Anna Korsmo blocks a hit by Becky Jensen during a game with a town team before the Panthers headed off to tournament. Jeff Brady

Volleyball team nearly knocks off champs in first round
Lady Panthers must settle for 6th place at State


By JEFF BRADY
The SHS volleyball team lost to eventual champion New Stuyahok in the opening round of the 1A-2A-3A West State Volleyball Tournament, but rebounded with a win over Tri Valley to face region rival Klawock on the final day of the competition in Anchorage.
But instead of meeting each other in the championship like last year, the two Southeast rivals found themselves a match for fourth place. Skagway notched a win in its first game over Klawock, 25-20, but then lost three straight to the Chieftains, 19-25, 18-25, and 19-25.
Coach Cindy O’Daniel said the team just could not get on a roll after that first win.
In the first round, Skagway actually gave New Stuyahok its toughest match of the year, taking the Eagles to five games. Skagway lost the first two games, 15-25 and 20-25, but then stormed back with 25-11 and 25-18 wins to force a fifth game. The finale was close, but the Eagles prevailed 15-11.
Ironically, defending state champ Klawock was also knocked out in the first round, against Port Lions, meaning both SE teams would have to win the next day to remain alive. O’Daniel said that against Tri Valley, the team “really played together and looked good” en route to a sweep: 25-22, 25-18, 25-16.
Players of the game for Skagway in the team’s matches were Anna Korsmo, Kaylie O’Daniel and Jesse Ellis. The latter two girls also were named to the All Tournament team.
“They both had a great tournament,” said coach O’Daniel. “They played some of the best volleyball I’ve seen them play. I am very proud of how the team played. They really worked hard.”
New Stuyahok swept Port Lions in the championship game. For complete state tourney results, go to: asaa.org/sports/volleyball and click on state tourney results.

Alumni games open hoop season

 With just a couple weeks of practice under their belts, the SHS basketball teams hit the court Monday night for the annual Alumni games. The Lady Panthers were out to avenge their only loss of the season last year, albeit it was an exhibition game that did not blemish their state title run. And the Panther men were set to do battle against a stout alumni team. The games were held after this issue’s deadline and scores and photos will be posted on the News website later this week.
The Lady Panthers will open their regular season with another trip to the Monroe Classic in Fairbanks Dec. 28-30, where they will face 3A and 4A competition. The boys will open at home Jan. 6-9, as both teams face Whitehorse competition during the Don Hather Tourney. Watch for results and photos on the SHS Basketball Page.

Registration open for 2011 Yukon River Quest

WHITEHORSE – Registrations are now being accepted for the 13th annual Yukon River Quest which will be held June 29 to July 3, 2011.
The 460-mile wilderness adventure paddling race is held on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Held during the last week of June, the YRQ is known as the “Race to the Midnight Sun”. Paddlers race round-the-clock, as the sky never gets dark. It is a true marathon with just two mandatory rest stops of 10 hours over the course of the entire event.
Registration for the 2011 race opened Nov. 1. Online entry forms are available via a link on the race website www.yukonriverquest.com. Registrations are processed through eventsonline.ca.
Deadline for entries is May 1, 2011, but teams are encouraged to register early due to the growing worldwide popularity of the event. There remains a limit of 100 canoe and kayak teams, which includes a limit of 30 solo canoe and kayak canoe teams. These solo teams should register immediately to reserve a spot. All boats must meet the specifications defined in the 2011 YRQ rules which are now posted on the website.
Entry fees were not increased this year. The fees remain $850 (CAD) for tandem canoes and kayaks, $475 for solo canoes and kayaks, and $250 per person for voyageur canoe teams of six or more paddlers. Team biographies will be posted on the race website after the captain registers a team and all paddler information is received.
The 2011 race purse is unchanged with a maximum of $36,500 (CAD) and is broken down in the race rules. To keep the race operating within its budget, the prize money will be adjusted down on a percentage basis if a full roster of 100 teams is not registered by the May 1 deadline. As of Dec. 20, there were 46 teams registered.
A nine-person Skagway voyageur canoe team is in the process of forming, said captain Jeff Brady. And the Skagway Alpine Club canoe is available for a tandem team that wants to register. For more information contact Brady at 973-2354.
There are overall cash prizes for each class – tandem canoe, tandem kayak, solos, and voyageur canoes – as well as prizes for the top three in each division. There also are $500 cash prizes for the top all-Yukon canoe and kayak teams, and the top First Nations team. Several special awards are also donated by Yukon sponsors. A complete prize breakdown can be found in the race rules on the website.
The start location for the Yukon River Quest will be at Rotary Peace Park, where the race will begin at 12 noon in the grass by the gazebo with the historic SS Klondike looming in the background. Paddlers will have about a 100-meter run to their boats.
The Yukon River Quest remains a popular paddling event, even in tough economic times. After registrations reached record levels in 2008, they dropped somewhat in 2009 but increased slightly to 78 teams in 2010. Despite rainy weather and a record number of scratches over the first day, 54 teams were able to finish the event. The voyageur team Texans defended their title in a time of 42 hours, 48 minutes, followed seconds later by California solo kayaker Carter Johnson, who set a new solo record in the event. The only other record broken last year was in solo canoe. Gaetan Plourde of Ontario finished 11th overall with a time of 52:35. The rain and a windy Lake Laberge resulted in slower times for most teams. The course record still belongs to Canadian voyageur Team Kisseynew’s winning time of 39:32:43 in 2008.
Teams now must finish the YRQ in 55 hours to receive prize money, but many do the race for the personal satisfaction of staking their claim to a coveted finisher pin in historic Dawson City. Aside from two mandatory layovers at Carmacks (7 hours) and Kirkman Creek (3 hours), teams paddle non-stop to reach the “City of Gold”. Last year, paddlers from nine countries signed up for the event. It is supported by more than 125 volunteers.
The Yukon River Quest is the premier paddling event in Canada’s North and is widely recognized throughout the paddling world. It has been featured on NBC-TV, the BBC and CBC, in numerous paddling and adventure magazines and websites around the world, and in the National Film Board of Canada’s critically acclaimed “River of Life”. The 2010 race was also the subject of a lengthy page one sports feature in the Toronto Globe and Mail, which is available through a link on the race website.
For more information, view the pre-registration instructions, rules, and numerous paddler preparation links at www.yukonriverquest.com.
The race is organized by the Yukon River Marathon Paddling Association, based in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Major logo-level sponsors in 2010 were the Whitehorse Star, Yukon Emergency Measures Organization – Whitehorse, Faro and Carmacks SAR, Kanoe People-Clipper Canoes, Air North, yukoninfo.com, Pepsi–Aquafina, Norcan – Klondike Motors, Klondike Visitors Association, Up North Adventures – Spirit of the North, Yukon Brewing, and Gold Trail Jewellers. Many small businesses also support the race by sponsoring paddler bibs – see details on the website.