With the fall semester coming to an end, it’s time to reflect. Join me as I travel back and reminisce about the most memorable and entertaining highlights the Seawolf athletes had over the last four months.
Author: Thomas McIntyre
Northern Light sports writers Thomas McIntyre and Mark Hoffman share their favorite memories of the Great Alaska Shootout.
The last time we caught up with the Seawolf cross country teams, they were undefeated heading into the midway point of the season. Not much has changed.
Both the men’s and women’s teams continued to molly-wop opponents as the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships approached. The two squads took flawless records with them to Spokane, Wash., for the championships in early November. But only one left unscathed.
The women — who entered the meet ranked No. 4 in the country — had to make room in their case for yet another trophy. The team bested the Chico State Wildcats by a slim three points en route to its fourth title in five years.
The win propelled them to Great Northwest Athletic Conference co-Team of the Week honors. It also booked them a spot at the NCAA Division II Championships next weekend.
Senior Susan Tanui and sophomore Joyce Kipchumba registered key performances.
Tanui strengthened her UAA legacy by defending the West Region Championship Belt she took home last year. Kipchumba crossed the line three seconds later, finishing as the runner-up.
Seniors Ivy O’Guinn and Susan Bick had big days too, capturing top 20 victories that helped boost the ‘Wolves score.
The men’s team couldn’t stop the Wildcats from steamrolling but were the closest to doing so. They snagged second place and will join the women at the NCAAs.
The first three runners to cross the finish line were Wildcats. Their grip only tightened when a fourth Wildcat crossed in sixth place.
While Chico State had a big day, the UAA men’s team still put up a fight. Junior Dylan Anthony and freshman Victor Samoei both had top 10 finishes. Junior Isaac Kangogo narrowly missed the top-10 mark, landing in 12th place.
The two teams have kept an exhausting pace over the last five seasons. As mentioned before, the women have won the West Regions four times over that span. The men have two wins and two second-place finishes in that time.
Dynasties aren’t born overnight. A dynasty is molded from many seasons of success, and that’s exactly what this program has had on the west coast. The descriptor may or may not be apt, but it’s worthy of discussion.
UAA has branded this chapter of Seawolf hockey as “A New Day.” The program wants to give people a reason to forget its checkered and disappointing past. A solid start to the season won’t wash away those memories, but they’re on the right track.
An automatic birth to the NCAA Division II West Regional Championships is at stake for the Seawolf volleyball team, who’s sitting atop the GNAC standings. But the lead — and margin for error — is slim.
Four other teams are hunting the Seawolves: Western Washington, Northwest Nazarene, Seattle Pacific and Central Washington. Any missteps could open the door for one of them to claim the conference.
Collectively, the ‘Wolves are 4-2 against the squads that are still in the mix. However, they’re no longer the same team that ripped off nine consecutive conference wins.
Sophomore outside hitter Julia Mackey is now watching games from the sideline. When she suffered a knee injury in late October, UAA lost one of its biggest difference makers.
Going forward without Mackey will force the team to get more creative. There isn’t a simple plug-and-play option for replacing her massive presence on the court.
The Seawolves have shredded teams on offense this year. Within the GNAC, they’re first in service aces and second in hitting percentage, assists and kills.
Holding these numbers up without Mackey is going to take contributions from the whole unit. In the few games since she was injured, junior outsider hitter Brooke Pottle and sophomore middle blocker Caitlin McInerney have shown they can help fill the void on the outside.
The player most impacted by the new-look ‘Wolves could be sophomore outside hitter Katelynn Zanders. Zanders is now the team’s most feared offensive player. She’s sixth in the GNAC in kills per set and second in total kills. Like Kevin Durant without Russell Westbrook, her role just ballooned.
On the other side of the ball, two middle blockers have been stuffing action at the net. Senior Jodi Huddleston and freshman Erin Braun have 106 and 72 blocks, respectively. Huddleston is one of only three GNAC players to have reached the century mark in swats.
