Matt Tunseth

It’s the shoulder season for outdoor enthusiasts, which can mean both fun and frustration as trails transition from winter to summer uses.

“It’s a really exciting time of year,” said Joe Hall, trails specialist for Chugach State Park.

Hall said he’s seen an explosion in people poking around the Chugach Mountains over the past couple weeks as Alaskans awaken from their winter hibernation.

“There’s kind of a new energy going around,” he said.

Perhaps the best athlete in Eagle River High School history also happens to be a bona fide nerd.

“I’ve got two tests tomorrow,” said Ed Hall, a junior mechanical engineering major at the University of Idaho, during a Monday interview from the school’s Moscow campus. “It’s pretty rigorous.”

It’s not uncommon for a high school student to play multiple sports — for example, football and wrestling or basketball and soccer. But football games aren’t contested on a wrestling mat, and soccer isn’t played in a gym.

Until this year, that is.

“It’s been pretty tough,” said Chugiak girls soccer player Carson Head.

Eagle River swept Chugiak off its own turf Thursday with a pair of prep soccer wins at Ed Blahous Field.

“Our season goal was to beat Chugiak at least once, so it’s awesome to do it in our first game,” said Eagle River’s Mallory Garbe, who scored both goals in her team’s 2-0 Cook Inlet Conference girls soccer win over the Mustangs. “I’m super pumped.”

The mood was simliar two hours before, after the Eagle River boys twice rallied from deficits to take a 3-2 win over the Mustangs.

On a weekend designed to give players exposure, perhaps nobody made as big a splash as Chugiak senior Ashlynn Burgess.

A relentless 5-foot-10-inch forward, Burgess drew as much or more attention from the 17 college coaches in attendance at this year’s edition of the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches Senior All-Star Weekend.

“They’re all looking at her,” said Deb Castle, an assistant at Skagit Valley Community College in Mount Vernon, Washington.

There’s optimistic and then there’s downright absurd. This year’s track and field season has been a mixed bag.

“We’re fortunate to have one long hallway,” said Chugiak head coach Melissa Hall as her team struggled to find creative ways to stretch its legs in the long, cold spring as the snow slowly melted off the school’s track.

Running indoors and swimming laps can only do so much, so athletes and coaches were thrilled to finally get outside last weekend for the first meet of the season at West High.

Hundreds of children with visions of candy and prizes stormed the field at Eagle River Lions Park Sunday, snatching up more than 10,000 Easter eggs in a matter of minutes at the annual Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt.

“It goes fast,” said event organizer Sonia Vance of the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions.

Emma Nelson helped Chugiak’s track and field team take a huge leap forward Saturday in Oregon.

The high-flying junior became the first Mustang to win an individual event at the prestigious Oregon Relays when she jumped a personal best 5 feet, 6.5 inches in the girls’ high jump.

In a text message sent from Eugene, Chugiak head coach Melissa Hall said Nelson was beaming after her big win.

“She’s over the moon happy,” Hall wrote of Nelson, whose winning jump was just a half inch off the Chugiak school record.

A lengthy wait ended with a seemingly never-ending day Saturday at West High.

Long delayed by a lingering winter and the collapse of the area’s only indoor venue, the Anchorage-area high school track and field season began in earnest with a marathon ASD 8X8 meet that took nine hours to complete.

There was a lot of love in the Chugiak High library Wednesday afternoon.

A standing-room-only crowd of friends, coaches, teammates, media and family members packed the library to watch CHS senior Emily Moorhead sign her National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at the University of Alaska Fairbanks this fall.

“You can tell she’s well loved,” said Chugiak coach Bobbi Mason after the event, which included a volleyball-shaped cake with blue and gold frosting.

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