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The Rewind: West hockey is back on top, Dimond-West girls hockey team pulls off three-peat, and West cross-country skiing squad tops region

Feb. 12—Welcome to The Rewind, a weekly digest that puts a spotlight on the biggest stories and best performances from Alaska's world of sports.

This past week featured several notable team and individual performances across the Alaska sports landscape at the prep, collegiate and professional levels. The postseason for the Division I boys and girls hockey divisions came to a close while cross-country skiing's got underway, all of which had a common theme. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage had quite the busy week and saw impressive and even historic performances and results from several athletes and programs. Outside the state, several Alaskans had impressive performances both domestically and internationally at the collegiate and professional levels.

Headlines and highlights

The 2023-24 high school hockey postseason came to a close for both the Division I boys and girls over the weekend. After coming up short in last year's state final, the West boys made it back to the championship game and made sure they didn't come up short by defeating Dimond 3-2 on Saturday night to claim their first state title since 2020. Senior Henry Sholton had a hand in scoring all three of the Eagles' goals, finding the back of the net twice himself and assisting on the third.

"It's great to see these kids accomplish the goals that we set forth at the beginning of the year and what we've built towards the last two years," West coach Rob Larkey said. "To finally achieve it makes us feel really good."

[ Mission accomplished: West outlasts late rally attempt by Dimond to win Division I boys hockey title]

Earlier that day in the girls state tournament, Dimond-West won state for the third year in a row. After being up by a pair of goals heading into the third period, they had to sweat out and tighten back up defensively to secure a 2-1 victory over Chugiak-Eagle River to finished the season a perfect 13-0.

"We knew that (Chugiak-Eagle River) has got a great team and they gave us three good games prior to today. We knew this was going to be a battle, and they wanted nothing more than to beat us," Dimond-West head coach Brian Gross said. "We came out and played a really good first period and put them on their heels a little bit."

[Dimond/West girls hockey finish undefeated season by claiming third straight championship]

The 2023-24 high school cross-country skiing postseason got underway over the weekend and saw the West boys and girls teams dominate for the second year in a row, sweeping the regional relay races and team titles. The Eagles also had the top finisher in the girls classic race Friday with junior Merridy Littell recording the fastest time, edging out reigning state 7.5-K freestyle champion and Skimeister Olivia Soderstrom of Service who still went on to Skimeiester honors for regions as the top overall skier. Littell was also on the girls relay team that bested the Cougars on Saturday.

"We've had a great team these past three years I've been at West. We've had great team camaraderie, and we've had a great coach organizing and waxing our skis," Littell said. "Everything is just coming together in the perfect way."

[West's Merridy Littell and South's Vebjorn Flagstad claim skiing titles with first-place finishes in Region IV Classic race]

In prep basketball action, just days after snapping the longest winning streak in state history, the Wasilla girls team was upset by rival Colony in a 65-52 defeat last Tuesday. This Friday night's Cook Inlet Conference matchup between defending 4A boys state champion Bettye Davis East Anchorage and Service was supposed to be a clash between titans but instead resulted in a 57-40 blowout for the Thunderbirds, who were led by senior Akeem Sulaiman, who scored a game-high 20 points.

"We played great, came out strong hitting a few threes, got stops, and just tried to get everybody involved and get stops on the other end to create opportunities for our offense," Sulaiman said.

[Dominant defense sparks explosive offense in East boys basketball's rout of Service]

Freshman Claudia Lessig propelled the UAA gymnastics team to a victory Sunday at the Centenary quad meet at the Gold Dome with her first career all-around performance and victory. The Seawolves (7-5) finished with 191.875 points to edge Talladega (191.175) for the top spot followed by Centenary (189.150) and Greenville (187.750). It marked the program's first win in a meet with at least four teams since the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships on Mar. 20, 2009.

"We're proud of today's performance that was packed with season and career highlights for the whole team," UAA head coach Marie-Sophie Boggasch said in a statement. "Led by Claudia's all-around debut, this was a breakout performance for us today."

UAA freshman Joshua Caleb ran a school-record time of 6.73 to win the 60 at the Whitworth Invite on Saturday. The time was just .01 off the all-time record in Great Northwest Athletic Conference history. Caleb also finished second in the 200 but broke another program record with a mark of 21.43 which ranks second in GNAC history. Both feats earned him GNAC Athlete of the Week honors.

