FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks was well represented when the Great Northwest Athletic Conference handed out its Freshman of the Year award.
Alaska Nanooks outside hitter Sam Harthun of Oregon City, Ore., and Alaska Anchorage outside hitter Julia Mackey from West Valley High School in Fairbanks were named recipients of the award when all-conference honors were handed out Monday.
“I’m super excited for Sam,” outgoing Nanooks coach Phil Shoemaker said in a press release. “Certainly we think it’s recognition that is well deserved.”
“It’s an indicator of the season she had and what we think the future holds for her,” Shoemaker said. “You can think of the great ones who have come through here and her name is going to join that list really soon.”
Mackey, was named first team all-conference, while Harthun grabbed honorable mention honors.
While starting all 24 Alaska matches, Harthun led the team in kills with 314 on 845 attempts, both team highs.
In addition, she had 199 digs, 32 total blocks, 27 assists and 17 aces.
Harthun’s season highlight include a 31-kill performance at Simon Fraser on Nov. 1 and two other 20+ kill outings, a .654 hitting percentage against Saint Martin’s University on Oct. 20 and 15 digs at Western Oregon on Sept. 22.
“She was a big part of our success this year and she’s a big part of our optimism for the future,” Shoemaker said. “We’re very proud of her and it was well earned.”
Mackey finished the season ranked ninth in the conference with 3.13 kills per set and produced 53 total blocks for the Seawolves.
League champion Western Washington dominated the other individual awards as Marlayna Geary was named Player of the Year, with teammate Samantha Hutchinson earning Defensive Player of the Year honors and Diane Flick being selected as Coach of the Year.
Alaska Anchorage junior middle blocker Jodi Huddleston was named Newcomer of the Year.
Players named to the all-conference first team were outside hitters Cailin Fellows (Seattle Pacific), Geary (Western Washington), Marcy Hjellum (Central Washington), Mackey (Alaska Anchorage), Danielle Reese (Western Oregon) and Samantha Ward (WOU); middle blockers Kayla Erickson (WWU), Krissi Kemper (WOU), and Erin Smith (CWU); setters Kimya Jafroudi (UAA), Shelby Swanson (SPU) and Laurie Yearout (WWU); and Liberos Erin Compton (MSUB), Samantha Hutchinson (WWU).
Honorable mention honors went to outside hitters Emmy Dolan (CWU), Monica Grimsrud (Montana State Billings) and Harthun (Alaska); middle blockers Becky Blees (WOU), Emily Boerger (WWU), Katy Ferguson (Saint Martin’s), Becky Flores (Northwest Nazarene), Huddleston (UAA), Nikki Lowell (SPU); setters Catie Fry (CWU) and Michelle Terpstra (NNU); and libero Kaely Kight (CWU).