Close to two dozen Juneauites are headed to Whitehorse this weekend for the Capital Cup.
The three-day tennis competition started in 1983, but the friendly tennis competition between the Yukon and Alaska capitals came to a halt in 2000. The event resumed in 2008, however, and has been going strong since then. The competition has been held in both Juneau and Whitehorse.
The Alaska capital holds an 11-7 record in overall cup titles, but Juneau is currently on a three-year losing streak. Whitehorse won 267 games to 193 games last year and 265 games to 246 games the year before.
Juneau tennis instructor Mona Mametsuka has played in the competitions since 2008. She’s hopeful that Juneau’s team this year — 22 players diverse in both age and skill level — will be able to snap the streak.
“This actually is going to be a record year, 22 (players) is the largest team we’ve ever taken,” Mametsuka said. “So that’s very exciting to see the interest growing and folks from Juneau wanting to go to Whitehorse to play in this great event.”
It’s a tradition for the mayors from Juneau and Whitehorse to place a bet on the outcome of the Cup.
“That typically is the losing mayor will have to wear something from the winning sister city, typically to an official city function,” Mametsuka said. “This year, (Whitehorse) mayor Dan Curtis will actually compete in the event. … He’s a great sport, he has such a blast and we love being out there with him.”
The event begins tonight at the Mount McIntyre Courts. Each team member typically plays four to seven matches, according to Mametsuka, with the last matches taking place on Sunday.
This year’s team is captained by Josie Bahnke, who organized several team practices to prepare for the competition.
Capital Cup Juneau Roster
Abby O’Brien, