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.

July 3, 2020

Anton Maxwell

Anchorage’s Anton Maxwell was simply sensational as a sophomore with the Oregon State University baseball team.

The left-handed pitcher posted an 11-1 record in 17 appearances as the No. 3 starter for the Pac-12 power that advanced to the College World Series.

Maxwell, of East High fame, struck out 69 batters in 95.1 innings and finished with a 4.33 ERA.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound southpaw threw a 1-hit complete-game effort in an 8-1 win over Washington State. At the time, he was just the second Alaskan to throw a 9-inning complete game at the NCAA D1 level.

He also carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Cal-Davis in another win.

Maxwell’s 11 wins are the most for an Alaskan at the D1 level.

He played for Oregon State from 2005 to 2007 and compiled a career 17-5 record and 4.26 ERA in 46 appearances. He racked up 114 strikeouts over 156.1 innings.

In 2007, Maxwell went 3-1 in 19 appearances (mostly in relief) and had a sparkling 2.36 ERA in 26.2 innings of work.

He was drafted by the MLB that year in the 31st round by the Texas Rangers and played two seasons in Single-A with Spokane and Clinton.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.

June 28, 2020

UFC fighter Lauren Murphy from Eagle River outboxed her opponent with supreme striking skills to win by unanimous decision in a match shown on ESPN.

Murphy defeated 24-fight winner Roxanne Modafferi in a battle between top-10 flyweight contenders.  The Chugiak High grad is 7th ranked in the world and improved her professional record to 13-4 after three straight wins.

Her win keeps alive her hopes at a title shot in the flyweight division.

The athlete of the week recipient 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.

June 26, 2020

Kelly Cobb

Eagle River’s Kelly Cobb took the Duke University women’s soccer team by storm in 2011.

The 5-foot-10 forward tied a school record with six game-winning goals and set three Duke freshman records in shots (91), goals (11) and points (31).

In the national semifinals, Cobb assisted on the game-winning goal in the 51st minute to lead Duke to a 4-1 victory over Wake Forest.

Duke lost 1-0 to top-ranked Stanford in the College Cup final.

Cobb, of Chugiak High fame, was named Soccer America All-Freshman First Team and Second Team All-Southeast Region. She was also All-ACC Second Team and ACC All-Freshman Team.

In 2013, as a junior, she was Duke’s second-leading scorer with 17 points and recorded a career-high six points with two goals and two assists in a 6-3 win against Pittsburgh.

Cobb finished her career with 25 goals in 78 games and often played through pain. She had left ankle surgery following her freshman season and knee surgery after her sophomore season.

Cobb played at Duke from 2011 to 2014 and ranks No. 11 in school history in goals (25), 10th in multi-goal games (3), 12th in game-winning goals (8) and sixth in shots (219).

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.

June 24, 2020

NCAA All-American basketball star Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks and junior World Champion cross-country skier Gus Schumacher of Anchorage have been selected as 2020 Pride of Alaska Award winners by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

Hebard recently wrapped up her college basketball career at the University of Oregon, where she became just the second Alaska woman ever to record 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. This season as a senior she won the Katrina McClain Award given to the country’s top power forward and earned consensus First Team All-American honors.

Schumacher made US Ski Team history in March when he became the first American male to win an individual Junior World Championship. He also anchored the American relay team to a gold medal and was named winner of the Beck International Trophy, the top U.S. Ski & Snowboard award dating to the 1930s.

Gus Schumacher Cross-Country Skiing

Gus Schumacher

Hebard and Schumacher were among a handful of Directors’ Award winners announced Wednesday by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director Harlow Robinson via Facebook live.

Anchorage’s Cristy Hickel won the 2020 Joe Floyd Award and Palmer’s Israel Hale won the 2020 Trajan Langdon Award.

The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Directors’ Awards have been handed out annually since 2012.

All the 2020 winners will be recognized at the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame at the 2021 ceremony.

Ruthy Hebard

2020 Pride of Alaska
Women’s Winner: Ruthy Hebard

The Pride of Alaska Award is 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.

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).

The 6-foot-4 forward as a senior led the NCAA in field-goal shooting percentage (.685) and led the Pac-12 Conference in rebounds (9.6). She added 17.3 points and 1.1 blocked shots.

Hebard’s .651 career field-goal percentage is a Pac-12 record and tied for No. 7 all-time in NCAA history.

In April, she was selected No. 8 by Chicago in the WNBA draft – just the fourth Alaska woman drafted professionally.

Hebard beat out fellow finalists Sydnee Kimber of Sitka and Sadie Maubet Bjornsen of Anchorage.

Pride of Alaska Award women’s history:
2020: Ruthy Hebard
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

Gus Schumacher

2020 Pride of Alaska
Men’s Winner: Gus Schumacher

The Pride of Alaska Award is 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.

Schumacher wiped away decades of frustration for the US Ski Team in March 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 by 4.5 seconds in the 10-K classic race in Germany.

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.

Schumacher picked up a second Junior World gold medal after anchoring the USA 4x5K relay team to a come-from-behind victory.

At the halfway point, the Americans were in third place and trailed Germany by eight seconds. With just under two kilometers left, he cut that deficit in half. Down the stretch Schumacher passed the German skier to win by 4.5 seconds.

Schumacher beat out finalists Marko Cheseto and Aaron Fletcher of Anchorage.

