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

For the last 12 years, the Alaska Sports Blog has provided comprehensive coverage of Alaska athletes all over the world. The blog came to life 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 5,000 stories on more than 1,500 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.

January 15, 2021

Cody Koch

No boxer from Alaska did more than Anchorage’s Cody Koch, whose rapid and remarkable rise to prominence in the 1990s was unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the sport.

Koch broke into pro boxing in 1995 after winning a national Toughman Contest. He won his first 24 fights, with 20 of them coming by knockout.

In 1998, he twice fought for a heavyweight title, first against Ed Mahone for the vacant WBO belt and then against WBC champion Wladimir Klitschko.

The 6-foot-2 southpaw was a hard-hitting brawler who handed four pro fighters their first loss. His biggest win came in 1997 against 23-and-5 Booker T. Word.

Koch’s first title shot came on Feb. 23, 1998 against 15-0 Mahone in Inglewood, California. Koch was winning on the judges’ scorecards prior to the 10th round, when Mahone knocked him out. It was Koch’s first loss in 25 pro fights.

He came back a few weeks later to win a tune-up fight for his 25th career victory and set up the biggest break of his career, a chance to fight 19-0 WBC heavyweight champion Klitschko on May 23, 1998 in Germany.

The 6-foot-6 Klitschko won by fourth-round knockout against Koch, who fought bravely against an elite opponent widely considered one of greatest heavyweight boxers of all-time with 64 wins.

Koch never fought again. He died on July 26, 1998 under mysterious circumstances outside a bar in Michigan, less than a month before he was scheduled to return to the ring in Las Vegas.

Friday Flashback is an ongoing 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.

January 14, 2021

Derrick Wilson

Anchorage’s Derrick Wilson has put himself in position to win a scoring title in the Turkish League.

What’s new. Wilson was in the running for top scorer in the Danish League two years ago and last year he was in contention in the Swedish League.

His jumper is wet overseas.

Wilson now ranks No. 2 in the Turkish League in scoring, but look how close things are with one game to go:

20.8 Lamont Jones
20.5 Derrick Wilson
20.3 Elyjah Clark
20.1 Chauncey Collins

Wilson, of East High fame, is coming off a season-high 27-point performance for Sigortam in a 103-95 loss. He was 11-for-14 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point land.

He’s reached the 20-point plateau seven times in 11 games. He also ranks among the league leaders in assists with 4.5 per game and his team is 5-2 when he collects five assists or more in a game.

Last year in Sweden, Wilson finished runner-up for the league scoring title at 19.8 points per game. Two years ago in Denmark, he was just outside the top five with a scoring average of 17.

The 6-foot-1 guard played collegiately at Marquette, where he was asked to be a facilitator more than a shooter. However, since turning pro in 2016 he has ramped up his offensive game.

January 13, 2021

Ruthy Hebard

Nobody in the Turkish League has won more player-of-the-week honors this season than Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks.

The rookie with Nesibe Aydin earned the weekly award for the fifth time in 19 weeks. The next closest player has two.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, recorded 24 points and 18 rebounds to highlight her team’s 28-point victory in her only game of the week.

The former NCAA All-American from the University of Oregon ranks in the top-10 in the Turkish League in points (22.1), rebounds (13.2), steals (1.7) and field-goal percentage (56.8).

The 6-foot-4 forward has bagged 13 double-doubles in 16 games and posted season highs of 34 points and 23 rebounds.

Things are going so well for Hebard that she recently drained her first 3-pointer since high school. Predominantly a post player, she never attempted a 3-pointer in four years of college or last season in the WNBA.

January 12, 2021

Angelline Nageak

It was a good day for Alaska basketball in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference as Anchorage’s Angelline Nageak and Palmer’s Alex Carlton faced off for the first time in a NCAA D2 women’s game.

Nageak of Adams State scored more points, but Carlton played more minutes and helped Metro State prevail 75-68 at home in Denver, Colorado.

