Beth Bragg

Hallidie Wilt continued her winning ways and Jake Moe ended his losing ways Saturday at the 37th annual Alaska Heart Run.

Wilt, 26, won her third straight Heart Run, serving notice that the dominance she displayed last year – by our count, 13 wins in 15 races – could very well extend into this season.

Moe, 30, won his first, ending a stretch of three straight runner-up finishes in Alaska’s biggest 5-kilometer footrace.

“I definitely didn’t want a fourth,” Moe said after leading a field of 1,315 runners across the finish line at the Alaska Airlines Center. The event drew nearly 6,000 people, with most choosing to participate in the untimed 5-K and 3-K runs...

Beth Bragg

Kids at Fairview Elementary can say, truthfully and without fear of punishment, that Chrystal McMillan is half the teacher she used to be.

McMillan, 30, is a fifth grade teacher at Fairview who competed in her first competitive run Saturday at the 37th Alaska Heart Run, the annual footrace that is synonymous with springtime in Alaska.

A day earlier, McMillan celebrated a milestone: She reached her goal weight of 139 pounds. She has one more target in mind: 130 pounds, which would make her exactly half as heavy as she was last year when a heart condition scared her into shape.

McMillan weighed 260 pounds in February 2014 before doctors performed a cardiac ablation to correct an arrhythmia that would send her heart rate skyrocketing...

Beth Bragg

Whether you’re a first-time runner or a veteran of three dozen Alaska Heart Runs, you might need help getting it right at this year’s rite of spring.

The 37th annual Heart Run is a whole new ballgame -- well, sort of. It’s still a 5-kilometer race, still one of the biggest footraces in Alaska, still a fundraiser for the American Heart Association and still on the UAA and APU campuses.

What's different is the race course, which was rerouted this year in order to use the new Alaska Airlines Center as the start and finish area. The old start and finish area at the UAA Arts Building is now a turnaround point late in the 3.1-mile race...

Beth Bragg

Sixteen years after selecting the inaugural class for the Alaska Cross Country Ski Hall of Fame, inductees and organizers are ready to party like it’s 1999.

The induction ceremony for the hall of fame’s first class will be Thursday at Kincaid Park.

Being honored are 13 skiers, coaches and trail builders who shaped the sport in Alaska -- a group that ranges from Sven Johanson, a pioneering Anchorage coach and competitor in the 1950s and 60s, to Kikkan Randall, a current World Cup and U.S. Ski Team star...

Beth Bragg

Like the on-deck batter who goes through the same stretching ritual before each at-bat or the tennis player who bounces the ball a specific number of times before every serve, many competitive shooters perform a choreography of quirks before pulling the trigger.

Eighteen-year-old Cat Papasodora of Eagle River is one of them.

“I know how many times Cat blinks before a shot,” said Scott Henderson, a coach with the Borealis Bullseye shooting club.

Papasodora always goes through the same routine, he said: two blinks, three blinks, pause, two blinks, take up the trigger slack, blink, FIRE!

“This is a sport that rewards OCD behavior,” Henderson said...

Beth Bragg

Offensive lineman Daryn Colledge, one of two Alaska football players who have earned a Super Bowl ring, is retiring after nine seasons in the NFL.

His departure leaves just one Alaskan in the NFL -- Anchorage’s Zack Bowman, who Monday was signed by the Miami Dolphins, the same team Colledge spent his final season with.

Colledge is a North Pole graduate who played four seasons at Boise State before moving to the NFL.The Green Bay Packers took him in the second round of the 2006 draft.

He spent his first five seasons as a pro with the Green Bay Packers, helping the team to victory in the 2010 Super Bowl, and then played three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and one season with the Dolphins...

Beth Bragg

The Alaska Heart Run, one of Alaska’s biggest footraces, will feature more elbow room, less elevation gain and a new gathering point this year.

The 5-kilometer race will start and finish at UAA’s Alaska Airlines Center, not far from UAA’s Arts Building, which served as the start/finish area for decades.

The 37th annual race will follow familiar territory around the UAA and Alaska Pacific University campuses, said Nathaniel Grabman, the race marshal who designed the new course.

“It’s still the Heart Run. There’s still enough of it that’s basically the same,” Grabman said. “If someone hasn’t run the Heart Run in 10 or 15 years and they showed up, they wouldn’t recognize the start but once they got going, they’d be ‘I know this. I know where it goes next.’ ’’...

Beth Bragg

With medals on the line, Sadie Bjornsen and Erik Bjornsen, Alaska Pacific University’s talented sister-brother duo, figured in a pair of fantastic finishes in a national championship ski race Thursday in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Both went home with medals. Sadie claimed bronze in the women’s 30-kilometer, mass-start freestyle race, and Erik captured silver in the men’s 50-K.

Erik, 23, was the fourth man across the finish line but earned the second-place medal because the top two finishers weren’t Americans. Only Americans are eligible to win medals at the U.S. cross-country championships.

Canada’s Ivan Babikov won the men’s race by 52 seconds in 1 hour, 57 minutes, 6.2 seconds.

The next four skiers were separated by 2.6 seconds...

Beth Bragg

In a show of force that resulted in gold and silver, skiers from Alaska Pacific University grabbed first place and second place in the national championship mixed relay race Tuesday at the SuperTour Finals in Sun Valley, Idaho.

APU dominated the day even with two of its top skiers out sick – Rosie Brennan and David Norris – and another, four-time Olympian Kikkan Randall, choosing to skip the year-end race series.

“It says a lot about the strength of our program,” said 2014 Olympian Sadie Bjornsen, a member of APU’s gold-medal relay team. “Even missing two of our top skiers, we were able to finish first and second. It’s so great, because we have so many talented skiers and everyone had such an exceptional race.”...

Beth Bragg

Credit Dimond's defense and up-tempo play for carrying the Lynx to the Class 4A girls state championship Saturday night at Sullivan Arena.

Credit West Valley's heart and guts for making the game thrilling.

The Lynx earned their first state title since 2006 by beating a decimated West Valley team 54-49, a victory that was clinched with two huge defensive plays in the final 45 seconds.

The Wolfpack played most of the game with seven players. They lost point guard Carlee Marques to a broken wrist Friday, and four minutes into Saturday's game they lost another starter, guard Amber Szmyd to a knee injury.

Though Szmyd gamely tried to return in the second half, she lasted all of 65 seconds, a stretch spent hobbling and biting her jersey in pain...

Beth Bragg

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