Two other dynamos have been senior setter Siobhan Johansen and junior libero Quinn Barker. Johansen is serving up dimes with 603 total assists on the season. Barker is creating endless opportunities with her 405 digs.
The next weekend of action is crucial for the ‘Wolves because they’ll host Western Washington. The Vikings are in prime position to steal that automatic bid.
One week after that, Seattle Pacific will welcome UAA and make their own attempt at climbing the ladder. Both opponents were victims during the Green and Gold’s nine-game winning streak.
But again, the Seawolves aren’t that team anymore. With a chance at postseason play on the table, they’ll have to spike a big one on the river.
The bout against Western Washington begins 7 p.m. Thursday at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
Georges St-Pierre is gearing up to defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship Welterweight Championship belt for the ninth consecutive time Saturday night. He’ll tangle with Johny Hendricks, a grinder who possesses the 2.0 version of Dan Henderson’s “H-Bomb.”
Last week’s issue covered the men’s team and the x-factors that could decide their season. This week, it’s the women’s turn.
The 2013-14 Seawolf women’s basketball team is facing the ultimate challenge for college athletic programs: replacing star graduates. For the ‘Wolves, it’s guard Sasha King and forward Alysa Horn.
The basketball season is here. Despite a subpar finish, the Seawolf men’s team is coming off a hot run in 2012-13, which included a stellar showing at the Great Alaska Shootout and a 14-3 record at home.
Thomas McIntyre and Mark Hoffman are two of the Northern Light’s sports writers — nothing more, nothing less. The duo has been pitted against each other to predict the results of the 2013-14 NBA season.
“For me, this will be exactly like in “Above The Rim” when Shep played heads up with an invisible defender,” said McIntyre.
“I’ve played basketball with God Shammgod,” Hoffman responded.
And they’re off.
The Seawolf volleyball teams back home this weekend for two matches against fellow GNAC squads, the Northwest Nazarene Crusaders and Central Washington Wildcats.
Both visitors are sitting in the top half of the GNAC standings. The two crews have also tangled with the Seawolves earlier this season, with each of them losing 3-1 in their own backyards.
Enough football has been played that we can now project the future using real data, trends, patterns, and results. Forget where they were drafted and how much you like them. These are players whose stock is rising and falling. Therefore, these are players you should trade for and away.
“I don’t think I would lose — other than to Kobe Bryant, because he steals all my moves,” Michael Jordan said.
That’s how Air responded when asked how’d he fair in one-on-one games against Jerry West (seriously?), Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
No one does arrogant better than Mike. But he’s right. Right?
I think so. But I figured I’d show my work. To confirm Jordan’s place as the head-to-head king, I’ve run a hypothetical one-on-one tournament involving all eight players.
Yes, it’s a slow news week — except for the MLB Playoffs. I meant it’s slow for the popular sports.
Michael Jordan (1) def. Jerry West (8)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist foolishly admitted to losing a game of one-on-one to a 49-year-old Jordan last year. With all due respect, I’m not sure a prime West could step to Kidd-Gilchrist today and get a win.
Advantage goes to Jordan, who will beat up West worse than he did Steve Kerr — look it up.
Kobe Bryant (2) def. Elgin Baylor (7)
Laker-on-Laker crime is the best. I could be discrediting the legend here, but Baylor did his damage during the 1960s. He’s a more complete and less athletic Nick Young in 2013.
Baylor scores more on Kobe than Bow Wow did. He will score a point, to be exact.
LeBron James (3) def. Carmelo Anthony (6)
You can smooth talk me into Anthony here until I solve the equation Melo is still wracking his brain over: good offense + good “x” = great basketball player.
“Hair? Arm sleeves? Tattoos? Hats?” said a flustered Anthony.
Defense. “X” is defense. James punishes him.
Julius Erving (4) def. Dwyane Wade (5)
If anyone is that dude, Erving is that dude. The matchup is interesting, though. Wade has always been more of an opportunistic team defensive player than a lockdown man defender. He’s got too much size and hypnotic skill to overcome against Doc.
