The losses and future of UAA Athletics

Lauren Cuddihy is a member of the UAA Seawolves Track and Field team.

With the loss of numerous prominent athletes from every team, the official National Collegiate Athletic Association signing period isn’t until mid to late April, depending on the sport, but coaches have been recruiting for quite a while and many already have very promising prospective athletes.

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UAA guard Kiki Robertson takes a shot over Point Loma Guard Amy Ogren during the first round of the NCAA Division II Western Regional Championships on March 13, 2015 at the Alaska Airlines Center. Photo credit: Adam Eberhardt

 

Volleyball:

Volleyball will be the first season to kick off the 2017-18 school year in August, two very prominent athletes used their remaining eligibility and won’t be returning. Morgan Hooe, the standout setter and team captain finished off her senior season.

Hooe was a very significant contributor to team for the past four years, racking up numerous awards and All-Americans, she will be followed by freshman Madison Fisher to take the place of setter on the team.

Erin Braun is the second loss the team will suffer, who had been a duo with Hooe for the past four years. Braun was a middle blocker for the team, successfully ending her career with numerous awards such as First Team All-GNAC, West Regional Championships All-Tournament and maintaining GNAC All-Academic for her entire collegiate career.

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Head coach Chris Green confirmed that they had prospective athletes signing during the signing period in mid-April, but as of now no comment is allowed to be made until they sign.

Women’s Basketball:

Women’s basketball is another fortunate team, similar to volleyball, the team only loses three players, however, they happen to be three of the most successful.

The first to go is Alysha Devine, the Wasilla local and 6’0” forward has been a key component to the team for the past four years — even playing in all but one game her freshman season. The GNAC All-Academic and conference honorable mention leaves the team as being the fifth-leading scorer.

In addition, forward Autummn Williams and guard Kiki Robertson both depart their collegiate basketball career for UAA.

While this was only Williams first season and only season at UAA, Roberston has played and been a significant player for the past four years. Robertson also ended her career with 15 different awards and notable accomplishments during her career.

Again, head Coach Ryan McCarthy noted that although they have prospective athletes, due to NCAA regulations no specific information can be released.

“At this point we are unable to comment on anyone we have signed until the NCAA signing period for women’s basketball which is in mid-April. Once we do get everyone signed, which should be around May, we can comment publicly but due to NCAA rules, at this point in time we are unable to do so,” McCarthy said.

 

Men’s Basketball:

Of all the sports at UAA, men’s basketball is taking the second biggest hit, losing seven of their 16 current players. Included in these loses are guards Suki Wiggs, Diante Mitchell and Spencer Svejcar.

Wiggs produced top performances for UAA and earned numerous awards including First Team All-West region and USBWA National player of the week. He ended his career with an impressive 24.4 points per game average, good for fifth in all of NCAA Div. II.

Mitchell also ended the season with an honorable mention All-GNAC status as well as being All-Academic in the conference.

In addition, the team is losing forwards Travis Parrish, Corey Hammell, Tayler Thompson and Connor Devine.

Devine just started and finished his only season at UAA, after transferring from South Dakota State, but he proved to be a vital asset to the team. He was the fourth leading scorer, third leading rebounder and top shot blocker for the Seawolves.

Hockey:

Hockey also takes a very minimal loss, only four players of their current 27-player roster.

Defensemen and assistant captain Chase Van Allen finished off his fourth year of eligibility with the Seawolves, competing in the majority of games all four years. Van Allen played in all 34 games of his junior season, 31 of his sophomore season and 30 of his freshman season.

In addition, the team loses forward Dylan Hubbs, forward Brad Duwe and goalie Rasmus Reijola.

Hubbs and Duwe, similar to Van Allen, played in the majority of the games all four seasons.

Skiing:

The skiing teams, split into Nordic and alpine, look at a loss of only four players, but all of them belonging to the alpine side.

On the men’s side, Curtis McKillop and Hughston Norton depart after the 2017 season. McKillop made several NCAA Championship appearances in his career and was also named to the All-Academic ski team every year. Norton also managed to make NCAA championship appearances every year of his career.

On the women’s side, Katherine Lamoureux and Miranda Sheely both concluded their final collegiate season.

Gymnastics:

Although the gymnastics team is losing only three athletes, their roster is only topped off at 14 athletes total.

The first to depart is Nicole Larkin, who has made appearances in nearly every single meet since her freshman year and helping to contribute to several school records in team totals. Larkin made a significant contribution to the team, being co-captain for three years straight as well as being named to MPSF All-Academic team every year.

In addition, Brice Mizell and Kallie Randolph will not be returning after expiring their four-year eligibility. Both have also contributed to school records in overall team scores. Randolph produced some of the best floor scores in her time at UAA and earned several All-MPSF honors.

Head coach Paul Stoklos also confirmed that no athletes have officially signed until late April, but their team is expected to increase in size.

“It is out hope to sign three athletes and to add four walk-ons to bring our team size closer to 18 athletes,” Stoklos said.

Cross Country/Track and Field:

The last season of the year and the final team to compete contains members of the cross country and track and field team, who are still in competition until late May. Being one of the largest teams in the UAA program, it is also the team that loses the largest amount of athletes, at 14 after the commencement of their outdoor season.

On the men’s sprint team, only one athlete is being lost. Adam Commandeur, a prominent member of the men’s 4×400 sprint team and a successful 400m runner. For the men’s distance and cross country team, the Seawolves will lose six runners, including Joe Day (800m), Michael Mendenhall (mile, 3k, 5k), Philip Messina (mile, 3k, 5k), Jesse Miller (800, 5k), Michel Ramirez (5k, 10k) and Victor Samoei (3k, 5k, 10k).

In addition, the men’s team is losing a prominent jumper, Tevin Gladden. He holds the UAA record in high jump and holds several top jumps in the UAA record book for long jump and triple jump.

On the women’s sprint side, very prominent loses will be seen. Karolin Anders (heptathlon), Jamie Ashcroft (100m, 200m), Hayley Bezanson (200m, 400m), Alexia Blalock (jumps/hurdles) and Mary-Kathleen Cross (100m, 200m, 400m) will not be returning.

Three of them, Ashcroft, Cross and Bezanson, are a part of the 4x400m UAA record team. In addition, Ashcroft holds the UAA indoor and outdoor record in both the 100m and 200m and is a part of the 4x100m outdoor UAA record. Anders is currently finishing off her final outdoor season; she holds the UAA record in the indoor high, triple and long jump, as well as shot put and the pentathlon.

Dakayla Walters is another member of the track team not set to return. Walters competes in the shot put and discus, making appearances at numerous GNAC Championships.

With the departure of many talented athletes, teams will be adding many new faces to Seawolf athletics, finalized recruits added to teams will be announced by the end of April.