ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — Tuesday the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2019 class, headlined by Juneau’s Chad Bentz and Eagle River’s Corey Cogdell-Unrein. In addition to Bentz and Cogdell-Unrein, the Alaska Run for Women was inducted in the event category, and Kodiak’s upset over East in the 2001 state basketball championship was chosen for the moment category.
The Alaska Hall put it best when they said nobody did more with less than Bentz.
The Juneau standout was just the second player ever in Major League Baseball history to debut with just one arm. Bentz told the Alaska Hall in 2004 that New York Yankee great Jim Abbott, who also had just one hand, was one of his heroes growing up and inspired him to play baseball, despite being teased.
He would not only defy the odds making it to the big leagues with one hand, but become just the third Alaskan to ever make it to the MLB. If that wasn’t enough, he's the first Alaskan ever to get a hit in a MLB game, and would go on to play 40 games at baseball’s highest level for the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins.
Once his baseball days were over he took to the gridiron, playing a year of football at Castleton State, an NCAA Div. III program in Vermont, carrying the ball 12 times, and scoring two touchdowns as a fullback.
The announcement of Corey Cogdell-Unrein to the Alaska Hall is not a surprise to those who’ve followed her career. Cogdell-Unrein is one of America’s best trap shooters, a two-time bronze medalist, and a three-time Olympian who also sports an impressive international career.
Highlights from her career include defeating a reigning world champion from Spain at the 2016 Olympics and winning a bronze in 2008 at the Olympics under similar circumstances.
As the sharpshooter gets older, she continues to reinvent herself, competing in trap mixed team, a new category of shooting that will be added to the 2020 Olympic Games.
Alaska Run for Women
The Alaska Run for Women is a staple fundraiser every spring for women in Southcentral Alaska. According to the Alaska Hall the race started in 1993 after another all-women’s race raised its entry fee.
In its 25 years of existence, the Alaska Run for Women has raised more than $3.5 million in cash and health care services.
2001 Kodiak Boys Basketball Team
March Madness in Alaska is full of moments, and none were bigger than Kodiak basketball’s 55-52 upset over East in the 2001 4A boys' state title game.
The Bears capped off an incredible undefeated season, coming back from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter, and captured the school’s first state championship in 30 years.
The Alaska Hall will hold their 2019 induction ceremony in April at the Anchorage Museum.