Congrats to this week’s winner!
July 31st, 2020
West High School senior Jack Opinsky hit a two-run single that provided a 3-2 walk-off victory over Wasilla in the championship game of the Alliance Baseball State Tournament. In a stunning reversal of fortune, the Eagles scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and final inning capped by Opinsky’s frozen rope into the outfield. The head coach’s son, Opinsky was named the tournament’s Gold Glove Award winner. But it was his big hit that gave West High School its first state title since 1977 and gave his father, who is a battling a brain tumor, a “proud dad” moment for the history books.
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Alaska Athlete of the Week is selected each Friday with the winner announced every Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Sports Guys on CBS Sports 590AM and 96.7FM and Monday morning on our Facebook page. Have a candidate in mind? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 24th, 2020
Leland Wilson, an 18-year-old left-handed pitcher for the Anchorage’s West Eagles, tossed a 2-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over defending state champion Juneau on the first day of the Alliance Baseball League State Tournament at Mulcahy Stadium. The flamethrower fanned seven in the first three innings and struck out the side in the seventh and final inning. The 2020 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year, Leland is headed to NCAA D1 Texas Tech this fall.
July 17th, 2020
Anchorage basketball player Derrick Wilson helped the Golden Eagles win The Basketball Tournament’s $1 million grand prize. The team of Marquette alumni bested a 24-team field loaded with former NBA and college players in the winner-take-all tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Wilson, of East High fame, is coming off a sensational season in Sweden, where he averaged a career-best 19.8 points per game. At Marquette, the 6-foot-1 guard was more of a facilitator and he again played that role with the Golden Eagles. The Alaskan was on the squad last year that lost the TBT championship game.
Abigail Ante and Mark McMahan
July 10th, 2020
Anchorage golfers Abigail Ante and Mark McMahan are separated by 44 years of age but both won their first state match-play championships. Abigail, 15, went 2-1 in the round-robin semifinals. She then tied for 3rd the next week in the Alaska Women’s Amateur championship. McMahan, 59, won all five matches to claim the senior men’s title 43 years after making his state amateur debut as a teenager in Fairbanks.
July 3rd, 2020
Anchorage endurance cyclist Aaron Thrasher won the Kenai 250 bike race after he tied for second place in both 2019 and 2017 and took third in 2018. He completed the 265 mile course in 26 hours, 43 minutes. Much of the self-supported race is on single track trails, and climbs 30,000 feet of elevation. It travels from Hope to Seward and back on routes including the Resurrection Pass, Russian Lakes, Lost Lake and Johnson Pass trails as well as some paved roads that connect them.
June 26th, 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. Lauren 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.
Tristan Sayre and Noah Ottum
June 19th, 2020
Colorado School of Mines wrestler Noah Ottum and University of Alaska Fairbanks skier Tristan Sayre were both named to the COSIDA Academic All-America team. A South Anchorage High School graduate, Ottum graduated in May with a B.S. in engineering physics. 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.
Reggie Drummond and Julian McPhail
June 12th, 2020
Mat-Su Valley football standouts Reggie Drummond and Julian McPhail helped 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 a 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, played a key role in welcoming different political groups to the event and encouraging them to join together peacefully. Drummond will be playing football at Dakota State University this fall. McPhail is entering his sophomore season as a defensive back for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
June 5th, 2020
13-year old Haley Finch of Anchorage completed the most miles out of over 3,000 people in the 2020 Healthy Futures 100 Miles in May Challenge, logging 887.9 miles of activity over the month of May. With COVID-19 causing much of normal life to be canceled, the middle school student put her focus into the statewide event which allows participants to convert all activities to miles. Using a structured routine she placed ahead of household names like Kikkan Randall and Allie Ostrander.
Tyson Flaharty, Janice Tower, Lael Wilcox
May 29th, 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 equivalent of from sea level to the top of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,029 feet, all in different parts of the state. Janice was in Anchorage, Lael at Hatcher Pass, and Tyson in Fairbanks.
May 22nd, 2020
Even without the benefit of a high school track season, Anchorage’s Tristian Merchant managed to create a title-worthy performance. The ACS incoming senior 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.
May 15th, 2020
Pauline Tufi hit more home runs and collected more RBI than any other Alaskan softball player at the NCAA Division 1 level. The West Anchorage High School legend was recently recognized for her hitting and pitching prowess as one of 10 players voted to the Louisiana Tech all-decade team in an online poll. Tufi hit 35 homers and drove in 154 runs from 2014-17, which ranks second all-time at LaTech. She was also a three-time all-Conference USA selection and holds the school’s single-season record for pitching saves with six in 2015.
