A teenager who ruled the ski slopes and five who reigned as state champions are in the running for the 2023 Pride of Alaska youth awards.
The six were chosen from a field of 24 athletes and one team nominated for the annual awards presented by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors. Winners will be announced April 5.
The Pride of Alaska youth awards recognizes Alaska’s outstanding male and female high school athlete or team over the past year.
Alpine skier Finnigan Donley of Anchorage, a two-time national age-group champion, is a finalist for the boys award along with two-way football star Jack Nash of Colony High and record-breaking swimmer P.J. Foy of Thunder Mountain High School.
Up for the girls award are three seniors with a slew of state championships.
Sayvia Sellers of Anchorage Christian broke the Alaska career scoring record in basketball while leading her team to a third straight state title; Trinity Donovan of Soldotna became Alaska’s third girl to win four individual state wrestling titles; and Olivia Mamae of East Anchorage won three events at last year’s state track and field championships.
Winners will be announced April 5 by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame at 3pm AST, on their Facebook Live in an awards show produced in partnership with Alaska’s News Source.
The Pride of Alaska youth winners will be among seven recipients of Directors Awards at the Hall of Fame’s annual banquet April 27 at the Anchorage Museum.
Highlighting the night will be the induction of the Class of 2023 — Fairbanks football player Reggie Tongue and Palmer basketball player Jessica Moore in the individuals category; Kikkan Randall’s 2018 Olympic gold medal in the moments category and March Madness Alaska/state high school basketball championships in the event category.
Trinity Donovan pinned every opponent she faced in her senior season at Soldotna High while crafting a 30-0 record in the 145-pound weight class.
She wrapped up her career with a fourth straight state title — something accomplished by only two other Alaska girls — plus two consecutive undefeated seasons and a 70-match winning streak.
Olyvia Mamae raced to three state track titles for the East Thunderbirds, flashing her speed in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 100 hurdles to be named the 2022 Alaska Gatorade girls athlete of the year.
She also used her speed and agility to lead the East flag football team.
Sayvia Sellers, a 5-foot-7 point guard, is a Naismith All-American and one of the most highly regarded girls basketball players to come from Alaska.
She established the state scoring record with 2,651 career points in four seasons at Anchorage Christian, which she led to four straight state championships.
- Emma Beck, Kenai Central (volleyball, track, basketball);
- Rosie Conway, East Anchorage (mountain running, skiing)
- Aileen Lester, Newhalen (wrestling, basketball, cross country)
- Mai Mateaki, Dimond (flag football, soccer)
- Emily McCutcheon, South Anchorage (softball)
- Campbell Peterson, Chugkak (cross country, track)
- Olivia Soderstrom, Service (skiing)
- Lauren Sulte, Dimond (volleyball)
- Tikigaq girls basketball team
Finnigan Donley continued his emergence as one of the nation’s top young alpine racers with strong showings at the World Junior Championships and the U.S. Junior National Championships.
At the World Juniors in Austria, he led Team USA in the super-G with a 13th-place finish. At the Junior Nationals, he took home gold medals in the downhill and super-G and added bronze in the slalom to cruise to the overall title.
P.J. Foy broke the 100 butterfly record at the state high school swimming championships for Thunder Mountain and set six state age-group records for the Glacier Swim Club at the USA Swimming Winter Junior Nationals West meet.
In his final high school season, Foy showed his versatility by winning titles in the 100 butterfly and the 200 freestyle — a year after taking titles in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM.
Colony quarterback Jack Nash accounted for a state-best 37 touchdowns to lead the Knights to their first Division I state football title. In 11 games he racked up 2,651 yards and 34 touchdowns on offense and added a state-high 12 interceptions and three touchdowns on defense.
In Colony’s 14-7 state-title win over Juneau, Nash scored both of his team’s touchdowns and amassed 293 totals yards, including all 76 yards in Colony’s winning drive in the fourth quarter.
- Niko Alailefaleula, Bartlett (football)
- Tyler Clooten, Lathrop (football, wrestling)
- Stewart Erhart, West Valley (basketball)
- Elijah Larsen, Colony (wrestling)
- Sloan Lentfer, Grace Christian (basketball)
- Paul Melchert, West Anchorage (freeride skiing)
- Aaron Power, Service (skiing)
- Dylan Shaw, South Anchorage (wrestling)
- Mac Swanson, Anchorage (hockey)
- Carter Tennison, Homer (football)