After the commencement of spring semester 2017, 24 student athletes walked across the stage with their degrees, ultimately leaving behind their teams and college athletics for good.
Since the women’s basketball team lost three of their standout players, they are slowly building their roster back up. With the help of three new recruits, the total accumulation is five so far.
The first of the three new recruits is an Anchorage local, Tennae Voliva. From East High School, Voliva boasted the accomplishments of making Second-Team All-State twice in her high school career, as well as making First Team All-Cook Inlet Conference honoree in her final season.
Head coach Ryan McCarthy was excited about the addition of Voliva.
“We’ve been able to recruit some of the best student-athletes in the state of Alaska,” McCarthy said.
In addition, the 6-foot forward made the varsity basketball team every single year of high school, becoming a career 1,000-point scorer.
To add to the most recent recruits is Victoria Langi, a standout guard originally from Pacifica, California. However, Langi is transferring in as a junior, after playing two years of college basketball at Skyline College and being an All-North Coast Conference performer.
Langi produced impressive stats during her previous season, averaging 15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists from her team, a large improvement from her freshman year of 6.9 points per game. Her performances proved to be good enough to rank her in the top 20 of the North Coast statistics in the majority of categories.
McCarthy is thrilled to have Victoria join the team considering he already signed Victoria’s younger sister, Sala Langi, who is coming in as a freshman in the positions of guard and forward. In addition, McCarthy expects Langi to be a huge assest to scoring points.
“She was one of the top shooters in the state of California’s JC system,” McCarthy said.
The addition of the Langi sisters and Voliva makes the total of new Seawolves on women’s basketball five players.
Despite his recently announced retirement, head gymnastics coach Paul Stoklos was fortunate to sign an all-around standout gymnast from Newport News, Virginia.
This all-arounder, Hope Nelson, has been a level 10 competitor for four years. Nelson has many impressive accomplishments, including qualifying for World Class Gymnastics three separate times.
In addition, at the Virginia L10 State Championships, Nelson won bars with a score of 9.725, placed second on beam with 9.525 and secured a third place finish in the all-around.
Stoklos expects Nelson to make excellent improvements and have to potential to be an all-arounder on the team lineup for the future seasons.
Nelson is the first recruit for the team that has been announced, but more additions are expected.
In cross-country, an incoming junior transfer from Salinas, California is making his debut at UAA in the fall. Jorge Sanchez started his collegiate running career at Hartnell College, making impressive achievements during his time there.
Sanchez is taking a leap of faith coming to Alaska; his recruitment trip in the spring was his first time ever even leaving California.
“Within that period of time I was able to connect with [head coach Michael Friess] and assistant coach TJ [Garlatz] and I realized why they have one of the top cross country programs in the country at the Division II level — they are passionate about the sport and they genuinely want you to succeed, not only in running, but in school,” Sanchez said.
During his freshman year, Sanchez placed fifth in the Coast Conference Championships. At the regional championship he placed 12th overall, earning him all-region honors.
For his sophomore year, Sanchez improved significantly, taking second at Coast Conference Championships and then going on to take the overall individual win at the NorCal Cross Country Championships with a 4-mile time of 21 minutes and 25 seconds, only missing his personal best by 19 seconds.
These four additions to the UAA Athletic community are far from the final ones. Throughout the remainder of the spring and summer, coaches will continue to recruit and announce new members to their teams.