Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School Laila Tosi practically grew up in a skating rink.
She started skating a few years after learning to walk and followed in the footsteps of her older brothers, who played hockey.
“I grew up in an ice rink,” Tosi said. “There was always a sporting event going on.”
Before moving on to college to play for the Alvernia University women’s hockey team, she has some business to attend to for the Thunderbirds.
The 2022 Alaska State Championships for fast softball and track and field are less than two weeks away, and she plans to compete in both for as long as she can. In addition to being a force on the ice, Tosi is dominant in the frame as well as the throwing ring.
She is the reigning Division I women’s shot put state champion and won the CIC title Friday with a throw of 36 feet, 8.75 inches. She is also a heavy hitter for the Thunderbirds softball team. Tosi said playing multiple sports that sometimes overlap requires a lot of time management and great communication with his coaches for all three sports.
“The only reason I’m allowed to do this is because my coaches are so good at it, and I’m really grateful,” Tosi said.
She said coaches can “make or break a player” because they often want their athletes to focus on a particular sport they are training them to play – and not jump from one to another.
“At one point she was in hockey, softball and track, so I could only have her when she was available,” East pitching coach Jan Michael Leal said. “She would show up, I would work with her, and she would have to go to softball practice or finish the rest of her hockey season.”
A few weeks ago, she participated in a throwing competition in Dimond and had to cross town in time for a softball game at the Chuck Albrecht Softball Complex.
“On her last throw, she was already in her softball gear,” Leal said.
She left Dimond High School, where the meet was being held, to play against the Lynx softball team across town.
“I threw my last pitch at 10:30 a.m. and had to go to Albrecht because our game started at 10:45 a.m.,” Tosi said. “I was about 15 minutes late, so I had to rush to warm up and put on all my softball gear when competing.”
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Training for different sports at the same time can be difficult. Tosi says she just tries to stay in the best shape possible and that hockey helps her stay in shape.
“My (hockey) coach Cristy Hickel tells me it’s about being in touch with your body, your mental health and the foods you eat,” Tosi said. “It’s a lifestyle she teaches, so I try to apply it to my other sports.”
She tries to train the same for all sports, but says athletics requires spending more time in the weight room than the other two.
Although hockey is her main sport and the one for which she received a scholarship to play at Alvernia University, Tosi says her favorite sport between her secondary sports is athletics because of the mixed camaraderie it has. offers that softball does not offer.
“I love softball, but being around the people here puts it just over the edge,” Tosi said at the CIC track meet.
She also said that the main differences between softball and track and field are team dynamics. Tosi described softball as a “great team sport” and track and field as an individual sport “because it’s only you in the ring”.
“Even though (athletics) is an individual sport, you can feel the support when you’re in the ring, in practice they’re always there to cheer you on,” Tosi said.
Tosi is set to hit state tournaments in track and field and softball. She believes that continuing to stay in tune with her body to ensure she can perform at her best in both areas is among her top priorities.
“It’s about managing my time and being in touch with my body, seeing how my arm and wrist feel, communicating with both coaches in terms of time and how I feel,” said Tosi.
She played on a men’s hockey team in East this year and suffered a wrist injury that lingers and causes pain whenever she puts a lot of pressure on it, which often happens in the sports she plays. Tosi has a strong wrist taped when she throws and still produces impressive marks in the shot put.
“There are a few times when she throws and she can’t even move her wrist and that’s a big part of throwing,” Leal said. “You have to flick the wrist when you throw, and she wasn’t really able to do that. She was throwing and her palm was just open so she let it go without tracking and still hit 36 and 37 feet.
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Tosi is a cousin of Alaska sports star Alissa Pili, who was a multi-sport star for Dimond from 2016-2019 and will continue to play women’s basketball in the Pac-12 for Utah this year after transferring from Utah. USC.
“He’s a beast in his own category,” Tosi said. “Growing up trying to chase her, especially my freshman year. She was just this figure that you try to hunt down and beat.
The two competed in shot put and discus when Tosi was a freshman and Pili was a senior. The older cousin finished first in both events with marks of 42′9″ in the shot put and 122′1″ in the discus, respectively, but Tosi wasn’t far behind.
“When I had her freshman year, she was awesome,” Leal said. “Just the numbers she had, a lot of people were like ‘Man, Alissa graduated but now we have this one (coming soon)’ because she had numbers close to (Pili).”