Blog readers offer their two cents (Hall of Fame)

December 2, 2011
Alaska Sports Hall of Fame

Voting for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012 has finished, so here is the last batch of reader recommendations submitted by email:

Recommendation:Kaarin Knudson
Submitted by:David Knudson
Why:She lettered at Univ of Oregon 1995-96-97-99 track and in XC running 1994-95-96-97.Team Captain. She was All American twice 1997 Track 800M and 1999 Indoor Track Mile. She was a 4 time Drake Relay Champion. NCAA Academic All-American 1997 3rd team and 2nd team 1998. Pac10 Academic 1st team 1996-97-99. NCAA Oregon Women Athlete of the year 1999. NCAA Post Graduate Scholar Winner. For the U of O, 1997 Lynne Winbigler Performer of the Year, 1999 Harry Richie Award and Jackson Award winner. NCAA track and XC National Championship participant 8 times … starting from an Alaskan basis. Univ. of Oregon College of Journalism graduation honors banner bearer 1999 (with B.A. degree) and College of Architecture graduation honors bearer 2007 (with M.A. degree). At Dimond H.S. under Coach John Clark, she was a 5 time state champion in track and XC running events running in snow.

Recommendation:Egil Ellis
Submitted by:Helen Lundberg
Why:Sprint dog musher Egil Ellis of Willow has the new record of most wins at Open North American Championship. Egil has won the race 11 times! Famous George Attla won it 8. To note is that Egil’s victories has come in a very short time frame – 13 years. The two years he did not win, he finished second! Egil also has 5 victories at Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and 12 victories at Tok Race of Champions.

Recommendation:Tim Neale
Submitted by:B. Campbell
Why:Since the 1970s Tim has been actively participating in a variety of sports — mountaineering, cross-country skiing, orienteering, mountain and road bike racing, and trail running to name a few. Participation has not been Tim’s only effort. He’s been a driving force for some of the iconic events and organizations we now enjoy — Crow Pass Crossing, Bird Ridge Solstice Run (since renamed Bob Spurr’s memory), and Alaska Mountaineering Club. For decades he’s worked to educate and share his love of sport whether that was one-on-one or taking classes out to learn about avalanche safety. Race director of the World Master’s Cross Country ski races. Over 30 years participating in Mt. Marathon. Rarely do we have the opportunity to thank someone for a life’s efforts. Now is the time.

Recommendation:Ted Stevens
Submitted by: Donna de Varona
Why:During this upcoming Olympic year it would be timely and appropriate to induct the late Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens into the Sports Hall of Fame. No one in history has done more in the way of supporting, protecting and promoting sport and fitness for all than the Senator. His influence worldwide is recognized by those who are leaders and participants in the Olympics, paralympics, and Special Olympics. His support of Title IX opened the door for millions of girls and women to reach their potential in all areas of education including sport. Recognizing the lack of fitness programs nationwide the Senator lead the way in enacting legislation that rewarded creative programs. Bottom line he was a champion for all of us and should be so recognized.

Recommendation:Don Clary
Submitted by: Jim Renkert
Why:She Jim Renkert
Don Clary is the only Alaskan runner to run in the Olympics. As hard as it is to make an Olympic Team in skiing it’s even harder in Track and Field. There are thousands more runners in the U.S. than skiers. I ran in races against Don in high school. I saw him set the Alaska high school mile and two mile record in 1975. His two mile record still stands (even with the metric 3200 meter conversion). There have been many high school runners that have tried but none have had the exceptional natural talent that Don was born with. And although naturally gifted Don never took it for granted and did the hard work that is required to become an Olympic runner. He respected the gift. A runner of Don’s caliber comes along in a small population base like Alaska maybe once in a lifetime, maybe once in a hundred years. I hope to see another Alaskan runner with Don’s pure raw talent, work ethic and success in my lifetime. I will not be surprised if I do not.

