Incredible and inspiring Alaska athletes were selected to be honored by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame with the Class of 2019 Directors’ Awards.
The Hall of Fame created the annual Directors’ Awards in 2012 as a way to pay tribute to the state’s community leaders. The awards were expanded last year to include youth winners.
The Directors’ Award recipients will be recognized April 25 at the Class of 2019 Hall of Fame ceremony headlined by individual inductees Chad Bentz and Corey Cogdell-Unrein, event category winner Alaska Run for Women and the moment winner of Kodiak’s upset of perennial powerhouse East Anchorage in the 2001 high school state title game.
This will be the 13th class to be 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.
The Directors’ Awards are selected by the Hall of Fame’s board of directors.
For more info on the awards and past winners, go here
Here are the 2019 Directors’ Adult Award winners:
Joe Floyd Award: For Significant and Lasting Contribution to Alaska Through Sports
Winner: Brush Christiansen
Christiansen helped start the UAA hockey program and coached the team to a 287-229-30 record from 1979-96. His biggest success was leading the Seawolves to the quarterfinals of the 1991 NCAA Tournament in just their sixth season of Division I play. His 287 career wins is more than the other five UAA coaches combined and his .533 career winning percentage is more than 214 points better than next highest. Christiansen has remained active in Anchorage’s hockey community for decades, coaching at youth levels, and helping putting on camps and clinics.
Trajan Langdon Award: For Leadership, Sportsmanship and Inspiration
Winners: Andy Beardsley and Larsen Klingel
Andy Beardsley pushed his friend Larsen Klingel in a wheelchair through rain, wind and cold at the 2018 Boston Marathon. Klingel has cerebral palsy. The pair became friends as elementary students in Anchorage and graduated form East High School together in 1982. Although Beardsley had moved to Virginia and Klingel to Homer, they stayed in touch over the years and discussed doing a marathon together. The friends finished in 3 hours, 40 minutes to rank in the top half of the field of more than 25,000 participants.
Pride of Alaska Award: For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition
Female Winner: Caroline Kurgat
A UAA senior from Kenya, Kurgat won national titles in the 5,000 and 3,000-meter runs at the NCAA indoor track and field championships, leading the Seawolves to a program-best fourth-place in the women’s standings. That brought her total of individual national championships to five. In January 2019, Kurgat also ran the fastest 3,000 and 5,000-meter times in NCAA Division II history.
Male Winner: Keegan Messing
A Girdwood native, Messing won his first Grand Prix medal, a silver, at the 2018 Skate Canada International. He also placed third at Canadian nationals. Representing Canada, he placed 12th at the 2018 Olympics. He was also the 2018 Nebelhorn Trophy champion and won a silver medal in the Grand Prix of Figure Skating at the 2018 Skate Canada International.
Here are the 2019 Directors’ Youth Awards:
Pride of Alaska Youth Award: For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition
Female Winner: Kendall Kramer, Fairbanks (West Valley)
The 16-year-old junior won the Mount Marathon junior race and individual high school state championships in track, cross country running and cross-country skiing. In skiing, she claimed two titles at the Junior Nationals in Anchorage (with two races remaining) and placed 4th at the World Junior Ski Championships in Finland while competing against much older girls.
Male Winner: Jersey Truesdell, Soldotna
An all-state performer in football and basketball, Truesdell is perhaps known for playing his best in the biggest moments. In football, the junior was named all-state at both quarterback and defensive back for the Solotna Stars and was named Alaska Division 2 Offensive Player of the Year. In basketball, he was named third team all-state and at the Class 4A state tournament his 31 points carried the Stars to a first-round upset win.
Trajan Langdon Youth Award: For Leadership, Sportsmanship and Inspiration
Winner: South High Boys Basketball Team
For two years, Dallin Lewis was a part of the South High boys basketball team. Even though he never played, the team devoted manager shared a strong sense of camaraderie with his teammates and was always on hand to support his Wolverines. On Senior Night, his team returned the favor when South coach Jamaal Sigh inserted him into the game in the final seconds against East. Lewis, who has a learning disability, scored a layup just before the final buzzer in a magical moment.