Senior sprinter Kevin Angarita ran a school-record mark of 48.21 to finish second in the 400 which ranks fourth all-time in GNAC history and 32nd in Div. II. He followed up with a mark of 22.28 in the 200 which ranks third all-time at UAA and was good enough for eighth place.

The UAA men's hockey team spilt its two-game home series against visiting Long Island University over the weekend by dropping the first 2-1 on Saturday night and bouncing back on Super Bowl Sunday to win 3-1. The Seawolves had four players record goals over the two games, including Anchorage's own Aiden Westin, who has five on the season and two in the team's last three games.

"Great bounce-back win," UAA head coach Matt Shasby said in a statement Sunday. "I was really impressed with (freshman goalie Greg) Orosz's first home start. Tonight was a team effort."

The UAA women's basketball team played a hard-fought game with in-state rival UAF on the road this past Saturday and emerged victorious, 78-75. Junior guard Senya Rabouin continued to stay hot offensively with a team-leading 22 points while Tori Hollingshead recorded her third double-double of the season with 16 points and a team-leading 11 rebounds.

"Credit to UAF — they outcompeted us for the majority of that game," UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy said in a statement. "We showed some good poise down the stretch, executed, and got some big-time offensive rebounds."

Despite a pair of double-figure scoring outings by senior guard Tyson Gilbert, the men's basketball team dropped both of its games last week to extend its losing skid to three.

"The team battled in a tough environment. It was a competitive game between two good teams," UAA head coach Rusty Osborne said in a statement following a 75-66 loss to Central Washington. "We made some defensive mistakes but it was our inability to capitalize on shots around the rim and open looks on the three-point line that ultimately cost us. We are in a tough stretch but our guys are working hard to come out of it."

The Anchorage Wolverines snapped a three game skid over the weekend by splitting their two-game road series with the Chippewa Steel. Both games were decided by one goal with the Wolverines dropping the first 2-1 on Friday before bouncing back with 3-2 victory on Saturday. Anchorage had four players record a goal for the second weekend in a row, including leading scorer Fyodor Nikolayenya, who now has 20 in 39 games to go along with 23 assists for 43 points.

Alaska stars shining Outside

UAA Nordic skier Derek Deuling led Canada to the world title in the mixed relay at the U23 World Championships on Sunday in Slovenia. Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, the junior skied the opening five-kilometer classic portion for Canada and had his team in fifth place before Max Hollman closed the gap to the leaders during the freestyle leg and Liliane Gagnon crushed the final major climb of the loop and sling-shot himself down the last straight to secure the victory.

"Very happy for Derek and the Canadian team," UAA associate head coach Trond Flagstad said in a statement. "Derek has made great progress this year in training and racing, it's well deserved and a good indication of what is to come. We are very excited for him to join the team in Montana for the NCAA Regional Championships. First, he will get a chance to race on the World Cup level in Minneapolis next weekend."

Anchorage's Jahbez Sellers recorded a pair of double-doubles last week for the Spokane Community College men's basketball team. In a 70-54 win over Big Bend on Wednesday, the former East standout finished second on the team in scoring with 17 points and led the Bigfoot with 11 rebounds. Three days later, he did the same in a 64-57 loss to Columbia Basin on Saturday with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

His younger sister Sayvia, of Anchorage Christian School fame, also had a solid week for the University of Washington women's basketball team by reaching double figures in scoring for the third straight game in a 63-59 loss to Stanford University last Friday. The two-time Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year also logged five rebounds, three steals and three assists.

Anchorage's Alissa Pili nearly recorded a double-double for the University of Utah women's basketball team in a 78-40 blowout of the University of Oregon on Friday. The former Dimond High multisport star finished third on the Utes in scoring with 16 points but led the team with eight rebounds.

Anchorage's Mia 'Uhila recorded her 10th double-digit scoring outing and nearly had her second double-double of the season for the Portland State University women's basketball team in a 59-53 win over Idaho State University on Saturday. The former Bartlett star finished third on the Vikings with 12 points after going 3-of-6 from 3-point range and led the team with eight rebounds and had five assists and two steals as well.

