Digging in the dirt is usually a dog’s job, but on Saturday in Chugiak a handful of human volunteers took tools into their own paws to help out their canine friends.

“I like to get dirty,” volunteer Melissa Rigas said, a dirt-covered pickaxe resting at her side.

Rigas and a half-dozen others were drawn to the nonprofit’s 2.5-acre property off Birchwood Loop for a simple reason.

“It’s all for the dogs,” she said.

Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould swept the hurdles events Saturday to give the Mustangs a pair of individual victories at the Palmer Invite at a windy Machetanz Field in Palmer.

Eagle River lefthander Braden Olmstead pitched the first true no-hitter of the Cook Inlet Conference baseball season, a tidy, 70-pitch performance in a 1-0 victory over Dimond.

“He was clearly on his game,” said Wolves coach Harlie Bodine, whose team improved to 3-3 after dropping its first three games of the season.

The win was made possible by Brendan Miles’ walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday at Mulcahy Stadium. The hit by Miles drove in Sterling Retzlaff, who ripped a leadoff triple.

Chugiak opened the Cook Inlet Conference baseball season with wins in three of its first four games, scoring three straight wins over Service, Eagle River and East after a season-opening loss to South.

Sam Hall gave up three hits in 5 1/3 innings on May 8 at Mulcahy Stadium to pace the Mustangs’ 12-0 win over East. Justin Nevells went 3-for-5 with a trio of RBIs.

The Mustangs fell 7-2 to the Wolverines in the May 1 opener, then hammered Service 11-0 on May 3 behind a six inning one-hitter from Billy Smith.

The Chugiak boys and Eagle River girls track and field teams showed they’ve got plenty of rising stars Friday and Saturday at the annual Frosh/Soph meet at Dimond High.

The Mustang boys won the meet by 30 points over second-place Dimond, while the ERHS girls were second only to South in the eight-team meet.

Freshman phenom Emily Walsh won three events for the Eagle River girls, pacing the field in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter events.

Not many people can call themselves national champions. Zach Plucinski can do it in two countries.

On Sunday, April 29, the 17-year-old from Eagle River scored the first goal in the Notre Dame Hounds’ 5-1 win over Quebec’s Cantonniers de Magog in the final of the Telus Cup, Canada’s national Midget (18U) hockey championship.

“It was a really big goal,” Plucinski said Thursday by phone from Wilcox, Saskatchewan, where he attends the College of Notre Dame, an elite prep school known for turning out high-caliber hockey talent.

A partnership between one of Alaska’s most well-known cycling events and an Anchorage nonprofit is getting the conversation rolling about gynecologic cancers.

“We want to open conversations,” said Ali Tolman, program director for Let Every Woman Know Alaska.

A number of local comp hockey players wrapped up their seasons recently at national events.

At the 16U Tier II national tournament in Boston, Chugiak freshman Rachel Symmes helped the Anchorage North Stars reach the national semifinals, where they fell 3-1 to a team from Connecticut. Symmes was joined on the team by Chugiak-Eagle River players Brianna Paxon, Jenni Peterson, Olivia Bruno and Kaylin Garner.

Eagle River and Chugiak played an epic Cook Inlet Conference softball doubleheader on Monday, May 7, with the Wolves winning the first contest in extra innings and the second game suspended on account of darkness.

In the opener, the Wolves earned a 9-5 win in three extra innings behind two RBIs each from Libby Argudin, Kahea Wakinekona and Keegan Sharpe. Avery Brown picked up the win, scattering five hits over nine walk-free innings.

A handful of area athletes have finalized their plans for the fall.

National Letter of Intent signings were held at Chugiak and Eagle River High Schools recently, with representatives from a cross-section of local sports.

At Chugiak High, senior Liam Baez-Terry was the guest of honor at a ceremony April 26 in the CHS library. Baez-Terry will run cross-country at Montana State University-Northern, an NAIA school in Havre, Montana.

Originally from Bethel, Baez-Terry said the small-town feel of the campus drew him in.