The outcome took a backseat, however, because the big winner was the state of Alaska with two former high school stars squaring off at the next level. That’s always reason to celebrate.

Nageak, of Dimond High fame, bagged a season-high 11 points in 24 minutes coming off the bench. She made 5-of-9 shots from the field and added three assists.

Alex Carlton

The 5-foot-5 freshman had combined for a total of 11 points in her first four games. It helped that she logged a season-high 24 minutes, a result of her stellar play.

In the fourth quarter, she had a hand in seven of her team’s nine points during a run that cut a 12-point deficit down to 66-59.

Carlton, of Colony High fame, started at guard and scored eight points in 32 minutes. She also chipped in season-high four assists.

She went 3-for-3 from the free-throw line to stay perfect on 15 attempts this season.

The 5-foot-6 junior transfer is in her first season with Metro State after playing previously at North Idaho, where she scored 608 career points and led the NWAC in 3-point percentage as a freshman.

January 11, 2021

Devonaire Doutrive

Anchorage’s Devonaire Doutrive poured in a career-high 21 points and threw in a ludicrous and-1 circus shot to highlight Boise State’s 83-60 win over Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference.

The junior transfer did his damage in just 25 minutes coming off the bench as he still adjusts to his new team. This was only his third game since joining the Broncos.

He hit his first shot of the night and kept it going, finishing 8-of-13 from the field to reach double figures in scoring for the fourth time in 32 career games at the NCAA D1 level.

Doutrive, of West High fame, was feeling it from deep as he made 4-of-7 3-pointers. That’s another career high, doubling his previous single-game best of two 3s set twice during his time at Arizona.

He played three semesters with the Pac-12 team and recorded a high game of 12 points last season against San Jose State.

The 6-foot-5 guard has a pro-level offensive game and is capable of scoring at all three levels in the half-court set. His finishing touch around the rim is exceptional.

Doutrive showcased his next-level layup package in the first half when he converted a wild circus shot after getting bumped on the drive and throwing up a shot high off glass before falling to the ground. He was fouled and went to the line, where he made his only free-throw attempt of the night.

Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher was named Alaska Athlete of the Week after turning in a spectacular World Cup ski performance, finishing 8th in the 15k Stage 6 of the Tour de Ski in Italy.

In what was the best race of the year for American men’s Nordic ski racing, Schumacher stayed in range early on and then strategically worked his way through the lead pack during the final third of the race.

Starting from his position in 33rd, the former world junior champion climbed to as high as 5th place before crossing in a career World Cup best 8th.

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.

January 10, 2021

JT Thor

JT Thor of Anchorage looked like a veteran the way he rose to the occasion at crunch time for Auburn University.

The 6-foot-10 freshman was brilliant on both ends of the court with a season high 15-point, 9-rebound, 4-block, 3-steal performance in a 94-90 loss to Alabama in the SEC.

Thor was at his best in the second half, helping the Tigers erase an eight-point deficit and twice scoring the go-ahead basket.

In the final five minutes alone, he racked up five points, two rebounds, two steals, two blocks and one assist to give his team a chance to win.

There were times down the stretch when the Alaskan dominated the action.

Like the time he scored seven points in a two-minute span. Or when he converted a three-point play on one end and seconds later blocked a shot on the other end. Or when he assisted on a bucket and then stole the ball, which led to him getting fouled and then sinking a pair of free throws.

Thor, of West High fame, has started all 12 games for Auburn and is averaging 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds. He is shooting 72.5 percent from the free-throw line (29-of-40) and ranks second on the team in free-throw attempts.

Bentiu Panoam

When given a chance to shine, Bentiu Panoam of Anchorage sparkled for the University of North Dakota with his best offensive output in 13 months.

The University of North Dakota senior came off the bench to notch season highs of 11 points and 23 minutes against Oral Roberts for his first double-figure scoring effort since 2019 and fourth in 40 games with the NCAA D1 Fighting Hawks.