Jordan (1) def. Erving (4)
Erving rattled off an unusual all-time starting lineup while on the soon-to-be cancelled “Fox Sports Live” earlier this month. He chose to exclude Jordan from the five-man rotation.
If we know anything about Jordan, we can assume he’s watched the clip several thousand times while taking violent cigar rips. As his sociopathic Hall of Fame speech suggests, MJ will probably treat this as a blood feud going forward.
Scratching Sir Michael’s arm was enough to send him into a fit of rage during his playing days. Erving might as well have killed Jordan’s entire family. Mike moves on.
James (3) def. Bryant (2)
Not an outcome I would have pegged a couple years ago. James’ best is now better than Kobe’s best. He’s evolved into the player we all hoped he’d be ever since he risked his amateur status by accepting a demure, fully loaded 2003 Hummer H2 in high school.
James will give Bryant hell on defense. Bryant will try all his tricks, hissing and talking trash in Italian.
In the end, James’ dribble drives and post play give him the edge most nights. This is one of those nights.
Jordan (1) def. James (3)
A matchup so big MTV would resurrect “The Shop” for a one-off episode dedicated to the “Jordan vs. James” debate. That’s the best way I can frame it to establish the significance.
We made it through “Chris Brown vs. Honorable Human Beings” and “Kimmel vs. Kanye” with no “Shop” revival, so this is unchartered territory.
Jordan will hug his children, kiss his wife, and take a few more strides in his favorite pair of oversized jeans. Then he will go to war. After kicking out of multiple finishers and taking a dozen unprotected chair shots to the head, he will win.
Moments later, he will evaporate. Jordan’s legacy is complete.
And as one last “eff you” to Erving, he’ll leave Doc his majority ownership share of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Sometimes I try to explain to my friends who are Patriots fans what it’s like to root for the St. Louis Rams. It’s as if I’m speaking to them in Latin. They nod and act like my words are registering, but really, they’re too busy wondering if they could pull off UGGs as well as Tom does.
For the Seawolf cross country team’s, winning is a tradition. Like clockwork, both squads have jumped off to another 2-0 start. It’s the fourth straight time the runners have opened the season in that fashion. And they rarely slow down the pace.
This is how the first quarter of the year has transpired:
Micah Chelimo — one of the most decorated distance runners to ever step on campus — isn’t walking back through that door. And it doesn’t appear to change anyone’s perception of the green and gold crew.
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference 2013 preseason coaches’ poll places the men and women as unanimous picks to repeat as champions. If the coaches are right, this will be the fourth GNAC title in a row for the men and the fifth for the women.
The first meet came against BYU-Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Senior Susan Tanui and junior Dylan Anthony nabbed individual wins, leading their respective groups to 5K victories.
The women were flawless. Sophomore Joyce Kipchumba, junior Bryn Haebe, and seniors Ivy O’Guinn and Christi Schmitz came across the line in succession after Tanui.
The men left a small margin open for improvement. Junior Isaac Kangogo and freshman Victor Samoei rounded out the podium positions, while freshman Michael Mendenhall was the last Seawolf to crack the top-five.
Not much changed in the team’s second event — just another dominant performance in Oahu. This time they shredded the Chaminade Invitational.
The women sustained their route to a perfect season. Yet again, Tanui was the head of the snake, earning her second individual win in a row.
Anthony helped complete the mirror image of their first meet by capturing his second individual win in a row, as well. The men’s quest for perfection is still on.
The first — take a deep breath — U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division II Cross Country National Coaches Poll dropped, and both teams landed in the top 10.
The women came in strong at five, and the men’s team ranked nine and was the only GNAC representative in the top 25.
UAA is taking its undefeated record to Salem, Ore., for the Willamette Invitational. The last time they ran in Salem, the men finished third and the women took second. That was in 2010 — the same year they swept all but two meets.
Keith Hackett was officially introduced as the new athletic director at a press conference Friday afternoon. He used the event to share his vision for UAA athletics and to address some lingering questions. Hackett’s plan for the department is a three-headed monster.
