Mize, Pease finally get a spot in Alaska Sports Hall of Fame
Skiers and runners, rejoice. Two of the toughest athletes to run the mountains and ski the trails of Alaska will be inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015. Mount Marathon record holder Nancy Pease, and Nordic skiing pioneer Dick Mize join a group of elite athletes in the Hall, which ahs been recognizing the amazing athletic feats of Alaskans since it inducted its first class in 2007.
But Pease and Mize are not the only winners. Ketchikan basketball icon John Brown also is one of the three winning athletes, as well as the Iron Dog snowmachine race, which was named tops in the Event category.
The Moment category is being awarded to Skyview High School wrestler Michaela Hutchison, who in 2006 had an historic 1-0 victory over Colony’s Aaron Boss in the 103-pound final to become the first girl wrestler in the nation to win a state title against boys.
“Alaska has without a doubt the most diverse sports culture of any state of the union,” said Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director Harlow Robinson. Our sports history helps define who we are in Alaska from the early-centuries old Alaska Native games to Alaskan’s excellence in contemporary mainstream sports. Outdoor athletes and sporting events are a huge part of that culture. I love about our state that many years we induct a mountaineer or a dog musher, for example, next to a mainstream sport athlete.”
More than 1,500 people participated in the public voting process, according to the Sports Hall, and the accumulative public vote total constituted one ballot equal to a selection panel member’s ballot. Robinson said voting has plateaued at between 1,500 and 2,000 each year.
“One thousand was a big milestone the first couple years,” Robinson said. “There is absolutely more awareness about who we are and every year there is a good deal of public lobbying for certain candidates.”
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame will hold an induction ceremony in February at the Anchorage Museum auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Check www.alaskasportshall.org for more details.
— Melissa DeVaughn
ALASKA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2015
He was a member of the first United Sates Olympic biathlete squad at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games. As a cross-country ski racer Mize was one of the nation’s best and he didn’t seem to ever slow down, winning several U.S. Master’s Championships and setting age-group records well into his 70s. He might be better known for his work off his skis ,though. Mize helped design and construct multiple ski trails at Kincaid Park, Hillside, Russian Jack and in Girdwood. Some even bear his name. He was inducted into the Alaska High School Hall of Fame in 2011.
She stopped running competitively years ago, but Pease is still the undisputed queen of the mountain. During her reign in the 1980s and 1990s, she sometimes beat the men outright, winning Bird Ridge race outright in 1990 and sharing the Crow Pass Crossing title with Bill Spencer in 1990. She won Mount Marathon six times, Crow Pass eight times and Bird Ridge five times, and she set course records in all three races, all of which still stand today.
He wasn’t that tall, but John Brown played big. The 6-foot-2, 150-pounder dominated action under the basket with legendary skill and was widely recognized as the top player in Alaska in the 1960s. He became a hoops hero at Ketchikan when he became the first player in Alaska to play on four straight high school champion basketball teams in 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968. He later played at Seattle University. He was named on Sports Illustrated’s list of Alaska’s top 50 greatest 20th-century athletes.
Michaela Hutchison Beats the Boys in 2006 (Moment Category)
Led by chants of “Girl Power,” Skyview High School sophomore Michaela Hutchison made history when she earned a thrilling 1-0 victory over Colony’s Aaron Boss in the 103-pound final to become the first girl wrestler in the nation to win a state title against boys. Hutchison entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in her weight class and completed her historic run by scoring an escape with 16 seconds left in the match.
Iron Dog (Event Category)
At 2,031 miles, the Iron Dog is the longest and toughest snowmobile race in the world. The event began in 1984 as a 1,000-mile race from Big Lake to Nome. It was doubled to the current distance at the 10th annual race in 1994 and now goes from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks. In 2015, the race will have a ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage for the first time.
— Alaska Sports Hall of Fame
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