Susitna Valley Rams / Photo by ASAA

Unbeknownst to them, the Susitna Valley High volleyball players and coaches played a starring role in the 40th anniversary edition of the famed Talkeetna Bachelor Auction over the weekend.

“It happened Saturday and one of the guys working (the event) from the radio station sent me a text,” Su Valley veteran coach Chad Valentine. “Our scores were announced to quite the reaction.”

While the auction gala full of drinks and dancing continued its storied tradition of raising thousands of dollars and awareness for local women and children in need, the Rams did their part to ensure another banner will be hoisted in the school’s gym.

Su Valley earned its second Class 2A state championship at Anchorage’s Dimond High. The Rams won a dramatic, five-set title match against Klawock (25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-27, 15-12) to earn their first title since 2013 for schools with student enrollment from 51 to 100.

The team also finished second in 2018.

“We’ve been on that floor together a lot,” said Valentine, who’s coached at the school of 85 students for decades and currently coaches with daughter Noelle. “Our players knew what had to be done and it was really special watching them score the final few points.

“On the court or on the bench, everyone succeeded. It was a real accomplishment.”

Junior Alana Barron sparked much of Su Valley’s state success. She was named the state tournament’s outstanding hitter. Seniors India Roderick and Myka Wilson joined Barron on the all-tournament team.

“Alana is intense,” Valentine said. “She’s always focused on what she needs to do. While maybe not at her most productive during one of our matches (against Tri-Valley), she was good at the critical moments.”

Valentine said an early-season meeting set Su Valley on its championship run. Apparently, some missteps had the Rams beating themselves, a lot of unforced errors.

“We got together and laid out a game plan, centered on our strengths,” Valentine said. “That meeting was mentioned during state. The goal we talked about then was there, and it was time to get serious.”

The Tanalian Lynx of Port Alsworth won Saturday’s other volleyball state title at Dimond. They defeated Shaktoolik in four sets (25-27, 25-15, 25-5, 25-13) to claim the Mixed Six coed title for the state’s smallest schools.

The Lynx won their third championship in four seasons. They also finished second in 2020. The 13-year-old tournament featured 12 teams.

Alaska School Activities Association/First National Bank Alaska
2A State Volleyball Championships
At Dimond High School, Anchorage
Saturday, Dec. 4
Championship Match
Susitna Valley 3, Klawock 2

Outstanding Defensive Specialist: Mirella Graham, Tri-Valley
Outstanding Setter: Jacey Pallas, Cordova
Outstanding Server: Cadence Dray, Dillingham
Outstanding Hitter: Alana Barron, Su-Valley

All-Tournament Team
Alana Barron, Su Valley
Kenai Holien, Klawock
Melanie Randall, Tri-Valley
Amiaya Hansen, Craig
Cadence Dray, Dillingham
Gwenthalyn Jacob, Cordova
India Roderick, Su Valley
Kayla Jones, Klawock
Mirella Graham, Tri-Valley
Zoey Edenshaw, Klawock
Jacey Pallas, Cordova
Myka Wilson, Su Valley

Mixed Six State Volleyball Championships
At Dimond High School, Anchorage
Saturday, Dec. 4
Championship Match
Tanalian 3, Shaktoolik 1

Outstanding Defensive Specialist: Daniel Wardell, Tanalian
Outstanding Setter: Amy Eningowuk, Shishmaref
Outstanding Server: Mika Levi, Kalskag
Outstanding Hitter: Carter Kokeok, Shaktoolik

All-Tournament Team
Daniel Wardell, Tanalian
Dawson O’Connor, Shaktoolik
Nathaniel Jensen, Emmonak
Carter Kokeok, Shishmaref
Daniel Bohlke, Gustavs
Aurianna Peterson, Kalskag
Dean Paniptchuk, Shaktoolik
Amy Eningowuk, Shishmaref
Ellah Wardell, Tanalian
Asa Pitka, Nelson Island
Mike Levi, Kalskag
Isaac Fowler, Tanalian

Tanalian Lynx / Photo by ASAA

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