Connecting You With AK Athletes – For 10 Years Strong!!

For the last 10 years, the Alaska Sports Blog has provided daily updates on local athletes all over the world. The blog was created Aug. 24, 2009 as a way to fill a void of media coverage of Alaska athletes once they left the 907 area code. Former Anchorage Daily News sports editor and Alaska Press Club award winner Van Williams has been with the blog since the beginning and written more than 4,000 stories on over 1,000 Alaskans.

Follow us on Twitter: @AKsportshall, Instagram: alaska_sports_hall, and Facebook.

Click here to read more about Van Williams and the Alaska Sports Blog.

March 30, 2020

Anchorage’s Destiny Reimers became the first basketball player in ACS Lions school history to win Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year after taking home 2020 girls honor.

She averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game as a senior and led ACS to the 2019 state title as a junior.

Reimers has signed with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The winner is selected by a panel each Friday and announced Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Sports Guys on CBS Sports Radio 590AM and 96.7FM.

View past winners here.

March 26, 2020
ChristianHausinger hockey

ChristianHausinger

Anchorage’s Christian Hausinger reeled in another awesome accolade, earning First Team All-USCHO D3 honors.

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls junior was one of two defensemen named to the first team.

Earlier this month he was named WIAC Player of the Year.

Hausinger, of Dimond High fame, bagged 10 goals and 26 assists for 36 points in 29 games.

He led the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in points and assists.

He recorded a pair of hat tricks and recorded at least one point in 19 games, including 11 multi-point performances.

March 25, 2020

During the COVID-19 outbreak Alaska Sports Blog editor Van Williams will be taking the opportunity to take a retrospective look at Alaska sports. The first in our series is ‘Sweet 16’ with a look at the 16 best women hoops NCAA D1 players in our state’s history.

Alaska has produced dozens of NCAA D1 women’s basketball players over the last 35 years.

All-Americans, NCAA champions and Conference Players of the Year. All-League, All-Defense, All-Newcomer and All-Freshman.

We’ve had it all – from every power conference.

But which Alaska player is the best?

Some fans are all about the here and now, but there’s something to be said for the past.

Legacies, after all, take shape over time.

Van Williams, blog editor

Alaska Sports Blog editor Van Williams selected the 16 players for the All-Alaska All-Time NCAA D1 Women’s Basketball Team.

Williams, of East High fame, has covered hoops in Alaska for the last 30 years.

The safest (and maybe purest) measuring stick to gauge greatness is by using individual career statistics – games, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots.

That was part of the formula in addition to accolades, awards and influence.

Here is our Sweet 16 – a comprehensive collection of the very best Alaska women to play NCAA D1 basketball.

These are not player rankings but rather a list of our greatest players, assembled in one place. Celebrate, compare, contrast; see how the best of the best stack up against each other.

(Numbers in parenthesis represent where player ranks in that stat category among the 30 women from Alaska to play NCAA D1 basketball)

All-Alaska All-Time Women’s Basketball Team

Ruthy Hebard

Player: Ruthy Hebard
Height: 6-4
Hometown: Fairbanks (West Valley)
College: Oregon 2016-2020
Games: 144 (2nd)
Points: 2368 (1st)
Rebounds: 1299 (1st)
Assists: 135 (15th)
Steals: 169 (10th)
Blocked Shots: 146 (1st)
Wow Factor: 3-time All-American, 4-time All-Pac-12; Pac-12 record holder with .651 career FG%; FIBA U18 Gold Medalist; Shares Alaska single-game rebounds record (18)

Andrea Lloyd

Player: Andrea Lloyd
Height: 6-2
Hometown: Juneau (Juneau-Douglas)
College: Texas 1983-1987
Games: 127 (T-5th)
Points: 1596 (5th)
Rebounds: 1115 (2nd)
Assists: 340 (4th)
Steals: 340 (1st)
Blocked Shots: 47 (5th)
Wow Factor: 3-time All-American; NCAA Champion; Southwest Conference Player of the Year; 4-time All-SWC; Olympic Gold Medalist

