Late December means a lengthy break for Alaska school children. But they’re not the only ones. The University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves are on holiday too.


Like their smaller counterparts, the collegians’ break is mandatory.


Often, the National Collegiate Athletic Association gets the tag of “Scrooge” for its involved and petty rulebook. But it also curried favor with many for a decision to institute a policy giving everyone some much needed rest and relaxation.


“About three years ago, the NCAA mandated the holiday break for Division II teams,” said UAA head men’s basketball Coach Rusty Osborne. “We have to take off specific seven days. Can’t do a thing. We can’t even allow them to come into the gym, we can’t let them come in.”


The Seawolves intend to enjoy their holiday gift. Junior guard Suki Wiggs will be home in Seattle for Christmas.


“Just being able to go home to see my family during the holiday season, it’s always a blessing to go home and see loved ones and spend Christmas with them,” he said.


Gymnastics senior Sariaye Fishburn is also going south.


“I’m going home to Las Vegas to see my family, then, we’re going to Utah to see my husband’s family,” she said.


But not everyone is going home. Fishburn’s teammate, Simone Penker, is staying in Alaska. The senior hails from Austria, and will warm up by heading north.


“My plans are to do Chena Hot Springs because I’ve never been up north, and I just want to enjoy my time in Alaska,” she said.


That means she‘ll be near North Pole.


The break means holiday spirit for all — wherever they may be.


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