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New Yorker takes Jr. Iditarod crown

Beth Bragg

A New York teenager won Alaska's Junior Iditarod on Sunday.

Sixteen-year-old Noah Pereira of Clarkson, N.Y., won the 150-mile sled dog race in his first attempt to become the first out-of-state musher and sixth rookie to win the championships for mushers ages 14-17.

He beat defending champion Conway Seavey of Sterling to the Willow Lake finish line by four minutes.

Despite his rookie status and New York residency, Pereira is by no mean a cheechako. He's a handler for Dallas Seavey, the reigning Iditarod champion, and he's been mushing since he was 10.

Pereira and his team of 10 dogs reached Willow at 11:32 a.m. Seavey, the younger brother of Dallas, drove his team of 11 across the finish line at 11:36.

All in all, it was a good weekend for Seavey dogs.

Pereira was running dogs from Dallas' kennel in Willow, and Conway was running dogs from dad Mitch Seavey's kennel in Sterling. Mitch won the 2004 Iditarod.

Both were driving B-string dogs, according to Iditarod spokeswoman Erin McLarnon.

Pereira was the first musher on Saturday to reach Yentna, the race's halfway point, where teams take a 10-hour layover. He reached that checkpoint four minutes ahead of Seavey, who collected victories in the Tustumena 100 and Willow Junior 100 earlier this season.

Jenny Greger of Bozeman, Mont., grabbed third place, reaching Willow at 12:09 p.m. Benjamin Harper of Wasilla followed at 12:42 p.m. and Alea Robinson of Eagle River finished fifth at 1:12 p.m. The race started Saturday at 10 a.m. at Knik Lake with a field of 13 teams.

 

 


By BETH BRAGG
bbragg@adn.com