Chugiak running stars sign with Division I schools

Sunday, December 1, 2019 - 14:58
  • Chugiak’s Hyrum Nelson, left, and Brooklynn Gould have signed Division I National Letters of Intent. Nelson will run track and cross country at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, while Gould will run track at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. (Star file photos / Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Hyrum Nelson and Service’s Alexander Maurer run alongside each other during the Division I boys race at the ASAA / First National Bank Alaska Cross Country Running Championships on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 at Bartlett High. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Hyrum Nelson leads Dimond’s Sonny Prosser during the varsity boys race at the Region IV Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 at Bartlett High. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Hyrum Nelson, left, edges teammate Daniel Bausch for third place in the Division I boys 800 meter run at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Track and Field Championships at Machetanz Field in Palmer on Saturday, May 25, 2019. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Charlie Latimer hands off to Hyrum Nelson during the 4X800 meter race at the Brian Young Invitational. Latimer and Nelson teamed up with Chugiak’s Daniel Bausch and Jacob Lestina to run 8:05.46, faster than the existing Chugiak High School record in the event. (Photo courtesy of Brian Kruchoski)
  • Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould reacts as the Alaska flag she’s holding hits teammate Shaylee Griffin in the face as Chugiak’s Ellie Scherffius, left, and Reilly Hall, right, look on after the Mustangs broke the state record in the Division I girls 4x200 meter relay at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Track and Field Championships at Machetanz Field in Palmer on Saturday, May 25, 2019. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould reacts as she nears the finish line of the Division I girls 4x200 meter relay at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Track and Field Championships at Machetanz Field in Palmer on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Gould joined Ellie Scherffius, Reilly Hall and Shaylee Griffin in breaking the state record in the event. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould takes the baton from teammate Ellie Scherffius in the Division I girls 4x100 meter relay at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Track and Field Championships at Machetanz Field in Palmer on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Gould, Scherffius, Reilly Hall and Shaylee Griffin broke the state record in the event. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould, center, leads the 100 meter hurdles during a four-team track and field meet between South, Chugiak, East and West on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at West High School. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould crosses the finish line in first place for Chugiak’s winning 4X200 meter relay team at the Region IV meet in 2017. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)
  • Chugiak’s Brooklynn Gould prepares to start the 100 meter hurdles on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the Palmer Invitational at Palmer High School. ( Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Chugiak’s Hyrum Nelson rounds a corner during the varsity boys race at the Region IV Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 at Bartlett High. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)

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.

GOULD’S GOLD

Brooklynn Gould’s performances at the Alaska State Track and Field Meet 2017-19:

2019

1st - 300 hurdles

1st - 4x100 relay

1st - 4x200 relay

2nd - 100 hurdles

2018

1st - 100 hurdles

2nd - 300 hurdles

2nd - 4x200 relay

4th - Triple jump

2017

1st - 300 hurdles

1st - 4x200 relay

2nd - Triple jump

HYRUM’S HEROICS

Hyrum Nelson’s personal best 5K times, 2016-19:

2016

19:54 (Bartlett State Preview)

19:21 (Palmer Invitational)

19:17 (Region IV Championships)

2017

17:41 (Tsalteshi Invitational)

17:19.8 (Palmer Invitational)

17:19 (Big 8 Invitational)

2018

15:58 (Tsalteshi Invitational)

2019

15:49 (Mustang Smokin’ Stampede)

15:19 (Palmer Invitational)

(Via Athletic.net)

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