2011 Year in sports
From the championships to the controversies, local athletes made plenty of headlines in 2011. Here’s how it all went down:
Eagle River’s Kinsey Loan earned a trip to the Ski and Snowboard World Championships in Estonia after the Chugiak High senior won a silver medal at the U.S. National Championships in Maine.
Chugiak’s Jake Berkowitz won the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race, arriving at the Paxson finish line six minutes ahead of Lance Mackey.
Eagle River’s girls bowling team finished a program-best second in Anchorage Scholastic Bowling League Play.
Eagle River’s boys basketball team won its first ever game over Chugiak, pulling out a 73-58 win on Jan. 27 behind 28 points from Nate Yaw. Chugiak would later avenge the loss with a 65-46 win on Feb. 24 to claim the “Birchwood Bowl” trophy.
Chugiak and Eagle River’s boys hockey teams each fell in the opening round of the Cook Inlet Conference tournament, with Chugiak losing 4-2 to Service and Eagle River dropping a 3-1 decision to East to end each team’s season. Eagle River’s season, however, wasn’t all lost, as the Wolves swept their two games with Chugiak. Eagle River head coach Kirby Senden was named the CIC Coach of the Year, and the Wolves’ Dacota Wood made first-team All-CIC, where he joined Chugiak’s Sean Casey.
In girls’ hockey, Chugiak-Eagle River coach Jesse James was named Coach of the Year, while goalie Sophie Mundell was a first-team All-CIC selection.
Chugiak’s Kinsey Loan won the girls Skimeister title as the top female at the Cook Inlet Conference Championships at Kincaid Park on Feb. 19. The following week, Loan led the Chugiak girls to a state team title at the ASAA State Championships in Fairbanks. Loan was third overall, while Krysti McPhetres was fourth and Sarissa Lammers eighth. Other team members included Sam Hartke, Amy Hartke and Kristen Lessard.
The Alaska School Activities Association voted to award the state football playoffs to Chugiak’s Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
Chugiak boys basketball head coach Orin Wear stepped down after his team lost 66-53 in the opening round of the CIC tournament to Bartlett on March 2. Wear said he just wasn’t “a good fit” at Chugiak. No local basketball teams made state, with the Chugiak and Eagle River boys and Eagle River girls falling in the first round and the Chugiak girls falling 36-36 in the third-place game to East.
Chugiak High freshman Sarissa Lammers won a national title when she skied her way to victory at the USSA Junior National Championships in Minneapolis. teaming up with Marion Woods and Mackenzie Flynn of Anchorage to win the J2 girls relay race. Six current Chugiak High students and one former Mustang attended the national competition, where Kinsey Loan won a silver medal in the OJ girls sprint race and a bronze in the OJ girls 5-kilometer freestyle.
The Chugiak boys soccer team handed rival Eagle River a 6-1 defeat to claim the soccer version of the “Birchwood Bowl” trophy.
The Mirror Lake Coyotes won the Middle School City Track and Field Championship for the third consecutive year.
The Chugiak girls soccer team defeated Dimond 1-0 to earn the Cook Inlet Conference soccer title. Chugiak star Kelly Cobb scored the game’s lone goal to power the Chugiak win. The Mustangs were the only local team to advance to the state tournament. The Mustangs went on to finish fifth at the state tournament, falling in a shootout to Dimond in the semifinals and losing 2-1 to Juneau on the third/fifth place match.
Eagle River’s John Owolobi was the top performer at the state track and field championships, placing second in the boys’ 400 meters and helping the Wolves to fifth in the 800 meter relay.
The Chugiak girls softball team qualified for the state tournament with a third-place finish in the CIC tournament. Eagle River lost twice in the tourney and failed to reach state. Four locals — Chugiak’s Kacey Brooker, Brooke Dunlap and Jessica Tramp, along with Eagle River’s Sarah Peyton, were named to the all-conference team.
Chugiak’s softball team lost twice on Day 1 of the state tournament and were eliminated from the post season.
Local mushers Jim Lanier and Mike Suprenant signed up for the 2012 Iditarod, as did Girdwood’s Nicolas Petit, who ran Lanier’s dogs in the 2011 event.
Chugiak’s Lauren Fritz finished fifth in the women’s Mt. Marathon race in Seward on July 4 to lead local finishers in the race.
