Eleven University of Alaska Anchorage student-athletes — including two former winners — are in the running for the prestigious Bill McKay Athlete of the Year trophy for 2011-12. The nominees are Andreas Adde (men’s skiing), Jaime Bronga (women’s skiing), Micah Chelimo (men’s cross country), Morgan Cook (gymnastics), Hanna Johansson (women’s basketball), Ruth Keino (women’s cross country), Haleigh Lloyd (women’s track & field), Jackie Matthisen (volleyball), Jade Portwood (hockey), David Registe (men’s track & field) and Taylor Rohde (men’s basketball).
The 28th annual award will be presented Sunday, April 22 at the athlete-of-the-year banquet at Lucy Cuddy Hall on campus.

Adde, a junior from Osteras, Norway, was nominated for the third straight year for men’s skiing. The 2010 slalom national champion added his third and fourth career All-America honors as the Seawolf Alpine squad rallied for a 5th-place finish at the NCAA Championships, where he finished sixth in the giant slalom.

Bronga, a senior from Anchorage, earned her fourth career All-America honor at NCAAs by finishing fifth in the 15K classic and freestyle race at the NCAA Championships last month. The former East High School standout led the Seawolves with five podium finishes throughout the year and was the RMISA Nordic MVP.

Chelimo, a junior from Kapkoi, Kenya, captured his third career All-America finish by placing 15th at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships and leading the Seawolves to an 8th-place team finish. He also became the second Seawolf to sweep the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and West Region individual titles as UAA won both team titles for the second straight year.

Cook, a freshman from Hot Springs, Ark., became the ninth Seawolf to complete the all-around competition at the NCAA Div. I West Regional Championships, becoming UAA’s first individual qualifier since 2009. She was also an All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honoree in the all-around.

Johansson, from Gothenburg, Sweden, helped the women’s basketball team back to the NCAA Elite Eight for the second time in her 4-year career, capturing All-America and GNAC Player-of-the-Year honors along the way. The 6-2 center averaged team-highs of 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game as UAA won both the GNAC regular-season and tournament championships.

Keino, the reigning Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year, was nominated for her accomplishments on the cross country trails last fall. The Kapcheno, Kenya, native collected six individual titles — including the GNAC and West Region crowns — and capped her career with a 9th-place NCAA finish for her third All-America award. As a team, UAA won the league and region titles and placed sixth in the nation.

Lloyd, from Ladysmith, British Columbia, was nominated for her exploits from her freshman season in Spring 2011. After registering UAA records in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles in the regular season, she became the first Seawolf women’s hurdler to qualify for the NCAA Track & Field Championships.

Matthisen, a senior from Anchorage (East HS), led UAA back to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season as she earned GNAC Player-of-the-Year and All-West Region honors. The 5-10 outside hitter ranked second in the GNAC in both kills and points per set as the Seawolves went 18-9 and were GNAC runners-up by just one match.

Portwood, a senior from Victoria, British Columbia, furnished four goals and six assists in his fourth and final campaign as he became just the second Seawolf to win the hockey team’s ‘Corner Man’ award four years in a row. The 6-3, 205-pound forward was also a WCHA All-Academic honoree and made the Brice Alaska Goal Rush all-tournament team.

Registe — UAA’s 2008-09 Athlete of the Year — was nominated for once again after capturing his third career All-America honor in the long jump, placing fourth at the 2011 NCAA Track & Field Championships. The Palmer (Colony HS) product was also the Most Outstanding Male Performer at the 2011 GNAC Championships, where he won five total titles (three individual, two relay) and scored a meet-record 30 points.

Rohde, a senior from Phoenix, earned consensus All-America accolades and was named the National Player of the Year by Division II Bulletin, becoming the first Seawolf in any sport to earn such distinction. The 6-9 center was also the GNAC and West Region Player of the Year after averaging 19.8 points and 8.0 rebounds, and leading UAA to its second consecutive NCAA 2nd Round berth.

The 2012 UAA Athlete of the Year is selected for excellence in the 2011-12 athletic campaign. However, because of calendar concerns, this will mark the sixth award that takes the previous year’s track & field season into consideration.

The award is voted on by a committee comprised of UAA Athletics staff members, local media, and Benton Bay representatives.

Past Bill MacKay UAA Athletes of the Year
Year Winner             Sport               
2011 Ruth Keino         Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
2010 Calli Scott        Volleyball
2009 David Registe      Men’s Track & Field
2008 Luke Cooper        Men’s Basketball
2007 Rebecca Kielpinski Women’s Basketball
2006 Kemmy Burgess      Men’s Basketball
2005 Mandy Kaempf       Women’s Skiing/Cross Country Running
2004 Peter Bullock      Men’s Basketball
03 Tobias Schwoerer   Men’s Skiing/Cross Country Running
2002 Tobias Schwoerer   Men’s Skiing/Cross Country Running
2001 Ed Kirk            Men’s Basketball
2000 Edda Mutter        Women’s Skiing
1999 Jim Hajdukovich    Men’s Basketball
1998 Zuzana Razusova    Women’s Skiing
1997 Frode Lillefjell   Men’s Skiing/Cross Country Running
     Elena Tkacheva     Gymnastics
1996 Allegra Stoetzel   Women’s Basketball
1995 Jason Kaiser       Men’s Basketball
     Karen Hoey         Gymnastics
1994 Kerry Robitaille   Gymnastics
1993 Jen Szczerbinski   Volleyball
1992 Jon Pauole         Swimming
1991 Paul Krake         Hockey
1990 Teri Frankie       Gymnastics
1989 Michael Johnson    Men’s Basketball
1988 Robin Graul        Women’s Basketball
1987 Hansi Gnad         Men’s Basketball
1986 Teri Frankie       Gymnastics
1985 Tiina Kantola      Women’s Skiing/Cross Country Running