina and Mexico. She scored a career-high 26 points against Mexico.

The Americans have qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and Kelter has put herself in position to make the team, although the official announcement won’t come until next year.

July 12, 2015

Amy Winczura GymnasticsEagle River’s Amy Winczura went to Texas Woman’s University for gymnastics but she left with much more.

She graduated in the spring with a double major in Bilogy and Kinesiology, and a minor in Nutrition and is headed to medical school this fall at Saint James School of Medicine.

She also left with a 2013 USAG national championship and six All-American certificates.

“It takes a lot to be a collegiate athlete. A lot of hard work and perseverance, time management, commitment to your academics and team, as well as love for the sport or game you are playing,” she told me. “It was a long hard journey but it has helped shape me into the person I am today. I am forever grateful for my collegiate career and will have memories that will last a lifetime in addition to carrying with me the many lessons I have learned.”

Winczura, of East High fame, was part of two historic moments at TWU.

The first in 2010 when she helped the school win the Midwest Independent Conference championship, only the second gymnastics title in school history.

The second was in 2013 when she tied two teammates for the national championship on the vault.

“I can still remember standing in the back hallway before walking back out on to the floor and being announced as the champions,” she said. “We knew we had won and knew that all three of us had tied. We screamed, gave each other huge hugs and started crying.”

Winczura’s goal is to become an orthopedic or pediatric surgeon.

“I’ve wanted to pursue a job in the medical field since I was a young child. My parents are both in the medical field as my mom is a nurse and dad is a PA,” she said. “I love helping others and felt that being a doctor I could have the best of both worlds where I can help others and be involved with medicine.”

July 10, 2015

David Registe Track and Field
Palmer’s David Registe tonight experienced one of the most patriot moments of his life when the former UAA track star carried the flag for his home country of Dominica during the Opening Ceremonies of the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.

The event was televised live on ESPN.

The 26-year-old long jumper is a former NCAA D2 national champion at the University of Alaska Anchorage and he captured a silver medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games.

Last winter he won a gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico with a leap of 25 feet, 5 inches.

The Pan Am Games are the world’s third largest international sports competition, second only to Summer Olympics and Asian Games.

Registe, of Colony High fame, will compete in the men’s long jump prelims on July 21. The finals are the following day.

July 9, 2015

Janay DeLoach track

Janay DeLoach

Fresh off their bronze-medal finishes at the USATF Championships, Alaska’s two biggest track and field stars got back to work on the world circuit today in Switzerland.

Janay DeLoach of Fairbanks and Jordan Clarke of Anchorage are the only two Alaskans currently competing on the Diamond League global tour – the NFL of track and field.

DeLoach, of Eielson High fame, placed seventh in the women’s long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 5 inches.

She was only of only two jumpers to avoid fouling on all six jumps. Her best jump came on her second attempt.

The Olympic bronze medalist has abandoned her traditional takeoff with her left foot because of an ankle injury and now jumps off her right foot.

Clarke, of Bartlett High fame, was eighth in the men’s shot put after a result of 67 feet, 5 inches.

Jordan Clark track and field

Jordan Clarke

It was an off day for the former four-time NCAA champion, who never got in a rhythm.

Clarke remains third in the Diamond League season standings for the shot put.

DeLoach and Clarke will both compete at next month’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.

July 8, 2015

Brian Way baseball

Brian Way

Sitka’s Brian Way isn’t a super hero, but he plays one with the Bellingham Bells baseball team in Washington.

The 20-year-old pitcher has been nearly untouchable with a 0.57 ERA this summer and apparently wears a protective shield too.

“We had some skin infection going around that I luckily didn’t get,” he told me.

Some teammates weren’t so lucky, including members of the pitching staff, which opened the door for the relief pitcher from Alaska to earn a spot start.

He didn’t disappoint, throwing 4 scoreless innings as the Bells beat Kitsap in West Coast League action.

That was his first and only start so far this season. Four days later, he came out of the bullpen last night to pitch another scoreless inning as Bellingham won its seventh straight and improved to 20-9.

“I personally like starting better because I know when I’m throwing and I can prepare myself better, I feel like,” he said.

Way, of Sitka High fame, is 4-0 with 3 saves in 15.2 innings over 11 games.

The only earned run he has allowed all season came on a two-out solo home run on June 21.

He is currently riding a scoreless streak of 9 innings.

At Edmonds Community College last season as a freshman, Way was used as a reliever for the first part of the season before shifting into a starting role.

No matter where he pitches in a game, the 6-foot-7 righty can handle whatever workload.

“I just love getting the opportunity to throw more innings,” he said. “Probably the best I’ve felt my whole life.”

