For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition – For an athlete or athletes, team or coach who have not only excelled in sports in the past year or recent years, but have done so with integrity and sportsmanship and been a positive role model.
Kikkan Randall/Roxy Wright (co-winners)
In her 18th and final attempt at an Olympic medal, Randall teamed with Jessie Diggins to win a gold medal in the Nordic Team Sprint event at the 2018 Olympics in dramatic fashion. It was the firstever gold medal for the US Nordic Ski Team and first medal ever for the women’s team. For Randall, who helped elevate Team USA to international respectability, the gold medal cements her legacy as one of the greatest American nordic skiers ever.
After retiring from competitive sled dog racing 21 years earlier, 66-year-old Fairbanks musher Wright returned to write the final chapter of her storied mushing career when she captured her fourth North American Championship in March 2017 in Fairbanks to sweep the crown jewels of sprint mushing. This came three weeks after winning the Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship in Anchorage. In both races Wright edged out defending champion Buddy Streeper.
Hooe, a senior setter from Anchorage, was the heartbeat of the UAA volleyball team that advanced to the NCAA Division II national championship match. Hooe became the first setter in UAA history to be named an All-American in 2015 (a feat she duplicated in 2016) and helped lead the Seawolves to a 61-6 record over her last two seasons. She finished as UAA’s all-time leader in assists with 3,920. Hooe’s reputation as a fierce competitor was displayed during the regional tournament, when she returned from injury and rallied her team to victory. Hooe’s community service and academic achievements reflected the same integrity that she brought to the court.
UAA Women’s Basketball Team/Allie Ostrander (co-winners)
Under coach Ryan McCarthy, the Seawolves registered a combined 67-4 record over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons and held the NCAA Division II No. 1 ranking through part of that time. They concluded the 2015-2016 as the NCAA Division II national runner-up after losing a hard-fought title game. Their frenetic style of play — and the victories — energized the city of Anchorage and drew large enthusiastic crowds to home games.
Allie Ostrander had a historic year. The Soldotna native bettered a 25-year-old record on Mount Marathon in her senior women’s race debut (while placing second); won the junior women’s title at the World Mountain Running Championships in Wales, UK; and placed second, as a Boise State University freshman, at the 2015 Division I national cross country championships.
This tiny titan of a runner turned 2014 into one of the most dominating seasons in Alaska running history. Allie Ostrander shattered state records in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters on the track and in cross country won her third straight state championship. In December the Kenai High School standout won a national championship at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore. Wait, there’s more. The 5-foot-1 Ostrander made history at Mount Marathon in Seward when she became the first girl to beat the boys for the junior title en route to setting a girls record and winning her sixth straight girls title. A senior, Allie maintains a 4.0 GPA and has helped establish a running series in Kenai.
Kikkan Randall continued to make American cross country skiing history. A four-time Olympian, in 2013 she joined Jessie Diggins to win the team sprint and become America’s first Nordic skiing world champions. In another milestone, Randall seized the first discipline title by topping the overall World Cup sprint standings in 2012, a feat she repeated the next year. In 2013, she was also third in the overall World Cup standings, the best ever by a U.S. woman. Randall tacked on two more World Cup wins and two second-place finishes early in the 2013-14 season.
Nunaka Valley Girls Softball Team
With a mantra of “unfinished business” the Nunaka Valley Girls Softball Team won the first-ever World Series crown by an Alaska team of any age group or gender. After finishing fifth in the 2011 World Series, many of the 12 to 14 year old players returned to claim the world championship with a 6-2 win over a powerhouse team from Victoria, British Columbia. The close-knit group used strong pitching and scrappy defense to win the international tournament and become celebrities in Alaska.
University of Alaska Anchorage Women’s Basketball Team
Over the past five years under Coach Tim Moser, the UAA Women have posted a record of 160 wins and 31 losses. During this period the team has a 9-1 record against D-1 teams. All five years they have advanced at least to the 2nd round of the NCAA tourney and they have won four Great Alaska Shootout titles against D-1 teams, all while exhibiting excellence in Integrity, Sportsmanship and Scholarship.
After winning three medals – a gold, silver and bronze – at the 2017 World Para Alpine Championships, the Palmer native solidified his position as one of the top sit skiers in the world by winning a gold in the downhill and silver in Super G at the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea. Kurka is also a talented paracyclist and dedicates his free time to supporting programs that encourage youth to be healthy.
In his first attempt at Seward’s Mount Marathon Race in 2016, Norris broke the record established by Kilian Jornet, regarded as the world’s best mountain runner. Two weeks earlier, Norris set a new standard at the Bird Ridge mountain race. A member of APU’s elite nordic ski team, the Fairbanks native also claimed the largest ski marathon in the country, the American Birkebeiner, by winning a dramatic sprint against six Europeans in 2016. He aspires to qualify for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.
Dallas Seavey/Soldotna High School Football Team (co-winners)
Dallas Seavey won his fourth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in five years in 2016, while registering a record time. Seavey became the youngest Iditarod winner ever in 2012 and since then has established himself as the face of the next generation of competitive sled dog racers. He has also become recognizable across the United States for his role in the reality show Ultimate Survival Alaska.
In 2015, the Stars won their fourth straight medium-school football championship and ran their state-record winning streak to 39 games. The Stars’ stretch of dominance has included a record eight state championships since 2006. During that time the team has gone 96-6 while regularly beating the state’s largest schools.
As director of the Alaska Pacific University nordic ski program, Erik Flora has done more than just develop Olympians. He has helped build the gold standard for American Nordic skiing and bring American skiers to new levels of international success. Under his guidance, APU skier Kikkan Randall became the first American woman to win a World Cup Gold Medal. In 2014, four of the American skiers who competed at the Winter Games in Sochi came from APU. In 2013, he was named National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The award recognized Flora for his role in developing some of the country’s top racers, not only Randall but several others who have won national championships and earned medals in international competitions.
Trevor Dunbar and Eric Strabel (co-winners)
The duo set new standards for Alaska running over the past few years, one on the track, one off. In 2013 Eric Strabel broke the revered 32-year-old record at the Mount Marathon Race. Over the past five years the Palmer native won nearly every trail and mountain race in the state and established several course records. In 2013 Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar became the first Alaskan to run a sub 4-minute mile. The feat came five years after he garnered national attention as a high-schooler by running a 9:01 3,200-meter race in snow. He then continued with an All-American career at the University of Portland and University of Oregon and made the Finals at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 5,000 meters
Mario Chalmers became the first Alaskan to win an NBA Championship in 2012 and became a member of a select group of basketball players that has won a State, NCAA Division I and NBA championship. As a starter for the Miami Heat, Chalmers was a steady contributor throughout the season but saved his biggest moments for the biggest games, including the pivotal Game 4 of the Finals when Chalmers scored 25 points and sealed the game with a last-minute basket. Chalmers competed in the 3-point shooting contest at the 2012 NBA All-Star Game and tied a club record with 10 threes in one game in January, 2013.
The Alaska Aces
Since joining the ECHL in 2003 the Alaska Aces hockey team has had unprecedented success and now owns the highest winning percentage in league history. In 2006 the Aces won their first ever Kelly Cup and brought home the first ever professional championship to the state of Alaska. In 2011 the club earned their second title and has continued its outstanding play into 2012, all while continuing to be active in the community.