Zirkle C'92, Earns Alaskan Honor

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PHILADELPHIA - Aliy Zirkle, C'92, one of the top throwers in University of Pennsylvania women's track & field history, has earned the Trajan Langdon Award for leadership, sportsmanship, and inspiration from the Alaskan Hall of Fame. She will be honored on Thursday in Anchorage.

“The Directors’ Awards give our organization the opportunity to shine a light on some of Alaska’s sports figures who are making history right now,” said Harlow Robinson, Executive Director of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. “It’s a nice bookend to the inductee enshrinements.”

“We’re very excited about this year’s recipients,” said Robinson. “In looking at the winners and all the other outstanding nominees that were considered, it’s apparent just how high the bar is set in the Alaskan sports world.”

Though the Iditarod is not similar to her track and field endeavors at Penn, Zirkle has managed to become one of the most accomplished racers in recent history. For three straight years, Zirkle has placed second in the Iditarod, the famous dogsled race, nearly becoming the first woman to win the race in over 20 years. Most recently in 2014, in the midst of a brutal storm, Zirkle came within three minutes of chasing down eventual first-place finisher, Dallas Seavey. These impressive feats have gained her enough notoriety to be noticed by ESPN and the Alaskan Hall of Fame.

While at Penn, Zirkle set the school record in the weight throw, and she remains one of just four Quakers to reach 16 meters in the event. Her record-setting toss of 16.04 meters (52 feet, 7 1/2 inches) stood for six years and still ranks as fourth-best all-time. In addition, Zirkle also graduated with the second-best hammer throw in program history. Twenty years later, her personal record toss of 47.32 (155-03 ft.) still ranks sixth in the school record book. She also graduated with degrees in both Biology and Anthropology.

The award banquet will take place in Anchorage on March 5, where she and other Director’s Award winners will be honored. Those also being honored include University of Alaska Anchorage football coach Michael Friess, high school national cross country champion Allie Ostrander, and Erik Flora, director of the Alaska Pacific University Nordic ski program. Zirkle takes to the sled again for the 2015 running of the Iditarod, which starts March 7.

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