One of HepsNation’s own is being inducted into a Sports Hall of Fame, but it is more for her post-collegiate athletic pursuits than her undergrad ones.
Aliy Zirkle, a star hammer and weight thrower for Penn in the early 1990s and now 14-time Iditarod finisher, is being inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame on March 5th, 2015 as a recipient of the Trajan Langdon Award for Leadership, Sportsmanship, and Inspiration.
Her qualifications? Predominantly her smile, according to her bio on the Hall of Fame announcement:
Nobody has made second-place look so good. Known for her trademark smile, this 45-year-old Iditarod musher is as gracious as she is good. She puts her dogs first, always praises the competition and never makes excuses. Zirkle showed tremendous character when she finished the 1,100-mile race in second for the third consecutive year. And she did it with a smile. After being caught in the eye of a brutal storm, Zirkle nearly chased down eventual winner Dallas Seavey, losing by a mere 2½ minutes in one of the most dramatic finishes in the race’s 40-year history.
“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 when the nominees were announced. “It’s a nice bookend to the inductee enshrinements.”
Zirkle initially went to Alaska while in college, taking a break from her biology and anthropology studies to live in a tent on the Alaskan Peninsula while working for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. When she graduated from Penn in 1992, she spent five months hiking the Appalachian Trail before returning to Alaska in 1993 at a full-time employee of the Fish & Wildlife Department.
Zirkle is planning to compete in the 2015 Iditarod with her husband, Allen Moore. The race will begin on March 7th, two days after the induction ceremony.
smiling photo by Mike Criss