Chugiak football, volleyball high on volume for fall season
With more than 75 members on the football roster following practices started last week, the gridiron team may rule the day in regards to fall participants.
But third-year volleyball coach Bobbi Mason thinks the girls program may give the beefy guys a run for their money.
“I would think that we will have at least 70 for tryouts,” said Mason Sunday, on the eve of the first day of tryouts.
Unfortunately, the program will keep an average of 12 girls for each of the four teams – varsity, JV and the two C teams, said Mason, a 1996 Chugiak High graduate and member of the 1994 state title team.
Top returners include Rachel Gregg, Anna Ingraham and Sara Rutz, as hitter, setter and libero, or defensive specialist, respectively.
The coach said the team is bringing back “a great group of core kids.”
“Plus we have a great freshman class coming in,” she said, meaning some difficult decisions will need to be made at week’s end.
Cross-country co-head coach Cody Priest reported the Mustang eligibility roster sported 23 names by the end of last week, but he likewise expects numbers to swell as players return from family vacations and settle into a school year routine.
Priest said the school graduated most of their varsity members, allowing up and coming members an opportunity to shine.
The two returning boys varsity athletes include Ty Jordan and Jack Ginter, while Roan Hall, a potential third member, will be in Norway on a student exchange program. Hall is the son of the other co-head coach Melissa Hall.
The top three girls include Hannah Booher, Sara Hartke and Clare Cook.
The first meet is Aug. 16 at Bartlett.
Chugiak tennis coach Sally Cook said the Mustangs number 30 on the courts so far, but she expects more.
“We should have adding two or three every day for these next few weeks,” she said.
Cook is coaching with her husband, Tom Cook, and first-year assistant Kimber Gilbert.
The three top returning boys and girls include Max Haines, Daniel Ogden, Luke Oldham, Carrie Cook, Izzy LaRue and Tasha Boyer.
Of utmost concern in the impending decision as to whether the district opts for either a 10- or 14-match regular season – a dilemma created by the loss of five indoor courts.
As of yet, the decision had not been made, and a meet schedule had not be released, she said.
Anne Williams returns for her third season as swim coach, in this her second stint at Chugiak High, beginning Aug. 11.
The team’s high-water mark for participants last season was 45, and Williams expects comparable numbers this season.
“We keep have kids in the program with younger siblings coming in – and that’s a good thing,” she said.
Top returners on the girls side include Emmie Jennings, Samantha Burke and Abby Blackstone, along with Shawn Fugere on the boys.
“We have a lot of freshmen with some good skills coming in,” she added.
Williams will be assisted by Larry Smith, the dive coach, and Ben Williams.
Second-year head flag football coach Marilyn Campnell anticipates as many as 60 for this fall.
Flanked by assistants Shaylyn Butler (JV) and Tony Grissom (C team), Campnell said that top returners include Alise Arnold, Bethany Voge and Chelsie Krueger.
The team tied for third in conference last year and Campnell is hoping for better, after the team was dispatched with a first-round loss from West from further tournament play.
“We had four players injured and unable to play that game,” she said.
“We are looking forward to a great season.”
Gymnastics coach Wendy Wiltfong returns for her 11th year and is hoping for a bigger squad than last year’s seven-member team.
Even so, the Mustangs placed fifth, among the eight schools.
Chugiak’s top returner is expected to be all-arounder Bella Wiggins. The team’s other top athlete Alisha Reitz is on a student exchange first semester, Wiltfong said.