Matt Tunseth

UPDATE (Tuesday, May 23): State track and field meet qualifiers have been posted. Click here to see which local athletes made the meet.

Original story:

With a pair of thoroughbreds leading the way, a determined Chugiak girls track and field team galloped away with the Region IV championship Saturday for the second straight year.

Alexis McKinnon’s path to college soccer took a detour when the Chugiak High senior suffered a knee injury last season. But with the help of family and friends, McKinnon said she’s once again ready to lace up the cleats.

“It’s finally happening,” an emotional McKinnon said during a National Letter of Intent signing held Wednesday, May 10 in the Chugiak library.

Getting new kitchen might seem like a wish come true to some people, but Debbie Rinckey said her family’s unexpected remodeling plan is more like a bad dream.

“This is not the way to go,” said Rinckey, whose family’s Eagle River Valley home lost its roof in May 6 chimney fire.

After watching his team gallop past a pair of Cook Inlet Conference foes over the weekend, Chugiak softball coach Jim Huber said the Mustangs appear to be coming alive at the right time.

“There’s always room for improvement, but I’m really pleased with the last week, week-and-a-half,” he said after the Mustangs picked up a 14-9 CIC win over Bartlett Saturday at Bartlett.

The win was Chugiak’s third straight conference victory, its fifth victory in the last seven games and pushed its record to .500 for the season.

Strained by a snowy winter and shortened spring, one high school soccer team has reached its breaking point.

A scheduled Cook Inlet Conference match between Eagle River and South Anchorage will go down in the books as a 1-0 forfeit in favor of the Wolverines after Eagle River coach Steve Johnson decided his team needed a break.

Chugiak got a dominant pitching performance when it was most needed Friday night as Garret Nevells and Sam Hall combined to allow just one East hit in a crucial 9-0 Cook Inlet Conference baseball game at Mulcahy Stadium.

The win lifted Chugiak to 3-2 in the seven-game CIC season and put the Mustangs a game clear of West (2-3) for the crucial fourth spot in the league standings with just two games left to play in the season. It also set up a Saturday showdown with second-place Dimond and dropped East to 1-4 in the CIC.

Like a comfy old recliner that just needed a second chance to rock, an Eagle River thrift store has found new life in a new home.

Gone since November 2012, the Salvation Army Family Store officially marched back into town Friday at a festive grand opening that featured a sun-splashed celebration complete with balloons, a food truck dishing free hot dogs and a parking lot full of $1 Levis.

Chugiak’s boys and Eagle River’s girls got the last word Thursday on the pitch.

The Mustangs opened the doubleheader at the Wolves’ Den with a 2-0 Cook Inlet Conference boys soccer victory over the Wolves to split the season series, while the Lady Wolves completed a season sweep of the Mustangs in the evening with a 1-0 CIC triumph .

“I feel like our team has come a long way,” said Eagle River’s Ahston McClaskey, who converted the game-winner off a Nicole Bedwell pass on a play started by Abby Johnson early in the second half of a scoreless girls’ game.

When Larry Ledlow called a neighbor on April 7 to check on the health of a mutual friend, he was shocked to hear the news.

“She said, ‘I’m glad you called, because your house is burning down,’” Ledlow recalled during an interview May 8 at the Star offices in Eagle River.

Although the timing of Ledlow’s call was fortunate, the circumstances were not. As he listened helplessly from half the world away, Ledlow’s neighbor described the loss of the mobile home Ledlow lived in for the past 19 years.

“I lost everything,” he said.

It’s still the spring, but one Chugiak Mustang has already finalized her Homecoming plans.

Megan Hatswell, a 1998 Chugiak High graduate, has been selected to take over as principal at her alma mater this fall.

She wouldn’t have it any other way.

“To be honest, Chugiak is the only school I would have put in at,” Hatswell said in a Tuesday interview.

Having grown up in Eagle River, Hatswell said it’s her goal to have a long-term impact on the community she loves.