Anchorage's Murphy Kimball became what is believed to be the youngest American male to compete in a World Cup race at just 17 years old when he came in 41st overall and eighth among all U.S. skiers this past Saturday in the qualifying round of a World Cup freestyle sprint race in Canmore, Alberta. The current West High student's ascent to the sport's biggest international stage was a result of a pair of strong performances domestically. He was the top qualifier in the classic sprint and the fourth-fastest qualifier in the freestyle sprint at the Super Tour races that took place in Anchorage in December and was the No. 5 qualifier in the classic sprint at the U.S. championships in Utah in January.

Eagle River's Jordyn Bruce set an unofficial American record in the indoor heptathlon with runner-up total of 5,226 points at the inaugural edition of the women's indoor heptathlon that was held in France. She was among five competitors that took part in competition consisting of seven events that included fellow American Lauren Kuntz, who is the world record-holder in the double decathlon.

Fast forward

Prep

Basketball

West at East (boys), Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Two of the top teams will square off in town for the second time this season and for the first time since their thriller at the 2024 Alaska Airlines Classic. Both teams will be looking to extend winning streaks as the Eagles have won their last three games while the Thunderbirds have yet to lose to an in-state opponent this season and have rattled off seven straight since suffering their first defeat at the hands of St. Joseph (Calif.) in the Alaska Airlines tournament championship game.

College

Basketball

UAA vs Northwest Nazarene, Thursday at 5:15 and 7:30 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Center

While Seawolves hoops squads will be back at home this week, the women's team will be looking to complete the regular-season sweep of a pair of GNAC opponents starting with the Nighthawks on Thursday night and on Saturday at the same time, they'll be taking on the Central Washington University Wildcats. The men's team's games will be tipping off at 5:15 p.m. on the same days and it'll be looking to sweep Simon Fraser University on Thursday and split its regular-season matchups with Western Washington University on Saturday.

NAHL

Anchorage Wolverines vs Kenai River Brown Bears, Saturday at 7 p.m. at Ben Boeke Ice Arena

The hometown junior hockey team will be back at home and staying in Alaska for the remainder of the regular season starting this week and will be on home ice on Saturday for the second bout of its two-game series with its in-state rivals with the first taking place at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Last week's results

Boys Hockey

Thursday

West 6, West Valley 1

South 5, Chugiak 1

Dimond 3, Colony 2

Wasilla 8, Service 0

Friday

West 2, South 1

Dimond 5, Wasilla 3

Colony 2, Service 1

Chugiak 5, West Valley 2

Saturday

Colony 5, Chugiak 4

Wasilla 2 South 0

West 3, Dimond 2

Girls hockey

Thursday

Colony/Palmer 5, Kenai Peninsula 0

Wasilla/Houston 7, South/Bartlett 4

Chugiak/Eagle River 12, Service/East 3

Friday

Kenai Peninsula 2, Service/East 1

Dimond/West 7, Houston/Wasilla 4

Chugiak/Eagle River 3, Colony/Palmer 1

Saturday

Kenai Peninsula 7, South/Bartlett 6 (OT-Shootout)

Colony/Palmer 3, Houston/Wasilla 2 (OT)