Kelsey Griffin basketball

Kelsey Griffin

Player: Kelsey Griffin
Height: 6-2
Hometown: Eagle River (Chugiak)
College: Nebraska 2006-2010
Games: 127 (T-5th)
Points: 2033 (2nd)
Rebounds: 1019 (3rd)
Assists: 156 (12th)
Steals: 176 (9th)
Blocked Shots: 94 (4th)
Wow Factor: All-American; Big 12 Player of the Year; 4-time All-Big-12; No. 3 Overall Pick in 2010 WNBA Draft

Jeannie Hebert

Player: Jeannie Hebert
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Fairbanks (Monroe Catholic)
College: Miami 1988-1992
Games: 119 (9th)
Points: 1766 (3rd)
Rebounds: 343 (15th)
Assists: 694 (1st)
Steals: 237 (3rd)
Blocked Shots: 35 (8th)
Wow Factor: All-American; Freshman All-American; ACC Legends honoree; 3-time All-Conference

Talisa Rhea

Player: Talisa Rhea
Height: 5-11
Hometown: Juneau (Juneau-Douglas)
College: Oregon State & Seattle 2007-2012
Games: 126 (T-7th)
Points: 1664 (4th)
Rebounds: 456 (10th)
Assists: 374 (3rd)
Steals: 129 (12th)
Blocked Shots: 24 (10th)
Wow Factor: All-Pac-10; Holds Alaska single-game record for points (42); Former Pac-10 single-game record holder for most 3-pointers (10)

Jessica Moore basketball

Jessica Moore

Player: Jessica Moore
Height: 6-3
Hometown: Palmer (Colony)
College: Connecticut 2001-2005
Games: 145 (1st)
Points: 1233 (9th)
Rebounds: 834 (5th)
Assists: 167 (10th)
Steals: 104 (15th)
Blocked Shots: 125 (2nd)
Wow Factor: All-Big East; 3-time NCAA Champion; NCAA All-Final Four Team; Won 132 career games, including 70 in a row; Shares Alaska single-game rebounds record (18)

Molly Tuter

Player: Molly Tuter
Height: 6-0
Hometown: Soldotna (SoHi)
College: Arizona State 1993-1997
Games: 99 (18th)
Points: 1374 (7th)
Rebounds: 650 (5th)
Assists: 152 (13th)
Steals: 221 (4th)
Blocked Shots: N/A
Wow Factor: 2-time All-Pac-10; One of 4 Alaskans to play in WNBA; Member of Arizona State Hall of Fame; On small list of Alaskans to make more than 150 career 3-pointers

Natalie Jones

Player: Natalie Jones
Height: 5-10
Hometown: Anchorage (East)
College: Arizona 2002-2006
Games: 126 (T-7th)
Points: 1149 (10th)
Rebounds: 555 (7th)
Assists: 300 (5th)
Steals: 254 (2nd)
Blocked Shots: 7 (24th)
Wow Factor: All-Pac-10; Pac-10 All-Freshman; Shares Alaska single-game steals record (6)

Laura Ingham

Player: Laura Ingham
Height: 5-3
Hometown: Anchorage (East)
College: Ohio State & Nevada 1998-2003
Games: 114 (T-10th)
Points: 652 (16th)
Rebounds: 363 (13th)
Assists: 385 (2nd)
Steals: 198 (7th)
Blocked Shots: 6 (25th)
Wow Factor: All-WAC; Recorded first-ever triple-double in WAC history; Owns Alaska single-game assist record (17)

Brit Jacobson

Player: Brit Jacobson
Height: 5-9
Hometown: Eagle River (Chugiak)
College: Kansas State 1994-1998
Games: 112 (13th)
Points: 1519 (6th)
Rebounds: 539 (8th)
Assists: 276 (6th)
Steals: 219 (5th)
Blocked Shots: N/A
Wow Factor: All-Big-12; Became second woman in school history to reach 1500 points, 200 steals and 200 assists

Alissa Pili

Player: Alissa Pili
Height: 6-0
Hometown: Anchorage (Dimond)
College: USC 2019-
Games: 31 (24th)
Points: 504 (19th)
Rebounds: 247 (19th)
Assists: 36 (21st)
Steals: 31 (22nd)
Blocked Shots: 26 (10th)
Wow Factor: All-Pac-12; Pac-12 Freshman of the Year; Only active player selected for All-Alaska All-Time Team

