Bush strikes gold at Arctic Winter Games

Southeast snowshoers claim four ulus for Team Alaska during Tuesday's races

Posted: Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Megan Bush became the first Southeast Alaska individual athlete to win a gold ulu in the 2004 Arctic Winter Games when she won the 5-kilometer cross-country snowshoe race Tuesday at Birchwood Trails in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Bush, a freshman at Juneau-Douglas High School, won the junior female race in 26 minutes, 52.32 seconds. The six Team Alaska snowshoe athletes - who are all from Southeast Alaska, as are the two coaches - combined to win four ulus in Tuesday's 5K races, but Bush had the only gold.

Tuesday's results give the Team Alaska snowshoe contingent nine total ulus so far in the 2004 Arctic Winter Games. The group won four ulus - no golds - in Monday's combined event, which features a 100-meter sprint, a 400-meter run and a 1,500-meter race, with the winner's being determined by the points they earned in each race. Team Alaska then went on to win the gold ulu in the 4x400-meter mixed relay late on Monday.

Bush's teammate, JDHS sophomore Carly Craig, claimed the silver ulu Tuesday in 27:43.57, while Alanna Carlos of Team Yukon, who took the gold in the combined event, won the bronze ulu in 28:04.06. Christine Hansen of Haines finished in fourth place with a time of 28:42.18 and just missed out on giving Team Alaska a sweep of the ulus.

In the 5K junior male snowshoe race, Team Yukon's Rodney Hulstein won the gold ulu in 21:25.21 for his second gold. But the three Team Alaska athletes - all from Juneau - claimed the next three spots. Tristan Knutson-Lombardo, a JDHS junior, took second place in 21:42.08, while JDHS sophomore Wesley Dinnan was third in 22:16.61 and Wesley's twin brother Tyler Dinnan was fourth in 22:20.09.

In Monday's snowshoe events at Snye Park, which were delayed being posted on the Arctic Winter Games Web site, Carlos and Hulstein both posted perfect scores of 3,000 points to win the combined titles for their divisions.

Bush took second place to Carlos in the junior female division with 2,867 points, followed by Hansen in third with 2,830 and Craig in fourth place with 2,730 points. Knutson-Lombardo finished second to Hulstein in the junior male division with 2,893 points, while Wesley Dinnan was third with 2,803 and Tyler Dinnan took ninth place with 2,505.

In the 4x400 mixed relay, Team Alaska posted a time of 6:03.02 to win the gold ulu but the results didn't list which four athletes were on the relay team. Alberta North took second place in 6:32.13 and Northwest Territories was third in 7:07.42.

In the junior male volleyball competition, Team Alaska remained undefeated at 3-0 in the round-robin portion of the tournament after sweeping Greenland 25-18, 25-23, 25-13 at Keyano College on Tuesday. Seven of the nine Team Alaska players are from Juneau, as is coach Phil McMurray.

"Frankly, I think the Greenland boys are much better than the score indicates," McMurray wrote in an e-mail message. "For whatever reason, they had a bad passing day against us."

Team Alaska won two matches on Monday, then played in Tuesday's early match, and McMurray said he wondered how the team would respond. He said they played well, and the only letdown came in the second game when Team Alaska missed six serves and fell behind by eight points.

McMurray said the two non-Juneau athletes on the team - Dwight Amaktoolik of Golovin and Jason Hemphill of North Pole, who won his second match MVP award - played big roles in leading Team Alaska to the victory. He also gave kudos to replacement middle hitter/blocker Brett Rielly, who fills in for Adam Peterson and for his older brother Collin Rielly, and McMurray said Dmitriy Stepanov made some spectacular digs while Rob Hickok has played well at setter. The other Juneau players on the team are Bryan Diebels and Evan Thibodeau.

The Team Alaska junior male volleyball team is off today, then takes on Northwest Territories and Alberta North on Thursday. Those two teams were undefeated in pool play before their match Tuesday night, which was won 25-12, 25-14, 25-19 by Alberta North, the 2002 gold ulu winner.

In other events featuring Southeast Alaska athletes on Tuesday:

• Team Alaska remained undefeated at 3-0 in junior female division volleyball with a 25-11, 25-8, 25-12 sweep over Greenland on Tuesday. Julie Heard of Juneau is on the team, but no stats were available for the match. The junior female team also is off today.

• In table tennis action, Juneau's Ryan Hart and Eric Pak combined to post a 1-4 record in round-robin play during the junior male doubles competition on Tuesday. Hart and Pak also paired up with non-Juneau residents for the junior mixed doubles competition and the Team Alaska 1 pairing went 1-3 while the Team Alaska 2 pairing was 0-5 in round-robin play. The results did not identify the pairings.

• Monica Daugherty of Juneau scored twice to lead Team Alaska to a 5-0 victory over Nunavut in round-robin play in the junior female indoor soccer division. Team Alaska, which also features Jessy Post of Juneau, is a perfect 3-0 in pool play and has outscored its opponents 13-1.

• In intermediate female indoor soccer, Team Alaska improved to 3-0 with a 3-0 victory over Team Yukon on Tuesday. Juneau's Laura Flynn and Greta Thibodeau are on the team, but didn't score on Tuesday.

• In juvenile female indoor soccer play, Team Alaska played to a scoreless tie with Nunavut to fall to 2-0-1 in round-robin play. Team Alaska features Juneau's Lindsey Kato, Margaret Sekona and Kayla Walton among its players and the coach is Gary Lehnhart of Juneau.

• The Team Alaska junior male indoor soccer team won its first game on Tuesday, beating Alberta North 6-3 to improve to 1-3 in round-robin play. Matthew Walton is the only Juneau resident on the junior male team.

• The juvenile male indoor soccer team from Team Alaska remained winless on the tournament after a 4-1 loss to Northwest Territories. Juneau's Colin Flynn and Nils Domke are both on the team.

• Results were unofficial, but it appeared Team Alaska's junior male basketball team lost its first game on Tuesday, falling to Northwest Territories. The results listed a provisional score of 65-59, but no details were available on the game. Team Alaska is coached by Arne Erickson of Hoonah and Sitka's Keith Stedman is a member of the team.

• And results weren't posted from the junior female gymnastics team event competitions scheduled for Tuesday. Two of the four Team Alaska gymnasts are from Juneau - Paige Pahlke and Alexandria Wagoner - and the team is coached by Juneau's Beth Landvatter.

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