This was also the fourth time with North Dakota that he’s made a 3-pointer and free throw in the same game.

Panoam, of Bartlett High fame, almost logged as many minutes in this game (23) as he did in the previous four combined (29).

The 6-foot-2 guard made the most of his extended playing time.

He went 4-for-10 from the field including an and-1 basket. He drained two 3-pointers, grabbed two rebounds and added one assist.

His career scoring high of 25 came as a freshman with Northwest Kansas Tech and his high game at the D1 level is 18 points.

January 9, 2021

Nolan Walker

Anchorage’s Nolan Walker buried the tying goal late in the third period to force overtime and help St. Cloud State beat nationally ranked Minnesota Duluth 4-3.

It was his second point of the game and the second time this season he’s produced multiple points in a single game.

Walker cleaned up a rebound in the crease after the puck scooted between the legs of the Minnesota goalie.

There was a massive scrum in front of the net, but the Alaskan somehow found a way to tie the game with 1:01 left in regulation.

Walker assisted on a goal in the final minute of the first period that gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead. This was his 11th career multi-point game as he inched closer to the 50-point benchmark.

St. Cloud State improved to 27-5-3 since 2018 when Walker registers a point.

Hailey Williams

Duke University freshman Hailey Williams of Delta Junction hit the track for the start of the indoor season at the Orange and Purple Elite meet in Clemson, South Carolina.

Facing fellow Atlantic Coast Conference runners from Clemson and Georgia Tech, the Alaska sprinter finished second in the 60-meter dash and ninth in the 300 in her college debut.

Williams clocked a time of 7.72 seconds in the 60 as Duke swept the top three places. For reference, her time would have ranked in the top-5 on the team for all of last season.

In high school, she was a seven-time state champion and the winner of the 2020 Alaska Gatorade Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

In 2018, Williams became the first Alaska high school girl in 37 years to break the 12-second barrier in the 100.

January 8, 2021

Bev Krupa

Bev Krupa of Fairbanks hasn’t played volleyball for Purdue University since 1998, yet she still holds the school record for most kills in a match with 38.

Her legacy has stood the test of time.

Krupa was an explosive 5-foot-11 outside hitter who left an indelible mark on the Big Ten program from 1995 to 1998.

As a senior she earned All-Big Ten honors and delivered some of the greatest performances in Purdue history.

A week after her record 38 kills against Indiana she came back against Michigan with 33 kills, the third most in school history. She also had a memorable 27-kill, 20-dig performance against Minnesota.

Her epic 1998 season also saw her get invited to U.S. National Team tryouts.

Krupa, of West Valley High fame, left Purdue with the fifth-highest kills per set average of 3.36. Her 1,265 career kills still rank in the top 15.

In high school she excelled in soccer, basketball, track and field, softball and volleyball.

In 1995, she was named Gatorade Alaska Girls Basketball Player of the Year and selected Alaska Female Prep Athlete of the Year.

Friday Flashback is an ongoing 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.

Gus Schumacher

Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher turned in his third consecutive top-15 World Cup result, this time skiing to a career-best eighth-place finish in the 15K classic at the Tour de Ski in Italy.

The 20-year-old cross-country skier gradually worked his way to the front, going from 31st at the 5K mark to 16th at the 10K mark to eighth at the finish.

He finished 11.4 seconds behind the winner and was fewer than eight seconds from taking a spot on the podium.

Coupled with his 10K classic win at World Juniors last year, Schumacher sure looks like the future for American men when it comes to distance skiing.

This is his first season on the World Cup circuit.

Schumacher, of Service High fame, is a member of the Alaska Winter Stars.

January 7, 2021

Brandon Huffman

Brandon Huffman of Anchorage collected the first double-double of his college career after posting career highs of 16 points and 16 rebounds for Jacksonville State University.

