First-time competitor shines at Highland Games
Ryan Stewart’s first Alaska Highland Scottish Games couldn’t have gone much better.
The 34-year-old from Draper, Utah, won five of eight events and claimed the overall professional title out of a field of seven Saturday, June 29 at Lions Park in Eagle River.
Stewart came in ahead of last year’s overall winner, Rusty Price, of Snelling, Calif., in second and Greg Bell, of Seattle, in third.
Stewart’s background in strongman and power lifting competitions — along with his heritage — helped him gravitate toward Scottish athletics. He started in 2006 and has been competing as a professional for four years.
Stewart’s first competition in Alaska certainly made an impression.
“I’ll be back as many years as they’ll have me,” Stewart said.
The women’s title went to 2010 Nikiski Middle-High graduate Kassi Johnson. Johnson, 21, took first in four of seven events to win her first overall title in five years of competing.
“I’m so excited about this,” she said.
Palmer’s Sean Fabanich won four events to stand atop the men’s amateur A division while Chugiak’s Jimmy Johnson claimed the men’s amateur B title, winning seven of eight events. Clay Smith won the men’s amateur C division.
Ray Mabey, of McMinnville, Ore., and Jay O’Neill, of DuPont, Wash., tied for first in the men’s masters 40-49 and Kenai’s Bret McDonald won the men’s masters 50-59 division.
McDonald was named the top Alaskan men’s masters athlete and Fabanich earned the top Alaskan amateur honor.
Performing well at Scottish games isn’t easy, Bell said, it takes months of preparation.
“You have to train for it,” said Bell, who starts his pre-season regiment four months before his first competition.
“It takes a lot of time,” Bell said. “You can’t come into this and expect to be halfway decent if you don’t’ train.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or email@example.com.
2013 Alaska Scottish Highland Games
Professional — 1. Ryan Stewart; 2. Rusty Price; 3. Greg Bell; 4. Lucais MacKay; 5. Larry Brock; 6. John Odden; 7. Andrew Hobson.
Masters 40-49 — 1 (tie). Jay O’Neill, Ray Mabey; 3. Bret Lathrop; 4. Max Sadtler; 5. David Todd; 6. Jason MacDonald.
Masters 50-59 — 1. Bret McDonald; 2. Dave Patterson; 3. Robert Anthony; 4. Jim Rogina; 5. Pat Easter; 6. Kevin Dolan.
Masters 60+ — 1. Chris Kilday.
Amateur A — 1. Sean Fabanich; 2. Jody Potosky; 3. James Gibson; 4. Matt Patterson; 5. Mark Eppihimer; 6. Robby Wilhelm; 7. Michael Watson.
Amateur B — 1. Jimmy Johnson; 2. Jason Kepler; 3. Charles Knefelkamp; 4. Nelson Alger; 5. Todda Younge; 6. Tim Patterson.
Amateur C — 1. Clay Smith; 2. Lincoln Johnson; 3. Stuart Burns; 4. Steven Crass; 5. Bret Hamilton; 6. Michael Hamilton; 7. Luke Johnson; 8. Johnathan Raynovic; 9. Mark Spindler; 10. Matthew Johnson; 11. Tim W.; 12. Ben Beckwith; 13. Hal Shepherd.
Women 39 and under:
1. Kassi Johnson; 2. Sylvia Whipple; 3. Breanna Love; 4. Jenny McLaughlin; 5. Angie O’Neill; 6. Sarah Eppihimer; 7. Christina Falkenburg; 8. Skye Spindler.