Aquanita Burras

Player: Aquanita Burras
Height: 5-9
Hometown: Fairbanks (Lathrop)
College: Kansas 2002-2005
Games: 85 (21st)
Points: 870 (11th)
Rebounds: 442 (11th)
Assists: 190 (9th)
Steals: 187 (8th)
Blocked Shots: 37 (7th)
Wow Factor: Big-12 All-Newcomer Team; Jayhawk Classic MVP; Shares Alaska single-game steals record (6)

Jenna Johnson

Player: Jenna Johnson
Height: 5-10
Hometown: Wasilla (Wasilla)
College: Utah State 2009-2013
Games: 111 (T-14th)
Points: 835 (14th)
Rebounds: 430 (12th)
Assists: 207 (8th)
Steals: 212 (6th)
Blocked Shots: 40 (6th)
Wow Factor: All-WAC; WAC All-Defensive Team; WAC All-Freshman Team

Anna Simmers

Player: Anna Simmers
Height: 5-9
Hometown: Anchorage (ACS)
College: Army 2009-2013
Games: 73 (22nd)
Points: 855 (12th)
Rebounds: 324 (16th)
Assists: 111 (17th)
Steals: 77 (20th)
Blocked Shots: 30 (9th)
Wow Factor: 2-time All-Patriot League; One of four Alaskans with career highs of at least 28 points and 12 rebounds

Chandice Cronk

Player: Chandice Cronk
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Wasilla (Wasilla)
College: Santa Clara 2004-2008
Games: 112 (12th)
Points: 1346 (8th)
Rebounds: 282 (18th)
Assists: 148 (14th)
Steals: 103 (16th)
Blocked Shots: 16 (20th)
Wow Factor: 2-time All-WCC; WCC Freshman of the Year; Alaska’s career leader in 3-pointers (244); Made eight 3s in one game

Leah Magner

Player: Leah Magner
Height: 5-10
Hometown: Palmer (Colony)
College: Iowa 1998-2002
Games: 114 (T-10th)
Points: 819 (15th)
Rebounds: 360 (14th)
Assists: 262 (7th)
Steals: 86 (18th)
Blocked Shots: 17 (18th)
Wow Factor: Big Ten Champion; On a very short list of Alaskans with more than 150 career 3-pointers; Still ranks No. 9 in school history in career 3s and No. 18 in assists

March 23, 2020

Our Healthy Futures program is kicking off 100 Miles in May a month early to encourage physical activity and social interaction – two critical needs at the moment.

Sports teams, whether high school, club, adult league, etc., can sign up their group in the sports team category.  Besides sports teams, families, friends, and workplaces can make teams. Or fly solo. This is a great wellness and morale resource intended to keep people moving. Anyone can do it!

With the coronavirus pandemic canceling sports and forcing people to stay at home, there never has been a better time for this campaign.

“Stay Active, Stay Social: That’s the message right now,” said Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director Harlow Robinson. “This is normally a fundraiser for us – an important one – but that is far from my mind right now. Pledging is optional and we have a hardship link.”

The 100 Mile in May challenge is a fun and interactive, and all activities convert into miles. People can track their progress and their team’s progress on leaderboards and provide encouragement or friendly smack talking in the 100 Miles in May Facebook Group.

“Our hearts go out to all the kids on sports teams right now, given the massive cancelations,” Robinson said. “We want to provide this as a way to keep kids focused and moving and not get discouraged. A little friendly competition will be healthy right now.”

Pledging is optional this year. Sitting around is not.

We’ll hold a challenge in both April and May. Totals and leaderboards will reset May 1.

Register here

Start a team or join a team. Click on the ‘Send Invite’ button on your team page and invite others. Challenge others to make their own teams and join the fun.

March 20, 2020
Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks received arguably the most prestigious individual honor of her college basketball career after being named a First Team Associated Press All-American.

The 6-foot-4 University of Oregon senior forward was one of just five players in the entire country to make the first team, solidifying her superstar status.

Hebard led the nation with a .685 field-goal shooting percentage and averaged 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game for the 31-2 Ducks.

She joins Eagle River’s Kelsey Griffin (Nebraska, 2010) and Juneau’s Andrea Lloyd (Texas, 1987) as the only First Team AP All-Americans from the great state of Alaska.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, helped lead Oregon to the Pac-12 regular-season and conference tournament championships.

