Travel in Alaska
Travel can be a nightmare – specially for athletes who live in Alaska and have trips to such isolated places as Kodiak and Barrow.
The horror stories are many, but they have become a way of life, where the ups and downs of Mother Nature are constant companions.
Galen Brantley, who has won four state titles in six years as football coach at Soldotna (Alaska), told USA Today High School Sports, “A couple years ago we took a boat (ferry) ride to Kodiak and there were 29-foot waves. We had 60 kids and everyone was sound asleep. I was the only lunatic (who was awake) and I was bouncing off the walls.
“Last year at Kodiak we sat in the ferry for six hours (in the harbor waiting to leave) because there were 100 mile-per-hour winds around the point.”
Earlier this fall, the Stars had to leave on Thursday to play Thunder Mountain on Friday in Juneau. They drove three hours to Anchorage, stayed overnight, and slept on the floor at a local high school. Friday they took a plane to Juneau, but the pilot did not hit the runway properly and ended up in Sitka to refuel the plane. They finally made it back to Juneau and played that same night.
Sandi Wagner, who serves as Juneau athletic director for Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain, pointed out that travel for all teams at her two schools last year cost $900,000. That is in addition to free air miles earned from earlier trips.
“We fund-raise close to $2 million a year,” she revealed. “We’re most proud of our Chore Busters. Our kids work with no set pay and people pay what they think it’s worth.”
The longest trip is normally an 18-hour ferry ride to Ketchikan, but it can take up to 23 hours according to where it has to stop.
“Our kids miss a lot of school,” she admitted. “Every team is required to have mandatory study time. The most unique aspect is that our coaches coach 24/7. You get on a ferry and you are responsible. If they are sick, or have boyfriend problems, etc., you are there to take care of it.”
Her favorite “horror story” was an in-state volleyball tournament trip that due to inclement weather wound up stretching over 3,500 miles, including a stop in Seattle, Wash.
“Keep it light and make the best of it,” she laughed.
Two long win streaks end
Briar Woods (Ashburn, Va.) was handed its first football loss in 33 games on Friday when it bowed to North Stafford (Stafford, Va.) 19-7 … Tri-County Academy (Flora, Miss.) had its 31-game winning streak broken by Leake Academy (Madden, Miss.) by a 17-7 margin.
MORE: Last week’s milestones
Bailie Key stars in Japan
Rising star Bailie Key, a freshman from Montgomery, Texas, won all-around gold during the International Junior Gymnastics Competition in Yokohama, Japan. She captured every event – which included vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.
Five sets of soccer sisters
The Forest Lake (Minn.) girls soccer program has a great nucleus with five sets of sisters.
On the varsity team is senior Emma and junior Meghan Matthiesen, senior Savannah and sophomore Kassity Swanson and senior Lara and sophomore Abby Steinhoff. The JV team is bolstered by Josie and Jenny Thill, alongside Karley and Lindsay Boleen.
Havenner gets kick from football
Junior Brittany Havenner is a talented soccer player who also puts her feet to work in football each weekend for South Paulding (Douglasville, Ga.). So far this year she has kicked 18 of 19 PAT attempts and a pair of field goals – from 35 and 29 yards. As a sophomore she kicked 21 of 24 PATs and two field goals and was named homecoming princess.
CBA stretches win streak to 326
Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, N.J.) stretched its boys cross country national-record winning streak to an incredible 326 straight victories on Wednesday. The Colts are the unanimous No. 1 team in the country and have not lost a dual meet since 1973.
St. Benedict’s gets huge win
Ranked No. 1 in the country in boys soccer, St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) handed the nation’s No. 1 prep school, The Hill School (Pottstown, Pa.), a 1-0 loss on Wednesday in a tense battle of unbeatens. Victor Villagomez scored the lone goal for the Gray Bees, who have forged a 39-0 margin over eight foes this year and have won a state-record 62 consecutive games.