From left to right, Minta Schwartz, Matthew Quinto, Kyle Khaayák’w Worl, Ezra Elisoff, Leif Richards, Jordan Bennett, Lyric Ashenfelter, Sonny Mazon and Nathan Blake stand alongside City and Borough of Juneau Assembly members Monday night after being honored for their representation of Juneau for Team Alaska at the 2023 Arctic Winter Games. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

From left to right, Minta Schwartz, Matthew Quinto, Kyle Khaayák’w Worl, Ezra Elisoff, Leif Richards, Jordan Bennett, Lyric Ashenfelter, Sonny Mazon and Nathan Blake stand alongside City and Borough of Juneau Assembly members Monday night after being honored for their representation of Juneau for Team Alaska at the 2023 Arctic Winter Games. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Assembly honors Juneau Arctic Winter Games athletes

The athlete’s traveled to Alberta, Canada in February to represent Juneau on Team Alaska.

Nine Juneau athletes were honored by the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Monday evening for their representation of Juneau and their contribution to Team Alaska’s second-place finish at the 2023 Arctic Winter Games held in Alberta, Canada, in early February.

Mayor Beth Weldon invited the athletes to join her at the front of the Assembly Chambers to be recognized by the Assembly, city administration and residents attending the meeting online and in person.

The athletes recognized were Minta Schwartz, Matthew Quinto, Kyle Khaayák’w Worl, Ezra Elisoff, Leif Richards, Jordan Bennett, Lyric Ashenfelter, Sonny Mazon and Nathan Blake, all representing Juneau. The nine were among the 300 Alaska athletes, coaches and staff who traveled to the games where Team Alaska won 145 medals, 58 of which were gold medals.

Nathan Blake waits to shake hands with City and Borough of Juneau administration and Assembly members Monday night after being honored alongside other athletes for their representation of Juneau for Team Alaska at the 2023 Arctic Winter Games in February. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Nathan Blake waits to shake hands with City and Borough of Juneau administration and Assembly members Monday night after being honored alongside other athletes for their representation of Juneau for Team Alaska at the 2023 Arctic Winter Games in February. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Each athlete was asked by Weldon to share their favorite part of the games.

Blake, Mazon, Ashenfelter and Bennett said the people and the friends they made were their favorite parts.

Richards, Elisoff, Quinto, Schwartz and Worl agreed, with Worl adding he also enjoyed meeting the other athletes who competed.

“I also got to be a coach, so seeing my athletes compete was special as well,” he said.

Kyle Khaayák’w Worl, an athlete and coach for Team Alaska at the 2023 Arctic Winter Games in February, shakes hands with City and Borough of Juneau Deputy City Manager Robert Barr Monday night. Worl competed in Arctic Sports.

Kyle Khaayák’w Worl, an athlete and coach for Team Alaska at the 2023 Arctic Winter Games in February, shakes hands with City and Borough of Juneau Deputy City Manager Robert Barr Monday night. Worl competed in Arctic Sports.

The Arctic Winter Games, an international circumpolar sport competition for northern and arctic athletes, are typically held every two years, however, due to COVID-19, the competition had been on hold since 2018. The games feature both traditional Indigenous events and winter sports, both of which the Juneau athletes participated in. Alaska will host the 2024 Arctic Winter Games.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

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