Jim Lanier is no Iditarod rookie — even if he’s spent the winter proving himself like one.

The 79-year-old Chugiak musher was denied entry into the 2020 Iditarod in August, but he’ll be at the starting line nonetheless when the race begins in March after re-qualifying for the race by completing a pair of 300-mile races.

“They said per Iditarod rules if I want to run this year and do a late sign-up, I’d just have to follow the rules and run the qualifying races, so that’s what I did,” Lanier said Tuesday.

Chugiak’s girls basketball team had a lovely Valentine’s Day Friday night, cruising to a 50-23 Cook Inlet Conference win over South at Chugiak High.

The Mustangs held the Wolverines to just a single point in the second quarter en route to a 24-12 halftime lead and never looked back as head coach Ryan Hales was able to rest his starters for long stretches of the second half.

Chasity Selden-Horn scored a game-high 13 points for Chugiak, which got eight points from Layla Beam and seven each from Caitlin Wachmann and Ari Lewis.

Darth Vader and the Space Force shared sunshine with the Mario Brothers and Winnie the Pooh Saturday as Kincaid Park transformed from a world-class ski venue into an otherworldly winter wonderland filled with the motliest crew of cross country skiers you’ll see this side of Santa’s Workshop.

The costumes are a tradition at the East T-Bird Classic, an annual high school relay race that’s long on spirit but short on seriousness. Saturday’s mixed relay event featured a backwards handoff, an uphill slalom and a gnarly jump that sent more than its share of skiers cups over teakettle.

Wolves have a howling good time on the Kenai

Eagle River’s boys and girls basketball teams completed a successful road trip over the weekend, returning from the Kenai Spur Highway with a pair of non conference sweeps of Kenai Central and Nikiski.

On Friday, Mikayla Johnson poured in a game-high 26 points to lead the Eagle River girls to a 48-29 win over the Kardinals in Kenai. Lila Wegener had seven points and Amaya Hudson scored six for the Wolves, who outscored Kenai 19-4 in the third quarter.

Five local players were named to the 2019-20 All-Cook Inlet Conference hockey team announced following the conclusion of the CIC tournament at Ben Boeke Ice Arena Saturday night.

For Chugiak, defenseman Tyler Huffer was named to the team alongside forwards Luke Momblow and Jarett Beckett. Both forwards scored 20 goals this season; Momblow was fourth in the CIC with 43 total points and Beckett was fifth with 40. Huffer was third among CIC defensemen with 20 points this season, including six goals and 14 assists in conference play.

Chugiak finished fifth in the Gold bracket at the 2020 Dimond Lady Lynx Prep Shootout girls basketball tournament Saturday at Dimond High.

The Mustangs fell 72-56 to Lathrop in the third-place game to finish 2-2 at the four-day tourney.

Chasity Selden-Horn scored a team-high 13 points for the Mustangs but was held scoreless in the second half.

Carol Houser added 13, Ari Lewis scored nine, Layla Beam added seven and Cadence Wood scored six for Chugiak, which was outscored 46-21 in the second half and lost a halftime lead for the second straight game.

Chugiak opened the Cook Inlet Conference playoffs with a full head of steam, knocking off No. 7 seed East Monday night at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

The win advanced the Mustangs to the second round, where they will face No. 3 seed Dimond at 6:30 p.m. at Ben Boeke Ice Arena in Anchorage. Also Tuesday, No. 4 seed Eagle River will open postseason tournament play against Service at 7:15 p.m. at the McDonald Center in Eagle River.

Chugiak/Eagle River’s girls high school hockey season came to an end with a 5-1 loss to No. 2 seed Dimond/West on Friday at the Dempsey Anderson Ice Arena in Anchorage.

Morgan Richards made 31 saves for CER, which wa soutshot 36-10. CER’s lone goal came from Rian Runyan, who scored with 9:16 left in the third period off assists from Haley Olds and Kailey Harbottle.

McKenna Piekarski had a hat trick for Dimond/West, which got nine saves from Amelia Davis.

The kingpins of the Anchorage Scholastic Bowling League have struck again.

Defending league champions Eagle River rolled to a pair of lopsided victories over Service Thursday at Center Bowl in Anchorage, with the girls team shutting out the Cougars 35-0 and the boys winning 31-4.

The victories capped perfect 7-0 regular seasons for both teams.

Wasilla had no answer for Chasity Horn Thursday, as the Chugiak senior scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Mustangs to a 57-50 nonconference girls basketball win at Chugiak High.

The star guard went 9-of-10 from the free throw line and had six steals for the Mustangs, who also got 13 points on three 3-pointers from Carol Houser, nine points from Ari Lewis and a team-high nine rebounds from Layla Beam.

Bella Hays scroed 14 points to lead Wasilla.

Chugiak plays Eagle River on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. at Chugiak High.