Bailey, Jacoby, ‘Uhila named finalists for girls Pride of Alaska
A state champion runner from Fairbanks, a state champion and MVP basketball player from Anchorage and an Olympic hopeful swimmer from Seward were picked by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors as finalists for the 2021 girls Pride of Alaska Youth Award.
The competition among high school girls for the award was no joke, but West Valley cross-country runner Naomi Bailey, Bartlett basketball star Amelia ‘Uhila and Seward swimmer Lydia Jacoby were a cut above.
The winner will be announced Tuesday, May 4 at 2 p.m. on Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Facebook Live, co-hosted by Alaska News Source and featuring Anchorage sportscaster Patrick Enslow and Hall of Fame Executive Director Harlow Robinson.
Bailey was named Gatorade Alaska Runner of the year in cross country after she dominated the ASAA Division I girls state championship, winning the 5-K race in 17 minutes, 55 seconds — 36 seconds faster than the runner-up.
Bailey also won the Region VI championship and Interior Invitational. She has signed with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
‘Uhila was named Class 4A Player of the Year, first-team all-state and Cook Inlet Conference MVP.
A triple-double waiting to happen, the Bartlett guard also led the Golden Bears to their first state title in 43 years.
The Portland State signee led the Golden Bears in scoring, assists and steals in each of her four years on her way to reaching the 1,500-point, 500-rebounds, 500-assist, 400-steal benchmarks.
Jacoby inserted herself into the Olympic conversation in the 100-meter breaststroke after she popped a blistering time of 1:07.57 at the U.S. Open Championships, the second-fastest time in American history among girls 15 to 16 years old.
Later, a month after turning 17, she lowered her mark to 1:06.38, making her the 14th fastest U.S. woman in the history of the event and putting her in range for the national 17-18-year-old age-group record.
Jacoby has qualified for the 2021 Olympic Trials this June in Nebraska and has a shot to become Alaska’s first Olympic swimmer.
The high school junior announced she will swim in college for the University of Texas Longhorns.
Honorable mention went to ACS basketball star Sayvia Sellers with two Pac-12 scholarship offers in hand, state Skimeister Meredith Schwartz of Service and Grace Christian Class 3A Player of the Year Tessa Binder.
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.
The youth award was created in 2018.
2020: Hailey Williams
2019: Kendall Kramer
2018: Alissa Pili