The 6-foot-10 senior transfer became the second Alaska man to grab 16 rebounds in a NCAA D1 game, joining Hydaburg’s Damen Bell-Holter, who pulled down 20 rebounds for Oral Roberts in 2013.

Huffman’s game has come alive since leaving North Carolina, where he played limited minutes for the Tar Heels in three seasons.

Things have been much different for him at Jacksonville State.

Huffman, of West High fame, has reached double figures in scoring four times in 10 games and is averaging a career-high 8.2 points per game. His 16 points were a career high.

His previous career high for rebounds was nine set earlier this season against Florida Atlantic.

Da’Zhon Wyche

Anchorage’s Da’Zhon Wyche is the latest college basketball player from Alaska to surpass the 1,000-point career benchmark.

The redshirt junior pumped in a season-high 21 points for the University of Texas Tyler in a 105-70 loss to nationally ranked NCAA D2 power St. Edwards.

Wyche drained 9-of-14 field goals and added three assists and three steals.

He is averaging 12.3 points per game in a half dozen appearances this season.

Wyche, of West High fame, now has 1,010 points in 61 career games. He played his first two seasons at Laramie County JC in Wyoming.

The 5-foot-9 point guard is a dynamic playmaker who is believed to hold Alaska’s single-game assist record with 15.

He’s also the shortest Alaska men’s player to score more than 30 points in a college game with a career high of 36.

In high school, he was twice voted Class 4A player of the year by the state’s coaches and led the West Eagles to the 2015 Class 4A state championship.

In the title game, his team trailed by two points with just a few seconds to go before he went coast-to-coast and converted a reverse layup at the buzzer to force overtime.

Three of Wyche’s teammates from that championship team went on to play D1 basketball – but Wyche has scored more points in college than all three of them combined.

January 5, 2021

Nyakoat Ruot

The secret is out on Anchorage’s Nyakoat Ruot.

The Class of 2022 rising star has already received scholarship offers from a half dozen NCAA D1 women’s basketball programs and more are certain to follow.

Ruot is here for it. All of it. The Bartlett High all-conference forward has her sights set on reaching the college game’s greatest stage at the D1 level.

With offers in hand, she is ready to give her hoops dream everything she’s got.

“Basketball is a high-speed sport, so playing halfheartedly doesn’t get you where you want to be in this sport,” Ruot said. “I have a passion for this game and I will pursue that passion.”

Her current college offers are from Cincinnati, Portland State, Cal State Bakersfield, Florida Atlantic, Manhattan and Tennessee-Martin.

“In a college program I look for academic majors available and if the school is the best athletic fit for me,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to play D1 basketball … it’s the most competitive level of basketball, which is the most beneficial for me.”

The 6-foot Ruot is most effective near the basket, where she can best utilize her size and speed. She’s a double-double waiting to happen.

Ruot has thrived under a Bartlett coaching staff led by bench boss Clarence Smith Sr., a former Cook Inlet Conference Girls Coach of the Year.

The Golden Bears focus on discipline, accountability and having fun.

“We play free,” Ruot said. “The coaching staff doesn’t believe in boxing kids in.”

Ruot looks to become the second current Bartlett player to sign with a D1 school, joining senior Amelia Uhila, who is headed to Portland State.

It’s not by accident.

The Bartlett coaches talk to the girls about their goals, she said. And then help each player work towards achieving them.

“Bartlett players are going D1 because going D1 is our goal, so we work for it,” Ruot said. “Our coaches put a lot of effort into getting us to be noticed by D1 coaches.”

January 4, 2021

Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar is the Alaska Athlete of the Week after being hired by the University of California Berkeley as a new assistant coach for cross country and distance running.

The 29-year-old’s running career is the stuff of legends.

His success ranges from seven-time prep champion to junior national champion to eight-time NCAA All-American to the professional ranks.

Dunbar has added a new chapter: college coach.

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.

January 3, 2021

Rosie Brennan

Anchorage’s Rosie Brennan was part of a historic 1-2 finish for American cross-country skiing that helped the APU star maintain her grip on first place in the World Cup points race.

