Chugiak running stars sign with Division I schools
Chugiak’s powerhouse stable of runners has produced two more Division I thoroughbreds.
The Mustangs’ Brooklynn Gould and Hyrum Nelson signed Division I National Letters of Intent in the week before Thanksgiving Break, with Gould making the leap to the University of North Dakota and Nelson travelling cross-country to Utah’s Brigham Young University.
Gould has been one of Alaska’s most dominant track and field athletes during her time at Chugiak, including a junior season that saw her named the Division I Athlete of the Meet at the Alaska State Track and Field Meet after winning the 300 hurdles, placing second in the 100 hurdles and helping set two state records in the 4X100 and 4X200 relays for the third-place Chugiak girls.
During her three years at Chugiak, the versatile Gould has played a major role in the Mustangs’ success, winning 11 medals in three state track meet appearances — including three individual victories, three relay titles and three individual runner-up performances.
She burst onto the scene in 2017 by winning a 300 meter hurdles championship while helping Chugiak to victory in the 4X200 meter relay as the Mustangs won their second straight girls team state title. In 2018, she won her second individual championship, this time in the 100 hurdles as Chugiak raced to a second-place team finish.
North Dakota head coach Danie McCarty said in an email he’s “overjoyed” to have Gould joining the Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks.
“From the experiences that she has had, and the versatility that she has shown, I believe that she will have the ability to come into our program and become a true difference maker early on in her career,” McCarty said in a statement emailed to Chugiak head coach Melissa Hall. “I have big plans for this program, and I see Brooklynn as a key piece to our upcoming success.”
Gould will study aviation at UND, which according to thebestcolleges.org has the nation’s No. 2 aviation program in the country.
While Gould has been a force since her first meet, Nelson has worked his way up from relative unknown to up-and-coming understudy to unquestioned star for the Mustangs’ track and cross country teams.
As a freshman, Nelson finished 73rd in his first big high school cross country race, the Bartlett State Preview, where he completed the 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 54 seconds. He failed to qualify for state in cross country that season, but by the spring had improved enough to qualify for the state track meet, where he placed 13th in the 3,200 meters.
By his sophomore year Nelson had made big strides, finishing 35th at the state cross country meet while running a 17:22 at Bartlett. That spring he took 10th in the 3,200 and 12th in the 1,600 at the state track meet for the third-place Mustangs.
Nelson made his biggest leap during his junior year at Chugiak, which began with a 21st place finish at the state cross country meet and ended with runner-up finishes in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters as Chugiak won the boys state track and field meet title. Nelson was bested in both distance races only by teammate Daniel Bausch, who now runs at Division I Utah Valley University.
This fall, Nelson spent most of his senior cross country season near the front of the pack, winning the Palmer Invitational and placing third at both the Cook Inlet Conference and state cross country meets. He also finished third at the Bartlett State Preview meet, where his time — 15 minutes and 50 seconds — was more than four minutes faster than his freshman time and one of the 13 fastest ever run at the course.
In an email to Hall, BYU assistant Isaac Wood said he was “exicted” to have Nelson join the program and praised the future Cougar’s work ethic.
“Knowing him since he has come to our camps and watching him improve throughout his high school careere, we believe he will be a significant contributor to our team,” Wood wrote. “We also have had success with athletes coming from Alaska and know that they are made tougher up there!”
Nelson and Gould are the fourth Chugiak athletes to sign Division I letters of intent this fall. Also signing with D-1 schools were hockey player Zach Plucinski (Notre Dame) and volleyball player Ellie Scherffius (Montana). It also marks the third straight year Chugiak’s track and field program has had a Division I athlete — in 2017 Emma Nelson went to Oregon State and last year Bausch signed with Utah Valley.
Brooklynn Gould’s performances at the Alaska State Track and Field Meet 2017-19:
1st - 300 hurdles
1st - 4x100 relay
1st - 4x200 relay
2nd - 100 hurdles
1st - 100 hurdles
2nd - 300 hurdles
2nd - 4x200 relay
4th - Triple jump
1st - 300 hurdles
1st - 4x200 relay
2nd - Triple jump
Hyrum Nelson’s personal best 5K times, 2016-19:
19:54 (Bartlett State Preview)
19:21 (Palmer Invitational)
19:17 (Region IV Championships)
17:41 (Tsalteshi Invitational)
17:19.8 (Palmer Invitational)
17:19 (Big 8 Invitational)
15:58 (Tsalteshi Invitational)
15:49 (Mustang Smokin’ Stampede)
15:19 (Palmer Invitational)