May 8th, 2020
Travante 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. The Anchorge Native and Mt. Edgecumbe High School graduate 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.
May 1st, 2020
The Anchorage native decided not to play basketball at UCLA as previously planned and join the NBA G League professional pathway program, a new program that prepares elite high school players for the NBA draft. His choice sent shock waves throughout the college basketball world. The 6-foot-5 Nix is a consensus five-star high school recruit and ranked as one of the top high school point guards in the country. Even though Nix played high school basketball in Las Vegas he considers himself an Alaskan and regularly wore Alaska gear under his high school jersey.
April 24th, 2020
With high school spring sports canceled, the South High running and skiing standout decided to get proactive. A junior from Girdwood, Ava signed up for the Healthy Futures 100 Miles in May Challenge, which created a “bonus” month in April, and put the challenge out to other high schoolers around the state Her team, Ava’s Domination Squad has 37 members and has logged 4,792 miles of activity, first among all 163 teams entered. And her outreach efforts led to dozens of high school teams and hundreds of students across Alaska racking up huge miles while enjoying a friendly competition.
April 17th, 2020
The Fairbanks hoops standout became the only the fourth Alaskan to be drafted in the WNBA after being selected by the Chicago Sky with the 8th pick of the 2020 draft. The West Valley graduate was recently named the McCain Award winner as the nation’s top power forward and was selected first-team All American . She leaves the University of Oregon as only the second Alaskan to record 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her collegiate career.
April 10th, 2020
Anchorage’s Morgan Hill was selected for her performance off the field of play. Now that her stellar college softball career at the University of Missouri-St. Louis has ended, the former East High standout will continue to play a starring role in the next chapter of her life. The 23-year-old next month will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and is eager to begin a career on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
April 3rd, 2020
The Colony High School basketball standout was named Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches 4A Player of the Year. Patrick drew attention throughout the year with his highlight reel dunks and overall offensively ability, but his coach attributed his work on the defensive side of the court to him becoming a more well-rounded player and one of Alaska’s top basketball talents in recent years. A junior, Patrick has committed to playing at D1 Montana State after high school.
March 27th, 2020
The Anchorage Christian School hoops standout was recently named the Gatorade Alaska Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Destiny averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game in leading ACS to a 21-1 record. She also has a 3.98 grade point average and has committed to playing on scholarship for the University of Alaska Fairbanks this fall.
March 20th, 2020
The University of Maine Men’s Hockey junior netminder led the NCAA with 1,099 saves and finished with three shutouts in his last five starts in becoming the winner of the 68th Walter Brown Award, which is presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. The Walter Brown Award is the nation’s oldest nationally recognized college hockey honor. Jeremy is the first Alaskan since Ty Conklin in 2001 to win the award.
March 13th, 2020
The Sitka wrestler capped her sensational sophomore season by winning two national titles – one on her own and one with McKendree University. The 191-pounder went 3-0 in her weight class and did not allow a point, outscoring her opponents 24-0 at the National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships. Kimber, of Mt. Edgecumbe fame, won two matches by pin and the other by technical fall.
March 6th, 2020
The Anchorage skier wiped away decades of frustration for the US Ski Team by becoming the first American male to win a World Junior Championship. Gus used a killer kick over the final two kilometers to come from behind and snag the gold medal in the 10-K classic race in Germany by 4.5 seconds. The Service High grad’s gold at the U20 international competition is the first medal ever by an American male at World Juniors.
February 28th, 2020
Jessica won the American Birkebeiner in dominating fashion after breaking away from the lead pack and skiing the final 20 kilometers solo. The APU Nordic Ski Team member and 2018 Olympian finished in 2 hours, 13 minutes, 20 seconds, to beat Finland’s Riitta-Liisa Roponen, a five-time Olympian, by 41 seconds. Jessica topped a field of 766 women in the 50-kilometer freestyle event regarded as the biggest cross-country ski race in North America. The South Anchorage High School graduate became the 6th Alaskan to win the “Birkie”.
February 21st, 2020
Andrew Kurka, of Palmer, won three of six races at the Para Alpine Skiing World Cup in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia. In the sit ski downhill competition, the two-time Winter Paralympic Games medalist crashed in the first two competition, but completed the course to win on the third day. He also won a Super-G race Feb. 16 and a Giant Slalom event Feb. 19.