July 7, 2015

Beau Kittredge ultimate disc frisbee

Beau Kittredge

He was MVP of the American Ultimate Disc League last year and Beau Kittredge of Fairbanks is threatening to win the award again this summer.

The San Jose Spiders star leads the lead with 63 goals in 12 games. He is also first in plus/minus +96 and points played 357 [238 offense, 119 defense].

He is tied for fifth with 22 blocks.

Kittredge, of Lathrop High fame, has made all 398 catches this season and is passing at 95 percent.

Behind the big man, San Jose sits No. 1 in the league’s power rankings after 12 weeks.

July 5, 2015

Hans Roelle Track and FieldThere are academic All-Americans and there are athletic All-Americans.

And then there is Hans Roelle of Anchorage.

He’s the best of both.

The Eastern Oregon University senior runner has been named 2015 Academic All-American of the Year for men’s track and cross country by the College of Sports Information Directors of American [CoSIDA].

He is the first person in school history to win the prestigious honor.

“Hans is the kind of athlete every coach dreams about coaching,” EUO coach Ben Welch of Wasilla told me. “He is one of the easiest, high quality athletes I have worked with in 27 years as a head coach. Outside of some difficulties in keeping him healthy, he was super easy to coach and in regards to keeping him healthy, the reason he stayed as healthy as he did down through the years is because he was very diligent in taking care of himself and utilizing the tools at our disposal to do so.”

Roelle, of West High fame, was a 3-time NAIA national champion as a runner and a 6-six time All-American as a student.

“Hans is a brilliant competitor and student with a tremendous work ethic,” Welch said. “To win three national titles and maintain about a 3.85 GPA with double majors of Mathematics and Computer Science is just simply outstanding. On top of that, he has behaved in an extremely exemplarily way off the track and out of the classroom.”

Roelle told the school’s website the key to his success boils down to sacrifice and time management.

“As a student athlete, it is difficult to find the time in a day to do everything you want to academically and athletically,” he said. “Being able to effectively determine whether an extra hour of sleep or an extra hour of study time is more important can make a big difference.”

The Capital One college division Academic All-American men’s cross country/track and Field teams are comprised of runners from NAIA, Canadian and two-year institutions, and are nominated, voted up on and selected by members of CoSIDA.

“The best advice I could give a student-athlete is to be smart with time management by determining the best use of any free time,” Roelle said. “This also includes finding the time for activities that allow you to keep your mind off school and athletics without compromising performance in either.”

July 4, 2015

They came. They saw. They conquered.

They barely broke a sweat.

Spaniard Kilian Jornet and Swede Emelie Forsberg today rewrote the record book in the 88th running of Mount Marathon in Seward.

Both racers shattered records and made it look pretty easy. Forsberg waved to the crowd as she reached the base of the mountain and Jornet high-fived fans down the homestretch and blew kisses as he crossed the finish line.

Mount Marathon has always been Alaska’s race, a staple of Fourth of July. Nobody can remember somebody from another state winning, let alone another country.

Now that’s history.

Both winners covered the 3.1 miles up and down the 3,022-foot peak like they had a date or something.

Jornet, 27, is a six-time world champion and considered the top mountain runner in the world. Before the race, as others jostled and jockeyed for position at the starting line, he stood there shirtless and looking unassuming, arms crossed, like, ‘You guys just wait.’

After reaching the top with Outsider Rickey Gates and Alaskan Jim Shine, Jornet took off and left those guys in his dust en route to a blistering time of 41 minutes, 48 seconds.

That broke by more than a minute the old men’s record of 42:55 held by Alaskan Eric Strabel in 2013.

Forsberg’s time of 47:48 cut nearly three minutes off the previous women’s record held by the great Nancy Pease, who ran 50:30 in 1990.

Pease is Alaska’s undisputed queen of the mountain. During her reign in the 1980s and 1990s, she sometimes beat the men outright, winning Bird Ridge race outright in 1990 and sharing the Crow Pass Crossing title in 1990. She won Mount Marathon six times and was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame this year.

July 2, 2015

Geno Morgan basketball coach

Geno Morgan

Geno Morgan, who grew up in Chicago but became a man in Anchorage as a college basketball star and then championship high school coach, died in his sleep today while visiting family in his hometown. He was 49.

The sad news was announced through the Wasatch Academy in Utah, where Morgan had coached the boys basketball team since 2009.

He is survived by three children and wife Lisa. The couple had recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows in front of hundreds of family and friends.

“Geno was an outstanding basketball coach, but a better friend and mentor to his players,” friend and fellow coach Rusty Osborne told me. “He had the great ability to assimilate and relate to people of all classes and cultures, and affect them all in a positive way.”

