Michael Dinneen

The Chugiak boys and girls cross country ski teams recovered from a disappointing first day at regional competition at Kincaid Park to each finish second on the day in the classic relay event.

In the overall Cook Inlet Conference totals, the Mustangs finished third for the boys and fourth for the girls, while Eagle River’s teams placed sixth and fifth respectively.

Anchorage West swept the team and individual titles over both days.

One of the more entertaining battles in the enduring Chugiak-Eagle River rivalry took place Saturday night as the Wolves hosted the Mustangs for an evening of boys basketball.

The teams left it all on the floor as every loose ball was contested, every inch of floor space battled for, charges and blocks were commonplace and few shots were left uncontested.

A beautiful if frosty morning with a temperature of -10 degrees greeted nearly 100 fat bike enthusiasts as they wound their way through Saturday’s Icy River Rampage, a 10-mile loop at the Eagle River Nature Center this past Saturday.

Shadows and sun played across the course as the surrounding peaks blocked the late morning’s warmth from reaching Eagle River’s frozen surface during most of the race, an annual fund raiser for the center.

The Chugiak varsity basketball teams doubled down on impressive wins Saturday night as the home squads played aggressive defense against their Bartlett visitors.

In the opening game, the girls stifled their Golden Bear opponents early, coasting to a 35-9 first-half margin then withstanding a second half rally to end their game with a comfortable 56-37 win.

Chugiak center Daniel Casey won the opening faceoff and without taking a stride fired the puck at the Service net for the first shot game Monday night.

The puck bounced off Cougar goalie Kevin Taunton and skittered harmlessly away. That was as about good as it got for the Mustangs in the opening period of their first round of the Cook Inlet Conference playoffs.

Managing Eagle River’s opening pressure was key for the Chugiak Mustangs in their 4-2 season-ending win Thursday night at the McDonald Center.

“We had to survive that first five minutes; if they had scored, it would have been a different hockey game,” said Mustangs head coach Rodney Wild. “And Riley had to be good.”

Wild was referring to netminder Riley Fugere, who was good as he stopped 14 shots in the first period alone and the offense used the momentum to jump to a 3-0 lead.

This year’s incredible spring weather has allowed increased access to local glaciers and lakes, by all manner of vehicles, four wheelers, snow machines, cross-country skiers and the ubiquitous fat bikers.

As they often do, Eagle River hockey parents Melanie Linn and Debbie Rinckey placed a banner on the McDonald Center glass Saturday prior to the day’s hockey game, then headed to the stands to watch.
What was unusual was that Linn would be watching two sons play for the Wolves varsity that day. With Austin’s call up from JV, Linn would soon watch team captain Josh and younger brother Austin play varsity together.

A blanket of fresh snow Friday may have made for challenging driving and added shoveling, but it couldn’t have been more welcome at the Beach Lake Trails in Chugiak, where the snow fell just in time for Chugiak Stampede, the first high school Nordic ski race of 2017.

Indeed, it felt like real winter again at the trails off Birchwood Loop as a brisk wind blew the fresh snow off the trees. The wind was powerful enough to flip Chugiak’s wax tent, making that particular chore a bit more complicated for the day.

As Heidi Booher’s day finished with a second-place finish in the sprint finals at Saturday afternoon’s Service Snowball races, she had two words for her handlers, “Clothe me!” she exclaimed, as she hurried to add layers to her ski suit. She then promptly skied off through the stadium tunnel to warm up following a very cold day of skiing.

There was suffering aplenty as 10-degree temperatures and a healthy breeze from the north combined to make a frosty opener to the prep ski season.