Sports

‘You can always go further mentally than you can physically’: Wrist carry champions test their resolve at the Native Youth Olympics

Ethan Jenkins had already gone through the physical punishment.

On Thursday at the Native Youth Olympics, Jenkins put his resolve to the test.

Jenkins won the wrist carry event, going nearly three times around the 180-foot loop at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage to win the event with 535 feet, 3 3/4 inches.

The competition, Jenkins said, is more of a mental challenge than a physical one. It’s the practice that can be a grind on the body.

“Mentally, it’s really hard,” he said. “You just have to keep pushing yourself. You can always go further mentally than you can physically. But training, physically, is really tough.”

The competition involves two carriers who hold a stick horizontally. The athlete locks in at the wrist and goes as long as he or she can hold out. The wrist carry has traditionally been a test of strength and endurance for hunters.

A junior from Dillingham, Jenkins said the energy of the live crowd helped him extend his distance. The last two years of the NYO have not been in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s really nice to be in person here with everyone watching,” he said. “It just gets really hype and the adrenaline is great. It feels really good.”

Jenkins distance was over 115 feet farther than his closest competitor, Nick Luois Amora of Unalaska.

St. Michael’s Sadi Elachik won the girls event at 359 feet and 1/4 inch. For the senior, it was her first and only trip to NYO and she teamed with Dillingham’s David Wetter and Kael Erickson from Unalakleet. Elachik teamed up with the far-flung group of carriers who had never run the wrist carry together.

“I just try to forget about it and keep going,” Elachik said.

The secret weapon of the wrist carry competition may have been Wetter, who was a carrier on both winning teams.

“Statistically now, I’m a pretty good carrier,” Wetter joked.

He teamed with Thomas Tinker on the boys winning team with Jenkins. The trio had been together in Dillingham since before the pandemic.

“We’ve been carrying together for a little over two years now, and I think this year the practice really paid off,” Tinker said.

Native Youth Olympics

at Alaska Airlines Center

Wrist Carry

Boys

Ethan Jenkins, Dillingham, 535′ 3 3/4‘’

Nick Louis Amora, Unalaska, 418′ 1 1/4″

Myles Campbell, Mat-Su A, 396′ 3 1/2‘’

Senen Torino, BBSD, 382′ 2 1/4‘’

Tristan Feezel, Mat-Su B, 359′ 5′'

Girls

Sadie Elachik, BSSD, 359′ 1/4‘’

McRae Mills, Mat-Su A, 287′ 3 1/4‘’

Joy Walker, Knik Tribal, 286′ 3 3/4‘’

Crystal Moses, LKSD, 177′ 1 3/4‘’

Caelyn Carter, Mat-Su B, 165′ 3′'

Alaskan High Kick

Boys

Colton Paul, MEHS, 90′'

Deshawn Campbell, Mat-Su A, 86′'

Ezra Elisoff, Juneau A, 84′' 0m

Jordan Lewis, LKSD, 82′' 1m

Kyle Abbott, Juneau B, 82′' 3m

Girls

Eden Hopson, Anchorage A, 70′'

Kyra John, LKSD, 68′' 0m

Leila Kell, Chickaloon, 68′' 2m

Isabelle Savo, Dillingham, 66′' 2m

Ashlen Malchoff, Homer, 64′' 0m

Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.

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