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.
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.
At age 74, Iditarod musher Jim Lanier of Chugiak is the oldest musher in the 2015 field. The 16-time finisher also won the half-way prize in 2012.This year’s race is his 18th Iditarod. This year’s race is also his second on the northern route, which follows a similar path to that run in 2003 when, also due to lack of snow in Southcentral Alaska, race organizers charted an atypical course.
In two basketball games Feb. 24 that set local high schools against each other, Lady Mustangs won out over the Lady Wolves 64-22, and Wolves boys beat the Mustangs 70-50. In the earlier girls contest, Chugiak led from the outset, scoring 20 points in the first quarter, leading to the 64-22 win. The Mustangs’ Julia Turner hit four three-pointers in the first half, scoring all of her team-high 14 points before the break. Teammate Ashlynn Burgess matched the team mark with eight points in the first, and six in the second half. Carley Stone scored 12 points, and eight of the nine Chugiak players who suited up figured into the scoring.
This year’s Nordic season ended Saturday with a steady downpour of rain on the rapidly-declining snowpack of West Anchorage’s Kincaid Park. The girls race began at noon, and the boys events at 1:30 p.m. Conditions deteriorated as the day progressed.
Athletes from the eight Anchorage high schools gathered for the Winter Regional cheerleading competition held at Dimond High Feb. 18. The state title will be held at South Anchorage High, March 17. The Chugiak Mustangs, coached by Breanna Lowe, had two squads in the competition – a competition co-ed and varsity basketball squad, as did Eagle River, taking part in the varsity basketball and competition divisions.
Snow conditions, while not ideal, have been adequate for skiing, said second-year Chugiak High ski coach Cody Priest. “Every since it’s snowed, we’ve been able to ski everyday,” said Priest, who was tabbed Co-Coach of the Year by his Region IV peers.
Victories have been tough to come by for the Eagle River Wolves boys varsity basketball team this season, with four of their six league losses made by five points or less, said varsity coach Fred Young.
With 16 of the state’s top teams gathered for Dimond Lady Lynx Tournaments, Chugiak girls head coach Ryan Hales’ first goal was for the team to compete in the Gold Bracket, rather than the Maroon, in the top-flight of the tourney.