Pride of Alaska Award men’s history:
2020: Gus Schumacher
2019: Keegan Messing
2018: Andrew Kurka
2017: David Norris
2016: Dallas Seavey and Soldotna HS Football Team (co-winners)
2015: Erik Flora
2014: Trevor Dunbar and Eric Strabel (co-winners)
2013: Mario Chalmers
2012: Alaska Aces

Cristy Hickel

2020 Joe Floyd Award
Winner: Cristy Hickel

The Joe Floyd Award is based on significant and lasting contribution to Alaska through sports

Hickel founded SPYDER Soccer 30 years ago and has provided opportunities in sports leagues to thousands of Alaska youth. Better known as ‘Crusher,’ she also coaches the Alaska All-Stars nationals-bound Under-16 and Under-19 girls hockey teams and has helped more than 200 women reach the college hockey level.

Hickel beat out other finalists Milo Griffin of Fairbanks and Ed Strabel of Palmer.

Joe Floyd Award history:
2020: Cristy Hickel
2019: Brush Christiansen
2018: Jim Mahaffey
2017: Ma’o Tosi
2016: Dennis Sorenson
2015: Michael Friess
2014: Dick Mize
2013: Don Dennis
2012: Steve Nerland and Don Winchester (co-winners)

 

Israel Hale

2020 Trajan Langdon Award
Winner: Israel Hale

The Trajan Langdon Award is given to a person or group of people who have demonstrated leadership, integrity and sportsmanship during the past year and positively influenced and inspired others to be better sportsmen or sportswomen.

Hale became the first double-leg amputee ever to participate in the Iron Dog race. No amputee had ever competed in the Iron Dog — much less a double amputee without prosthetics. Hale made history with his brother Joseph. They were the first-place team in the recreational class of the 1,000-plus mile snowmachine race.

Hale beat out finalists Carol Seppilu of Nome and Keegan Messing of Girdwood.

Trajan Langdon Award history:
2020: Israel Hale
2019: Andy Beardsley and Larsen Klingel (co-winners)
2018: DaJonee Hale
2017: Damen Bell-Holter
2016: Laci Effenberger
2015: Aliy Zirkle
2014: Marko Cheseto
2013: Paul Tandy
2012: Chugiak High School football team

June 21, 2020

Colorado School of Mines wrestler Noah Ottum and University of Alaska Fairbanks skier Tristan Sayre were named co-winners of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame’s Athlete of the Week honor.  Both were named to the highly competitive Academic All-America team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The NCAA D2 duo were standouts in athletics and in the classroom.

A South Anchorage High School graduate, Ottum graduated in May with a B.S. in engineering physics.

He was a Third-Team Academic All-American last year, and is the first man in program history to repeat the honor. Ottum was ranked as high as No. 9 in the nation at 149 pounds by the NWCA.

A graduate of West Valley High School in Fairbanks, Sayre closed out the 2019-20 ski season boasting a 3.92 cumulative GPA and a perfect 4.00 GPA in his graduate studies at UAF, majoring in civil engineering.

The nordic skiing standout was the lone male representative from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

The athlete of the week recipient 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.

June 20, 2020

Lauren Murphy

A clean and technical fighter, Lauren Murphy of Eagle River outboxed her opponent with supreme striking skills to win by unanimous decision in a UFC fight shown on ESPN.

The judges all agreed as she scored a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 decision over 24-fight winner Roxanne Modafferi in a battle between top-10 flyweight contenders at an empty arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Seventh-ranked Murphy controlled the fight with a strong right hand and landed more power punches, including a devastating shot early in the second round that staggered Modafferi and a nice uppercut in the third round.

Murphy, of Chugiak High fame, improved her professional record to 13-4 after three straight wins.

The 5-foot-5, 125-pounder is 5-4 in nine career appearances in the UFC.

After losing her first two UFC fights, Murphy now has a winning record in the world’s premier mixed martial arts league.

Murphy, 36, dominated the action in the middle of the octagon with her quick hands, but she also held her own whenever the fighters got tied up against the fence. That happened in each of the three rounds and each time Murphy wigged out of trouble.

Sixth-ranked Modafferi, 37, owns five career wins by submission and wanted to take the fight to the ground, where she held the advantage.

But she couldn’t take down Murphy – in fact, it was Murphy who scored back-to-back takedowns in the second round, including a beautiful body slam.

Modafferi (27-18) in the third round did catch Murphy with an elbow blow, which bloodied her left eye. But it was too little, too late.

Murphy’s win was well earned and keeps alive her hopes at a title shot in the flyweight division.

June 19, 2020

Reggie Tongue

Reggie Tongue of Fairbanks led the NCAA and tied a Pac-10 Conference record with three interception return touchdowns in 1994 with Oregon State University.

The 6-foot, 204-pound junior defensive back moved to free safety that season and hauled in a career-high five interceptions and was selected Second Team All-Pac-10.

Oregon State finished 4-7 with Tongue playing a huge role in two wins.

In a 44-31 victory over Wyoming he returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns, including a 36-yard pick-six in the final two minutes.

In a 21-3 upset win over No. 24 Washington State he had a 47-yard interception return for a score.

Tongue, of Lathrop High fame, finished his Oregon State career with nine interceptions and four interceptions returned for touchdowns.

He was named First-Team All-Pac-10 in 1995 and still ranks No. 2 in school history with 362 tackles.

Tongue’s knack for finding the end zone continued during his 10 seasons in the NFL as he scored five touchdowns on four interception returns and one fumble return. One of those TDs came on a pick-six against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2004 playoffs when he was with the New York Jets.