Ruthy Hebard basketball

She racked up 16 double-doubles, won the conference rebounding title and was named All-Pac-12 for the fourth straight year.

Hebard led Oregon with 14 games of 20 points or more and three of 30 points or more, including a season high 31 against Texas Southern.

She averaged a career-high 9.6 rebounds for the season and matched her career high with 18 rebounds against Oklahoma State.

Hebard also dished a career-high 48 assists, including twice handing out five dimes.

In the previous two seasons, Hebard had been named WBCA honorable mention All-American.

March 17, 2020
Jeremy Swayman hockey

Jeremy Swayman

Anchorage’s Jeremy Swayman all season was considered to be one of college hockey’s top goalies, but then he separated himself from the rest of the pack over the final three weeks of the season.

The University of Maine junior netminder led the NCAA with 1,099 saves and finished with three shutouts in his last five starts to cement his status.

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston certainly noticed Swayman’s exploits between the pipes, naming him the winner of the 68th Walter Brown Award, which is presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England.

Walter Brown Award was established in 1953 and is the nation’s oldest nationally recognized college hockey honor.

Swayman is the first Alaskan since Ty Conklin in 2001 to win the award.

Swayman finished with a record of 18-11-5 and ranked No. 2 in the country with a .939 save percentage and No. 14 with a 2.07 goals-against average.

The 2017 fourth-round NHL draft pick of the Boston Bruins also asserted himself as one of the greatest goalies in Maine Black Bears history.

He became his school’s all-time leader in saves (3,130) and minutes (5,903) while moving up to No. 3 in games (100) and No. 5 in wins (47).

His career .927 save percentage is the second best, trailing only NHL goalie’s Jimmy Howard (.931).

March 16, 2020

Unfortunately given the CDC’s recommendations for crowd sizes and the closure of Anchorage facilities for the near future due to the Coronavirus we’ll be postponing our ceremony scheduled for April 28th. We look forward to putting on a great event in the future once the time is right. Please follow our Facebook page or this website for updates.

March 15, 2020

Sitka’s Sydnee Kimber capped her sensational sophomore season by winning two national titles at the Cliff Keen National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship in Aiden, Michigan.

She won one title on her own and one with the McKendree University team.

The 191-pounder went 3-0 in her weight class and outscored her opponents 24-0.

The winner is selected by a panel each Friday and announced Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Sports Guys on CBS Sports Radio 590AM and 96.7FM.

View past winners here.

March 12, 2020
Colin King baseball

Colin King

Colin King of Fairbanks is running away with MVP honors of the Porterville College baseball team.

The sophomore slugger leads the Pirates with a .300 batting average, two home runs and 18 RBIs in 19 games.

King, of Lathrop High fame, had two games in the California Community College Athletic Association where he basically single-handedly lifted his team to victory.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder smacked two solo home runs in a 6-2 win over Siskiyous.

In a 13-5 win over West Hills Coalinga he went 3-for-4 and drove in five RBIs.

March 10, 2020
Parker Johnson baseball

Parker Johnson

Parker Johnson of Anchorage pitched well in relief for Indiana Wesleyan University and was rewarded with his first win.

The right-hander struck out a career-high six batters over 4.1 innings as NAIA Wildcats beat Saint Francis 14-11 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The former South Post 4 player entered the slugfest in the bottom of the fifth inning and kept things close, allowing two earned runs and one walk.

He scattered eight hits and wiggled out of several jams.

“Parker Johnson stayed after it in his work on the mound,” said Indiana Wesleyan coach Rich Benjamin.

This was Johnson’s first win in five appearances this season.

Johnson is one of the more versatile college baseball players from Alaska, having performed as a pitcher and everyday player in his career.

He has started at pitcher, left field, third base, shortstop, center field, right field, second base and designated hitter.

Johnson has been most effective at the plate, with a .265 career average and 32 RBIs in 80 games.

But he can also deliver on the mound and stepped up when his name was called in the finale of a four-game series, helping Indiana Wesleyan complete the sweep and remain undefeated in the Crossroads League.

March 9, 2020
Noah Ottum wrestling

Noah Ottum

Anchorage’s Noah Ottum of Colorado School of Mines wrestling team has been selected Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Summit Award winner for the second consecutive season.

