Induction Ceremony set for Tonight!
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame ceremony to honor the Class of 2015 inductees and annual Directors’ Awards winners will take place tonight at the Anchorage Museum auditorium at 625 C Street in downtown Anchorage. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be from 7:30-9pm with a receiving-line reception to follow in the museum atrium.
In the case of overflow seating in the auditorium, there will be a catered live-stream viewing of the event in the atrium with a hosted bar.
The induction class includes Olympic biathlete and Anchorage Nordic Skiing pioneer Dick Mize, Ketchikan basketball icon John Brown, and Mountain running legend Nancy Pease. Soldotna’s Michaela Hutchison’s groundbreaking state wrestling championship in 2006, to become the first girl in the nation to win an outright high school wrestling will be honored in the “Moment” category. The grueling Iron Dog snowmobile will be recognized in the “Event” category.
Two coaches who have built championship programs and two female athletes with tremendous resumes and quality characters make up the 2015 Directors’ Awards class. Directors’ Awards recipients are selected by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame board of directors. Inductees are selected by a selection panel of sports-related experts from around the state in conjunction with a public vote.
Class of 2015 Inductees
He was a member of the first United States Olympic biathlete squad at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games. As a cross country ski racer Dick was one of the nation’s best and he didn’t seem to ever slow down, winning several U.S. Master’s Championships and setting age-group records well into his 70’s. He might be better known for his work off his skis though. Mize helped design and construct multiple ski trails at Kincaid Park, Hillside, Russian Jack and in Girdwood. Some even bear his name. He was inducted into the Alaska High School Hall of Fame in 2011.
She stopped running competitively years ago, but Pease is still the undisputed queen of the mountain. During her reign in the 1980s and 1990s, she sometimes beat the men outright, winning the overall Bird Ridge race in 1990 and sharing the Crow Pass Crossing title with Bill Spencer that same year. She won Mount Marathon six times, Crow Pass eight times and Bird Ridge five times, and she set course records in all three races – all of which still stand today.
He wasn’t that tall, but John Brown played big. The 6-foot-2, 150-pounder dominated action under the basket with legendary skill and was widely recognized as the top player in Alaska in the 1960s. He became a hoops hero at Ketchikan when he became the first player in Alaska to play on four straight high school champion basketball teams in 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968. He later played at Seattle University. He was named on Sports Illustrated’s list of Alaska’s top 50 greatest 20th-century athletes.
Michaela Hutchison Beats the Boys in 2006 (Moment Category)
Led by chants of “Girl Power,” Skyview High School sophomore Michaela Hutchison made history when she earned a thrilling 1-0 victory over Colony’s Aaron Boss in the 103-pound final to become the first girl wrestler in the nation to win a state title against boys. Hutchison entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in her weight class and completed her historic run by scoring an escape with 16 seconds left in the match.
Iron Dog (Event Category)
At 2,031 miles. the Iron Dog is the longest and toughest snowmobile race in the world. The event began in 1984 as a 1,000-mile race from Big Lake to Nome. It was doubled to the current distance at the 10th annual race in 1994 and now goes from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks. In 2015, the race will have a ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage for the first time.
The 2015 Directors’ Awards Recipients
Michael Friess – For the past quarter century as head coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Friess has built the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country programs into national collegiate powerhouses and has raised the popularity and visibility of the university. The numbers are staggering under his tutelage – 17 Coach of the Year honors, 12 league titles, 5 NCAA champions, 62 All-Americans. If that wasn’t enough, he also directs the Mayor’s Marathon and Crow Pass Crossing.
Trajan Langdon Award–For Leadership, Sportsmanship and Inspiration.
Aliy Zirkle – Nobody has made second-place look so good. Known for her trademark smile, this 45-year-old Iditarod musher is as gracious as she is good. She puts her dogs first, always praises the competition and never makes excuses. Zirkle showed tremendous character when she finished the 1,100-mile race in second for the third consecutive year. And she did it with a smile. After being caught in the eye of a brutal storm, Zirkle nearly chased down eventual winner Dallas Seavey, losing by a mere 2½ minutes in one of the most dramatic finishes in the race’s 40-year history.
Pride of Alaska Award (female)-–For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition.
Allie Ostrander – This tiny titan of a runner turned 2014 into one of the most dominating seasons in Alaska running history. The Kenai High School standout shattered state records in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters on the track and in cross country, and won her third straight state championship. In December she 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.
Pride of Alaska Award (male)–For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition.
Erik Flora – As director of the Alaska Pacific University Nordic ski program, Flora has done more than just develop Olympians. He has helped build the gold standard for American Nordic skiing and has elevated American skiers to new levels of international success. He coached to APU/US Ski Team athlete Kikkan Randall to the first female World Cup Gold Medal to make US Skiing History. 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. It was an overdue honor because for years Flora has been tied to our country’s top talent, most notably Randall, but several others that have won national championships and made podiums internationally.
Director’s Award recipients will be recognized on a plaque at the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame gallery at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International airport.
Contact the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.