From 1996 to 2005, Tongue grabbed 17 career interceptions in the NFL (15 in regular season, 2 in the postseason). He ranks No. 1 in interceptions among Alaskans to play in the league and his 145 career games is No. 3 among Alaskans.

He ranked No. 14 on the Sports Illustrated list of Alaska’s 50 greatest sports figures of the 20th century.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.

June 15, 2020

Mat-Su Valley football standouts Reggie Drummond and Julian McPhail have been named co-winners of the Alaska Athlete of the Week award after helping lead and maintain a peaceful protest in Palmer to bring attention to racial injustice.

Drummond, a recently graduated Wasilla Warriors running back and linebacker, was the first speaker at a gathering organized by local teenagers that attracted over 2,000 people of all racial backgrounds.

McPhail, a 2019 graduate who starred for the Colony Knights, was not a speaker but played an integral role in welcoming different political groups to the event and encouraging them to join together peacefully.

“Reggie has one of the highest standards of character I ever had in a player,” said Wasilla High School football coach Ken Ottinger.  “He is always reliable, always a leader.”

Drummond will be playing football at Dakota State University this fall.

“Julian is an exceptional young man with a winning personality,” said Colony High School Principal Brendan McMahon. “He’s always positive and represents himself, his family, his school and community with class.”

McPhail is entering his sophomore season as a defensive back for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The athlete of the week recipient 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.

June 14, 2020

Two runners and a cross-country skier from Anchorage are up for the men’s Pride of Alaska Award after Marko Cheseto, Aaron Fletcher and Gus Schumacher were named finalists by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

The Pride of Alaska Award since 2012 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.

Marko Cheseto

Marko Cheseto, Anchorage – The former UAA runner set a world record at the 123rd Boston Marathon for double amputees with a 26.2-mile time of 2 hours, 42 minutes and 24 seconds. He eclipsed the old record by 28 seconds. Boston was just Cheseto’s second marathon and a significant improvement from his 2:52 debut at the 2018 New York City Marathon. He lost both legs below the knee due to frostbite in 2011.

Gus Schumacher cross-country ski nordic

Gus Schumacher

Gus Schumacher, Anchorage – The cross-country skier made US Ski Team history by becoming the first American male to win an individual Junior World Championship. Schumacher claimed the gold medal in the 10-K individual start classic race in Germany. He also anchored the American team to its second straight relay gold medal. After the season, Schumacher became just the third Alaskan to win the Beck International Trophy – the U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s top award dating to the 1930s.

Aaron Fletcher running marathon

Aaron Fletcher

Aaron Fletcher, Anchorage – Fletcher shattered the race record at the 57th Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks, finishing the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 38 minutes and 14 seconds. The former BYU star runner beat the old record that had stood since 1984 by three minutes. Fletcher also ran in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Here are past winners of the men’s Pride of Alaska Award:
2019: Keegan Messing
2018: Andrew Kurka
2017: David Norris
2016: Dallas Seavey and Soldotna HS Football Team (co-winners)
2015: Erik Flora
2014: Trevor Dunbar and Eric Strabel (co-winners)
2013: Mario Chalmers
2012: Alaska Aces

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 are finalists for all 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 – Marko Cheseto, Aaron Fletcher, Gus Schumacher

Directors’ Award winners will be announced June 24.

2020 Men’s Pride of Alaska Award
Also Receiving Votes

Spencer Woods – The Greco-Roman wrestler from Kotzebue won a silver medal at 170 pounds at the Bill Farrell Memorial in New York City, securing his bid to the Olympic Trials after finishing as the top American at his weight. Woods also won a gold medal at the Malar Cupen in Sweden. The 2019 U.S. Open runnerup finished with a 5-0 record, beating 2019 European Cadet bronze medalist Simon Borkenhagen of Sweden in the final.

Jeremy Swayman – The University of Maine goaltender from Anchorage won Hockey East Player of the Year honors and finished runner-up for the Hobey Baker Award given to the nation’s top college player. Swayman led the NCAA with 1,099 saves ranked No. 2 in the country with a .939 save percentage. He also won the Walter Brown Award, was named First Team All-American and captured the Mike Richter Award as the nation’s best goalie.

Andrew Kurka – The Palmer native won three of six races at the Para Alpine Skiing World Cup in Russia. In the sit ski downhill competition, the two-time Winter Paralympic Games medalist was first in the downhill, Super-G and giant slalom. This was at least the third time he’s won multiple medals at a world competition.

Sean Rash – A veteran pro bowler from Anchorage, Rash beat four consecutive opponents, including top qualifier Ryan Ciminelli of South Carolina in the championship match, to win the PBA Oklahoma Open for his 15th career title. Rash rolled 10 consecutive strikes in the final to score a 289-234 victory. He managed only three tournament appearances before COVID-19 shut down the season.

Ryan McCarthy – The UAA women’s basketball coach became the all-time victories leader in Seawolf history as UAA went 30-3 and won its fifth straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season title. One of the brightest coaching talents in the NCAA ranks, McCarthy has taken the Alaska Anchorage program to unprecedented heights. The four-time GNAC Coach of the Year has led his hometown program to a 190-34 record in seven seasons and has made the Seawolves annual title contenders.

June 13, 2020

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 basketball

Ruthy Hebard

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 wrestling

Sydnee Kimber

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

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.