The Summit Award is given to one student-athlete in each RMAC sport of sophomore standing or above who has the top cumulative GPA at that sport’s championship tournament or meet, or in the event that sport doesn’t have a tournament like wrestling, the top GPA from the regular-season champion.

Colorado School of Mines won its second straight RMAC title this season with a 7-0 mark against the conference.

Ottum, of South High fame, carries a 3.95 GPA majoring in engineering physics.

He was named RMAC First-Team All-Academic in late February for the third straight season, and in 2019 was a CoSIDA Third-Team Academic All-American.

This season the 149-pound junior went 10-11 overall and 3-3 in RMAC duals as he started all but one dual this season at 149 pounds.

March 8, 2020

Anchorage skier Gus Schumacher wiped away decades of frustration for the US Ski Team by becoming the first American male to win a World Junior Championship.

Schumacher used a killer kick over the final two kilometers to come from behind and snag the gold medal in the 10-K classic race in Germany by 4.5 seconds.

The Service High graduate’s gold at the U20 international competition is the first medal ever by an American male at World Juniors.

The winner is selected by a panel each Friday and announced Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Sports Guys on CBS Sports Radio 590AM and 96.7FM.

View past winners here.

Sydnee Kimber wrestling

Sydnee Kimber

Sydnee Kimber of Sitka capped her sensational sophomore season by winning two national titles – one on her own and one with McKendree University.

It all went down at the Cliff Keen National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship in Aiden, Michigan.

The 191-pounder went 3-0 in her weight class and did not allow a point, outscoring her opponents 24-0.

Kimber, of Mt. Edgecumbe fame, won two matches by pin and the other by technical fall.

No.1-ranked McKendree finished with five individual champions and accumulated 191 points to beat Simon Fraser (178.5) for the team title.

In January, McKendree won the NCAA D2 National Duals championship in Louisville, Kentucky, thanks to a big win from the Alaskan.

Kimber upset No. 1 Emily Cue of Simon Fraser by a 10-2 score in the final match of the night, tying the team score at 19-19 and forcing a tiebreaker to determine the title.

The victory was sweet for Kimber, who lost to Cue earlier this season.

Big wins are nothing new for Kimber, who became the first high school girl in Alaska to win four state titles.

March 7, 2020
Jeremy Swayman hockey

Jeremy Swayman

Anchorage’s Jeremy Swayman was already one of college hockey’s top goalies, but over the last three weeks he has played like the No. 1 guy.

The University of Maine netminder has posted three shutouts in his last five starts, including a 48-save gem to blank Providence 3-0 in the regular-season finale in Hockey East.

Swayman turned aside 18 shots in the first period, nine in the second period and 21 in the third period.

This performance against Providence had to feel good for Swayman, who gave up seven goals to the Friars in the season opener. He made a career-high 52 saves in that game.

Jeremy Swayman hockey

Jeremy Swayman

This shutout continued a terrific trend for Swayman, who has furnished a 0.78 goals-against average since Feb. 15.

He also had shutouts against Connecticut and Vermont during that stretch.

In 34 starts this season, he has recorded an 18-11-4 record. He has set career highs in wins, shutouts (3), GAA (2.07) and save percentage (.939).

Swayman ranks No. 1 in the NCAA in saves (1,099), No. 2 in save percentage, No. 5 in minutes, No. 12 in wins and No. 14 in GAA.

March 6, 2020
Cody Curfman baseball

Cody Curfman

Chugiak’s Cody Curfman had every reason to throw in the towel.

The Northern State University right-hander trailed 6-0 after the first inning. He gave up six hits to the first nine batters and looked iffy.

From shaky to sensational, the starting pitcher battled back to work five shutout innings and strike out 10 batters from the University of Findlay in Winer Haven, Florida.

Curfman, of Chugiak High fame, ended five of six innings with a strikeout and at one point retired nine straight hitters.

He induced a double play in the second inning and struck out the side in the fourth inning.

Curfman last year went 4-4 with a 3.59 ERA and 57 Ks over 62.2 innings for the NCAA D2 Wolves of Aberdeen, South Dakota.

His career high for strikeouts is 11 against Bemidji State.