Morgan was an NAIA All-American guard at Alaska Pacific University in the late 1980s before turning to coaching. He coached high school basketball in Alaska, Hawaii and Utah and college at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

At East Anchorage, he led the T-birds to the Class 4A state championship in 2000– the school’s 15th title but first without Chuck White. At Wasatch Academy in Utah he won three state championships, with the first in 2011 being the school’s first hoops title in the school’s 136-year history.

Just last year he brought Wasatch to the Alaska Airlines Classic in Anchorage and said it felt like a homecoming.

“A huge part of who I am came from me being in Alaska. I’m quite sure of that,” Morgan told me in 2014. “Alaska is still home. I still have family there. I have a mound of friends who are still there. I think about Alaska often.”

At APU, Morgan averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game as a senior.

“He was the glue guy,” Osborne said. “He was the guy who did the things that made his teammates better. He understood what helped teams win, and that translated to his coaching style.

In 1995, Morgan led the Palmer Moose to a 23-win season and appearance in the state title game. He won his first state championship with East five years later. After that he joined the coaching staff at UAA and helped the Seawolves reach back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in his only two years on the bench.

Osborne, now the UAA head coach, was an assistant then and worked closely with Morgan.

“Despite totally different backgrounds, we became close working together at UAA, where we won two conference championships together and found out we had much more in common than we thought possible, both on and off the floor,” Osborne said.

The two friends never lost contact over the years.

“We always managed to stay in touch and I had offered to hire him on a number of occasions. I knew he would have had a positive impact on our program and Alaska basketball if I could get him to return,” Osborne said.

“Basketball brought us together in a place far from our homes, I will miss his wisdom and friendship but am thankful for the contributions he made to not only Alaska but to all those young athletes he mentored. My thoughts and prayers go out to Lisa and the kids, as well his family in Chicago.

“Miss you my friend.”

July 1, 2015

Lael Wilcox cycling

Lael Wilcox

At 2,745 miles, the Tour Divide mountain bike marathon is more about survival than anything.

Yet Anchorage’s Lael Wilcox handled it like it was just another day on her bike.

Actually the 28-year-old spent 17 days, 1 hour and 51 minutes in the saddle during a grueling race that started in Alberta, Canada, and traveled through Southwest America before ending just across the Mexico border from Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

The Tour Divide tests a rider’s strength, stamina, spirit – and Wilcox passed with flying colors.

She broke the previous women’s race record by two days.

To read a much better account of Wilcox and her extreme exploits during the two-week race check out the gypsy by trade blog, which is written by her partner Nicholas Carman. It’s a good read.

June 30, 2015

Sagan Osborne baseball

Sagan Osborne

Sagan Osborne is on the move.

The Anchorage baseball player will transfer to Dickinson State University in North Dakota.

Last season he played at Oregon’s Treasure Valley Community College, which placed fifth at the NWAC Championships.

The highlight of his season came early on against Dawson Community College when he delivered a walk-off base hit to provide a 6-5 win.

Osborne, of Dimond High fame, comes to Dickinson State capable of playing multiple outfield and infield positions as well as pitching.

He was an all-state third baseman and relief pitcher in Alaska and helped Dimond win championships in high school and Legion.

At high school he went to Utah Valley University, where he was a Great West Conference all-conference pick and preseason freshman of the year.

Osborne will have two years of eligibility at Dickinson State.

“Adding Sagan to our program is a great pickup for us,” coach Jason Watson said in a news release. “He is a tremendous athlete who gives us depth in the outfield, infield and possibly on the mound.”

June 28, 2015

Jordan Clark track and field

Jordan Clarke

After winning four NCAA championships at Arizona State University, shot putter Jordan Clarke of Anchorage turned professional in 2014 hoping to join a crowded field of world-class Americans.

Make room because he’s in the club.

Clarke, 24, today earned a bronze medal at the USATF Championships in Eugene, Oregon, with a personal-best throw of 70 feet, 6.25 inches to win a berth to the IAAF World Championships for the first time.

He will join Janay DeLoach of Fairbanks in August in Beijing, China, to give Alaska two participants at track’s biggest stage next to the Olympics.

Clarke, of Bartlett High fame, surpassed the revered 70-foot mark for the second straight competition. He did it two weeks ago in winning a silver medal in a Diamond League meet in New York.

His previous PR was 71-1.5 – so this throw was five inches better. That kind of spike is crazy.

The 6-foot-4 Alaskan believed his training, technique and tapering would put him in position to challenge his PR at the national championships.

But then to do it on his final attempt with the weight of a Worlds berth on his shoulders really demonstrates Clarke’s big-meet prowess. This guy just doesn’t wilt under the pressure of a major meet.