June 12, 2020

Israel Hale of Kotzebue, Carol Seppilu of Nome and Keegan Messing of Girdwood have been named as finalists for the 2020 Trajan Langdon Award by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

The Trajan Langdon Award is given to a person or group of people who have demonstrated leadership, integrity and sportsmanship during the past year and positively influenced and inspired others to be better sportsmen or sportswomen. The award dates to 2012.

Israel Hale

Israel Hale, Kotzebue – Hale became the first double-leg amputee ever to participate in the Iron Dog race. No amputee had ever competed in the Iron Dog — much less a double amputee without prosthetics. He made history with his brother Joseph. They were the first-place team in the recreational class of the 1,000-plus mile snowmachine race.

Carol Seppilu

Carol Seppilu, Nome – The ultramarathon runner has overcome personal adversity through running. A suicide survivor, Seppilu continues to treat her own depression by staying active and maintaining a connection to nature by participating in ultramarathon races like the Black Canyon 100K.

Keegan Messing

Keegan Messing, Girdwood – The figure skater stole the show at the Autumn Classic International in Canada, winning the bronze medal and displaying true sportsmanship in the awards ceremony. After he saw there was no flag display during the national anthem of Japan, Messing held up the Japanese flag for gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Days later, his younger brother Paxon was killed in a road accident. Messing opted to compete again a few weeks later and set a personal scoring best in the short program of Skate America.

Here is a list of past Trajan Langdon Award winners:
2019: Andy Beardsley and Larsen Klingel
2018: DaJonee Hale
2017: Damen Bell-Holter
2016: Laci Effenberger
2015: Aliy Zirkle
2014: Marko Cheseto
2013: Paul Tandy
2012: Chugiak High School football 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 – Will be announced Saturday
Men’s Pride of Alaska Award – Will be announced Sunday

Directors’ Award winners will be announced June 24.

2020 Trajan Langdon Award
Also Receiving Votes

Kikkan Randall’s NYC Marathon – Just one year after her final round of chemotherapy for stage 2 breast cancer, the five-time Olympian from Anchorage clocked a time in the New York City Marathon of 2 hours, 55 minutes, 12 seconds in her 26.2-mile debut to easily beat her three-hour goal.

Ben Schultz and Rob Whitney – The Anchorage firefighters trained together for Mount Marathon in Seward. Two years after Schultz nearly died after falling 75 feet from a ladder of a fire truck, he worked his way to the top of Mount Marathon with the help of Whitney, an accomplished mountain runner.

Lael Wilcox – Wilcox, of Anchorage, has inspired both boys and girls and men and women by pursuing a lifestyle of adventure and activity. She has faced her fair share of disappointing and even unfair treatment as a woman dominating ultra-endurance cycling events that have traditionally been the province of men only.

Fred Moore – The Seward native finished his record 50th consecutive Mount Marathon. The 79-year-old runner has competed in the Fourth of July mountain race every year since 1970.

June 11, 2020

Milo Griffin of Fairbanks, Cristy Hickel of Anchorage and Ed Strabel of Palmer have been named by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors as finalists for the 2020 Joe Floyd Award.

The Joe Floyd Award is based on significant and lasting contribution to Alaska through sports and has been handed out annually since 2012.

Milo Griffin

Milo Griffin, Fairbanks – Griffin has been on the sports scene in Interior Alaska for 55 years. He has coached numerous state championships at Lathrop and West Valley in sports including basketball, track and field and tennis. His service to youth is without measure and his influence is always evident at state championships when you see how many kids from all over the state go up and talk to him. He was also a star basketball player at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and ranks No. 2 all-time in scoring for the men’s program.

Cristy Hickel

Cristy Hickel, Anchorage — Hickel’s life’s goal is to help our youth succeed. She founded SPYDER Soccer 30 years ago and has provided opportunities in sports leagues to thousands of Alaska youth. Better known as ‘Crusher,’ she also coaches the Alaska All-Stars nationals-bound Under-16 and Under-19 girls hockey teams and has helped more than 200 women reach the college hockey level.

Ed Strabel

Ed Strabel, Palmer — For decades, Strabel has created and maintained sport facilities, coached successful athletic teams and improved sports accessibility for countless people. His legacy includes the Crevasse Moraine Trail System, the Government Peak Recreation Area, and waking before 4 a.m. to groom ski trails.

Here is a list of past Joe Floyd Award winners:
2019: Brush Christiansen
2018: Jim Mahaffey
2017: Ma’o Tosi
2016: Dennis Sorenson
2015: Michael Friess
2014: Dick Mize
2013: Don Dennis
2012: Steve Nerland and Don Winchester

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 – Will be announced Friday
Women’s Pride of Alaska Award – Will be announced Saturday
Men’s Pride of Alaska Award – Will be announced Sunday

Directors’ Award winners will be announced June 24.

2020 Joe Floyd Award
Also Receiving Votes

Dan Gensel – Gensel has broadcast football, hockey and basketball games on the Kenai Peninsula for two decades and is regarded as one of the best in the business.

Kathleen Navarre – Navarre has been a fixture in Alaska sports for more than 25 years. She has served as an athletic director at both Kodiak and Dimond high schools and has coached numerous sports including flag football and track & field.

Frank Ostanik – Ostanik has coached Monroe Catholic to three state championships and reached the state title game six times in his 10 seasons as bench boss. A lifelong Fairbanks resident, he has an unparalleled dedication to his team, school, and community.