For the first time ever two Americans won gold and silver medals in the same World Cup nordic race after Jessie Diggins struck gold and Brennan silver at the 10K freestyle pursuit in Switzerland.

Diggins has a reputation for making history with Alaskans.

At the 2018 Winter Olympics she teamed with Anchorage’s Kikkan Randall to win a historic gold medal in the team sprint.

This time she joined Brennan on a World Cup podium.

Brennan, who last month became the first American skier since Randall to win back-to-back World Cup races, extended her lead in the season points series. Brennan leads the series with 540 points, with Diggins third at 389.

Here is a look at Brennan’s progression over the last few seasons, showing just how far the Alaskan has come.

World Cup standings
(Year, Place, Points)
2021 1st 540
2020 17th 553
2019 38th 175
2018 55th 106
2017 65th 64

January 2, 2021

JT Thor

Two monster dunks by Anchorage’s JT Thor led the way to another double-figure scoring performance and helped the Auburn Tigers erase a 14-point second-half deficit against Texas A&M.

Twice in the closing moments the 6-foot-10 freshman rocked the rim, including the game-tying bucket with 14 seconds left.

Texas A&M won the game 68-66 after a last-second jumper.

Thor, of West High fame, finished with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He added five rebounds, one assist and one steal.

Four of his five field goals came in the paint, helping the Alaskan raise his shooting to 43.9 percent on the season.

Thor has started all 10 games for Auburn and is averaging 7.6 points and 3.1 rebounds. He’s also racked up 11 assists, seven steals and seven blocked shots.

January 1, 2021

Nathan Fromm

Anchorage’s Nathan Fromm played hero in his season debut, scoring all 11 of his points in the second half to rescue No. 7 Lewis-Clark State from upset-minded Dickinson State in an 89-85 win on New Year’s Eve.

The junior transfer scored six straight points and assisted on a 3-pointer inside the final minutes to help the Warriors avoid a letdown and stay undefeated through five games in the NAIA.

Fromm didn’t see the floor in the first half. But he was ready to go when his number was called midway through the second half and his team trailing 61-57.

His created an immediate spark with five points in two minutes to fuel a run that put Lewis-Clark State in the lead at 67-66.

Fromm was at it again a few minutes later when he scored six points in 90 seconds, with his final bucket putting the Warriors ahead for good at 79-75 with 3:15 to play.

His assist on a 3-pointer at the 1:20 mark was the final dagger.

Fromm, of Service High fame, saw his minutes jump from 17 to 23 in the second game of the back-to-back series as Lewis-Clark State handled Dickinson State 86-68.

This time he was one of the first options off the bench and finished with eight points, six rebounds and two assists.

December 29, 2020
Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Logo

With 2020 in our rearview, let’s look back on the top 20 Alaska athletes from this year.

Here is the list for our 20 for 2020.

They represent the best of the best from The Last Frontier. History makers, record setters, world champions and more.

From the ski trails to the track and the hardwood to the gridiron, Alaska athletes stole the show in 2020 with historic performances worth celebrating.

Ruthy Hebard

Ruthy Hebard, Fairbanks – The Chicago Sky rookie led the WNBA in field-goal percentage, made a playoff appearance and finished the season with the most rebounds by an Alaskan in league history. She currently ranks top-5 in points and rebounds in the Turkish League. As a college senior with the University of Oregon Ducks, she won the McClain Award and earned First Team All-American honors.

Gus Schumacher

Gus Schumacher, Anchorage – The 19-year-old made U.S. Ski Team history by becoming the first American male to win an individual Junior World gold medal. He also won gold and silver medals at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships, made his World Cup debut and was named winner of the Beck International Trophy, given to the country’s top skier.

Jeremy Swayman hockey

Jeremy Swayman

Jeremy Swayman, Anchorage – In his junior season with the University of Maine Black Bears, the goalie was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award and won the Mike Richter Award. He was a First Team All-American and captured Hockey East Player of the Year honors. He signed an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins, passing up his senior season.