February 14th , 2020
Max Germain of Anchorage shocked the biathlon world with a bronze medal at the recent IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Switzerland. In the youth sprint at the IBU Championships the previous two years he had placed 74th and 66th. But at the 7.5-kilometer sprint the 18 year old won the bronze medal after skiing strong and missing just one of his rifle shots. A total of 106 athletes from countries around the globe participated.
February 7th , 2020
Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the No. 3 Oregon women’s basketball team made history with a 74-56 victory over No. 4 UConn. The Ducks handed UConn its first home loss since 2013 and most lopsided loss ever at Gampel Pavilion, where the Huskies have gone 296-8 since the 1993-94 season. The 6-foot-4 senior produced more points in the paint than the entire UConn team. The West Valley High grad has 10 double-doubles in 22 games this season.
January 31st , 2020
The Dimond High senior turned in a stellar performance in the The Alaska Airlines Classic, capped off by a thrilling 42 point performance in a 70-63 loss to Trinity International School from Las Vegas in the championship game. The 6-foot guard shot 16-of-32 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line for the game and finished as the tournament scoring leader with 90 points in three games.
January 24th, 2020
The Anchorage basketball player piled up 19 points to go with a career-high 17 rebounds and converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 29 seconds left to push the USC Trojans to a 70-68 victory over No. 7 UCLA in double overtime. The Dimond High grad collected collected six points and four rebounds in the second OT, anchoring USC’s first win over a top-10 opponent since 2017. Alissa’s performance earned her Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Week honors.
January 17th, 2020
The Sitka wrestler had the match of her life, carrying a shutout into the final minute and upsetting the No. 1-ranked wrestler in her weight class at the NCAA D2 National Duals. Her victory was vital in helping the McKendree University Bearcats secure its second straight national championship. The No. 2-ranked wrestler earned a 10-2 decision over No. 1 Emily Cue of Simon Fraser at 191 pounds in the final match of the night, tying the team score at 19-19 and forcing a tiebreaker to determine the title. The defeat of Cue avenged the only loss that the Mt. Edgecumbe High School grad has against a collegiate opponent this year.
January 10th, 2020
The Anchorage downhill skier won the giant slalom and finished fourth overall and third among Americans in the slalom race at the Western Regional technical series in Washington. His performance secured his berth on the U.S. team traveling to Italy next month to compete with the top junior skiers in the world at the Alpe Cimbra Children’s Cup. The West High freshman is the first Alaskan to qualify for the event in 13 years.
January 3rd, 2020
The Anchorage skier won his first Senior National Championship title in his debut national championship race. Just 19 years old, the Service High School grad won the men’s 1.5-kilometer freestyle sprint in 3:02.95 against a deep field that included several Olympians. Gus followed this spectacular effort with a 2nd place finish in the 15K interval start freestyle.
December 27th, 2019
The Bethel High School wrestler won a historic fourth individual state championship. His win capped an undefeated season and made him one of only 16 Alaska high school athletes in history to pull off a four-peat. Hayden won titles at 160 pounds as a senior and junior, at 145 pounds as a sophomore and at 132 pounds as a freshman. He signed a letter of intent to wrestle at NCAA Division I Wyoming next year.
December 20th, 2019
Taylor had never raced an ultramarathon, let alone one with 60 obstacles but he crushed the Spartan Ultra 50K in Los Olivos, California, taking the victory in 5 hours, 24 minutes and 50 seconds over 50 kilometers (31 miles). The Service High School graduate caught the frontrunner at about mile 21 and never looked back, winning by more than four minutes.
December 13th, 2019
Megan punched her ticket to the US Olympic Marathon Trials by finishing the California International Marathon in 2 hours, 43 minutes and 52 seconds to eclipse the required 2 hours, 45 minutes by 68 seconds. The impressive performance vaulted the 28-year old Soldotna runner into fourth place on the Alaska all-time fastest women’s marathons list.
Sadie Maubet Bjornsen
December 6th, 2019
The U.S. Ski Team member from Anchorage became the first American woman to wear the yellow bib that goes to the overall leader of the World Cup. Maubet Bjornsen placed third in the season-opening 1.4-kilometer classic sprint on November 29, as she lunged to edge Norway’s Ane Appelkvist by .01 seconds. She followed that up a day later with fourth place in the 10-kilometer interval start classic race, missing another podium by just 1.3 seconds. Those were enough to boost her to the top of the World Cup overall standings.
