It was a year of victory for some Juneau teams and athletes, while others suffered unexpected and unwanted losses.
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team was the only one from the school to win a state title this year, but three individual Crimson Bears claimed championships in state meets. And it was a couple of losses at the Region V tournament that soured things for the boys and girls basketball teams, as the Crimson Bears missed sending at least one team to the state tournament for the first time in two decades.
Read on for more highlights from the year 2001 in local sports.
Juneau boys soccer team wins state title: The Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team claimed its first state title with a 1-0 victory over the Dimond Lynx at Anchorage Football Stadium on May 26, making it Juneau's top sports story of 2001.
"This is the perfect last chapter to a great book," Juneau defender Collin Daugherty said as his team celebrated after the game.
The only goal of the championship game came early, as Crimson Bears midfielder Robert Lossett picked up a high, arcing pass over the Lynx defense by Lee Sullivan and knocked it past Dimond goalkeeper Nik O'Blenness.
Juneau goalkeeper Zuriel "Zee" Ebron earned the shutout for the Crimson Bears, sealing the victory with a save of a point-blank shot by Dimond's Travis Bailey that bounced off the goalpost with 14 minutes left in the game.
Juneau senior midfielder Justin Dorn, who is now a redshirt freshman for Gonzaga University's team, earned the Gatorade Player of the Year award for Alaska. Dorn was the first Crimson Bear soccer player -- male or female -- to win the award. Over his junior and senior seasons, Dorn scored 49 goals as the Crimson Bears reached the championship game both seasons.
Juneau basketball teams don't make state: For the first time since Alaska broke its state tournaments into size classifications in 1984, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls basketball teams were both shut out of berths at state. Longtime coaches couldn't remember the last time neither Juneau team went to state.
Only one Region V-Class 4A team per gender qualifies for the state tournament, and Juneau finished second in both region finals. The Juneau boys dropped a 63-57 decision to the Sitka Wolves on March 16 at Mount Edgecumbe High School's B.J. McGillis Gym in Sitka, while the Crimson Bear girls fell 53-43 to the Ketchikan Kings.
In the boys title game, Jason Mooney scored 16 points and Brett Haavig added 14 to lead the Wolves. James Severin led Juneau with 17 points and was the only Crimson Bear to score in double figures.
In the girls championship game, Ketchikan won its second straight region title as Cassie White scored 11 points and Kelly Nausid added nine for the Kings' balanced scoring attack. Kacie Murphy scored 18 points to lead Juneau, while Hilary Rehfeld added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
At the Class 4A state tournament, the Sitka boys were eliminated early after they dropped a 65-59 decision to eventual state champion Kodiak in the opening round, then fell to Lathrop 73-59. The Ketchikan girls took fourth place, closing out the tournament with victories over Colony (49-35) and Chugiak (45-39) after dropping a 54-48 decision to Wasilla in the opening round.
Juneau football team makes run for state title: The Juneau-Douglas High School football team briefly held the state's top ranking, before the Crimson Bears' dream season ended with a rude wake-up call.
Juneau won its first seven games and claimed its first championship in the Cook Inlet Football Conference, earning the right to host Juneau's first state playoff game. But the Crimson Bears lost their regular-season finale to Service, then in the first round of the playoffs Juneau dropped a 31-0 decision to the eventual state champion Dimond Lynx. The loss to Dimond ended Juneau's 13-game home winning streak, which dated back to the 1998 season.
Despite the loss, Juneau's football team still picked up several state honors as head coach Reilly Richey won his second coach of the year award in three years, quarterback Brett Fairchild earned offensive player of the year honors and lineman Zac Campbell was named lineman of the year. The Crimson Bears had five players earn first-team all-state honors -- Fairchild at quarterback, Campbell at offensive lineman, Jacob Dutton at wide receiver, Jake Miller at tight end and Lee Sullivan at kicker.
Other Crimson Bears highlights: In other sports, three individuals won state championships for Juneau, with Anthony Manacio IV (112 pounds) and Jerrod Harvey (275) winning fall season wrestling titles on Dec. 15 and Loreen Tupou winning the girls discus crown in track and field on May 28. The wrestling titles were Juneau's fourth and fifth over the past three state tournaments, while Tupou's title was the first for Juneau in track since 1999.