Daishen Nix

Daishen Nix, Anchorage – The prep-to-pro basketball player was the fourth Alaskan ever to be named a McDonald’s All-American before he turned professional straight out of high school, signing a six-figure contract with the NBA G League and passing up a college scholarship offer from the UCLA Bruins. He was also MVP of The Grind Session in his final prep season and led the Trinity Thunder to the Alaska Airlines Classic title.

Alissa Pili basketball

Alissa Pili

Alissa Pili, Anchorage – The University of Southern California Trojans basketball star became the first Alaskan to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors. She also earned All-Pac-12 honors and scored the most points in a season for a USC freshman in 29 years. She became the youngest Alaskan to score 30 points in a NCAA D1 game. Now a sophomore, she is on the preseason watch list for both the Naismith Trophy and McClain Award.

Lydia Jacoby

Lydia Jacoby, Seward – The prep swimmer popped a blistering time of 1:07.57 in the 100-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Open Championships, the second-fastest time in American history among girls 15 to 16 years old. Her time was .52 seconds off the record set in 2000. Her time qualified her for the 2021 Olympic Trials. The high school junior announced she will swim in college for the University of Texas Longhorns.

Rosie Brennan

Rosie Brennan, Anchorage – The Alaska Pacific University veteran became only the second American cross-country skier in U.S. Ski Team history to win back-to-back World Cup races after claiming the 1.5K sprint and 10K titles in the Swiss Alps. She’s one of only six Americans and the second Alaskan to win a World Cup race.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy, Eagle River – The veteran top-ranked mixed-martial arts fighter won all three of her UFC fights this year to improve her professional record to 14-4. She ranks No. 2 in UFC history with five wins in the women’s flyweight division. Her six UFC wins are tied for first all-time among Alaskans and her ten UFC appearances are second.

Tristian Merchant

Tristian Merchant, Anchorage – The Anchorage Christian School senior cross-country runner clocked what is believed to be the fastest 5K time for an Alaska high school runner in 14:41 at the Region III championships. He won the Alaska D2 state title and will run track and cross country in college at Northern Arizona University.

Travante Williams

Travante Williams, Anchorage – The fifth-year professional basketball player earned MVP honors for the second time in his career, this time in the Portuguese League. He led Sporting Lisbon to a 21-1 record and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight season. He also had his seventh 30-point game of his career.

Kelsey Griffin basketball

Kelsey Griffin

Kelsey Griffin, Eagle River – The veteran professional basketball player won her fourth WNBL championship in her eighth season in Australia. She ripped down a game-high 13 rebounds in the title game for the Canberra Capitals. The star forward led the league in rebounds per game and ranked top-10 in both points and steals.

Hunter Sulte

Hunter Sulte, Anchorage – The 18-year-old soccer prodigy agreed to terms on a four-year deal with the Portland Timbers, making him the first Alaskan to sign a Homegrown Player contract with a Major League Soccer team. The goalkeeper turned down a scholarship offer from reigning NCAA champion Georgetown University in favor of a pro contract.

Sydnee Kimber

Sydnee Kimber, Sitka – The McKendree University sophomore wrestler won two national championships and earned her first All-American recognition. She finished the season with a 25-1 record, including a 10-2 upset win over her No. 1-ranked opponent to secure her team’s first-place finish at the NCAA D2 National Duals. At the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship, she outscored her opponents 24-0 at 191 pounds.

Elaina Mack

Elaina Mack, King Cove – The prep basketball player won Class 1A Player of the Year honors and averaged a state-best 40.1 points per game. Her high game was 58. She led her team to a 25-0 record as a senior and ended her high school career on a 55-game winning streak. Mack ended her high school career with 2,577 points. She will play college hoops for the UAA Seawolves.