November 29th, 2019
Kelsey reached a major milestone in spectacular fashion. The veteran 6-foot-2 forward from Eagle River scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the UC Capitals to an 84-66 win over the Perth Lynx in Australia in the WNBL. Griffin of Chugiak High fame, has no amassed 4,017 career points since turning pro in 2010 and is believed to be the highest scoring women’s pro basketball player from Alaska.
November 22nd, 2019
Spencer Woods of Shungnak qualified for the Olympic Trials in Greco-Roman wrestling by winning the silver medal at 170 pounds at the Bill Farrell Memorial in New York City. Woods, of Kotzebue High fame, is a former standout at the University of Maryland. Woods won four matches by a combined 24-6 score and was the top American in his weight. Earlier this month, Woods won a gold medal at the Malar Cupen in Sweden.
November 15th, 2019
Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks helped No. 1-ranked University of Oregon hand the American senior national team its first loss to a college team in 20 years after a 93-86 exhibition win in Eugene, Oregon. The West Valley grad bagged 18 points and 11 rebounds against Team USA, which included WNBA all-stars like Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Sylvia Fowles. Following the historic win, Hebard scored 40 points and grabbed 27 rebounds over two wins to start the regular season and became the 4th woman in school history to reach the 1,000 career rebound mark.
November 8th, 2019
Running her first marathon, Kikkan Randall finished 51st among more than 22,000 women in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds at the New York City Marathon. The five-time Olympian and 2018 gold medalist’s result ranks Randall as the 11th fastest Alaskan female ever. Randall attended the NYC Marathon last year as a spectator but was unable to participate as planned because she was undergoing treatment for stage 2 breast cancer. She has since finished her treatment and says she feels great.
November 1st, 2019
The Maine Black Bears goaltender turned aside 31 of 32 shots in a 2-1 road win over Vermont in the Hockey East conference. The junior from Anchorage ranks third in the country with 202 saves in six games. He has a 4-2 record with career-best 2.20 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage.
October 25th, 2019
Owen Mulhaney ran for 174 yards and three touchdowns and set a school single-season rushing record as the Houston Hawks completed an undefeated season and won their first state championship by downing Barrow 41-8 in the Division III football championship.
October 18th, 2019
Six months after setting the double-amputee marathon world record in Boston (02:42:24), former UAA runner Marko Chesto rewrote the record book by finishing the Chicago Marathon in 2:37:23, breaking his old record by five minutes. Marko attributes his faster time to nutrition and training volume. Cheseto signed with Nike recently as an adaptive athlete. “I didn’t anticipate I’d be sponsored by Nike,” said Cheseto in regards to when he started running marathons.
October 11th, 2019
Eagle River’s Alev Kelter powered Team USA to a gold medal with three straight strong scoring games on the final day of a World Rugby Sevens series tournament. The 28-year-old playmaker tallied 27 of the team’s 74 total points in Team USA’s wins over Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Kelter’s 30 tournament appearances is most in USA Women’s rugby sevens history.
October 4th, 2019
The Bartlett High School Golden Bears running back scored five touchdowns and rushed for 345 yards on 34 carries in a 58-35 Senior Day victory over the Wasilla Warriors. Lilio capped off his outstanding performance with a 52-yard game-sealing touchdown run in which he broke several tackles.
September 27th, 2019
The Anchorage runner shattered the Equinox Marathon record, Alaska’s longest standing running record, on a cold muddy course in Fairbanks. The win is the latest in a string of impressive achievements for the former South Anchorage Wolverines and BYU Cougars standout who will be competing in the US Olympic marathon trials in February 2020.
September 20th, 2019
Mikey won the Alyeska Climbathon and became the first person to complete 13 trips up the mountain’s North Face trail in less than 10 hours. The win was the third straight for the 17-year-old mountain running prodigy from Eagle River.
September 13th, 2019
One of the Alaska’s top runners in the ’80s and ’90s Ray set the 65-69 age-group national record by running 12,850 meters in an hour, breaking the previous U.S. record of 11,795 meters set in 2017.
September 6th, 2019
Using her 5th year of collegiate eligibility after an All-American volleyball career at The Master’s University, the multi-sport standout netted two goals in a 2-1 win over Kansas Wesleyan. The South Anchorage Wolverines graduate now has two goals and two assists for a team-best six points through the first five games.
August 30th, 2019
The Anchorage professional bowler beat three consecutive opponents in the stepladder finals to win the PBA Wolf Open in Aurora, Illinois. The 14-year veteran now has 14 career PBA titles.
August 23rd, 2019
The Anchorage endurance athlete recently finished 2nd in the Leadville 100 in Colorado – one the most famous and grueling ultramarathons in the world.