Juneau-Douglas High School junior Chris Hinkley's athletic life is divided into two major parts - football season and ski season.
Hinkley received a prestigious football award during the middle of his alpine season on Tuesday, as he was named Gatorade Alaska Football Player of the Year.
The Crimson Bears' quarterback has had little time to relish his gridiron accomplishments. One week after JDHS beat Palmer 49-29 on Oct. 22 in Anchorage for the first state title in school history, Hinkley flew to Lake Tahoe, Calif., to train at the Sugar Bowl Ski Academy.
"It's still hitting me now," Hinkley said from Lake Tahoe. "All the amazing stuff, I miss it everyday going to practice. It's kind of fun to remember and look back at all the good times we had. It's still unbelievable. We had a great time and I'm looking forward to next year."
With Hinkley under center, JDHS amassed a 10-1 record and shattered records in the process.
Hinkley rewrote nearly all of the school and state passing records by quarterbacking a wide-open offensive attack. The junior broke the single-season passing record, set in 1996 by Soldotna's Mark Wackler, with 2,289 yards. He also threw a state-record 37 touchdown passes with only eight interceptions.
Not that any of those numbers made any difference to Hinkley.
"Actually, I'm not too big of a statistics guy," Hinkley said. "After the season it's fun to go back and look, but the win-loss columns are all that matters to me. I've heard some of the stuff our defense especially did and it's amazing stuff. It shows what it takes to win a title."
While Hinkley exhibited smarts and nerve in the pocket for the Bears, he was also blessed with outstanding skill position players and a relentless offensive line.
Wide receiver Ryan Fagerstrom hauled in 49 passes, good for third on the state's all-time single season reception list.
"The whole line played amazing all year and obviously the weapons were pretty amazing," Hinkley said. "It was a blast dropping back, and I knew if I threw it up they were coming down with it."
In addition to the Gatorade honor, Hinkley was named first-team all-Railbelt Conference, All-State and received Alaska Offensive Player of the Year honors as selected by the state's coaches.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program selects a player in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. A national player of the year selected from that pool will be named in mid-December.
The criteria for the award included athletic accomplishment along with academic achievement and character. Hinkley has maintained a 3.95 grade point average this year.
"I can't think of anyone more deserving," JDHS head coach Bill Chalmers said. "He's everything you'd want in an athlete - coachable, intelligent and personable."
While football remains a significant part of his life, Hinkley is currently working on his skiing.
Hinkley said the Sugar Bowl Academy focuses on downhill alpine training and the students compete in races in California, Colorado and Wyoming. Athletes ski and train in the morning before going to class and studying in the afternoon and evening. Hinkley will stay in Lake Tahoe until March.
"I've just been doing it my whole life and love the sport," Hinkley said of skiing. "So I'm trying to take it to the next level possible. It's tough to decide between football and skiing but they balance."
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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