ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Both NCAA Div. I Hockey and Basketball tournaments are down to the Sweet Sixteen, and there are plenty of Alaskan athletes to keep track of.
The NCAA women’s basketball Sweet Sixteen will feature West Valley product Ruthy Hebard. The junior forward looks to lead the Ducks back to the Elite Eight where they fell to Notre Dame last season. Hebard has averaged 16.3 points per game and nine rebounds per game.
In the NCAA mens tournament, West Anchorage’s Brandon Huffman at the University of North Carolina will be taking on Auburn on Friday. Huffman has seen limited minutes his sophomore season.
Alaska hockey players are scattered all over Sweet Sixteen rosters in NCAA tournament play. Among the notables slated to play are Anchorage’s Nolan Walker on St. Cloud State, Anchorage's David Carle head coach at Univ. Denver, and Eagle River’s Andrew Shortridge on Quinnipiac.
The 29-year-old Carle is the youngest coach in NCAA Div. I hockey, and has led the Pioneers to a 22-11-5 record in his first season at the helm. Denver faces off with Ohio State Friday.
Walker, a forward for the Huskies, had 8 goals and 19 assists over his freshman season. St. Cloud State will take on American International Friday.
Shortridge is a big reason for the Quinnipiac’s success this season, recently named ECAC goaltender of the year, and is a Mike Richter Award finalist, reserved for the NCAA’s best goalie. The Bobcats face off against Arizona State on Saturday. The Sun Devil's roster features red shirt freshman Gage Mackie from Anchorage.
Ryan Schwalbe from Anchorage will play for Minnesota State, which takes on Providence on Saturday. Clarkson’s Kris Oldham is also from Anchorage, and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the sixth round in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Oldham will not be playing on Friday against Notre Dame since he is serving a year-in-residence after transferring from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
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