Sports

Helen Wilson and Grace Gilliland are going back to Europe.

The local biathlon stars will represent the United States at the World Biathlon Championships in Otepaa, Estonia in February after stellar performances at the U.S. Youth/Junion Team Trials Dec. 28-29 in Coleraine, Minnesota.

Roger Spackman is stepping down, but he isn’t going anywhere.

After four years as the Chugiak High head football coach, Spackman resigned earlier this month — ironically, so he could focus more on coaching.

“Mostly it’s that I want to coach but not be a head coach,” said Spackman, who compiled a 25-14 record (.641 winning percentage) during his four seasons leading the blue and black — including back-to-back Railbelt Conference titles the past two seasons.

It’s no secret attendance at high school hockey games isn’t what it used to be.

Unless we’re talking Chugiak-Eagle River.

“It’s night and day, isn’t it?” said Chugiak head coach Rodney Wild after his hockey team pulled out a 3-2 Cook Inlet Conference nailbiter over its biggest rival in front of a spirited crowd inside the McDonald Center Thursday night.

A pair of local skiers are atop the Besh Cup standings after the first weekend of the statewide Nordic skiing race series.

Eagle River bowlers delivered a perfect day Thursday, Dec. 14 as the Wolves blanked Bartlett 35-0 in a pair of Anchorage Scholastic Bowling League matches held at Center Bowl in Anchorage. For the Eagle River girls, Allison Szewczyk delivered a match-high 190 to lead the win over the Golden Bears, while Joseph Herr rolled a 235 to lift the Eagle River boys to a shutout win. Chugiak’s girls also posted a shutout, knocking off South 35-0 behind a 201 from Jadyn Moore. The Chugiak boys were the only local team to fall, losing a 29-6 decision to South.

The 2017-18 high school basketball season officially got underway last week, with local teams already registering impressive early season wins.

The Chugiak girls opened the season by knocking off perennial powerhouse Wasilla in a Saturday, Dec. 16 showdown in the Mat-Su. The Mustangs rolled to a 30-13 halftime lead and hung on from there, getting a game-high 18 points from Chasity Horn to lead three players in double figures. Ariana Lewis added 11 points for Chugiak, which got 10 from Patricia Houser and six from Caitlin Wachmann.

Top-ranked South remained undefeated with a 5-1 Cook Inlet Conference hockey win over Eagle River on Thursday, Dec. 14 at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

Five different players — Ryan Bailey, Cason Martin, Carter Eaton, Sam Jemmings and Hayden Fox — scored goals for the Wolverines (9-0), who got 17 saves from Zane Anderson.

Austin Linn scored the lone goal for Eagle River (3-6), which got 28 saves from Ryan Gray.

The Wolves are off until their crosstown showdown with Chugiak at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21 at the Mac.

Nobody ever said wrestling was easy; if they did, you’d know they never wrestled.

Minutes after losing the final match of his high school career, Eagle River’s Grant Burningham was still able to crack a smile despite sporting cuts to his forehead and lips.

“I feel pretty good,” he said after going down fighting in a 6-0 loss to Colony’s Trace Severson Saturday on Day 2 of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Division I High School Wrestling Tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

Eagle River improved to 3-5 in the Cook Inlet Conference with a 6-2 win over Service on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Ben Boeke.

Tucker Lien scored two goals and Ty McEnaney notched a goal and three assists to lead the Wolves. Nick Silance, Michael Maddox and Nat Nielsen also scored for Eagle River.

Ryan Gray made 31 saves for Eagle River, which won despite getting outshot 33-24.

Landon Hill and Ben Martensen scored for Service, which got 18 saves from Kevin Taunton.

Warm weather in Anchorage has forced a last-minute venue change for the upcoming Besh Cup Series Nordic ski races.

On Monday, the Cross Country Alaska competition committee met to discuss the races, which were to be held in Anchorage Dec. 16-17. Due to rapidly deteriorating conditions at Kincaid Park, the committee voted to move the races to Fairbanks instead.

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