The first step is ensuring they are always in alignment with the educational mission of the university. He wants to stress the “student” aspect of being a student-athlete.
I don’t claim to be an expert on the NHL. If I were writing this during my run as one of the top five regional NHL Hitz 2002 players, maybe it’d be a different story.
Nadal and Federer represent the thunder and lightning of tennis.
Nadal is a brute. He attacks the ball violently and keeps a crippling pace. His overwhelming style is akin to Jim Brown running with the football.
The Seawolf volleyball team is diving right into conference play this weekend with games versus the Seattle Pacific Falcons and Montana State Billings Yellowjackets. The first match pits the Seawolves against a Falcons team they split wins with in 2012.
Because it’s so early in the season, drawing conclusions from this year’s collection of stats is hard. The sample sizes are much too small. But there’s a lot to be learned from the ‘12 performances.
The Falcons’ main priority is making up for the loss of Cailin Fellows. Fellows finished her final season at Seattle Pacific by amassing 389 kills and having the second best average kills per set number in the GNAC (3.97).
Middle blocker’s Madi Cavell and Nikki Lowell should fill most of the void left by Fellows. Both reached 230 kills last season.
A chunk of the leftover production will be put on Ellie Britt’s plate. The sophomore outside hitter has posted solid totals throughout the first stretch of play.
If that trio plays well, the loss of Fellows won’t be too much of an advantage for the home team.
Junior libero Brianna Leenders is also going to be a huge factor Thursday night. Leenders has a knack for keeping the ball in play — her 445 digs proved that last season. She’s the type of player who can drag the ‘Wolves into long, tiring points.
The Yellowjackets are in a similar boat as the Falcons. They’re relying on lowerclassmen to rise up and produce after losing their second place leader in kills.
The good news for them — and bad news for UAA — is that junior outside hitter Monica Grimsrud hasn’t gone anywhere. Grimsrud led the team with 349 kills last year, and showed she can play both sides by adding in 159 digs.
Fellow junior outside hitter Chelsey Walter looks to be the other one to watch at the net. She’s off to a hot start after having a promising sophomore campaign.
Returning setter Kyndal Williams could be the team’s MVP going forward. Williams was 39 shy of 1,000 assists last season. She can get the most out of the players on the floor.
On top of losing offensive firepower, the Yellowjackets also waived goodbye to the 796 digs Erin Compton and Morgan Moss combined for. That loss might just sink the boat.
Lastly, it should be noted that middle blocker Taylor Adams is a product of A.J. Dimond High School. She’s had a slow start to the season but held down a prominent role on the Yellowjackets last year.
The Seawolves are in a great position to win the weekend. While the Falcons will be a stiff test, the Yellowjackets are a favorable matchup on paper.
To snatch both victories, the Green and Gold must do more of the same: protect the net, put Katelynn Zanders and Julia Mackey in spots to kill and stay active on defense.
This week’s Overtime goes out to all my readers who just unloaded half of their wardrobe at Plato’s Closet so they could lay $15 more on the Detroit Lions over/under. Gambling is fun. (Warning: it is also semi-illegal.)
The Seawolf men’s basketball team is a couple months away from taking the floor for the 2013-14 season. Their mission will be to top the 18-9 record they posted last year, which included wins over two Division I opponents in the Great Alaska Shootout: UC Riverside and Loyola Marymount.
Losing seniors Liam Gibcus and Abebe Demissie forced the Seawolves to make up for roughly 20 points and 10 boards per game. The two also brought valuable size around the rim.
Upon first look at the class of incoming players, it appears the transition from Gibcus and Demissie will go smoothly. All four newbies stand at least 6-foot-7 and have made their mark playing forward and center.
For the recruits — Jackson McTier, Brad Mears, Jacob Craft and Kalidou Diouf — it won’t fall on them to match the production that’s walked away. Their main roles will be to bang down low and feed off the loaded Seawolves backcourt.
