ASAA turns attention towards ski and basketball state championships following DII hockey tournament

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 6:55 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - For many high school athletes, the highlight of their seasons includes attending and competing at the state championship event for their respective sport. Since the start of the 2020-21 academic year, only cross-country running and tennis were able to crown state champions, while football, volleyball and rifle had theirs canceled just days or weeks prior to the event. Most recently, Division II hockey completed the first Alaska School Activities Association State Championship event in four months, where the Homer Mariners came out on top.

“I was just giddy all weekend that we were actually hosting something,” said ASAA Executive Director Billy Strickland. “It felt really good to see the students again and it was really a great tournament.”

Division I hockey will not have an official ASAA state tournament as the Cook Inlet Conference (Anchorage) elected to compete in the spring, which comes after ASAA’s winter sports championship deadline.

The next sport looking to tab state champions is Nordic ski, which is set for February 25-27 at Government Peak in Palmer.

11:00 a.m.Boys 7.5K ClassicGirls 7.5K FreestyleBoys 4 x 5K Classic
2:00 p.m.Girls 5K ClassicBoys 10K FreestyleGirls 4 x 3.5K Classic

“Actually our number of schools and participants are right on track for what would be considered a normal year,” said Strickland of the Nordic Ski State Championships. “We are right at 80 girls, 80 boys. Thankfully we were able to, with really very little time, be able to get the Mat-Su Nordic Ski Association to host the event.”

Following the Nordic Ski State Championships will come the most participated and attended high school state tournament; basketball. The Class 3A and 4A boys and girls basketball tournaments will officially take place March 25-27 at the high schools of Palmer, Wasilla and Colony, as well as Palmer Middle School.

The 3A and 4A state basketball tournaments are set to take place at various schools from March...
The 3A and 4A state basketball tournaments are set to take place at various schools from March 25-27. (ASAA)(ASAA)

It had been clear for sometime that the state basketball tournament would not take place in Anchorage as it has for over 20 years, leaving the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and Fairbanks as some of the next options.

“Keeping it in the center of where we have our office, where we have the greatest number of officials, where we have some of those types of things, is where working with the Mat-Su for us was kind of the next logical choice.” said Strickland.

As for 1A and 2A, they are set for April 1-3 at the same locations. With the trio of winter sports looking to conclude their seasons with a state champion, things are looking up for spring sports right around the corner.

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