Jessica Yeaton cross-country skiing

Jessica Yeaton

Jessica Yeaton, Anchorage – The veteran nordic skier won the 46th American Birkebeiner, the largest cross-country ski race in North America. She finished the grueling 50K race in 2 hours, 13 minutes, 20 seconds to beat five-time Olympian Riitta-Liisa Roponen of Finland by 41 seconds. Yeaton is the sixth Alaskan ever to claim a renowned Birkie title.

Josh Rolston

Josh Rolston, Eagle River – The Chugiak Mustangs senior kicked the longest field goal in Alaska high school football history after splitting the uprights from 56 yards out. The two-time Alaska Kicker of the Year bettered the previous state record of 53 yards set in 2010. Rolston is nationally ranked at his position and has college scholarship offers from NCAA D1 programs.

Max Germain

Max Germain, Anchorage – The 18-year-old shocked the biathlon world after winning a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Switzerland. In the youth sprint at the IBU Championships the previous two years he had placed 74th and 66th. But in the 7.5-kilometer sprint he captured the bronze medal after skiing strong and missing just one of his rifle shots. A total of 106 athletes from all around the globe participated.

Finnigan Donley

Finnigan Donley, Anchorage – The teenage downhill skier won the giant slalom and finished fourth overall and third among Americans in the slalom at the Western Regional technical series in Washington. His performance secured him a spot on the U.S. team for the Alpe Cimbra Children’s Cup, the first Alaskan to qualify in 13 years.

Clair DeGeorge

Clair DeGeorge, Anchorage – The Bemidji State University skater was the lone Alaskan invited to the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team Evaluation Camp. At college, the all-conference forward had a pair of goals to power a 3-2 upset win over No. 1-ranked Wisconsin. In a 3-1 win against Minnesota State, she set a school record for fastest back-to-back goals in a span of 11 seconds. She also buried her first-career OT goal to secure 3-2 win over St. Cloud State.

Bill Balog

Bill Balog, North Pole – The veteran sprint car driver known as the ‘North Pole Nightmare’ won the points series champion of the Upper Midwest’s Interstate Racing Association for a record 10th time. He closed out the season in style by winning the 30-lap main event for winged 410s on a lightning quick half-mile dirt track in Wisconsin. It was his 12th victory in 20 races, his most wins in a season since 2017.

December 28, 2020

Vante Hendrix

Anchorage’s Vante Hendrix introduced himself to his new team at Cal State Northridge in true takeover fashion.

With his team trailing by five inside the final two minutes, the junior transfer scored four straight points and assisted on the go-ahead bucket with 20 seconds left to supply a 66-63 win over New Mexico State in his first appearance of the season.

If the Matadors didn’t know they had a dynamic difference maker, they do know.

Hendrix, of West High fame, in the second half pumped in nine of his 11 points and went 5-for-5 from the free-throw line.

He was subbed in at the 16-minute mark with his team down 42-34 and played the rest of the game, sparking a come-from-behind victory that gave Northridge (4-3) its first win in two weeks.

The 6-foot-5 guard also grabbed six rebounds and added two assists and two steals in 28 minutes. His rebound total was one shy of his career high.

Hendrix was only on the court after the NCAA last week granted a blanket waiver that made all transfers immediately eligible to provide teams with more flexibility in the midst of the pandemic.

He comes to Northridge after spending his sophomore season at New Mexico and his freshman season at Utah.

Hendrix is a bona fide scorer worth taking a chance on.

He has reached double figures nine times in 23 career games with highs of 19 and 20 points. For his career he has averaged 8.7 points in 22 minutes, a scoring average that improves to 11.4 when he plays at least 26 minutes.

December 27, 2020

Fairbanks basketball player Jeremiah Bailey earned Alaska Athlete of the Week honors after pulling down a career-high 13 rebounds and scoring 12 points for D1 University of the Pacific in a 92-64 route of Westmont.

The senior guard did his damage in just 26 minutes, giving him a double-double in back-to-back games.

