Hebard, Kimber, Maubet Bjornsen finalists for Pride of Alaska
Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks, Sydnee Kimber of Sitka and Sadie Maubet Bjornsen of Anchorage were picked by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors as finalists for the 2020 women’s Pride of Alaska Award.
Since 2012, the Pride of Alaska Award has been given to 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.
Ruthy Hebard, Fairbanks – Hebard ended her NCAA D1 women’s basketball career at the University of Oregon as Alaska’s all-time leader in points (2,368), rebounds (1,299), blocked shots (146) and field-goal percentage (.651). As a senior, the 6-foot-4 forward was named First Team All-American and All-Pac-12. Hebard was selected No. 8 by Chicago in the WNBA draft – just the fourth Alaska woman drafted professionally.
Sydnee Kimber, Sitka – Kimber capped her sensational sophomore season by winning two national titles – one on her own, and one with McKendree University. Kimber claimed her individual title with no drama, winning her three matches by a combined score of 24-0. It was a different story at the NCAA D2 National Duals championships, where her victory in the final match of the night clinched the title for McKendree.
Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, Anchorage – The Alaska Pacific University and U.S. Nordic Ski Team member made history by briefly claiming the yellow bib awarded to the World Cup standings leader by placing third and fourth in season-opening races in Ruka, Finland. No American woman had previously led the standings at any point in a World Cup season. A week later in Lillehammer, Norway, Maubet Bjornsen helped the Team USA 4x5K earn a silver medal.
Here are past winners of the women’s Pride of Alaska Award:
2019: Caroline Kurgat
2018: Kikkan Randall and Roxie Wright (co-winners)
2017: Morgan Hooe
2016: UAA Women’s BB Team and Allie Ostrander (co-winners)
2015: Allie Ostrander
2014: Kikkan Randall
2013: Nunaka Girls Softball Team
2012: UAA Women’s Basketball Team
This is one of four Directors’ Awards handed out by the seven-person committee that makes up the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
Here is a list of 2020 finalists for each of the four awards:
Joe Floyd Award – Milo Griffin, Cristy Hickel, Ed Strabel
Trajan Langdon Award – Israel Hale, Carol Seppilu, Keegan Messing
Women’s Pride of Alaska Award – Ruthy Hebard, Sydnee Kimber, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen
Men’s Pride of Alaska Award – Will be announced Sunday
Directors’ Award winners will be announced June 24.
2020 Women’s Pride of Alaska Award
Also Receiving Votes
Alissa Pili – Pili, of Anchorage, began her NCAA D1 women’s career at the University of Southern California in grand fashion, earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors and a spot on the All-Pac-12 team. She scored 504 points as a rookie, which ranks No. 5 on USC’s all-time freshman scoring list. The 6-footer was a 4-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week and bagged 11 double-doubles in 31 games.
Alev Kelter – Kelter, of Eagle River, continued her superstar status with the Team USA in the World Rugby Sevens Series, leading the Americans to five medals in six tournaments. In France, she outscored New Zealand all by herself and racked up finals MVP honors in a 26-10 victory. She was slated to compete in the 2020 Olympics, which were postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19. Kelter is Team USA’s leading scorer.
Jessica Yeaton – Yeaton, of Anchorage, won the 50-K American Birkebeiner in dominating fashion after breaking away from the lead pack and skiing the final 20 kilometers solo. The APU Nordic Ski Club member and 2018 Olympian finished in 2 hours, 13 minutes, 20 seconds to beat five-time Olympian Riitta-Liisa Roponen of Finland by 41 seconds. The field featured 766 women. Yeaton also won the Tour of Anchorage 50K.