Little League in full swing for young Skagway athletes

Logan Weber gets caught in a rundown play in a Little League game; Meagan Cotton perfects her swing in T-ball; Kara Whitehead scoops up an infield hit during a "Coach Pitch" game between the Cubs and Angels. Jeff Brady

Field Notes

Watch out for the youth movement

There are two recurring themes in this year's season; win big or go home, and never underestimate teenagers.
The Skagway Panthers softball team got their first win Monday night playing against the Red Onion (RO) on the Panthers’ home field. The RO knocked the High School team out of the playoffs last year said school coach Bruce Weber.
It would be easy to underestimate them. Before Monday, the league hadn’t really seen them play this year. The team was recruiting substitutes left and right in the first three games. Five of the boys were on a post-graduation trip to Mexico, and six of the girls were at basketball camp in Anchorage. The fourth game win sent shivers down the spines of the competition; the kids are all right. Competition Tanner Hanson admitted they had “textbook defense.”
Weber said that is what he was shooting for. From the start, he just wanted the teams to play fair and by the book. His coaching has been about teaching them the ins and outs of the game.
A modest Thomas Etue said, “A win is a win.” But the game was a battle. The RO was winning nine to one when the Panthers rallied in the fifth inning and went on to win the game eleven to ten. Lachlan Dennis hit an infield park home run that he described as “a pretty sweet hit.” At the top of the seventh inning, with the RO at bat and a player on first and third, David Fischer stepped up to the plate. He is the RO’s big hitter. Quinn Weber pitched a strike and Weber yelled “Roll em’”. Steve walked to first. With the bases loaded the RO was unable to get an RBI and the Panthers held on to their slight lead to win the game.
As for winning big, the win-loss point differential this year seems higher than in the past. Five games have had more than a 20-point difference and five teams more than 10 runs. The defensive Hambones have played the only shut out so far. B&S Plumbing’s offensive hit 5 home runs in the last game.
It would seem that there are just really good teams, and poor teams, but that isn’t exactly the case. The new DAT team won by 27 points in their first game, but lost by one run last Monday. As has been said for years, third place is still up for grabs.
Heard on the field – “I heard that Wade hit it to the fence, but could only make it to first base.”
– Ani Drozdowska

10th annual Yukon River Quest to feature record 90 teams, 240 paddlers
Team 79: Skagway fisherman, reporter paddling to Dawson

The final race roster is set for the 10th annual Yukon River Quest, which will begin on Wednesday, June 25 in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. This year’s field will feature a record 91 teams with 240 paddlers from all over the world.
The Yukon River Quest is the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world. Except for two mandatory rest stops totaling 10 hours, paddlers race non-stop over the 742 kilometers (460 miles) to Dawson City. Held annually in the north during the last week of June (around the summer solstice), it is a true “Race to the Midnight Sun” and recognized as one of the toughest adventure marathon events in the world.
Teams will compete for a record $31,000 in prize money in various categories, but many do the race for the personal satisfaction of staking their claim to a coveted finisher pin.
The YRQ has grown in popularity since its gold rush centennial beginnings a decade ago, and race organizers are celebrating their accomplishments with some anniversary mementos this year.
“For this year’s 10th anniversary race, we are doing some special things for racers with boat decals, shirts and our finisher pins,” said Jeff Brady, president of the Yukon River Marathon Paddlers Association. “We also have a new merchandising agreement with Whitehorse General Store which has brought in a huge amount of race wear and memorabilia for race fans. It’s now available at the Main Street store, and a race store will be traveling to our checkpoints at Carmacks and Dawson. An online YRQ store will be up on our website soon.”
At one point in the spring, the YRQ field was ”full” with 100 teams, but some teams withdrew before a June 1 deadline. Still, it’s a record field this year featuring paddlers from a dozen countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Japan, Latvia, South Africa, and the United States of America.
The 2008 YRQ will have competition in all categories:
Solo kayak - 18 men, 3 women
Solo canoe - 3 men (open class)
Tandem kayak - 14 men, 2 women, 5 mixed
Tandem canoe - 15 men, 5 women, 10 mixed
Voyageur canoe - 15 (open class)
A record number of the big voyageurs are back including the Texans who won last year, a Canadian team led by Tim Hodgson of Whitehorse and Martin Bernadin of Saskatoon (using Kissynew boat that came in 2nd last year), teams from New York and Prince Rupert, BC that were in the top 10 in 2007, as well as many other returning teams like Paddlers Abreast from Whitehorse, Canadians Abreast and Team Whoa from Toronto, and Maine’s “Yahoos to the Yukon.” New this year are a First Nations women's team from Teslin, a Juneau-Skagway team from Alaska, and teams from Quesnel, BC, Yukon-Ontario, Saskatchewan, and England.
The Juneau Skagway team, Kookas Kanootts #79, is captained by veteran Juneau racers Dave Sevdy and Eric Nelson, and includes Skagway charter boat captain Mike Hardy and Skagway News reporter Molly Dischner. Hardy, 56, has some river and race experience in Texas, while Dischner, 18, has raced dragon boats for five years in the Portland area. A couple of other Skagway racers dropped out in recent days due to work and family issues.
There are plenty of fast teams in other categories that could challenge race records, including the course record of 40 hours, 37 minutes. The first teams should arrive at the finish line in Dawson on Friday afternoon, June 27. Teams will continue arriving until early Sunday morning.
Returning class champions include Steve Mooney and Ingrid Wilcox of Whitehorse in solo kayak, Norbert Wolverine and Lionel Campbell of Sask. and Pat McKenna and Elizabeth Bosely of Whitehorse in tandem canoe. Several new and returning teams should make the mixed canoe and all tandem kayak classes competitive this year.
Included among the canoe field are two men who have been in all 10 races, Tony Arcand of Whitehorse, and Larry Seethaler of Anchorage, Alaska. Complete team bios are online at www.yukonriverquest.com and will appear in a special Whitehorse Star race supplement on June 23.
In addition to the Star, major logo sponsors of the event are: Canadian Rangers, Yukon Emergency Measures Organization – Whitehorse, Faro and Carmacks SAR, the HMCS Whitehorse, Kanoe People – Clipper Canoes, Air North, yukoninfo.com, Northland Beverages, Norcan – Klondike Motors, Up North Adventures – Spirit of the North, and the Klondike Visitors Association – Diamond Tooth Gerties.
The backbone of the Yukon River Quest is its crew of more than 100 volunteers and support crews.
“Volunteers do everything from selling bib sponsorships to driving safety boats and staying up late hours to check boats and assist paddlers,” Brady said. “As the event has grown, so has the volunteer support. We are grateful to all our volunteers and sponsors. Without this kind of support from all the communities along the river, the Yukon River Quest would not be where it is today after just 10 years; one of the world’s great paddling races.”

Editor’s Note: Because of our participation in this race, the News deadlines for the June 26 issue (a day early) are being moved up to June 20.

KCIBR will cruise over summer solstice

The 16th annual Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay will take off on the morning of Saturday, June 21.

A complete list of teams was not yet posted on the www.kcibr.org website by the News deadline, but several Skagway teams should be in the line-up of an estimated 1,000 riders on about 225 teams, said the race organization.

The race features solo, 2-person, 4-person, and 8-person teams racing the eight stages from Haines Junction, Yukon to Fort Seward in Haines, Alaska, a distance of 148 miles. Racers start at an elevation of 2,000 feet and climb to the 3,500 summit at checkpoint 5. Bikers over the final three stages descend to almost sea level in Haines.

Writer Kelly Roberts will be on the trail of the bike racers for the News this year, so look for her on the road.