McTier is a 17-year-old freshman forward from Rockhampton, Australia, who measures in at 6-foot-8. He’s got a history of winning, and he tallied 17.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as a high school senior. His youth and near double-double average makes him an enticing prospect.
UAA has hit pay dirt recruiting out of Australia before, and McTier could continue the success.
Mears is starting his green and gold run as a junior having played two seasons at Snow College, where he shared the floor with current Seawolf star Teancum Stafford for a year. He hails from South Jordan, Utah, and should be an asset in the post with his 6-foot-9, 225-pound build.
Head coach Rusty Osborne thought Mears’ numbers at Snow College (4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game) were deceiving and expects him to show he’s more talented than they suggest.
Craft’s story is eye-catching because he’s entering the UAA basketball program alongside his wife, Emily Craft, who’s signed on to play for the women’s squad. He’s a rangy 6-foot-7 forward from Sandy, Utah.
What adds to Craft’s intrigue is his age. He’s 22 years old, yet still has four years of eligibility left. A Latter-day Saint Church mission and a redshirt season at Central Wyoming are to thank for his unique situation.
Diouf is an import from Germany who will redshirt this year as he becomes acclimated with the change in environment. Like McTier, he is accustomed to winning — his high school team captured four straight national titles.
Western Oregon transfer Brian McGill and former Second Team All-GNAC selection Travis Thompson are also taking the court this season after redshirting last year. The pair should put UAA’s set of guards over the top.
With an influx of young and veteran ball players and a healthy set of established returnees, the ‘Wolves have the ammo to top their previous campaign.
The Seawolves recently scheduled an exhibition game with BYU in Provo, Utah. The Nov. 2 matchup will serve as a stiff welcome back to action.
Recruiting is a tiresome and necessary job. To get good and stay good, you have to be relentless about luring the best possible talent to your program. It’s a grind.
Below are the players the volleyball and hockey departments netted at the end of their exhausting hunts.
Soccer in the United States is still in development. Talk to anyone who thinks they know about soccer and they’ll snap back about how the highest level of the game is played outside of America.
UAA’s hunt for a new athletic director has begun. The process is expected to take up to seven weeks, and will be done mostly behind curtains.
While the majority of the work is going to be kept under wraps, the public is still being asked to provide input. The opportunity to speak out comes in the form of an open forum, which the Seawolf community should be adept to by now.
The forum takes place Wednesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the UAA/APU Consortium Library, room 307.
Matt Thomas was formally introduced as the new hockey coach at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. During the brief event, he fielded questions and set the tone for what’s to come.
Interim athletic director, Tim McDiffett, opened the press conference with a prepared statement. He spoke like a man who’s certain the program’s drama is in the past.
“It’s no secret that we’ve been through a lot in recent weeks,” said McDiffett. “And with Matt (Thomas) here today, we are officially turning the page to what we think is going to be a bright future for Seawolf hockey.”
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The Great Alaska Shootout has transitioned from showcasing major powers like Duke and Kentucky to mid-major powers like Murray State and Belmont.
After a prolonged and dramatic search, Matt Thomas has been chosen to spearhead the new era of Seawolf hockey. UAA vice chancellor Dr. Bill Spindle made the announcement Tuesday that Thomas landed the head coaching job.
Thomas comes to the program fresh off an appearance in the ECHL Finals as head coach of the Stockton Thunder. He’ll end his time in Stockton with a 163-127-39 record.
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After a prolonged and dramatic search, Matt Thomas has been chosen to spearhead the new era of Seawolf hockey. UAA vice chancellor Dr. Bill Spindle made the announcement Tuesday that Thomas landed the head-coaching job.
Thomas comes to the program fresh off an appearance in the ECHL Finals as head coach of the Stockton Thunder. He’ll end his time in Stockton with a 163-127-39 record.
Prior to the Thunder, Thomas was acting as both head coach and general manager of the ECHL’s Fresno Falcons.
TNT may know drama, but the UAA athletic department is becoming very friendly with it.
Seawolf backers have had their heads spinning over the last few months as the hockey program has been in flux.