Local athletes rack up team, individual titles in 2015
2015 gave local sports fans quite a few thrills – especially for folks cheering for the Chugiak High School Mustangs with a few bright spots for fans of the Eagle River High School Wolves. Here are our top picks.
No. 1 – Dual baseball titles
The Chugiak High School baseball team and the Chugiak Post 33 American Legion baseball team both won state titles. CHS beat South Anchorage High School 5-0 in June as just-recently graduated pitcher, Jimmy Lanier, gave up only three hits in the game to complete what was actually the team’s second shut-out in the State AAAA Baseball Championship tournament.
Earlier in the tournament, fellow graduate Sam Hanson pitched a shutout against Kodiak High School with a 7-0 victory that featured only two hits. Many of the same names from the high school team also sport jerseys in the summer’s American Legion league. In early August, the Chugiak post legion team won the state title for the second time in three years beating Kenai 6-0. Overall, the Chugiak legion team has won the state tournament seven times in the past 23 years.
No. 2 – State runner-up football season at CHS
It isn’t necessarily news that the boys of the gridiron at CHS put more marks in the win column versus the loss column. Yet, the 2015 fall season had a certain magical quality to it with only four losses and a zealous fan following celebrating the team’s seven victories as if the season had only been seven games long. In the end, the Mustangs lost the state title to Anchorage’s West High School by a score of 41-0 in the First National Bowl held at WHS on Oct. 23. It was a bit deflating for a couple of reasons: An earlier match-up between CHS and WHS had the Mustangs on top of the Eagles 28-21; the state championship game was the Mustang’s last appearance in the Cook Inlet Conference. Beginning in 2016, Mustang football is slated to play in the Railbelt Conference with teams from Colony and Wasilla high schools in the Mat-Su Valley and Lathrop and West Valley in Fairbanks.
No. 3 – Ty Jordan dominates cross country running
Despite miserable weather creating less than desirable muddy trail conditions on the Bartlett High School course, the CHS senior capped off his winning season on Oct. 3 with a time of 15 minutes and 48 seconds. It was a tight race with Service High School’s Gus Schumacker trying to put some distance between himself and Jordan at the 2K marker.
In the end, Schumacker finished four seconds behind Jordan. It was a convincing victory to end a season marked with several top finished by Jordan: On Sept. 12, he won the 3K New Balance XC Classic with a time of 9:22.80. Earlier in the year during track season, Jordan took first in the 800m and 1,600m at the state finals.
No. 4 – Marcus Amico wins wrestling title for Eagle River High School
The phrase, “You’ve come along way, baby,” applies to ERHS senior who won the state wrestling tournament for the 152-pound division this year. Last year, he placed third. In the 2015 season, the senior had a 28-2 record. His state title came with a 16-8 defeat of Ethan Shumaker of North Pole. Earlier in the season, Amico won at the 160-pound division at the West Anchorage Open beating Riley Martin from Grace Christian 16-0.
No. 5 – CHS fall sports team make the grade
Not only did several sports teams from CHS perform well on their respective fields; they also did quite well behind their desks. Eight teams — boys and girls cross country, flag football, gymnastics, boys and girls swim and dive, tennis and volleyball — won top regional academic awards making CHS the school with the most academic awards for the fall season. The gymnastic team award for the third straight. Team GPAs ranged from 3.26 at the low end for the boys cross country and a 4.03 for tennis.
The ERHS girls track foursome of Nicole Boggs, Drea Owens, Emma Tvelia and Jordyn Bruce repeated as state champions in the 4x400 meter relay, finishing just 0.7 seconds away from a new state record in the event.
And while he isn’t too fond of folks bringing this topic up, the baseball field designated for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks – the area’s entry in the Alaska Baseball League – was renamed in honor of Lee Jordan, the Star’s founder and first publisher and editor.
“So many other people did far more to bring that team here than I did,” Jordan said via phone over the holiday weekend. “Our local high school athletes are much bigger stories than I am, but I am grateful for the honor of the field being named after me.”