4 locals make first team All-Railbelt soccer; Eagle River’s Swanson named Coach of the Year

Monday, May 27, 2019 - 18:24
  • Josie Becerra (ERHS girls), Grant Jones (CHS boys), Sam Snider (ERHS boys) and Francis Wanek (CHS boys) were named first-team All Railbelt Conference by the RBC coaches. (Star file photos)
  • Eagle River girls soccer coach Lynn Swanson talks to South coach Brian Farrell before the start of the Wolves’ match against the Wolverines on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Eagle River High. Swanson was named the RBC’s Coach of the Year after leading the Wolves to their first state tournament appearance in school history. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Grant Jones breaks away from the defense en route to his fourth goal of the game during Chugiak’s 7-0 nonconference soccer win over East on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at Ed Blahous Field in Chugiak. Jones was named a first-team All Railbelt Conference selection following the season. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Ashley Hicks, left, and Eagle River’s Joseline Becerra chase the ball during a match Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at Eagle River High. Becerra was named first-team All Railbelt Conference by the RBC coaches. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Eagle River’s Sam Snider and Chugiak’s Owen Lewis battle for the ball during a game Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at Eagle River High. Snider was named All Railbelt Conference after the season. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Francis Wanek kicks the ball as Eagle River’s Sam Snider (10) and several other players converge during a game Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at Eagle River High. Wanek and Snider were named first-team All Railbelt Conference following the season. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)

After leading her team to its first state tournament appearance in school history, Eagle River girls head soccer coach Lynn Swanson was honored as the Railbelt Conference’s girls Coach of the Year in voting announced last week.

Swanson’s Wolves went 3-5-2 in the Railbelt, including a win and a tie against rival Chugiak. The squad played its best when it mattered, going undefeated in its final three conference games to earn a state tournament berth.

The award was announced alongside the six-team league’s all-conference teams, which this year included four local first-team selections.

Eagle River striker Josie Becerra was the lone local player named to the first team on the girls’ side, while Chugiak’s Grant Jones and Francis Wanek were joined by Eagle River’s Sam Snider on the boys first team.

Making the boys second team were Eagle River’s Cade Van Meter and Tanner Johnson along with Chugiak’s Christian Beesing and Thomas Sitz; the Mustangs’ Kellen Beam and Wolves’ Jon Streff were named honorable mention and Beam and Eagle River’s Andrew Hamilton were named to the Good Sport team.

Eagle River’s Addison Swanson, Cassie Scott and Kaycee Chavez were named to the second team girls squad, as were Chugiak’s Aliza Schwartz and Reyna Moore.

Chugiak’s Hannah Sitz, Jenna Labonte and Jordyn Bailey were named honorable mention, along with Eagle River’s Hailey Sullivan, Hendrikje Bodine and Syd Swanson. The Wolves’ Ashylyn Walker and Mustangs’ Kaylen Gardner were named to the Good Sport team.

Eagle River girls, Chugiak boys finish 7th at state

Tournament co-host Eagle River ran into a juggernaut in the opening round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Girls Soccer Tournament Thursday at the Wolves’ Den.

Top-seeded South got two first-half goals from captain Carin Currier to knock off the Wolves 2-0 in front of a pro-Wolves crowd that came to watch the team play its first state playoff game in program history. Eagle River reached the playoffs after finishing fourth in the Railbelt Conference during the regular season.

The Wolves tied for seventh place in the tournament after falling 2-1 to West Friday in the consolation round.

South beat Wasilla 1-0 in the semifinals Friday and fell 2-1 to Dimond in overtime in the tournament final Saturday.

The Chugiak boys put a scare into top-seeded Service Thursday, in the opening round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Boys State Soccer Tournament at Service High.

The Cougars got a late strike from Alex Nunez to advance to the semifinals with a 2-1 win. Nunez’s header in the 88th minute broke a 1-1 tie and sent the host Cougars into the semifinals.

Haruki Ono scored the lone goal for the Mustangs.

The loss dropped Chugiak into the consolation round, where they fell 1-0 to Dimond on Friday to finish tied for seventh.

Service lost 1-0 to Colony on Friday; the Knights defeated West 2-0 in Saturday’s title game.

Railbelt All-Conference


Coach of the Year: Lynn Swanson, Eagle River

1st Team — Abby Crawford, Wasilla; Aleksandra Kvalheim, Wasilla; Alexis Friesen, Wasilla

Aubrey Stacey, West Valley; Bella Brown, Colony; Finn Sprankle, West Valley; Gabby Wakaliuk,Colony; Josie Becerra, Eagle River; Juliana Mondelli, Lathrop; Madison Elliott, Colony; Reese Sande, Wasilla; Samantha Johnstone, Colony; Sterling Elliott, Colony; Taylee Ross, Lathrop

2nd Team — Addison Swanson, Eagle River; Aliza Schwartz, Chugiak; Ashlynn Cornelison, Colony; Cassie Scott, Eagle River; Chole Anderson, Lathrop; Gwen Amos-Well, Lathrop; Jarah Hoop, Lathrop; Kaycee Chavez,Eagle River; Megan Dow, West Valley; Mesa Arens, Lathrop; Mykie McMullen, Colony; Nicole Catlett, Wasilla; Reyna Moore, Chugiak; Shayla Donley, Wasilla; Taylin Fraker, Wasilla

Honorable mention — Ellie Lovely, Lathrop; Hailey Sullivan, Eagle River; Hannah Sitz, Chugiak; Hendrikje Bodine, Eagle River; Jenny Labonte, Chugiak; Jordyn Bailey, Chugiak; Maisey O’Neil, West Valley; Syd Swanson, Eagle River


Coach of the year: Howard Maxwell, West Valley

1st Team — Carter Mahler, Lathrop; Connor Friesen, Colony; Dennis Gerasimyuk, Wasilla; Eric Kolosov, Wasilla; Ethan Raygor, West Valley; Franky Wanek, Chugiak; Grant Jones, Chugiak; Hugo Pochon, Colony; Kristaps Bareika, West Valley; Kyle Dearborn, Colony; Michael Dow, West Valley; Mike Sliwa, Colony; Noah Krozel, Colony; Sam Snider, Eagle River; Vaughn Simpson, West Valley

2nd Team — Baird Reynolds, Lathrop; Ben Kraska, Lathrop; Cade Van Meter, Eagle River; Christian Beesing, Chugiak; Gabe Zayon, West Valley; Hudson Howarth, Wasilla; Isacc Dershin, Lathrop; Josh Rolston, Chugiak; Sullivan Menard, Colony; Tanner Johnson, Eagle River; Thomas Sitz, Chugiak; Travis Bekkedahl, Colony

Honorable mention — Kellen Beam, Chugiak; Streff Jon, Eagle River

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