Jim Patton and Jerry Miller — Patton and Miller organize Friday Night at the Fights, which has brought boxing and now mixed martial arts to downtown Anchorage for 30 years. Miller is the matchmaker and Patton is the promoter and announcer.

Richard Shellhorn – A retired broadcaster of Cordova High School basketball games, he still runs the court as a referee. He’s also a writer for the Cordova newspaper and author of two books, the latest “Balls and Stripes.”

Jamie Smith – Smith has been integral to Mat-Su Valley youth and high school hockey for 30 years. He has coached at Wasilla, Colony and Houston, where he won multiple state championships.

Jim Young – Young has helped dozens of student-athletes get the opportunity to play basketball after high school through his Team 907 and his exposure camps. He also runs the YMCA youth basketball league in Anchorage and coached the Dimond girls team to multiple state titles.

Jeannie Hebert-Truax – Hebert-Truax has exemplified what a champion is. Even in a loss, she is a class act and leader for all to follow, win or lose. As a Hall-of-Fame player and championship girls basketball coach, she has had a positive influence in lives of so many athletes and kids in the Mat-Su Valley and in Anchorage as a coach, teacher and mentor.

Greg Matyas – His contribution to winter biking in the world has been under-recognized. We have an amazing winter biking culture and Matyas has been part of it since the beginning, including innovating bike technology for a better ride.

Kyle Worl – Native games athlete who excels in a majority of the events at the World Indian Eskimo Olympics and Arctic Winter games. Three years ago, he moved to Juneau and started Native Youth Olympics at the local schools, with the assistance of Sealaska Heritage.

June 8, 2020

13-year old Haley Finch of Anchorage logged the most miles out of over 3,000 people in the 2020 Healthy Futures 100 Miles in May Challenge, earning her Alaska Athlete of the Week honors.  She logged 887.9 miles of activity over the month of May!

With COVID-19 causing so much of normal life to be canceled, the Family Partnership Charter School student put her energy and focus into the statewide event which allows participants to convert all activities to miles.

She structured each day around a routine that included jump rope sessions, hiking, biking, dancing, and running, among other things.  Her mileage total placed her ahead of household names like Kikkan Randall, David Norris, and Allie Ostrander.

“Haley likes concrete goals and challenges and this has been such a perfect thing for her to put energy into while all other activities are on hold,” said Haley’s mother Joselynn.

Through it all she maintained a healthy perspective. “The destination is never as important as the journey,” said Haley.

The athlete of the week recipient 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.

June 5, 2020

Lillian Bullock

Anchorage’s Lillian Bullock came out swinging with the North Carolina A&T State University softball team.

She crushed 17 home runs and knocked in 56 RBIs in 60 games as a freshman in 2007 to earn first team all-league honors in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Bullock, of Service High fame, finished that season ranked No. 2 nationally in homers and top-10 in RBIs among freshmen at the NCAA D1 level.

With a .330 career batting average and home-run pop, the 5-foot-8 second baseman is arguably the greatest D1 softball hitter to come out of Alaska.

She held the state career home run record of 34 from 2010 to 2017 when Anchorage’s Pauline Tufi of Louisiana Tech broke it by one.

Bullock also played one season of basketball for North Carolina A&T and is believed to be the only Alaskan to play both D1 softball and D1 basketball.

She was Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year for basketball in high school, but in college her specialty was softball.

Bullock finished her career at North Carolina A&T State University with 138 RBIs, 79 extra-base hits and a .612 slugging percentage in 198 career games.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.

June 1, 2020

Endurance cyclists Janice Tower, Tyson Flaharty and Lael Wilcox rode to the “Top of the World” over Memorial Day weekend and are the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Athletes of the Week.

Participating in the Giddy Up Challenge, also known as “Everesting”, each cyclist rode the elevation equivalent of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,029 feet.

Tower, of Anchorage, completed the 3-mile “Super Potter” climb of Potter Road 23 ½ times in an elapsed time of 17 hours, 40 minutes. Each lap climbed 1,260 feet with an average grade of 7.8 percent. Her vertical gain for the day was 29,638 feet. Tower had various friends keep her company throughout the day.

“One of the best parts of today’s ride were the friends who came out to ride a lap or two with me,” Tower said on Facebook.

The Giddy Up Challenge was a fundraiser for COVID-19 pandemic relief.

Flaharty, of Fairbanks, rode Ester Dome Road, which is mostly unpaved, 17.25 times to gain 29,245 feet of vertical. He rode through the entire night and had a moving time of 14 hours, 36 minutes while covering nearly 140 miles.

“I started last night heading up Ester Dome after work and finished today,” Flaharty wrote on Facebook May 24. “Super hard and glad to be done. Had a bunch of highs and a few low moments. Did not need any lights. I guess it is really full summer now! I found out that 29,029 feet of climbing happens to be a lot.”

Meanwhile, Wilcox, an Anchorage native and one of the world’s best ultra-endurance cyclists, climbed Hatcher Pass Road in Palmer 13 times for 29,541 feet of climbing over 225 miles. She started at 4:45 a.m. and rode for 21 hours straight. Each lap included a nine-mile ascent and descent.

“My favorite part were the laps shared with Christina (Grande) and Rue (Rugile Kaladyte),” Wilcox wrote on Facebook. “The biggest challenge was the final six hours in 37F rain. The best thing I ate were hot instant mashed potatoes after the 11th ascent. What a magnificent place to spend all day climbing.”

