Matt Tunseth

Eagle River’s loss on the gridiron Saturday afternoon was insignificant compared to the tragic loss the team suffered away from the field.

Just hours before the afternoon game against Palmer, the Wolves learned one of their teammates had died Friday night. Head coach Bob Adkins said he couldn’t give specifics about the teen’s death or name the player due to school district privacy rules, but said his team was grief-stricken by the news.

As Chugiak lined up for its first offensive play in Friday night’s homecoming football game against Kenai Central, Mustangs assistant coach Wayde Snell had a premonition.

“Touchdown,” said Snell, a former standout CHS linebacker who coaches special teams for the Mustangs. “Touchdown.”

Oohs and ahhs — and a few raven caws — filled the gymnasium at Ravenwood Elementary Thursday as students got their first look at a new piece of artwork they created using a very special medium: Themselves.

The day before, about 500 Ravenwood students gathered outside the school, where they each crouched down inside a grid laid out in black, loamy peat on the grassy lawn. Perched high above in a bucket truck, a photographer captured a picture of the kids, who wore red, black or blue t-shirts.

Eagle River’s rugged terrain is a mountaineer’s paradise, so it’s perhaps no surprise some of Alaska’s top mountain runners hail from the community. However, even some of the winners in this year’s Alaska Mountain Runners Grand Prix series were a bit taken aback by their success.

“It was definitely more of a surprise,” said Eagle River’s Christopher Kirk, a 20-year-old personal trainer who won the men’s Grand Prix title this season.

Pomp, circumstance and a little surprise highlighted homecoming Saturday, Sept. 2 at Eagle River High.

The annual homecoming festivities included floats, a performance from the cheer squad, and a royalty ceremony fit for a queen featuring the AFJROTC Sabre Team of cadets Glori Atti, Collin Dyches, Noah Iriarte, Mateo Medina, Tyler Jennings and team commander Dylan West.

“It was super exciting,” said Geena Graf, who was named homecoming queen along with fellow senior Grant Burningham.

Kenai Central played homecoming spoilers Saturday, handing Eagle River a 42-28 Northern Lights Conference football loss in front of a large, spirited crowd at the Wolves’ Den.

Kenai got a pair of touchdown passes from Connor Felchle to Zack Tuttle and capitalized on four Wolves’ turnovers to improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Northern Lights Conference. Eagle River dropped to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the NLC.

With the Alaska State Fair in full bloom, farmers from across the state are showing off their most audacious products — think 1,000-pound pumpkins and cabbages the size of small cars.

But Alaska Grown means a lot more than just giant gourds and rotund rutabagas. The program is intended to highlight and promote all Alaska agricultural products, according to Johanna Herron, market access and food safety manager for the Alaska Division of Agriculture.

Talk about your home court advantage.

Chugiak dominated its own volleyball tournament Friday and Saturday, going 9-0 in pool play at the Chugiak Invitational before beating Palmer and Bartlett in back-to-back matches to claim the Gold Bracket championship.

Claire Schimmack had 20 assists and two aces in the championship match win over Bartlett on Saturday, while Sophia Lestina had 10 kills and Malia Mortensen notched 12 digs. Schimmack was named tournament MVP for the Mustangs, who finished 11-0.

Eagle River’s girls cross country running team may have arrived under the radar Saturday, but there’s no way the Wolves got off the trails near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson without someone taking notice.

Led by a fifth-place finish by freshman Emily Walsh, the Wolves took third in the girls’ team standings behind a pair of powers in dominant West Valley and runner-up Kenai Central.

“They did great,” said Wolves head coach Jacob Bera. “Overall it was just an amazing team effort.”

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