Havener named Aurora Conference Coach of the Year


Photo by Paul Apfelbeck

Aurora conference Coach of the Year Keilah Havener.

By ELENA JACOBS and AMANDA KOPP, staff writers

The Galena Lady Hawks fought for the first time to make it to the state championship, falling short by just two games, but walked away from regionals with the Coach of the Year award.

Keilah Havener, the five-year coach for the Lady Hawks, received the Coach of the Year Award for the Aurora Conference.

Ms. Havener said she got to where she needed to be throughout the season with “nine dedicated ladies who didn’t bring drama to the team this year, an amazing assistant coach, and a manager who took on the full role.”

“I hope the team knows that I would not have received this award without their hard work and dedication,” she said.

Many coaches at the regional conference games were amazed at the progress and “scrappiness” of the team. Coach Frank Ostanik, coach for the Monroe Rams boys’ basketball team, said, “Not only did they win a match, but they also competed to go to state.”

Other Galena Hawks earning honors were Arlene Wilson, who received the good sportsmanship award, and Julia Riddle, who was named as part of the conference All-Tourney team.

“We made some major progress going from not getting anything but last to getting third in our region. It was a great thing to be a part of,” said Julia, who is team captain.

The Galena volleyball team was mentioned by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner as
“the conference tournament surprise” and writing that Galena volleyball made Aurora Conference history.

The Galena Lady Hawks were just points away from heading to state, playing four matches against the Monroe Catholic Rams.

On Friday, Nov. 4 at the Aurora Conference volleyball tournament, the Lady Hawks played against Eielson Ravens and lost three matches and won one match, 25-12, 26-24, 19-25, 21-11. That same evening, the Hawks played against the Delta Huskies in double elimination. The Lady Hawks took a win against the Huskies in four matches, then the Hawks won three matches and lost one, 25-16, 25-21, 23-25, 25-16.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, Galena played against the Hutchinson Hawks and won. The Lady Hawks won three matches and lost two, 25-19, 25-17, 17-25, 19-25, 15-10. The next game, Galena had to play the Monroe Catholic Rams, which would either end the season and put them at third place, or take them all the way to state, placing first or second. That game was a heartbreaking loss for the whole team. The Hawks won the first match against the Rams but then lost the next three, 25-13, 19-25, 11-25, 21-25.