Wesley Brooks of Juneau pulled away from the field to claim a 20-second victory in the junior male 5-kilometer snowshoe cross country event Tuesday in the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
Brooks covered the 5K course at McIntyre Recreation Center in 22 minutes, 44 seconds to finish 20 seconds ahead of Jesse Stringer, who is also from Juneau. Stringer had to sprint, as his time of 23:04 was only three seconds better than that of Brian Horton of Yukon Territory and four seconds better than that of a third Team Alaska member, Sheamus Lamb.
The gold and silver ulus won by Brooks and Stringer were the first ulus won by Team Alaska athletes from Southeast, and they helped Team Alaska take a commanding lead in the overall ulu standings. In the snowshoe competition for the Arctic Winter Games, the athletes have to build their own snowshoes using natural materials, usually from kits. They can't use commercially produced metal and plastic snowshoes.
Alaska had 10 gold, 18 silver and 19 bronze ulus for 47 total through early this morning, while Northwest Territories was second with 34 total ulus and Yukon Territory was next with 27. Nunavik-Quebec had six total ulus, followed by Nunavut and Alberta North with five, Greenland with four and the Russian provinces of Magadan and Chukotka with two apiece.
The Arctic Winter Games, which opened Sunday and concludes on Saturday, brings together young athletes from across the northern regions of the world in a week-long fellowship and competition. The event takes place every two years, with the 1996 games held in Chugiak-Eagle River and the 1998 games in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The 2002 games will be hosted by Nuuk, Greenland.
Several other athletes from Southeast Alaska were competing in the Arctic Winter Games this week, but their events had yet to produce ulus.
Taryn Kellogg of Ketchikan has been Team Alaska's leading scorer in the junior girls basketball competition, and Kendri Cesar of Juneau is also on the team which has posted a 2-1 record so far in round-robin play. The Team Alaska junior boys team, which is also 2-1, is coached by Arne Erickson of Hoonah and features Jarrett Brown of Hoonah, Ozell Jamestown of Angoon and David Jones of Juneau.
Lucas Knowles and Robert Lossett, both of Juneau, are members of the junior male indoor soccer team for Team Alaska, which is currently sporting a 3-0 record in round-robin play. Patrick Sullivan of Juneau is on the juvenile male team, which is 2-0-1, while Alida Bus of Juneau is on the juvenile female team which is 0-2.
Brittany Rohm of Auke Bay is on the junior female alpine ski team, while Cory Anderson of Douglas and Nick Yankee of Juneau are both on the junior male squad.
Jeffrey Johns on Juneau serves as an alpine ski team coach for Team Alaska, and Kristi West of Douglas is a sport coordinator for indoor soccer and also is a member of Team Alaska's mission staff.