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December 5, 2012 Press Release by Harlow Robinson
ALASKA SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ANNOUNCES CLASS OF 2012
ANCHORAGE - Bill Spencer and Vern Tejas headline the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012 which was announced at a press conference this morning. The class of inductees is rounded out by the University of Alaska Faribanks men's basketball team's chamionship in the Top of the World Class in 2002 named as the "moment" and the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament in Juneau named as the "event".
Spencer, 55, was a renowned mountain runner and Olympic cross-country skier during his athletic career that stretched from the 1970s through the 1990s. He won the grueling 3.5-mile, 3,022-foot up-and-down race a record 8 times. He also owns the junior and senior race records. This year marked the 30th anniversary of his celebrated record of 43:23 set in 1981. In 1987 he was national champion in the 50K race and also won the Great American Ski Chase series. The following year he competed at 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary with the U.S. Ski Team.
Tejas, 58, earned star status in 1988 when he became the first climber to compete a solo winter ascent of Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America at 20,230 feet. This year he completed a new world speed record of the Seven Summits, climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents within a 134-day period.Tejas is the only person to have climbed each of the Seven Summits at least nine times, and has completed the Seven Summits twice during a one-year period. It's supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Gold Medal Basketball Tournament
The prestigious Gold Medal Basketball Tournament in Juneau celebrated its 66th year in March. The Gold Medal Tournament brings together communities throughout Southeast Alaska annually. Even with the high level of competition it attracts, the tournament is as much a cultural event as a sporting event.
2002 Top of the World Classic title
The 2002 Top of the World Classic title by the University of Alaska Fairbanks men's basketball team was the first by an NCAA Division 2 men's team in a Division 1 tournament. The Nanooks posted consecutive victories over Wisconsin-Green Bay, Nebraska and Weber State on their historic run and electrified the city of Fairbanks.
The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame will hold an induction ceremony in February, 2012 at the Anchorage Museum atrium. The event will be free and open to the public. The date and time will be announced at a later time.
"We look forward to adding the new inductees to the Hall," said Harlow Robinson, president of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. "The Class of 2012 is an impressive group both for individual achievement and historical relevance."
Over 1,500 people particpated in the public voting process. The accumulative public vote total constituted one ballot equal to a selection panel member's ballot. "The public participation was great this year," said Robinson. "Several candidates receieved a tremendous amount of public support and found their way into the selection panel discussion. These candidates will continue to be a part of the conversation in future years."
Several new individuals will appear on next year's public ballot as a result of strong representation as a "write-in" candidate in this year's public vote or due to appearing on a selection panel ballot for the first time this year. These candidates include Senator Ted Stevens, NHL hockey player Matt Carle, Iron Dog legend Scott Davis, All-American long jumper Jenay Deloach, Oympic skier Holly Brooks, NFL football player Daryn Colledge, and Alaska HS basketball star and coach Jeannie Hebert-Traux. They will join the existing candidates on next year's ballot.
Selection panel: Bob Eley, sports editor, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (chairman); Beth Bragg, columnist and former sports editor, Anchorage Daily News; Lew Freedman, Chicago, former Anchorage Daily News sports editor and author of numerous books about Alaska sports; Mike Janecek, Palmer, longtime high school coach and athletics administrator; Danny Martin, sports writer, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner; Steve Nerland, Anchorage, American Legion baseball manager; Mike Sica, longtime Alaskan sports broadcaster and journalist, George Houston, longtime Juneau Douglas High School basketball coach. Results of Internet voting by the public constituted the panel's ninth vote.
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