Since 2010, the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Athletic Department has recognized former exemplary athletes and long-time contributors by inducting them to the Seawolf Hall of Fame.
This year, the committee selected sprinter Mary Pearce Ahonen, hockey forward Curtis Glencross and long-time supporter Bobbi Ramos Olson to be inducted on Oct. 8 at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Mary Ahonen received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 2008 and a master’s degree in education in 2013 and ran the 400-meter at national caliber for UAA’s track and field team. After graduating from Dimond High School, Ahonen attended Baylor University for two years before returning to Alaska. At that time, UAA’s cross country team had already established itself nationally, but the track team was still modifying their training without The Dome, which opened on Oct. 1, 2007. Ahonen helped to lay the foundation for the University’s track and field program
“Most of my workouts were on treadmills. I actually prefer treadmills now for sprint training because it doesn’t allow you to slow down. If you set the treadmill to 15 miles per hour you have no choice but to run 15 miles per hour. We practiced starts on roll out rubber mats on the backside of the ice rink. We were able to get on the track occasionally,” Ahonen said.
During her first year at UAA in 2006, Ahonen won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title in the 200 and 400-meter sprint. That season, Ahonen became the track and field program’s first All-American by placing fifth in the 400-meter at the NCAA Championship.
The sprinter continued making history the following year by earning her second All-American honor in the 400-meter dash with a fourth-place finish at the national meet. During her final race, Ahonen set the remaining conference and school record at 53.56 seconds.
While earning her undergraduate degree, Ahonen enjoyed representing her home state on the national level.
“I was able to represent the community I love, while doing what I love. I’m so appreciative to UAA, specifically to Coach [Michael] Friess for giving me the opportunity to run. It’s something I value tremendously and something I’ll never stop being thankful for,” Ahonen said.
Curtis Glenncross is another of UAA’s exceptional athletes. The Alberta, Canada native left his mark on the hockey team and later achieved a hockey players greatest dream by playing in the NHL.
During his freshman campaign in 2002-03. Glencross scored a team-leading 11 goals and became known for his incredible speed on the ice. During his sophomore year, he excelled by scoring a team-high 21 goals, which ranked him 14th in the nation for goals per game, before signing a minor-league contract with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
After playing three seasons in the American Hockey League, Glenncross made his NHL debut in 2007. He played for the Calgary Flames from 2008 to 2014 and was later traded to the Washington Capitals for his final season in 2015.
Glenncross finished his NHL career with 134 goals and 141 assists in 507 games — all highs for a Seawolf alum.
“I love the Seawolf program and owe a lot of my success to my coaches and teammates,” Glenncross said.
UAA Athletics would not exist without the generous support of volunteers, contributors and donors. Bobbi Olson embodies all of this in one. Since 1978, Olson and her husband have been greatly involved with UAA Athletics and were strong supporters of the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Bobbi Olson and her husband can be seen at almost every home game and even at various away games to support their Seawolves on their national road to success.
“College basketball — men and women — is my favorite game to watch on TV and in person, but please don’t tell Coach [Chris] Green. I love the Volleyball team,” Olson said.
Over the years, Olson has not just been an incredible financial supporter of the athletic department, but also served on various boards, search committees and booster clubs. She organized Seawolf auctions and golf tournament to fund UAA athletics and has helped five times with UAA search committees for athletic directors and basketball coaches.
As Seawolf Captain, she has also welcomed visiting teams to her home for Thanksgiving during the GCI Great Alaska Shootout several times. She has hosted Duke University’s men’s basketball team three times and provided the women’s Northern Illinois University team with an Alaskan Thanksgiving filled with sledding, fooseball and dinner.
Olson enjoys her engagement with UAA’s Athletic Department and the values the department holds.
“Being a Seawolf Captain is a very unique experience,” Olson said. “UAA student athletes appear to be a collegial group who understand hard work, team play, high academic standards, and giving back to the community through many social service organizations. The competitive sporting events provide entertainment for our community and the state. Many middle school and high school students look at UAA student athletes as role models, particularly when the athlete is from the young person’s home town in Alaska.”
The public is welcome to attend the official ceremony at the Alaska Airlines Center on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. During the ceremony, each individual inductee will give a speech about their involvement with UAA Athletics, followed by the reveal of their picture in the Hall of Fame.