Beth Bragg

Ever since the third grade, Jordan Tufaga and C.J. Parker have been close. Never this close though.

The two Dimond High seniors tied for first place in the boys 100-meter dash Saturday at the Cook Inlet Conference track and field championships, an occurrence so rare it’s believed to be the first first-place tie since automated timing replaced hand-held timing two decades ago.

“I thought he won it, and he thought I won it,” Tufaga said. “It was the perfect ending. I PR’d and I tied with my best friend.”

Both runners finished in 11.077 seconds...

Beth Bragg

In theory, the archery team from Thorne Bay will be the center of attention this week at an awards ceremony honoring a team of 21 Southeast Island School District students who turned in a stellar performance at the recent national championships.

In reality, a dinosaur and a turkey might steal the spotlight.

The kids from Thorne Bay finished sixth in a field of 103 teams and Taylee Nyquest won a national championship at the National Archery in the Schools (NASP) national tournament earlier this month in Louisville, Kentucky...

Beth Bragg
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Kinsey Laine of Fairbanks made her Gold Nugget Triathlon debut a memorable one Sunday, becoming the first racer from outside Anchorage to win Alaska’s biggest triathlon. Wearing a Lead Dog Triathlon uniform, Laine lived up to the moniker....

Beth Bragg

Kinsey Laine of Fairbanks made her Gold Nugget Triathlon debut a memorable one Sunday, becoming the first racer from outside Anchorage to win Alaska’s biggest triathlon.

Wearing a Lead Dog Triathlon uniform, Laine lived up to the moniker. She led the race nearly from beginning to end, grabbing the lead while running barefoot alongside her bike during the swim-to-bike transition.

Laine -- the assistant swim coach at UAF, where she swam competitively for four years and ran cross country for one season -- ended Amber Stull’s three-year reign by beating the defending champion by more than two minutes. Laine finished the 500-yard swim, 12-mile bike and 4.1-mile run in 1 hour, 7 minutes, 20.71 seconds...

Beth Bragg

The 16 miles that racers will complete Sunday in the Gold Nugget Triathlon represent an incredible journey for many of the girls and women in the race. Each year, the event inspires women to revamp their lives so they can participate -- some by shedding dozens of pounds, some by learning to swim, others by adding exercise to their daily routine for the first time in their lives.

Among those who have come the furthest to reach the starting line is 31-year-old Andraya LaFleur.

LaFleur is the triathlon’s first racer whose path to the Gold Nugget started at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, where she was a participant in the prison’s Running Free Alaska running program until her release in 2013...

Beth Bragg

Give an assist to the UAA volleyball team for the latest boon to the UAA women’s basketball team.

Rohyn Huss, a multi-sport star for Dimond High who previously signed on with the UAA volleyball team, will play basketball for the Seawolves instead.

The star of Dimond’s state championship team this year -- she scored 21 points in her team’s 54-49 title-game victory over West Valley -- the 6-foot Huss is one of two former Lynx joining the Seawolves.

The other is Keiahnna Engel, a 5-foot-7 guard who will play her final season at UAA after playing three seasons at Division I Boise State. A 2011 Dimond graduate, Engel was twice voted the Alaska Class 4A Player of the Year and was a Parade All-American in her senior year...

Beth Bragg

It was about 10 years ago that Wendy Leseman watched a video about a father and son who completed an Ironman Triathlon in mind-boggling fashion. Because cerebral palsy left his son unable to swim, bike and run on his own, the father attached a rope around his body to tow a boat carrying his son, rode on the front seat of a tandem bicycle and pushed his son in a wheelchair.

“I was just so blown away by it,” Leseman said.

The extraordinary achievement documented in the video inspired something that has become quite ordinary for Leseman and her 30-year-old daughter, Courtney Fleischman, who was born with Down Syndrome...

Beth Bragg

Najeeby Quinn joined Matt Shryock and his roommates for dinner Monday night, but the real feast came Tuesday.

Quinn and Shryock devoured the competition in the Turnagain Arm Trail Run, with Quinn topping the women’s field to claim her seventh victory and Shryock shattering the course record in his race debut.

“It hurt like it might be a record,” Shryock said after becoming the first person in race history to break the 50-minute barrier in the eight-mile trail run.

Racing in sunshine and 60-degree temperatures, Shryock made the trip from the Potter trailhead to the Rainbow trailhead in 49 minutes, 42 seconds.

That slashed more than two minutes off the Potter to Rainbow record set in 2003 by Eric Strabel, who skipped Tuesday’s race to nurse an injury...

Beth Bragg

The governing body of Alaska high school sports is adding a familiar face to its staff and welcoming back another employee after a long absence.

Sandi Wagner, who has worked as a coach, teacher and administrator in Southeast Alaska since 1984, mostly in Juneau, will join the Alaska School Activities Association as an associate director in August.

Around the same time, Isaiah Vreeman will return to his job as state championships director after a prolonged medical absence .

Vreeman is scheduled to return to Anchorage on Tuesday after spending more than four months in Seattle, where he was treated for a heart condition...

Beth Bragg

Keith and Lillian Lauwers came to Anchorage nearly 50 years ago when Keith became pastor at Sand Lake Baptist Church. Since then they’ve spent much of their time sitting down.

The couple responsible for one of Anchorage’s most athletic families, Keith and Lillian have sat through thousands of basketball games, soccer games, volleyball games, baseball games, football games, hockey games, track meets and cross-country races.

They raised four children, all of them active in sports. Their children all married and produced a dozen more children, all of them active in sports. Lots and lots of sports.

“I’ve had bleacher butt for a long time,” said Keith, 78...

Beth Bragg