PRIDE OF ALASKA BOYS FINALISTS
For Consistent Excellence in Athletic Competition – For an athlete or athletes, team or coach who not only excelled in sports in the past year or recent years, but did so with integrity and sportsmanship so as to be a positive role model for others.
Obed Vargas, Seattle Sounder soccer player
Vargas, of Anchorage, made his Major League Soccer debut at age 15 as an emergency call-up for the Seattle Sounders, becoming the third-youngest player in league history. Five months later, he signed a four-year “Homegrown Player” contract. Vargas is one of only three Alaskans to play in the MLS. He joined the Sounders Academy at age 14 from the Cook Inlet Soccer Club in Anchorage and has played well for two seasons with the Tacoma Defiance, the Sounders’ farm club.
Kyler Johnson, East Anchorage prep football and basketball player
Johnson, of Anchorage, quarterbacked East to the Division I state football championship by throwing more than 30 touchdowns and amassing more than 2,000 yards in total offense. He also had a key 101-yard interception return in the semifinals. Johnson also nearly scored the deciding points in the state basketball championship. His two free throws with 19 seconds remaining gave East the lead before South Anchorage won at the buzzer, ending East’s 52-game winning streak against Alaska competition. Johnson was Gatorade Player of the Year in football and 3rd Team All State in basketball.
Landon Smith, Bethel prep wrestler
Smith, of Bethel, is a 4-time Alaska state wrestling champion and three-time winner of the Tanana Invitational. He also placed first in the 2021 National Recruiting Showcase Tournament in Iowa City. He has also coached for Bethel’s USA youth wrestling program since he was in middle school. “His drive to excel is unmatched. Landon is a humble winner who displays his integrity on and off the mat,” his nomination read.
Finalists were selected by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
The Directors’ Awards winners will be announced from the lists of finalists in each category on the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Facebook Live page at 3pm AK Time on Wednesday, April 6th.