Ice fishing tents dotted the infield at Service High School, where athletes and coaches battled to keep from freezing in the always challenging springtime track and field conditions.

“I’d love to say we’re Alaskans and we need to be tough, but you worry about quads, you worry about hamstrings,” said Chugiak head coach Melissa Hall.

Along with the portable pop-up tents, athletes bundled inside winter parkas and sleeping bags to ward off the cold. Coaches like Hall said they continually stress the importance of keeping warm during early season outdoor meets.

One man’s journey toward autism awareness is helping raise the profile of an Eagle River organization whose mission isn’t always clearly understood.

“They’ve really helped walk me through the process in general of understanding what autism was,” said Michael Harlow, whose two children are on the autism spectrum.

Harlow’s wife first noticed their children having difficulty keeping up with their peers when it came to verbal communication. However, he was initially resistant to the diagnosis.

Chugiak pulled out a home soccer sweep Friday, April 20 over its biggest rivals, knocking off Eagle River in a pair of games at Ed Blahous Field.

The CHS boys opened the chilly evening with a 2-1 win, getting the game-winner late in the second half on a strike by Josh Rolston. Chugiak took a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the game on a goal by junior Cameron Peck. The Wolves equalized early in the second half on a goal by Emery Thornton before Rolston put the Mustangs in front for good.

Some of the most visible students on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus are speaking out against sexual assault.

“We’re using our voices for a good cause,” said Sarissa Lammers, a senior Nordic skier and mechanical engineering major.

A 2014 Chugiak High grad, Lammers recently helped organize a public service campaign in which UAF athletes posed for photos in their uniforms while holding signs with slogans such as “It’s On Us” and “No More.”


Eagle River splits on opening day

Eagle River opened its prep softball season with a Saturday split at the Albrecht Fields in Anchorage.

In the season-opener, the Wolves got a walk-off double from Zosia Krupa, whose double scored Avery Brown. Brown figured prominently in the decision, throwing a complete game to earn the victory.

Chugiak High junior Daniel Bausch finished fifth Saturday in the 40th annual Alaska Heart Run in Anchorage. 

Bausch, 17, completed the 5-kilometer course around the UAA campus in 16 minutes, 11 seconds to finish 48 seconds behind winner Edwin "the Black Panther" Kangogo. A 22-year-old All-American who runs for UAA, Kangogo beat U.S. Olympic Nordic skier Erik Bjornsen, 26, by two seconds. 

The wait was worth it for the high school baseball teams at Chugiak and Eagle River High, which each opened the weather-delayed prep season with victories.

On Monday, the Mustangs knocked off South 10-8 in a nonleague game at Bartlett High, where icy conditions around the stadium forced a three-day delay to the start of the season. Mason Pearce broke open a tie game in the top of the seventh inning, driving in Christian Cambridge and Brian Wing for the go-ahead runs.

Emma Nelson is flying high.

The Chugiak senior cleared a height of 5 feet, 8.75 inches to break Cathy Ballensky’s 1992 school record in the high jump to place second Saturday at the prestigious Oregon Relays at Hayward Field in Eugene.

“She just killed it,” said Chugiak coach Melissa Hall after the team returned to Alaska from the meet, which included some of the top athletes in the country.

Eagle River’s Pam Dreyer completed a wetter Boston Marathon than most Monday, running the 26.2-mile course in a personal best 3 hours, 31 minutes and 18 seconds to place 2,012nd in the women’s division.

“The 122nd Boston Marathon is a dream come true for this retired hockey player who loathed running any distance during my playing days,” Dreyer (@pkdreyer) wrote in an Instagram post after the race.

A 1999 Chugiak High graduate, the 36-year-old Dreyer is a former U.S. Olympic women’s hockey goalie who won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

For decades, Henry Powell “Chip” Gallagher Jr. was a mainstay of the Chugiak-Eagle River hockey community.

Thanks to the efforts of some Alaska hockey officials, he’ll remain a visible part of that community for years to come.

A plan is in the works to name the officials’ dressing room at the Harry J. McDonald Center after Gallagher, who died in 2016.

“He was just a great guy,” Mac Center manager Reid McDonald told the Eagle River/Chugiak Board of Supervisors earlier this month.