Sports Briefs

Seawolf women picked to win GNAC

For the first time in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s 8-year history, the UAA women’s basketball team has been picked to win in the league’s preseason coaches’ poll, announced Oct. 29 by the league office.

The Seawolves received 86 points and eight of nine first-place votes in the annual poll, outdistancing defending GNAC champion Seattle Pacific (67 pts) and fellow NCAA qualifier Northwest Nazarene (65). SPU has won five of the seven GNAC titles, while UAA is seeking its first in 2008-09.

UAA, which finished runner-up with a 15-3 league record in 2007-08, is coming off a 30-5 overall mark and a trip to the NCAA Semifinals. The Seawolves return All-America senior center Rebecca Kielpinski, the two-time GNAC Player of the Year, as well as senior forward Dasha Basova and senior guards Elisha Harris and Danielle Dekel.

Third-year head coach Tim Moser will also premiere a fine recruiting class that includes Division I transfers Jackie Thiel (Sr., G, Florida Gulf Coast) and Viki Wohlers (So., C, Oregon State), plus five more transfers and three freshmen.

Seawolf runners move up in polls

Fresh on the heels of strong performances at the league championships, both UAA cross country teams moved up in this week’s U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association top-25 polls released Oct 29. The Seawolf men advanced one spot to No. 6, while the UAA women moved up five spots to No. 14.

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UAA’s men last week captured the program’s third Great Northwest Athletic Conference title with a dominating performance at the league meet in Yakima, Wash. The Seawolves went 1-2-3 in the 8-K race and placed four runners in the top six.

The women also earned four all-conference awards and placed second in a narrow team race to 11th-ranked Seattle Pacific. It marked UAA’s third runner-up finish at GNACs in the past four seasons.

Seawolf men picked for 3rd in GNAC

The defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion UAA men’s basketball team has been picked to finish third in the 2008-09 GNAC preseason coaches’ poll, announced Oct. 28 by the league office.

The Seawolves, who were correctly predicted to win the 2007-08 title in last year’s poll, finished behind Central Washington and Western Washington in the balloting. CWU, which returns four starters from last year’s runner-up team, received seven of a possible nine first-place votes.

Fifth-year head coach Rusty Osborne returns no starters from his 29-6, Final Four squad of a year ago, but the Seawolves feature a preseason All-America candidate in senior transfer Kenny Barker. The 6-2 guard was a second-team All-GNAC pick as a junior at Alaska Fairbanks in 2006-07 when he averaged 16.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

Four letter winners return for UAA, including 6-9 senior center Jeremiah Trueman (61.8 FG%) and sharp-shooting sophomore guard Kevin White (43.7 3FG%).

UAA’s Cheseto named GNAC Male Athete Of the Year for cross country

UAA sophomore Marko Cheseto was named Oct. 27 as the 2008 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Cross Country Male Athlete of the Year following his victory at Saturday’s league championships.

Cheseto led the 7th-ranked Seawolves to the GNAC title with a 37-second victory in Saturday’s race in Yakima, Wash. The Kapenguria, Kenya, native covered the 8-K Apple Ridge Run course in a time of 24:30 to earn GNAC Male Newcomer of the Year honors as well.

Fellow Seawolf Jake Parisien, from Palmer, earned the GNAC Male Freshman of the Year award by finishing second in a time of 25:07.

Seattle Pacific junior Jessica Pixler received the women’s Athlete of the Year award after winning her third straight league title.

Huskies dish up a cold loss to Seawolves

Sophomore Tommy Grant scored a pair of goals, but penalty problems came back to haunt Alaska Anchorage in a 4-2 Western Collegiate Hockey Association loss to host Michigan Tech on Oct. 31 at MacInnes Arena.

After the Huskies took a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Seawolves answered early in the second. Grant scored his first goal on the man-advantage, knocking home a nice pass from center Brian Bales (team-high eight assists). The North Vancouver, B.C., native then clinched his first career multi-goal game when he corralled Tyler Moir’s shot off the boards and punched it past Tech goalie Rob Nolan for the equalizer 4 minutes into the second. Grant now leads the Seawolves with five goals on the season.

The teams skated to a draw as they headed to the locker rooms again, but UAA’s Craig Parkinson took an interference penalty late in the second that would wind up costing the Seawolves when Daron Cousens converted for the game-winner 1:05 into the third.

Malcolm Gwilliam added his second goal of the season, an empty-netter with 11 seconds to play, to finish the scoring. It was the first empty-net goal allowed by UAA this year.

Nolan earned the win in net with 25 saves, while Jon Olthuis (2-2-0) took the loss for UAA despite 24 stops.

The Huskies were effective at shutting down UAA’s other top offensive threats, holding junior wingers Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark without a point. Junior center Paul Crowder, who leads UAA with nine points, was held pointless for the first time this season as well.

Seawolves return favor to Huskies

Sophomore goalie Bryce Christianson made 29 saves and forwards Josh Lunden and Tommy Grant tallied goals Nov. 1 to lift the Alaska Anchorage hockey team to a 2-1 victory over Michigan Tech at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

The Seawolves (5-2-1, 2-1-1 WCHA) earned their second one-goal victory of the season thanks to a strong defensive effort, spearheaded by Christianson. The Anchorage native improved his individual record to 3-0-1 as he remained among a handful of unbeaten netminders in the nation.

Michigan Tech (2-4-0, 1-3-0 WCHA) outshot the Seawolves 30-17 and committed just two penalties on the night, but the Huskies couldn’t break through.

Lunden broke a scoreless tie with his fifth goal of the season 5:24 into the second period, sliding home a back-hand shot off passes from linemates Kevin Clark and Brian Bales.

Grant then tallied his team-best sixth goal when he camped in front of the net and tapped in a perfect pass from junior center Paul Crowder early in the third period.

Jordan Baker struck for the Huskies with 7:23 remaining in the third, but the Seawolves stayed out of the penalty box and were able to protect against a man-advantage when MTU pulled its goalie.