Dimond/West 2, Chugiak/Eagle River 1

Bowling

Tuesday

Boys

South 27, Bartlett 8

South — Patrick Vottis 176

Bartlett — Nick Jones 214

East 35, Chugiak 0

East — Colton Penetac 227

Chugiak — Michael Nelson 160

Dimond 27, Eagle River 8

Dimond — Logan Jokela 217

Eagle River — Mike Jennings 253

West 31, Service 4

West — Jahdyn Odom 257

Service — Marc Richard 174

Girls

Bartlett 35, South 0

Bartlett — Kara Lyman 182

South — forfeit

Chugiak 31, East 4

Chugiak — Abigail Lanehart 242

East — Chacity Kuamoo 225

Dimond 31, Eagle River 4

Dimond — Khloee Waldren 185

Eagle River — Morgan Van Slyke 143

Service 28, West 7

Service — Alyssa Porcelli 179

West — Anika Stanley 182

Thursday

Boys

Bartlett 35, Chugiak 0

Bartlett — Alex Egouk 220

Chugiak — Barrick Stewart 138

South 29, Dimond 6

South — Jack Wood 245

Dimond — Preston Xayamonty 212

East 20, West 15

East — Damien Cruz 212

West — Jahdyn Odom 203

Service 22, Eagle River 13

Service — Paul Clark 194

Eagle River — Mike Jennings 289

Girls

Bartlett 27, Chugiak 8

Bartlett — Kara Lyman 176

Chugiak — Abigail Lanehart 183

Dimond 35, South 0

Dimond — Jarriah Silverio 193

South — Sharon Cho 109

East 29, West 6

East — Chacity Kuamoo 277

West — Anika Stanley 149

Eagle River 22, Service 13

Eagle River — Payton Stokes 166

Service — Alyssa Porcelli 203

Boys Basketball

Monday

Lumen Christi 58, Holy Rosary Academy 23

Angoon 56, Gustavus 40

Bartlett 59, Service 48

West Anchorage 63, South 55

Klawock 68, Hoonah 26

Colony 65, Dimond 59

Tuesday

Palmer 70, Mountain City 48

Colony 65, Wasilla 59

East 59, Dimond 39

Soldotna 66, Nikiski 35

West Valley 64, N Pole 26

Lathrop 55, Hutchison 42

Service 64, Eagle River 56

South 60, Chugiak 35

West 65, Bartlett 57

Birchwood Christian 62, Holy Rosary 15

Klawock 63, Hoonah 23

Wednesday

Chevak 107, Ignatius Beans 31

Scammon Bay 85, Emmonak 57

Hydaburg 60, Hoonah 11

Thursday

Chevak 66, Kotlik 39

Nome-Beltz 60, Cordova 42

Minto 80, Effie Kokrine Charter 42

Kenai Central 58, Ben Eielson 33

Cook Inlet Academy 71, Holy Rosary Academy 28

Bethel 41, Seward 37

Ninilchik 53, Delta 50

Tok 52, Andrew K. Demoski 41

Susitna Valley 62, NVTO 45

Newhalen 59, Chief Ivan Blunka 54

Monroe Catholic 44, West Valley 36

Mt. Edgecumbe 87, Houston 58

Lathrop 63, North Pole 51

Valdez 75, Nenana 12

Scammon Bay 92, St. Mary's 47

Hydaburg 58, Hoonah 36

Friday

Dimond 67, Chugiak 38

Bartlett 80, Eagle River 40

East 57, Service 40

Cordova 55, Ben Eielson 31

Seward 60. Nenana 27

Delta 75, Homer 44

Kotzebue 90, Tikigaq 50

Ninilchik 54, Galena 32

Sitka 75, Houston 44

Valdez 53, Bethel 35

Nome-Beltz 59, Kenai 30

Mt. Edgecumbe 93, Redington 32

Ketchikan 63, Juneau-Douglas 47

Colony 58, Soldotna 48

Palmer 55, Kodiak 33

Saturday

Gambell 66, Shaktoolik 61

Buckland 74, Aqqaluk 45

Seward 49, Cordova 44

Hooper Bay 77, Unalakleet 74

East 56, Wasilla 30

Girls Basketball

Monday

Klawock 45, Hoonah 43

West Anchorage 48, South Anchorage 46

Bartlett 54, Service 50

