Compiled by Travis Dowling courtesy of UAA Sports Information
A record 13 University of Alaska Anchorage student-athletes are in the running for the prestigious Bill McKay Athlete of the Year award for 2013-14.
The nominees are Karolin Anders (women’s indoor track & field), Dylan Anthony (men’s cross country), Matt Bailey (hockey), Stefany Bryan (gymnastics), Kylie Burns (women’s basketball), Micah Chelimo (men’s indoor track & field), Marine Dusser (women’s skiing), Kyle Fossman (men’s basketball), Niko Harmanen (men’s skiing),Ruth Keino (women’s outdoor track & field), Joyce Kipchumba (women’s cross country), Cody Parker (men’s outdoor track & field) and Katelynn Zanders (volleyball).
The 30th annual award will be presented Friday, April 25 at the athlete-of-the-year banquet at Lucy Cuddy Hall on campus.
Anders, a sophomore from Berlin, Germany, earned All-America honors for the second year in a row with a 4th-place finish in the pentathlon at the 2014 NCAA Div. II Indoor Track & Field Championships. She was also the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Female Athlete of the Year for her sport, leading the Seawolves to the league title with 35 total points at the GNAC Championships.
Anthony, a junior from Kodiak, earned his second straight All-America finish, placing 25th at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships to lead UAA to a 7th-place team showing. He also captured all-region honors after helping UAA to a runner-up finish at the West Regional Championships, and he was an All-GNAC runner for the third straight year as UAA captured its fourth straight league title.
Bailey, a senior forward from Oakbank, Manitoba, became just the second Seawolf to earn All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association honors, captaining UAA to a WCHA Final Five berth and its best season in 20 years. Among Bailey’s team-high 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) were four game-winning goals, and the 6-1, 200-pounder signed an NHL contract with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at season’s end.
Bryan, a sophomore from Seattle, earned a trip to the NCAA Div. I West Regional Championships as an individual all-around competitor. UAA’s most consistent performer all season, Bryan posted a season-high score of 38.475 on Feb. 16, while her 9.584 average on uneven bars paced the team and was 10th-best in program history.
Burns, a senior from Kansas City, Kan., was an All-GNAC Second Team honoree and UAA’s team MVP after averaging 12.4 points, 6.9 points and 1.6 steals per game, helping the women’s basketball team to a 19-9 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. The 5-9 forward shot 36 percent from three-point range and 79 percent at the free-throw line, scoring double figures 15 times.
Chelimo, a senior from Kapkoi, Kenya, earned his fourth overall NCAA title – his second in indoor track & field – with a photo-finish win in the 3,000 meters at the NCAA Championships last month. The reigning MacKay Athlete of the Year was also runner-up in the 5,000 as he led UAA to a 9th-place national team finish by himself. Chelimo was also the GNAC Male Athlete of the Year for indoors, furnishing a pair of victories and leading UAA to a runner-up finish at the league meet.
Dusser, a sophomore from Villard de Lans, France, earned her third career All-America honor with a 9th-place finish in the Nordic freestyle race at the NCAA Ski Championships. The Rocky Mountain Ski Association’s Nordic MVP runner-up earned podium finishes in eight of her 10 races this season, including wins at the Utah, New Mexico and Montana State invitationals.
Fossman, a senior from Haines, was an All-GNAC honorable mention selection after averaging 17.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in his fourth and final campaign. The 6-foot guard led the GNAC and ranked fourth nationally with 3.8 three-pointers per game, breaking numerous UAA and GNAC three-point records, including the new Seawolf career mark of 257.
Harmanen, a senior from Saarenkyla, Finland, captured a pair of All-America honors at the NCAA Ski Championships, finishing third place in the men’s giant slalom and fourth in the slalom. The team’s ‘most inspirational’ skier, Harmanen also delivered top-10 showings at the RMISA Championships, New Mexico Invitational and Montana State Invitational this year.
Keino, from Kapcheno, Kenya, concluded her outstanding career last May with All-America podium finishes – both third place – in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races at the 2013 NCAA Div. II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, helping UAA to a 7th-place team showing. The 2010-11 MacKay Athlete of the Year furnished a UAA-record time of 16:20.87 in the 5,000 and won the 5,000 and 10,000 at the GNAC Championships as UAA captured its first-ever outdoor team title.
Kipchumba, a sophomore from Kapsowar, Kenya, led UAA to its first-ever team podium finish – fourth place – at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships, finishing 13th overall for All-America honors. The transfer from American International also helped the Seawolves sweep the West Region and GNAC titles with all-region and all-conference performances, and was voted the GNAC’s Female Newcomer of the Year.
Parker, from Comox, British Columbia, won the national title in the javelin at the 2013 NCAA Div. II Track & Field Championships, uncorking the second-best throw in D-II history at 255 feet, 10 inches. The then-sophomore earned All-America, All-West Region and All-GNAC honors before being voted the overall GNAC Athlete of the Year for 2012-13.
Zanders, a sophomore from Anchorage (South HS), was an AVCA Second Team All-American and unanimous All-GNAC selection after helping UAA to a 21-10 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. The 5-9 outside hitter ranked third in the GNAC with 3.69 kills and 4.28 points per set, plus fifth in aces per set at 0.29, and captured three GNAC Offensive Player of the Week awards.
The 2014 Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year is selected for excellence in the 2013-14 athletic campaign. However, because of calendar concerns, this will mark the eighth straight award that takes the previous year’s track & field season into consideration.
The award is voted on by a committee comprised of UAA Athletics staff members, local media, and Benton Bay representatives.