The athlete of the week recipient 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.

– By Blog contributor Matias Saari

May 31, 2020

Nathan Yockey

On the basketball court, Nathan Yockey of Coffman Cove wants to utilize his 6-foot-4 frame by getting physical with opponents and pushing his weight around.

This past season the sophomore averaged double figures in scoring at Highline College and this spring signed with Aurora University, a NCAA D3 school in Illinois.

Off the court, Yockey avoids conflict. He loves nature and being secluded in the woods. He writes poetry about life in a small town on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska.

“I try to find deeper meanings in simple things,” he told me.

His work recently was recognized by Highline College’s 2020 Student Poetry Contest as Yockey beat out 50 other students and more than 100 entries to win the $200 first-place prize.

Yockey has long scripted a personal journal but had never entered a writing contest until he took a poetry class. He was urged by his professor Susan Rich to submit his work from the class.

“It was cool to get involved with other poets and get recognized a little bit for writing,” he said, “but I just like to write. It’s not so much about the poetry contest and the money.”

Yockey’s winning poem “Dead Light Switch” was inspired by his family’s modest beginnings of living in a hand-me-down trailer. As his parents began to renovate the home, they left unfixed a light switch that became the focus of his poem.

“It’s kind of representative of the growth, but at the same time, a reminder of the humble beginnings,” Yockey said.

“It was a tribute to my family and all of their hard work and everything they did,” Yockey said. “Growing up, I never realized all the sacrifices they made because our needs were always met. But I didn’t realize how much my parents had to struggle to meet those needs. When I was in college I kind of started to see that being out on my own.”

Yockey loves writing the same way he loves playing basketball and utilizes both hobbies as a release mechanism.

“I kind of have my ying and yang type deal of getting out my emotions and having an outlet to express myself,” he said.

Yockey, of Klawock High fame, started all 27 games as a sophomore at Highline and averaged 11.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in the NWAC. He scored a season high 27 points.

“I treat basketball like my job. I take it seriously and do the things it takes for my team to win and that’s usually being straightforward, aggressive, confrontational,” he said.

“At home, that’s my more sensitive side; it’s where I’m a little bit more personal. I can’t be soft on the basketball court so I gotta have my two worlds separated because I want to be the best that I can be in both of them.”

May 29, 2020

Emma Lewis

Anchorage tennis player Emma Lewis made her name in doubles at Bowdoin College, but her claim to fame came in singles.

In 2012, she rallied for a thrilling three-set victory in the decisive match to lift Bowdoin to a 5-4 win over Middlebury in the NCAA D3 national tournament.

Lewis, of South High fame, came back to beat Brittney Faber 5-7, 7-6, 6-2 at No. 4 singles.

She lost to Faber at No. 1 doubles earlier in the day, but came through when it mattered most to help Bowdoin reach the elite eight for just the second time in school history.

Lewis also came up clutch in 2014 when her win at No. 1 doubles helped propel Bowdoin to a 5-2 win over Middlebury to get the Polar Bears back to the elite eight.

A hard-hitting ball machine with power and precision, Lewis became the first college player from Alaska to reach 100 career wins in singles and doubles. She finished her career with 125 wins, the second-most for an Alaskan at the college level.

Her 2014 senior season was something special as she posted a 24-7 singles record; her 24 wins rank No. 2 on the school’s all-time list.

Lewis finished her career with a 60-30 record in singles and 65-35 mark in doubles. Her 60 wins in singles rank No. 7 at Bowdoin.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.

May 26, 2020

Even without the benefit of a high school track season, Anchorage’s Tristian Merchant managed to create a title-worthy performance.

The ACS junior broke the nine-minute benchmark in the 3,200 meters at an unofficial time trail with friends.

Merchant is believed to be just the fourth high school runner from Alaska to break the nine-minute mark, crossing the line in 8:59.07.

He joined Don Clary (1974), Trevor Dunbar (2009) and Levi Thomet (2015) in the exclusive club.

The athlete of the week recipient 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.

May 22, 2020

Yohance Humphrey

Eagle River’s Yohance Humphrey put the University of Montana football team on his back in 2001 and carried the Grizzlies to paydirt.

The rugged running back rushed for 132 yards on 30 carries and scored the game’s only touchdown as Montana beat Furman 13-6 in the national championship game of the NCAA DI-AA tournament.

Humphrey, of Chugiak High fame, capped Montana’s 99-yard scoring drive in the second quarter when he plowed into the end zone on a 2-yard run up the middle.

He was the centerpiece on a 15-1 national championship team – a Hall of Fame player on a Hall of Fame squad.

Humphrey was a three-time All-American during his career from 1998 to 2001 and walked away as the greatest running back in Montana history.

He is the school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,070 career yards and in 2001 set the single-season rushing record with 1,658 yards in 2001.

Humphery set the single-game rushing record with 265 yards against Weber State in 2001 and tied the school record with four rushing touchdowns.

His 138.2 yards on the ground per game average in 2001 is a school record. He averaged 116.1 yards in 1999, which is the second highest average, while his 110.4 average in 2000 is fifth.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.

May 18, 2020

Anchorage’s Pauline Tufi was one of 10 players voted to the Louisiana Tech University all-decade softball team.

The former West High star played four seasons from 2014 to 2017 at LaTech, where she was a three-time Conference USA all-league pick.