The Monroe Catholic High graduate opened the season with a career-high 25-point effort and is now averaging a team-best 14.8 points per game through the first four.

The 6-foot-6 guard is also averaging a career-best 8.5 rebounds per game, thanks to his handywork on the glass.

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.

December 26, 2020

Mario Chalmers

Anchorage’s Mario Chalmers is shooting the lights out in the Greek League.

The veteran guard leads his team with a career-best 3-point percentage of 44.4, putting him on pace to eclipse the 40 percent benchmark for only the second time in 12 pro seasons.

On the day after Christmas, he knocked down 4-of-5 from deep on his way to scoring a season-high 16 points.

Chalmers, of Bartlett High fame, ranks third on his team in scoring at 10.5 points per game and has reached double figures in the last three in a row.

He is on pace to have his greatest 3-point shooting season since firing a 40.9 clip in 2013 with the Miami Heat.

He played nine seasons in the NBA, his last coming in 2018 with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Never one to lack confidence, Chalmers thinks he should still be in the NBA. He might have a point.

Chalmers has been eating up the competition in Europe, winning the 2019 Champions League with Bologna, Italy, and the 2020 Greek Cup with Athens, Greece.

Now he’s with Aris Thessaloniki out of Macedonia, Greece, and is on pace to make 2021 his greatest 3-point shooting season.

Chalmers was Alaska’s first basketball player to win championships at the high school, college and pro level.

December 25, 2020

Trevor Dunbar

The running career of Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar is the stuff of legends.

His success ranges from seven-time prep champion to junior national champion to eight-time NCAA All-American to the professional ranks.

Dunbar has added a new chapter: college coach.

The 29-year-old was just hired by the University of California Berkeley as a new assistant coach for cross country and distance running.

“I am thrilled to welcome Trevor to the Cal family,” said Cal’s operations director Robyne Johnson. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and world-class experience with him to help our young team grow and compete at the highest level.”

Dunbar, of Kodiak High fame, will join his fourth NCAA D1 program since the end of his college career in 2014. He spent a few years coaching at his alma mater at Oregon (2014-2016) before taking similar jobs at Boston (2018) and Florida State (2019).

His new gig at Cal will bring him back to the Pac-12 Conference.

At Oregon, the decorated distance runner earned All-Pac-12 honors in the 1,500, 5,000 and 8,000 in track and helped the Ducks win two national championships as a team. He was also named Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year in cross country.

In 2013, Dunbar became the first Alaskan to break the famed four-minute mark in the mile.

December 22, 2020

Bethany Carstens

University of Nevada women’s basketball player Bethany Carstens of Kenai made her Wolf Pack debut a year early.

Thanks to an assist from the NCAA.

The sophomore guard was going to redshirt this season due to traditional D1-to-D1 transfer rules, but last week the NCAA granted a blanket waiver that made all transfers immediately eligible to provide teams with more flexibility in the midst of the pandemic.

The ruling was made fewer than 48 hours before Nevada took the court against Fresno Pacific. Carstens made a brief appearance in the second quarter, committing a foul and missing a 3-pointer before going back to the bench for the rest of the night.

Last night, though, Carstens played a significantly larger role against Saint Mary’s. She logged 28 minutes, knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and finished with eight points and two steals as one of the first options off the bench.

Credit goes to Carstens for being ready to hit the ground running. She didn’t get caught slippin.

The NCAA granted waivers to players who were sitting out after transferring for the first time from a four-year institution, and only those who were enrolled full-time in the fall semester of 2020 would qualify.

Carstens, of Nikiski High fame, played her freshman season at Chicago State, where she started 17 of 27 games and finished second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game.

She led the team in 3-point percentage (.388) and her 54 made 3s ranked No. 9 all-time in school history for a single season.

Twice, she drilled at least one 3-pointer in 10 straight games – Nov. 5 to Dec 7 and then Jan. 2 to Feb. 13.