Anchorage’s Jake Moe won the men’s Bear Paw 5K race on July 9, while Unalaska’s Halidie Wilt took the women’s title.
The area’s first Alaska Baseball League game was held when the Anchorage Glacier Pilots beat the Athletes in Action Fire 7-4 at Loretta French Park on July 9 in front of about 500 fans. The game was held in Chugiak because the Fire were in discussions to relocate to the area.
Eagle River’s American Legion baseball team notched its first win over Chugiak with a 17-8 victory on July 12. Chugiak went on to a 1-2 record at the state tournament, while the Wolves finished 0-2 at state.
Chugiak coach and teacher Tom Huffer, Jr. was named to the ASAA Alaska High School Hall of Fame. Huffer wrestled and played football at Chugiak.
Eagle River’s Sheryl Loan won a record eighth Tour of Anchorage bicycle race. Loan’s daughter, Kinsey Loan, was third.
The AIA Fire announced on Aug. 31 that they would officially relocated to Loretta French Park for the 2012 Alaska Baseball League season.
After an extensive search, former Chugiak High boys basketball coach Kevin Fullmer was named to replaced Orin Wear, who stepped down in March.
Controversy erupted when it was announced that Chugiak’s football team would be forced to forfeit three victories due to the use of an ineligible player who was allowed to play because of an “administrative mistake,” according to principal Sam Spinella. The forfeitures were announced on Sept. 21. Chugiak later appealed the forfeitures to the Alaska School Activities Association, which denied the appeal. The forfeitures gave Eagle River its first win of the season and its only victory over Chugiak in school history. Eagle River finished its season 1-7, while the Mustangs wound up 2-6. Both missed the state playoffs.
Eagle River’s Hannah Stevens was ninth and Chugiak’s Isaac Lammers 11th to lead local finishers at the state cross country meet on Oct. 1 at Bartlett High.
Chugiak’s Kody Trombley was named the CIC’s Lineman of the Year and Eagle River’s Kelechi Madubuko the Utility Player of the Year in a vote by CIC football coaches. Also named to the first team for Chugiak was linebacker Wayde Snell. Trombley and Madubuko were also named Lieman of the Year and Return Specialist of the Year, respectively, in all-state voting.
Chugiak and Eagle River’s flag football teams both ended their seasons with first-round playoff losses. Eagle River’s head coach, Matt Turner, was named the CIC’s Coach of the Year. Eagle River’s Skylar Metzel, Meaghan Byman and Scout Warners earned first-team all-conference recognition, as did Chugiak’s Sam Perez and Kenzie Matthis.
Mirror Lake eighth grader Ty Jordan won the ASD Middle School cross country running championship.
Chugiak’s competitive cheer squad won the Region IV grand championship on Oct. 15.
Chugiak’s gymnastics team finished second at the CIC meet.
Chugiak junior Kaityln Friedli won a CIC diving title on Oct. 29, becoming one of 17 Mustangs to qualify for the state meet. Also winning a CIC title was freshman Sammy Burke, who won the 100 freestyle in a school record time of 53.01 seconds.
Eagle River football coach Kenny Ray announced he would step down after three seasons leading the Wolves. At 5-19, Ray was the most successful coach in school history.
Chugiak’s Kaitlyn Friedli won a state diving title at the Alaska Swim/Dive championships on Nov. 5 at Bartlett. Friedli won by more than 10 points over runner-up Sophie Hogen of Kodiak.
Chugiak’s volleyball team made the state tournament for the fourth consecutive season by finishing third at the Cook Inlet Conference tourney. Eagle River, meanwhile, fell 3-1 to East in the CIC tourney and was eliminated. Mollie Matthis, Karlee Kavanaugh and Anna Matthews were first-team all-CIC for Chugiak, as were Eagle River’s Lexie Curtis and Lindsey Fukuoka. Chugiak went on to finish fourth at state.
The name and logo for the area’s new Alaska Baseball League team were unveiled on Nov. 10. The team will be called the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks.
Chugiak grad Kelly Cobb and her Duke Blue Devils teammates lost 1-0 in the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tournament championship on Dec. 4 in Kennesaw, Ga. Cobb finished with a team-high 11 goals and 31 total points — both freshman records at Duke.
Chugiak grad Robyn Burton was named a Daktronics NCAA Division II third-team All-American and American Volleyball Coaches Association second-team All-American for the UAA Seawolves.