Recommendation:Holly Brooks
Submitted by: Frank Witmer
Why:Just two seasons ago, Holly Brooks surprised the international nordic ski racing world, qualifying as a Winter Olympian while still a full-time coach with APU Nordic Ski Center. Not only did she enter the racing scene “late” by normal age standards and “through the back door” by customary developmental dogma, but also, she unknowingly and selflessly honed her talents by sharing the very intangibles that now put her at the top of the pack for nomination to Sports Hall of Fame. In particular, Holly has a remarkable and uncanny, totally natural and always positive, dynamic outreach beyond her years. She gives energetically and endlessly so much to the community and her ever-expanding network beyond. She motivates both young and old, advocates healthy habits, teaches positive values that matter, and inspires by role model. Her unique combination of talent and personal outreach almost trumps the fact that she is also such an accomplished nordic skier, runner, and sport ambassador.
Presently #2 ranked xc skier in US
2010 Winter Olympian (Vancouver)
2011 World Championships Team Member, (Oslo, Norway)
2011 National Ski Champion, Classical Sprint, (Rumford, Maine)
2008, 2009 Tour of Anchorage 1st place
2008, 2010, 2011 Mt. Marathon runner-up
Victories in: Lost Lake, Bird Ridge, Alyeska Mtn Run, Gov’t Peak
2008 AK Mtn Runners Grand Prix, Overall Champion
2010 Received Alaska Legislative Citation Award for Community Involvement

Recommendation:Scott Davis
Submitted by: Regina Daniels
Why:He is an athlete that is known for his legacy in the Iron Dog, the world’s longest snowmobile race. Scott has won this race 7 times (shared with John Faeo for most wins), he has raced in all but two Iron Dog’s since the first year in 1984. Scott also has a total of 16 top three finishes in the 26 races. Before the Iron Dog, Scott was a multi-time Alaska State Motocross champion (around 15). I feel really strong about recognizing one of the most decorated motorized sports athletes in this state’s history.

Recommendation: Ed Blahous
Submitted by:Steve Simmons
Why:In short, Coach was one of the true pioneers of Alaska High School Soccer. Without his leadership, high school and club soccer would not be where it is today. Many Alaska players who’ve had the chance to play college soccer have benefited from this. His coaching principles have remained with me throughout my college coaching career. There’s no doubt in my mind he meets and exceeds induction criteria.

Recommendation:Pearl Weaver
Submitted by: Jenny Weaver
Why:We have some amazing Special Olympians in Alaska as well. My daughter, Pearl, won a gold medal in the 1K and a silver in the 500 m in cross country skiing at the World Special Olympic Winter Games held in Sun Valley Idaho in February of 2006. Melissa Adams, also from the Valley, competed in Greece this summer in swimming this summer and brought home a bronze and other awards. Several other special Olympians have brought home medals too.

Recommendation:Pam Dreyer
Submitted by: Bob Dreyer
Why:She was first Alaskan to win Olympic Medal (Bronze) man OR woman in ice hockey. Medal was won in Turin, Italy in 2006. Successful student athlete at Brown University. Lead nation as a sophomore at Brown in save percentage (95%). Voted MVP at ECAC Championship in 2003. Awarded MVP at World Hockey Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Voted MVP for the year at Chugiak High School by her team when only boy’s hockey was offered at the school. Brown University was runner-up NCAA national champions with Pam as the goaltender. Four years National Honor Society at Chugiak High School. Graduated magna cum laude from Chugiak High School. Pam is the epitome of a student athlete who excelled in school as well as sports. She has been and continues to be a role model for other Alaskans having achieved success in high school,college and now in private industry. She continues to motivate young athletes by coaching and giving motivational talks to them and others.

Recommendation:Dick Mize
Submitted by: Don Hopwood
Why:He is an excellent athlete and he has for decades promoted cross-country skiing by his personal competition in skiing and biathlete events, his organization of events, and his hard work at actually building cross-country ski trails in Anchorage. Some of these trails are the very ones that national competitions are held on today. Dick Mize is an all-around athlete because he not only excels in competition, but he promotes and supports his sport in many community-minded ways. He deserves the recognition.