Facing unspeakable cold weather at minus-40 and minus-50 degrees, this year’s Iditarod was not one for the faint of heart. Known for the rigors of distance, this year’s edition also greeted dogs and drivers to sustained frigid conditions as the race was routed from Fairbanks to Nome due to a lack of snow in Southcentral Alaska this winter.
The best athletes to don the Columbia Blue and Black of the Chugiak Mustangs will be on hand this Friday for recognition of past accomplishments and to retire their high school jerseys, announced Chugiak Activities principal Jim Bell last week.
Local coaches are feeling a bit more complete, thanks to the showings make by incoming freshmen during the Mini (Me) Meet, held Friday and Saturday at the Anchorage Dome. And while the meet was unofficial, not requiring athletes to secure the requisite 10 practices usually mandated, Chugiak Coach Melissa Hall and Eagle River Coach Matt Turner were able to get baseline times for this season’s athletes.
It’s the second-busiest time in the high school sports calendar, with Eagle River and Chugiak High activities offices feeling the crunch. Three sports began March 9, the first day of last week’s Spring Break, and athletes had to have all their materials and forms on file prior to the weeklong hiatus as track and field, along with boys and girls soccer, began. High school baseball and softball begins this week.
Seventy-eight dog teams, including locals Jim Lanier of Chugiak and Philip Walters of Eagle River endured a sloppy start to this year’s Iditarod during the Ceremonial Start on March 7. The 11-mile trek commenced from Anchorage’s Fourth Avenue, down Cordova Street, then on bike trails before ending on the dog trails near Campbell Airstrip.
Last week’s Region IV basketball tournament played as anticipated, with all four of the conference’s first- and second-ranked teams moving on to the upcoming state tournament, held March 19-21 at the Sullivan Arena.
The Birchwood Christian Warriors boys and girls varsity teams ended their 2014-2015 basketball season during the 1A conference tournament held at Lumen Christi last week. The boys team went 1-2, while the girls failed to notch a victory in their two-game stand.
Jimmy Lanier, son of Iditarod finishers Jim Lanier and Anna Bonarenko, placed second in last weekend’s 130-mile Jr. Iditarod. Like the senior race, the start was moved with the new trail running along Denali Highway, from three miles east of Cantwell to Alpine Creek Lodge and back.
Mustangs girls basketball coach Ryan Hales said all teams come into the Region IV Tournament on equal footing. Play began March 2 to usher in March Madness, Alaska style. “We’re all 0-0 now,” he said Sunday. Lady Mustangs finished league play in third place, with two losses each to East and Dimond for a 10-4 season record. They were scheduled to enter the tourney against Service on March 3.