In swimming, Paul Hughes took second place at state in both the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley events and Kirk Fishel was second in the 100 backstroke for Juneau, to highlight other top individual state meet performances for the Crimson Bears. Clay Brown took second place in the boys triple jump at the state track meet, Jesse Stringer took third place for the Crimson Bears in the boys individual cross country state race.
The Juneau wrestling team, girls volleyball team, the girls cross country team and the softball team all took third place in their respective state tournaments. The Juneau boys swim team finished fourth and the girls swim team was 10th, the boys cross country team took eighth place, the baseball team finished fourth, the girls soccer team was fifth, the girls track team tied for 11th place and the boys track team tied for 14th place in their state tournaments.
Boozer helps Duke claim national title: In just his fourth game back in action after missing a month with a broken foot, 1999 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Carlos Boozer posted a double-double to help the Duke Blue Devils claim the NCAA Division I basketball title on April 2.
Boozer, then a sophomore and now a 6-foot-9 junior center for the top-ranked Blue Devils, scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Duke claimed an 82-72 victory over the Arizona Wildcats in the championship game. He was able to neutralize the post game of Arizona's 7-1 center Loren Woods, recording a first-half block that set the tone for Duke on defense.
In August, Boozer led Team USA in scoring and rebounds as it claimed the title in the World Basketball Championship for Young Men tournament in Saitama, Japan. Team USA beat Croatia 89-80 in the championship game. Boozer led the Americans with 15.9 points and 8.0 rebounds a game. In a 95-90 semifinal victory over Argentina, Boozer scored a Team USA single-game record of 29 points.
Other local highlights: Former Juneau-Douglas High School baseball player Chad Bentz, then a sophomore left-handed pitcher at Long Beach State, was selected in the seventh round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft for Major League Baseball by the Montreal Expos. Bentz, who played this summer for the short-season Class A Vermont Expos of the New York-Penn League, was one of three minor leaguers from Juneau. Right-handed pitcher Toby Staveland played for the short-season Class A Jamestown (N.Y.) Jammers of the New York-Penn League and third baseman Rob Conway played for the independent Cook County (Ill.) Cheetahs of the Frontier League.
Joe Tompkins of Juneau is pursuing a spot on the 2002 U.S. Paralympic Ski Team, which will be announced in mid-January. Tompkins, a mono-skier who returned from two broken legs to close out the 2000-01 season, is a member of the U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski Team's C Team squad. U.S. Disabled Ski Team program director Sandy Metzger and coach Ewald Zirbisegger both said Tompkins has a good chance to make the team. The Paralympics are March 7-16 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
It was announced this spring that the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay will make its first appearance ever in Alaska when the torch comes to Juneau on Jan. 24. So far the names of 32 torchbearers have been announced for the Olympic Torch Relay's visit to Alaska, including six current Juneau residents -- Ethel Lund, Ray Vidic, Constance Trollan, Joanna Goldman, Niall Johnson and Sabrina Richmond -- and two recent former Juneau residents -- Wendie Marriott of Unalaska and Mike Miller of Beaverton, Ore. Former Juneau resident Carol White, who is Sen. Ted Stevens' chief of staff, carried the torch on Dec. 21 when it passed through Washington, D.C.
In the Lions' Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, Tenakee Tribe claimed the Classic A Bracket title with a 98-85 victory over two-time defending champion Sitka American Legion Post 13, the Haines Merchants won their third straight Mighty B Bracket title with a 93-86 victory over Hoonah ANB, the Klawock Old Totems won the Legendary C Bracket crown with a 105-69 win over Yakutat ANS, and Klawock-Prince of Wales won its third straight Premiere Women's Bracket championship with a 70-53 victory over Yakutat.
In the second annual Southeast Showdown roughhouse boxing show on April 12-13, all three defending champions won again as Juneau's J.R. Diamond won the lightweight title, Sitka's Victor Littlefield won the middleweight crown and Juneau's Russ Stevens won the heavyweight championship.
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