ChristianHausinger hockey

ChristianHausinger

Christian Hausinger of Anchorage set up others on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls hockey team all season, so it was fitting that the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference made the top individual award all about him.

Hausinger was named player of the year and headlined the all-conference team after leading the the NCAA D3 league in assists and points – as a defenseman, no less.

The 6-foot-1 junior blueliner was undoubtedly the best two-way player in the league, yet his offensive game really stood out.

Hausinger, of Dimond High fame, bagged 10 goals and 26 assists for 36 points in 29 games.

He had three different 5-game points streaks. Four times he recorded three points in a game. And twice he netted a hat trick.

Cayden Cahill hockey

Cayden Cahill

River Falls teammate Cayden Cahill of Anchorage was named all-conference honorable mention.

The 5-foot-10 junior forward finished second on his team with 12 goals. He added seven assists to garner 19 points in 29 games.

Cahill, of South High fame, twice scored a goal in four straight games. Once in November and again in January.

River Falls posted an 8-3-1 record when Cahill scored.

March 5, 2020
Jaron Williams basketball

Jaron Williams

Jaron Williams of Anchorage was recognized in a big way by the NWAC as the freshman for Spokane was picked Eastern Region Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Defensive Team in addition to being named First Team All-Region.

The 6-foot-4 guard led the league with 3.0 steals per game and anchored the seventh-ranked defense.

He had at least one steal in all 23 games and multiple steals in 19 games. His season high was eight steals, but he had other games with five and six.

Williams, of East High fame, averaged 14.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 23 games.

He scored 20 points or more five times, highlighted by a season-high 25-point performance.

Williams also led the NWAC with a .911 free-throw percentage on 51-of-56 shooting.

Jamal Alstrom basketball

Jamal Alstrom

Spokane teammate Jamal Alstrom of Sitka joined Williams on the Eastern Region All-Defensive Team.

Alstrom, of Mt. Edgecumbe fame, has played in all 28 games and started 27 of them.

The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard has averaged 7.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

He’s had as many as six steals in a game and three other times he had four.

Spokane is 8-1 when Alstrom reaches double figures.

Daniel Hornbuckle of Fairbanks was named to the Southern Region First Team.

The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard with Portland ranks sixth in the NWAC in scoring at 21.3 points per game.

Daniel Hornbuckle basketball

Daniel Hornbuckle

Hornbuckle, of West Valley High fame, also ranks seventh in the league with 5.0 assists per game.

He’s also averaging 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.

But Hornbuckle is known for his scoring. He’s got four games with 30 points or more, including the season-high 34 he hung on Clackamas.

He’s also sank two 35-foot 3-pointers – one to win a game and another to send a game into overtime.

March 4, 2020
Kelsey Griffin basketball

Kelsey Griffin

Eagle River’s Kelsey Griffin ripped down a game-high 13 rebounds and played 35 minutes as the Canberra Capitals beat the Southside Flyers 71-68 in Game 2 of the WNBL Grand Finals in Australia.

The Capitals swept the best-of-3 series to secure back-to-back championships, giving Griffin four titles in eight WNBL seasons.

Griffin was uncharacteristically quiet offensively with just five points, but she contributed on the glass and on defense.

The 6-foot-2 forward recorded 18 points and 12 rebounds in Game 1.

The Grand Finals bring out the best in Griffin, who has averaged 20.9 points and 14.4 rebounds in seven career Finals games.

She won WNBL championships with the Bendigo Spirit in 2013 and 2014, when the title was determined by a single championship game.

Ruthy Hebard and Alissa Pili basketball

Ruthy Hebard and Alissa Pili

The state of Alaska has never had it so good in the Pac-12 Conference before the arrival of Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks and Alissa Pili of Anchorage.

Now we’re spoiled.

The two Alaskans dominated Pac-12 play and were among the 15 women’s basketball players from the league named to the All-Pac-12 Team.

Hebard, a senior for the Oregon Ducks, earned All-Pac-12 honors for the fourth time while Pili, a freshman for the USC Trojans, made it for the first time.

Pili was also named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

Hebard is only the third Alaska woman to earn four all-conference selections at the NCAA D1 level, joining Eagle River’s Kelsey Griffin, who was a four-time All-Big-12 pick for Nebraska in the late 2000s, and Juneau’s Andrea Lloyd, who was a four-time All-Southwest Conference pick for Texas in the 1980s.

Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, has lifted her game to another level this season for third-ranked Oregon, putting up career-best scoring, rebounding and shooting stats.

Her scoring average of 17.5 points per game ranks No. 4 in the Pac-12 and is right at her career best of 17.6 set as a sophomore.

The 6-foot-4 forward leads the Pac-12 in rebounding at 9.7 per game; that’s the best of her career. Her board numbers have increased each season: 8.5 to 9.0 to 9.1 to 9.7.

She also leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 2 nationally with a .680 field-goal percentage. Her shooting stats have also spiked each year: 59% to 66% to 67% to 68%.

Hebard is Alaska’s all-time college leader in points (2,322), rebounds (1,272), field-goal percentage (.649) and blocked shots (143).

She is four games shy of matching Palmer’s Jessica Moore for career games. Moore played 145 games at UConn in the early 2000s.

Alissa Pili basketball

Alissa Pili

Pili, of Dimond High fame, has had a remarkable rookie season in the Pac-12 – earning freshman player of the week honors four times.

She is the second Alaska woman to earn freshman-of-the-year honors in a power-six conference, the first since Lloyd at Texas won Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year in 1984.

The 6-foot forward ranks top-10 in the Pac-12 in points (16.2, 8th), rebounds (8.1, 5th) and field-goal percentage (.509, 5th).

She pumped in a season-high 32 points against Washington State – the sixth Alaska woman to score 30 points at the D1 level. She grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds against UCLA, making her only the fifth Alaska to grab that many in a game.

But Pili’s performance isn’t just historic by Alaska standards.

She needs just six points to catch Cherri Nelson for No. 5 on the USC’s all-time freshman scoring list at 477.

After that, Pili would be gunning for legendary alums Pam McGee, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller and Paula McGee.

Hebard and Pili are among only five Alaska women who have earned all-league honors in this premier power-six conference.

All-Pac-10
1996 Molly Tuter Arizona State (Soldotna)
1997 Molly Tuter Arizona State (Soldotna)
2006 Natalie Jones Arizona (Anchorage)
2010 Talisa Rhea Oregon State (Juneau)
All-Pac-12
2017 Ruthy Hebard Oregon (Fairbanks)
2018 Ruthy Hebard Oregon (Fairbanks)
2019 Ruthy Hebard Oregon (Fairbanks)
2020 Ruthy Hebard Oregon (Fairbanks)
2020 Alissa Pili USC (Anchorage)

March 3, 2020
Gus Schumacher Cross-Country Skiing

Gus Schumacher

Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher wiped away decades of frustration for the US Ski Team by becoming the first American male to win World Juniors.

He used a killer kick over the final two kilometers to come from behind and snag the gold medal in the 10-K classic race in Germany by 4.5 seconds.

Schumacher’s gold at the U20 international competition is the first medal ever by an American male at World Juniors.  Bill Koch earned a bronze in 1974 at the European Junior Championships before there was an official youth world championship race.

“It wasn’t so long that a day like this felt impossible,” said his teammate and lifelong friend Luke Jager of Anchorage. “So proud of this guy and so thankful for everyone who has believed.”

Last year in Finland, Schumacher and Jager helped Team USA make history at World Juniors by winning the country’s first gold medal in the 4x5K relay. Jager skied the first leg, Schumacher the last.

This time, Schumacher anchored the entire 10-K field as he was the final skier in the field of 103 to start the race.

He was in third place at the halfway point, trailing Germany’s Friedrich Moch by 8 seconds. With just under two kilometers left, he cut that deficit in half.

Schumacher, of Service High fame, finished strong and beat Moch by 4.5 seconds with an overall time of 25 minutes, 31.7 seconds.

“It takes guts and mental strength to win,” his Alaska Winter Stars coach Jan Buron said.

March 2, 2020
Caleb Moretz hockey

Caleb Moretz

There’s no doubt the Rochester Institute of Technology hockey team has its mojo working when Caleb Moretz of Fairbanks is on the ice.

The Tigers are 14-4-1 when Moretz records a point.

And 5-9-3 when he doesn’t.

Moretz looks to keep things rolling for RIT in the upcoming Atlantic East Tournament, his first taste of the college playoff experience.

