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Chelimo gets HOF honor; Hebard gets drafted into WNBA

From UAA Sports Information:

 

NEW ORLEANS – Former University of Alaska Anchorage student-athlete Micah Chelimo, a four-time NCAA National Champion, has been selected for induction into the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Div. II Hall of Fame.

He is the first UAA student-athlete inducted into a national hall of fame.

“I’m very happy that Micah has been recognized by the coaches association as one of the best runners in NCAA history,” said former head coach Michael Friess. “While he certainly earned this recognition based on his athletic achievements I hope everyone understands that he was so much more than just a fast runner to us. He lifted our program up during a time of great stress and reminded us about what we could achieve and how we should achieve it. He was a leader at a time we very much needed a leader and his influence still persists today. His expression of joy winning his first national championship was way more than just being happy about winning… it was the cumulative release of emotion from taking the weight of a program on to his shoulders and lifting us all up.”

Chelimo won his first national title in the 5,000 at the outdoor national championships in 2012 and followed up by winning the cross country national title. He would add national titles in the indoor 5,000 in 2013 and 3,000 in 2014 along with two national runner-up finishes.

Chelimo was a 12-time All-American, including four straight in cross country, a 12-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference Champion and earned 17 All-GNAC honors. He was the West Region Champion twice in cross country (2011, 2012), was named the West Region Athlete of the Year and was a 19-time All-West Region honoree.

Chelimo also excelled in the classroom earning Academic All-American honors and was named the USTFCCCA Scholar Athlete of the Year.

He graduated with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from UAA and is currently working towards a master’s degrees in public administration from UAA. He currently works as a facility engineer at UAA. Chelimo live in Anchorage with his wife Joyce and two sons, Ethan and Kevin.

 

From Brian Martin, WNBA.com:

Heading into Friday, a total of eight Oregon Ducks had been drafted into the WNBA over the league’s first 23 seasons and none came in the first round. Less than an hour into the draft, the Ducks had three players selected in the first eight selections with Satou Sabally going No. 2 to Dallas and Ruthy Hebard going No. 8 to Chicago.

“It’s so cool,” said Sabally in a post-draft teleconference with the media. “It just shows that we have built a great culture at Oregon, have recruited great players, and they got the right kind of practice and development. We really had the best support system around us.”

This is the fifth straight year that one school has produced at least three first round draft picks, but only the third time in league history for all three to go in the top eight. The only other school to accomplish that is the University of Connecticut.

Any hopes for an Oregon reunion for Hebard and Ionescu in New York were dashed by the Chicago Sky, who selected the talented forward with the No. 8 pick, just one pick ahead of New York’s second first-round selection. While Hebard won’t be able to reunite with her point guard from college, she joins a Sky team that has a record-breaking assist disher in Courtney Vandersloot.

“I’m super excited for Chicago and Courtney Vandersloot who played for [Oregon] Coach [Kelly] Graves is there and I already got a text from her, so I’m really excited that Chicago picked me, and I can’t wait to work with my new teammates,” Hebard said.

Hebard took part in the virtual draft from her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, where she was surrounded by her family. While she grew up in Alaska, she was born in Chicago and returns to her birthplace to begin her professional career.

“I was kind of thinking like oh, Chicago picked me, it would be so cool to not only play for a great team but just to be able to see and learn a little more about Chicago, where I was born and stuff like that,” she said.

But before she heads to Chicago, there will be a parade in Fairbanks to celebrate her accomplishment of entering the WNBA. Of course, with the current times, it will be a social distancing parade.

“They’re just going to drive through and people are going to be in their cars, so there’s social distancing,” she said. “Going to drive through and wave and see a lot of familiar faces, and it’s so nice to have my town backing me and supporting me.”



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