King in lead as Kusko 300 mushers head back to Bethel

The king of the Kusko is looking to extend his reign.

Jeff King, the defending champion and nine-time winner of the Kuskokwim 300 sled-dog race, was outpacing his opponents Saturday night as the race hit the halfway point at Aniak and began its return to Bethel.

King recorded the fastest run time between Kalskag and Aniak on the outbound route, and he had the fastest run time between Aniak and Kalskag on the inbound route.

The Denali Park musher, who owns four Iditarod championships, left Kalskag at 7:08 p.m. Saturday with a team of 13 dogs.

Thirteen minutes later, at 7:21 p.m., Rohn Buser of Big Lake mushed a team of 11 out of the checkpoint. Paul Gebhardt of Kasilof and his team of 13 left at 7:40 p.m.

A winner should reach the Bethel finish line on Sunday morning or early afternoon. The champion will collect $22,000 from the race's $110,000 purse, the most offered in any mid-distance sled-dog race.

Earlier Saturday, Bethel's Schouviller Wasillie captured his first Bogus Creek 150 title, beating Bethel's Harry Alexie by 22 minutes in the 150-mile race.


Chelimo returns with record

After sitting out last year's outdoor track season, UAA's Micah Chelimo returned to action Saturday by breaking his own conference record in the 3,000 meters in a meet that kicked off UAA's indoor track and field season.

Chelimo, a three-time NCAA champion from Kenya, clocked a time of 8 minutes, 10.99 seconds at the University of Washington Preview meet in Seattle, where the Division II Seawolves competed against mostly Division I teams.

Chelimo, who placed sixth in the race behind five D-I runners, broke the Great Northwest Athletic Conference record of 8:11.73 he set during the indoor season last year.

The Seawolves ran to two other school records Saturday. Freshman Jamie Ashcroft of British Columbia clocked 7.83 in the 60 meters to erase Renee Kennedy's record of 8.0 set last season, and the 1,600-meter relay team of Bobo Camara, Adam Commandeur, Cody Thomas and Ethan Hewitt finished in 3:21.86, replacing the old mark of 3:22:.25.