The rookie forward was rock solid in the regular season as he furnished a goal or assist in 14 of his team’s 16 series, including the last six in a row.

Moretz, of West Valley High fame, is tied for third on his team with 24 points on nine goals and 15 assists, buoyed by a strong second half.

He has bagged 6-11-17 scoring totals in the last 20 games.

The RIT Tigers (19-13-4) are the No. 3 seed at the Atlantic Hockey Tournament and will begin the playoffs with a home series.

March 1, 2020

Anchorage’s Jessica Yeaton won the American Birkebeiner in dominating fashion after breaking away from the lead pack and skiing the final 20 kilometers solo.

The APU Ski Team 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.

Yeaton topped a field of 766 women in the 50-kilometer freestyle event regarded as the biggest cross-country ski race in North America.

The winner is selected by a panel each Friday and announced Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Sports Guys on CBS Sports Radio 590AM and 96.7FM.

View past winners here.

Tony Tomsich running

Tony Tomsich

Tony Tomsich and Anna Dalton had Alaska’s top performances at Saturday’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta.

Tomsich, from Fairbanks and now living in Vancouver, Canada, placed 102nd out of 175 male finishers in 2 hours, 25 minutes and 16 seconds. He completed the second half just a minutes slower than the first half on an undulating course made even tougher by windy conditions.

Dalton, an Anchorage native, placed 212th among 390 female finishers in 2:49:24, averaging a pace of 6:28 per mile.

“Amazing experience running against all of the best in the country today,” Dalton said on Facebook. “I was very happy to finish well ahead of my seed and in the top half of the race.”

Megan Youngren of Soldotna successfully became the first openly transgender runner at the Trials, finishing 230th among women in 2:50:27.

Dozens of America’s top marathoners started but failed to finish the race.

Anna Dalton running

Anna Dalton

Among them were Anchorage’s Aaron Fletcher, whose disappointing day came to an end after 16 miles. Fletcher completed two early miles in faster than 5 minutes each before his race began to unravel around Mile 10.

Keri McEntee of Fairbanks also dropped out after 10 miles.

The top three male and female finishers qualified for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Galen Rupp won for the men in 2:09:20 and Aliphine Tuliumuk claimed the women’s race in 2:27:23.

February 29, 2020
Tanner Ealum track and field

Tanner Ealum

It doesn’t matter which conference Tanner Ealum of Anchorage competes in for Liberty University, chances are she’s going to break the meet record in the 800-meter run.

Two years after she set the meet record at the Big South Conference outdoor championships, the Alaska track star broke the meet record at the Atlantic Sun Conference indoor championships.

Ealum broke the ASUN meet record in the 800 with a time of 2:06.64; her Big South meet record time was 2:06.89.

She was part of three total titles on the weekend – the 800, the distance medley relay at the team championship.

Ealum, of ACS fame, has won eight conference championships in her four years at Liberty.

In 2017 as a freshman she won 400 indoor and outdoor titles in the Big South.

As a sophomore in 2018 she was the Big South 800 outdoor champ in addition to winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference indoor 500.

In 2019 as a junior she was part of the ASUN 4×400 relay indoor title and repeated as ECAC indoor 500 champ.

As a senior, Ealum has added the 800 indoor and distance medley relay crowns to her resume with the outdoor season still to come.

Ally Hull hockey

Ally Hull

An Anchorage-to-Wasilla connection helped the Concordia University-Wisconsin women’s hockey team take flight for a 3-2 win over Lake Forest in Illinois.

Anchorage’s Maddy Millar earned assists on both goals scored by Wasilla’s Ally Hull as Concordia upset the No. 2 seed Foresters in Game 1 of the quarterfinal series in the Slaats Cup.

Millar earned the primary assist on Hull’s game-winner late in the second period.

Hull tied a school record with two power-play goals.

Concordia moved to 4-0 when Hull and Millar register points in the same game.

Maddy Millar hockey

Maddy Millar

Hull, of Wasilla High, has bagged five goals this season in addition to racking up career highs in assists (4) and points (9) in 21 games.

The junior owns 14-8-22 career scoring totals in 72 games.

Millar, of East High fame, has come alive offensively of late with three points in the last four games.

The sophomore forward has notched 15-5-20 career scoring totals in 45 games.