Tuesday

Soldotna 39, Nikiski 36

Dimond 64, East 19

MCCA 74, Palmer 31

Service 65, Eagle River 23

Colony 65, Wasilla 52

Klawock 51, Hoonah 34

Bartlett 58, West Anchorage 42

Chugiak 43, South Anchorage 31

West Valley 57, North Pole 37

Wednesday

Hoonah 58, Hydaburg 8

Thursday

Nome-Beltz 46, Cordova 32

Walter Northway 72, Minto 44

Kenai Central 48, Chugiak 46

Klawock 28, Petersburg 25

Monroe Catholic 58, Nikiski 31

Fort Yukon 68, Andrew K. Demoski 29

Bethel 49, Seward 31

Mt. Edgecumbe 74, Houston 38

North Pole 48, Lathrop 26

Newhalen 68, Chief Ivan Blunka 22

Sitka 65, Redington 24

Service 55, Eagle River 28

Homer 38, Galena 25

Susitna Valley 41, Petersburg 35

Grace Christian 68, Bartlett 36

Hoonah 60, Hydaburg 8

Valdez 45, Nenana 40

Friday

Minto 53, Effie Kokrine Charter 33

Chugiak 52, Cordova 20

Nenana 38, Seward 31

Birchwood Christian 49, Cook Inlet Academy 8

Bartlett 53, Eagle River 44

Klawock 40, Susitna Valley 32

Kenai Central 49, Nome-Beltz 38

Newhalen 76, Tanalian 46

Fort Yukon 61, Tok 39

Unalakleet 58, Hooper Bay 35

Homer 48, Delta 32

Mt. Edgecumbe 71, Redington 27

Palmer 50, Kodiak 32

Sitka 68, Houston 43

Grace Christian 49, Service 41

Thunder Mountain 55, Ketchikan 47

Kotzebue 59, McQueen 41

Napaaqtugmiut 55, Davis-Romoth 45

Buckland 61, Aqqaluk 52

Klawock 37, Petersburg 29

Saturday

Seward 38, Cordova 24

Eagle River 54, Nikiski 46

Buckland 72, Aqqaluk 51

Hooper Bay 40, Unalakleet 35

Mt. Edgecumbe 66, Redington 18

Davis-Romoth 60, Napaaqtugmiut 39

Cross Country Skiing

Region IV Cross Country Skiing Championship\

Friday

7.3K Classic

Girls A

1. Merridy Littell, 24:31.6; 2. Miyana Kam-Magruder, 24:31.9; 3. Olivia Soderstrom, 24:32.2; 4. Mia Stiassny, 24:57.6; 5. Piper Sears, 25:13.6; 6. Alise Elliott, 25:16.0; 7. Greta Bochenek, 25:45.9; 8. Berit Meyers, 25:52.2; 9. Maya Tirpack, 26:26.9; 10. Mady Lowen, 26:28.7; 11. Rose Conway, 26:38.5; 12. Parker Stephens, 26:48.1; 13. Faith Harlamert, 26:57.2; 14. Reine Soule, 27:00.7; 15. Zoe Rodgers, 27:01.2; 16. Maisy Morley, 27:13.4; 17. Heidi Schumacher, 27:43.0; 18. Beatrix Brogan, 27:48.9; 19. Amelia Bochenek, 27:54.4; 20. Abigail Howe, 28:05.9; 21. Talia Day, 28:11.4; 22. Olivia Ronzio Pico, 28:40.5; 23. Hannah Bodkin, 28:47.7; 24. Madeleine Lojewski, 28:49.0; 25. Svea Thomas, 29:14.8; 26. Fiora Graziano, 29:18.8; 27. Lilian Coy, 29:25.6; 28. Hannah Shaha, 29:30.9; 29. Linnea Gray, 29:51.9; 30. Kaiya Soldwedel, 30:33.9; 31. Elsa Henderson, 30:34.2; 32. Adele Matthews, 30:36.8; 33. Gigi Leonetti, 30:39.4; 34. Danika Brandorff, 30:46.7; 35. Hannah Stepetin, 30:49.4; 36. Eden Johnsen, 31:39.5; 37. Allison Macy, 32:11.0; 38. Claire Salzman, 32:11.7; 39. Charlotte Toole, 32:45.7; 40. Elise Matthews, 32:52.9; 41. Duna Snedgen, 33:19.0; 42. Katie Christenson, 33:32.9; 43. Sophia Randazzo, 33:38.3; 44. Arianna Espindola, 33:47.4; 45. Samantha Bushman, 34:03.3; 46. Eiley Reid, 35:00.2; 47. Kyla Milne, 35:16.2; 48. Brie Mahoney, 36:53.1; 49. Ashley Mann, 37:43.8

