Historic World Cup season clears path for Brennan to win award
When Anchorage’s Rosie Brennan won back-to-back World Cup ski races last December it marked a significant day in U.S. Ski Team history as only one other American had ever accomplished the feat.
The one and only Kikkan Randall.
Any time you can follow in the footsteps of a legend, you are in rarified air.
Brennan’s historic showing in the World Cup propelled her to winning the women’s Pride of Alaska Award.
The Alaska Pacific University cross-country skier was selected by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors in a closely contested vote over fellow finalists in college wrestling national champion Sydnee Kimber of Sitka and UFC flyweight fighter Lauren Murphy of Eagle River.
Brennan wasn’t just a one-weekend wonder as the 32-year-old finished a career-best fourth in the World Cup standings. She posted five top-three finishes – three of them in Switzerland, one in Italy and one in Finland.
Her showing in the the Swiss Alps was most notable after she claimed victories the 1.5-K sprint and 10-K titles on back-to-back days.
This historic accomplishment placed her atop the World Cup overall standings at the time.
All of her previous individual World Cup top-10s came in events that were 10-K or longer.
“It’s wild,” said Brennan after her sprint win. “I have never considered myself a sprinter. So to find myself on the podium in a sprint is something I honestly didn’t even dream of.”
Brennan became one of only six Americans to win a World Cup race.
She won again the next day to join a very exclusive club with Randall.
“I still am just so excited from yesterday,” said Brennan, a 2018 Olympian. “I didn’t have the best night of sleep.”
Brennan’s season also saw her place sixth overall in the grueling eight-stage Tour de Ski.
Kimber finished her junior season at McKendree University with an 18-0 record and second straight National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship.
All but one of her matches in the 191-pound weight class ended in a pin or technical fall.
Her national championship also qualified her for the Olympic Trials where she finished in the top eight in the challenge tournament. The 20-year-old will compete for a spot on the Junior World Team in Texas next month.
Murphy is a veteran top-ranked mixed-martial arts fighter who won all three of her UFC fights this year to improve her professional record to 14-4.
The 37-year-old ranks No. 2 in UFC history with five wins in the women’s flyweight division.
Her six UFC wins are tied for first all-time among Alaskans and her ten UFC appearances are second.
Murphy will carry a four-fight win streak going into her next fight in June.
Women’s Pride of Alaska Award
2021: Rosie Brennan
2020: Ruthy Hebard
2019: Caroline Kurgat
2018: Kikkan Randall and Roxie Wright (co-winners)
2017: Morgan Hooe
2016: UAA Women’s Basketball Team and Allie Ostrander (co-winners)
2015: Allie Ostrander
2014: Kikkan Randall
2013: Nunaka Girls Softball Team
2012: UAA Women’s Basketball Team