Running pioneer Marcie Trent and hockey professional Matt Carle will headline the Class of 2020 inductions into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
Trent and Carle were the lone selections from the people category and will be joined by the Yukon 800 riverboat race from the event category and the University of Alaska Anchorage’s stunning upset of Boston College in the 1991 NCAA Hockey Tournament from the moment category.
This will be the 14th class honored by the Hall, which uses a selection process based on votes from the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame selection panel, past inductees and the public.
“We’re thrilled with this class and look forward to welcoming them to the Hall,” said Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director Harlow Robinson. “Hockey and motor sports are Alaskan sports to the core and this class represents both well. And Marcie Trent is an absolute legend in masters running on the national level so this type of honor here at home is well-deserved.”
The Class of 2020 induction ceremony will be Tuesday, April 28 at the Anchorage Museum.
The white-haired Trent, who weighed about 100 pounds and stood barely 5 feet tall, was a huge inspiration to the Alaskan running community after picking up the sport at age 50.
She grew up on a farm in Nampa, Idaho, and moved to Anchorage in 1954, where she and husband Ralph Waldron obtained a 160-acre homestead near the present-day Tudor and Lake Otis roads. She began running in the late 1960s and among her accomplishments were once holding nine national age-group records ranging from 800 meters to an ultramarathon, and five age world records for a female marathoner in her 60s. Trent won Fairbanks’ Equinox Marathon three times and remains its oldest champion at age 58. She also won the famous Pikes Peak Marathon at age 57 and was the first Alaskan woman over age 50 to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Marcie completed 59 marathons and 11 ultramarathons and logged more than 71,000 lifetime miles in her life. Trent was inducted into the USA Track & Field Masters Hall of Fame in 2001.
Marcie and John Trent, her second husband, also formed the Pulsators Running Club, likely Alaska’s first such organization. “For Marcie, the motto of the Pulsators Running Club was ‘Run and Rejoice,’” Alex Monterrosa said.
And rejoice she did, whether it was running on the trails she was so passionate about, organizing races, giving advice to aspiring runners, running in sub-zero temperatures, or completing marathons in Japan, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts and elsewhere.
In 1995, Trent, age 77, and her son Larry Waldron were killed by a bear while running in Chugach State Park. Their funeral drew more than 500 mourners, including Gov. Tony Knowles. The Trent/Waldron Half Marathon and 10K continues to this day in their memory.
Meanwhile, Carle made his mark in college and professional hockey after growing up in Anchorage and excelling in the sport with his two younger brothers. As a 6-foot defenseman, Carle helped the University of Denver to two national championships and won college hockey’s top individual award, the Hobey Baker, in 2006.
In 2003, the San Jose Sharks drafted Carle in the second round of the National Hockey League draft. He scored a goal in his NHL debut with the Sharks in 2006 and earned a spot on the 2006-07 NHL all-rookie team. His pro career spanned 12 seasons with San Jose, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia and Nashville, where he tallied 45 goals and 238 assists. Carle also competed in 127 playoffs games and twice reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
His accomplishments as an Alaskan hockey player are matched only by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame inductee Scott Gomez.
“I want to thank my family for all the sacrifices they have made on behalf of my career,” Carle said at his retirement announcement in 2016. “My parents, brothers and wife Clancey allowed me to focus on the pursuit of playing the best sport in the world, in the best league of the world, and I will always be grateful.”
The Yukon 800 is billed as the “longest, roughest and toughest speed boat race in the world.” Created as the “Arctic Circle Marathon” in 1960, it evolved into a two-day event each June that starts in Fairbanks, overnights in Galena and ends in Fairbanks after 800 miles on the Tanana and Yukon rivers.
Competitors build low-slung 24-foot long boats from scratch using Sitka spruce for the framework and plywood for the hull. The riverboats are powered with 50-horsepower engines and can reach speeds of more than 70 miles per hour.
There is no shortage of danger and obstacles for the boats’ captains, engineers and navigators. “Unpredictable weather such as high winds, rain and hail, blowing sand from river sandbars, smoke from nearby forest fires and fog can limit visibility,” said a race history published by the Fairbanks Outboard Association. “Large trees, logs and other drift wash from the riverbanks and ride the current down the rivers. All can be a determining factor in the most meticulous plans of even the most seasoned captain and crew.”
The inaugural race in 1960 from Circle City to Fairbanks took winner Ray Kasola and crew more than 26 hours. The race record now stands at 11 hours, 52 minutes by Harold Attla’s crew in 2007. Attla is also the winningest captain with 10 titles on the boats Hughes Blues and My Pleasure.
For the moment category, UAA’s hockey upset of Boston College in 1991 was hard to fathom. The Seawolves were an independent team without a league at the time. BC, led by Hobey Baker winner David Emma, was a perennial Hockey East powerhouse playing on its home ice in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament a year after reaching the national semifinals.
“I thought BC would blow them out of the building,” said Jack Parker, the coach of BC’s rival Boston University, in a 2019 article published by USCHO.com.
But the Seawolves, led by coach Brush Christiansen, showed no fear in the best 2-of-3 series that pitted the West Region’s sixth-seeded team against the East Region’s third-ranked squad. They beat the Eagles 3-2 in the opener, keyed by goals from Rob Conn and Brian Kraft. The next night UAA clinched the series 3-1. Goalie Paul Krake was among the heroes, making 39 saves in the second game.
“This was huge news in Anchorage,” Doyle Woody, an Anchorage Daily News reporter who attended the series, told USCHO.com. “Both game stories were on the front page of the newspaper, which is, other than radio or TV, how a lot of people found out.”
The Seawolves lost to eventual national champion Northern Michigan in the NCAA quarterfinals and finished the campaign 22-17-4 but their victory in the “David vs. Goliath” series against BC was never forgotten.
Nearly 1,000 people participated in the public vote this November. The cumulative public vote is submitted as one ballot. Each selection panel member submits a ballot of their own, with the final ballot coming from the cumulative vote of the living Alaska Sports Hall of Fame inductees.
Upon enshrinement, inductee portraits are permanently displayed at the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Gallery at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Each inductee is recognized on the site with their own page featuring a written biography, video profile, and photo gallery.
For full list of Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Inductees, click here.
Alaska Sports Hall of Fame selection panel: Beth Bragg (panel chair), sports editor, Anchorage Daily News; Bruce Cech, Fairbanks sports broadcaster and journalist; Lew Freedman, former Anchorage Daily News sports editor and author of numerous books about Alaska sports; Mike Janecek, longtime Mat-Su Valley high school coach and athletics administrator; Danny Martin, sports editor, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner; Kathleen Navarre, Kodiak and Dimond High School coach and administrator; Keith Perkins, Sitka-based high school sports official and broadcaster; Mike Sica, longtime Southeast and Fairbanks sports broadcaster and journalist, and Doyle Woody, sports writer and editor at the Anchorage Daily News for 34 years.