Tufi ranks No. 1 all-time among Alaskans at the NCAA D1 level with 35 career home runs and 154 RBIs; she ranks No. 2 in school history in both categories.

She holds the single-season school record with six saves in 2015. She ranks Nos. 4 and 5 in the record book in single-season home runs, clubbing 12 in 2015 and 11 in 2016.

The athlete of the week recipient 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.

May 16, 2020
Gus Schumacher Cross-Country Skiing

Gus Schumacher

Cross-country skier Gus Schumacher of Anchorage reached rarified air after winning the Beck International Trophy.

The award dates to the 1930s is given annually to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s top athletes – Schumacher was the men’s winner and alpine star Mikaela Shiffrin of Colorado was the women’s winner.

Schumacher, of Service High fame, is just the third Alaskan to win the honor, joining Alaska Sports Hall of Fame inductees Tommy Moe (1994) and Hilary Lindh (1997).

Teammates honor Schumacher after his historic win at world juniors.

What a year the 19-year-old had on the ski trails in 2020 as he bagged his first senior national championship and became the first American male to win a world junior championship.

In March, he wiped away decades of frustration after 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.

His gold at the U20 international competition is the first-ever medal by an American male at World Juniors.

In January, Schumacher won his first senior title in the 1.5-kilometer sprint and followed up with a silver medal in the 15K freestyle.

May 15, 2020
Nicci Ward

Nicci Ward

Eagle River’s Nicci Ward had it all working for the Villanova University softball team on April 20, 2008.

The senior right-handed pitcher threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Providence College in the Big East Conference.

Ward, of Chugiak High fame, is believed to be the only Alaska softball player to toss a 7-inning no-hitter at the NCAA D1 level.

She struck out eight of 25 batters, issued three walks and benefited from a two-out walkoff double to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

In the fifth inning, Ward was forced to record four outs after the first batter struck out and reached base on a passed ball. She escaped a two-on, two-out jam that inning with a strikeout.

Ward finished her final season with a 10-9 record, seven complete games and 2.12 ERA in 28 appearances. She struck out 153 batters in 141.2 innings.

She spent her first two years of college at Florida CC Jacksonville, where she was twice named first team all-conference.

Ward was a three-time Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year in high school.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.

May 13, 2020

Pauline Tufi

Louisiana Tech University softball fans certainly haven’t forgotten about Anchorage’s Pauline Tufi.

The former hitting and pitching standout was recently one of 10 players voted to the LaTech all-decade team in an online poll.

“This is an honor of a lifetime to not only represent Tech but to be able to represent my father in heaven and my family he blessed me with,” Tufi told me. “Without their support and constant love, I would not have made it this far. I don’t know who voted but I couldn’t be more proud to just be a nominee.”

Tufi, of West High fame, played four seasons from 2014 to 2017 at LaTech, where she was a three-time Conference USA all-league pick.

She ranks No. 1 all-time among Alaskans at the NCAA D1 level with 35 career home runs and 154 RBIs; she ranks No. 2 in school history in both categories.

“What stands out most is not the plays or the wins and losses but the process of everything, building myself up day in and day out to be the best me possible,” Tufi said. “Yes I struggled, we all do; but I never gave up because I learned the most through my struggles and my failures.

“Watching how my blood, sweat, and tears all came together with one stroke of my bat in our championship game to win our conference in 2017 showed me just how never giving into pain, struggle, or fear and always staying faithful to the process will always bring blessings.

“Talking about ‘Go Big or Go Home’ because everything from the process of my freshman year through my senior year led up to that exact moment in time and I believe everything happens for a reason. It is and always will be about the process with me.”

In 2017, Tufi became Alaska’s all-time home run leader at NCAA D1 level with 35, breaking the previous record of 34 set by Anchorage’s Lillian Bullock at North Carolina A&T.

Tufi is one of the greatest softball players out of Alaska, a two-way terror who had power at the plate and precision in the pitching circle.

She holds the single-season LaTech record with six saves in 2015. She ranks Nos. 4 and 5 in the record book in single-season home runs, clubbing 12 in 2015 and 11 in 2016.

“To be completely honest, I miss playing but not as much as I thought I would,” Tufi said. “My love for the game will never stop; it bleeds in me and will live in me forever but my love for life is greater now.

“Ever since I’ve stopped playing, I’ve found a completely different side of me. Yes, my tenacity, my energy, and my passion are still there. But instead of it growing in softball, it is growing into my life and into my family. I love the blessings time has given me and I couldn’t be more thankful for the time spent on the field for Tech.”

May 11, 2020

Travante Williams of Anchorage was named MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the Portuguese League.

The 6-foot-4 small forward had a fabulous first year with Sporting Lisbon, helping the team go 21-1 before COVID-19 ended the season early.

Williams averaged 17.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 19 games – all career highs while in Portugal. His 2.2 steals matched his career average.

This is his second MVP award in four seasons as a pro, with the first coming in the Georgian League.

The athlete of the week recipient 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.

May 10, 2020

The ‘Alaskan Assassin’ has been picked as the winner of Alaska’s Greatest NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Player Bracket.

A select group of two dozen Alaska voters who played D1 hoops or coached a D1 player picked Trajan Langdon over Mario Chalmers in a battle between Alaska Sports Hall of Fame guards from Anchorage in the finals of our 64-player bracket.

“He set the standard by which all others are held,” said longtime college coach Louis Wilson of Anchorage. “One of the greatest shooters in the history of modern major college hoops.”