Boys A

7.3K Classic

1. Vebjorn Flagstad, 20:18.5; 2. Cole Flower, 20:45.1; 3. Oskar Flora, 21:22.7; 4. Blake Hanley, 21:43.8; 5. Hatcher Menkens, 21:57.0; 6. Oliver Wright, 22:09.0; 7. Logan Cuddy, 22:10.9; 8. Miles Numme-Worrel, 22:13.2; 9. Elias Oswald, 22:32.1; 10. Jacob Johnson, 22:36.4; 11. John Lohuis, 22:37.9; 12. Merik Silba, 22:48.6; 13. Grayson Stanek-Alward, 22:49.4; 14. Ethan Styvar, 22:56.1; 15. Nathan Vanderlugt, 23:02.3; 16. Owen Harth, 23:02.8; 17. Dylan Autrey, 23:03.3; 18. Cedar Ruckel, 23:05.1; 19. Dean Toole, 23:13.7; 20. Eli Zellmer, 23:44.0; 21. Eli Lammers, 23:44.1; 22. Nathan Rehberg, 24:00.2; 23. Liam Cleary, 24:10.4; 24. AJ Glover, 24:40.5; 25. Creed Cvancara, 25:01.9; 26. Ruben Rhodes, 25:06.0; 27. Mason Card, 25:14.0; 28. Liam Dudley, 25:16.9; 29. Griffin Gracey, 25:30.0; 30. Drake McGinley, 25:35.7; 31. Hatcher Smith, 25:39.0; 32. Kaiden Bodkin, 25:40.8; 33. Owen Lovejoy, 25:43.8; 34. Bryce Herda, 26:03.4; 35. Kohen Galloway, 26:08.1; 36. Ryan Urbanus, 26:50.9; 37. Vassar Callahan, 27:23.9; 38. Andrew Krellner, 27:26.0; 39. Grady Eule, 27:43.6; 40. Lane Christenson, 27:44.7; 41. Matthew Watson, 27:52.8; 42. Luke Shaw, 28:15.2; 43. Luke Gaskill, 28:20.7; 44. Kodiak Coleman, 28:24.0

3K Freestyle Relay

Girls A

1. West Girls A_2, 32:38.1, (Merridy Littell, Berit Meyers, Greta Bochenek, Piper Sears); 2. Service Girls A_4, 32:43.9 (Miyana Kam-Magruder, Reine Soule, Heidi Schumacher, Olivia Soderstrom); 3. South Girls A_3, 35:16.1 (Mia Stiassny, Lilian Coy, Maya Tirpack, Alise Elliott); 4. East Girls A_1, 36:26.3, (Rose Conway, Maisy Morley, Fiora Graziano, Abigail Howe); 5. Chugiak Girls A_5, 38:01.1 (Hannah Bodkin, Hannah Shaha, Hannah Stepetin, Olivia Ronzio Pico); 6. Dimond Girls A_7, 38:39.9 (Eden Johnsen, Gigi Leonetti, Kaiya Soldwedel, Mady Lowen); 7. Eagle River Girls A_6, 41:20.6 (Linnea Gray, Elsa Henderson, Charlotte Toole, Kylee Dietz)

Boys A

1. West Boys A_16, 28:01.1 (Cole Flower, Hatcher Menkens, Oliver Wright, Blake Hanley); 2. Service Boys A_18, 28:51.5 (Oskar Flora, Elias Oswald, John Lohuis, Logan Cuddy); 3. South Boys A_17, 29:27.0 (Grayson Stanek-Alward, Ethan Styvar, Owen Harth, Vebjorn Flagstad); 4. East Boys A_15, 30:55.5 (Miles Numme-Worrel, Liam Cleary, Owen Lovejoy, Nathan Rehberg); 5. Eagle River Boys A_20, 31:20.1 (Dean Toole, Nathan Vanderlugt, Andrew Krellner, Matthew Watson); 6. Dimond Boys A_21, 31:41.3 (AJ Glover, Creed Cvancara, Drake McGinley, Jacob Johnson); 7. Chugiak Boys A_19, 32:05.2 (Kaiden Bodkin, Kohen Galloway, Griffin Gracey, Eli Lammers)

College

Women's Basketball

Saturday

UAA 78, UAF 75

Men's Basketball

Thursday

Northwest Nazarene 80, UAA 74

Saturday

Central Washington 75, UAA 66

Hockey

Saturday

LIU 2, UAA 1

Sunday

UAA 3, LIU 1

NAHL

Friday

Chippewa Steel 2, Anchorage Wolverines 1

Saturday

Anchorage Wolverines 3, Chippewa Steel 2