Matt Tunseth

When Larry Ledlow called a neighbor on April 7 to check on the health of a mutual friend, he was shocked to hear the news.

“She said, ‘I’m glad you called, because your house is burning down,’” Ledlow recalled during an interview May 8 at the Star offices in Eagle River.

Although the timing of Ledlow’s call was fortunate, the circumstances were not. As he listened helplessly from half the world away, Ledlow’s neighbor described the loss of the mobile home Ledlow lived in for the past 19 years.

“I lost everything,” he said.

It’s still the spring, but one Chugiak Mustang has already finalized her Homecoming plans.

Megan Hatswell, a 1998 Chugiak High graduate, has been selected to take over as principal at her alma mater this fall.

She wouldn’t have it any other way.

“To be honest, Chugiak is the only school I would have put in at,” Hatswell said in a Tuesday interview.

Having grown up in Eagle River, Hatswell said it’s her goal to have a long-term impact on the community she loves.

Two words of advice for Alaska high school baseball fans: Don’t blink.

The seven-game, 16-day Cook Inlet Conference regular season that began Monday is the shortest in high school sports. With each CIC team playing just one game against each team before the conference tournament, there isn’t a lot of room for error.

It’s probably fitting that a race named FOCUS came down to a photo finish.

Eagle River’s Sara Kennedy won a duel against fellow local Kat Roch to win the women’s division in the inaugural running of the race, outkicking Roch to win by a fraction of a second. Both women’s times were 23 minutes, 14 seconds, but Kennedy won at the line. Evy Hail finished third in 24:53.

Kennedy led the whole way, but said she knew Roch was lurking just behind.

“Yeah, it was definitely on my mind,” she said shortly after crossing the finish line beneath a bright spring sun.

Four of Eagle River’s finest finalized their college plans Friday during a ceremony in school’s library.

Seniors Mallory Garbe, Jade Pandres, Jessie Scott and Peyton Young drew high praise from administrators, parents and coaches during the ceremony, during which each signed a National Letter of Intent to play college sports at their respective universities.

“This is one of the highlights of my job,” said ERHS athletic director Tom Klaameyer, who introduced each of the four to a large crowd gathered in the library.

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.