Trajan Langdon

Langdon (East High) was a two-time All-American at Duke; Alaska’s only D1 player to earn All-American honors in multiple seasons. He is the only Alaskan to earn first team all-conference honors three times – in the ACC, no less. He is the only Alaskan to make 100 3s in a season.

“Trajan’s accomplishment of bringing national attention and optimism for future Alaskan players is what sets his career apart from everyone else,” said Fairbanks native Kyle Bailey, who played at Santa Clara.

Langdon left Duke in 1999 but still ranks No. 2 all-time in school history for career 3-pointers (342), career 3-point percentage (.426) and career free-throw percentage (.861).

The 6-foot-3 guard ranks first all-time among Alaskans in games (136), points (1,974) and 3-pointers (342). He’s third in free throws (386), sixth in assists (255) and tenth in steals (120).

“Nobody was more representative of Alaska basketball than Trajan,” said Frank Ostanik, a former college player from Fairbanks who has coached college and high school for two decades.

Langdon became the first Alaskan in 1997 to score 30 points at the D1 level, breaking Muff Butler’s state record of 27 points set in 1982. Langdon is also No. 1 in NCAA Tournament scoring with 158 points, with his tournament scoring highs of 25, 24 and 23 points ranking 1-2-3 among Alaskans.

He helped Duke reach the 1999 NCAA title game, losing to UConn. He was the 1999 East Regional Most Outstanding Player.

Langdon’s win was no slam dunk.

“Mario was equally deserving,” Wilson said.

Mario Chalmers

Chalmers (Bartlett High) had plenty of backers based on his incredible career at Kansas.

“Tons of respect for both of them but with that being said I’m going with Mario,” said Anchorage’s Bentiu Panoam, who plays at North Dakota. “Bartlett over East in that rivalry!”

In 2008, Chalmers cemented his name in Kansas Jayhawk history after hitting one of the biggest shots in NCAA Tournament history.

With his team trailing 63-60 in the final seconds of the national championship game against Memphis, Chalmers pulled up off-the-dribble and drained a 3-pointer with a hand in his face to tie the game with 2.1 seconds left.

The game went into overtime, Kansas won the title and Chalmers was the hero.

“The shot was insane – without a doubt the most clutch shot by any Alaskan,” said Juneau’s Jacob Calloway, who played at Southern Utah. “Maybe the greatest Alaskan spots moment.”

Chalmers was the 2008 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2007 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and 2006 Big 12 Tournament MVP.

The 6-foot-1 playmaker was a three-time All-Big 12 selection and three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team pick. He ranks 1-2-3 among Alaskans in season steals with 2.7, 2.6 and 2.5 averages.

On Alaska’s all-time list, he ranks first in steals (283), second in assists (420), fourth in 3-pointers (180) and sixth in points (1,341). He is tenth in career field-goal percentage (.486) – third among guards.

In the first semifinal, Chalmers just eked out a win over Juneau’s Carlos Boozer. This was as close as it gets; the equivalent of a buzzer beater.

“I know there can’t be a tie so in the end I have to go with the big guy,” said Anchorage’s Phil Jordan, a former championship coach and member of the ASAA Hall of Fame.

Carlos Boozer

The best big man out of Alaska, the 6-foot-9 Boozer was a walking bucket at Duke and still holds the school’s career record for field-goal percentage (.632) – 18 years after he played there.

“I marvel at the reality that after being recruited as a wing player for Duke, he recreated his game to fill a need as a post player and became one of the best ever at the position in the ACC,” said Juneau’s Robert Casperson, a longtime high school coach.

Boozer (Juneau-Douglas High) is one of three Alaskans to earn All-American honors. He was also named All-ACC and ACC All-Freshman Team.

He won a NCAA championship in 2001 and was named ACC Tournament MVP in 2002.

“Boozer had such a dominant junior year shooting 67% from the field and averaging 18 and 9 and a steal a game,” Calloway said. “He was such a dominant force.”

There were people like Jordan, who had Boozer winning the whole thing.

“It got down to Trajan and Carlos. I brought it down to these two not only because of their multiple appearances in the NCAA tournament but because of the class and character they exhibited both on and off the floor,” he said.

Kyle Bailey

In the second semifinal, Langdon beat Kyle Bailey of Fairbanks by unanimous decision.

Bailey (Lathrop High) is the only D1 player from Alaska to accumulate 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 100 steals and 200 3-pointers in a career.

As a senior in 2004-05, he averaged 26.3 points in three games against top-20 teams. He pumped in 20 points in a win over No. 4 North Carolina and had 26 points in a loss to No. 11 Gonzaga.

He is one of two Alaskans with career highs of at least 30 points and 14 rebounds. He also had eight assists and six 3-pointers, both top-5 all-time for Alaska.

“Bailey was a killer,” Calloway said.

In the end, whether the final featured Langdon vs. Chalmers or Langdon vs. Boozer, Langdon’s impact, influence and impressive accolades surpassed all comers.

“Trajan was Alaska,” Ostanik said. “To this day you would be hard pressed to find anyone who ever said a bad word about Trajan. I also think no player on this list raised the level of his teammates like Trajan.

“While Trajan certainly played on better teams and with better players than the others in this discussion, he was the straw that stirred the drink. While Trajan certainly didn’t have the NBA career of Chalmers or Boozer, but he was in my opinion the greatest Alaskan basketball player I have ever seen and was a dominant NCAA DI player at Duke.

“Trajan wins.”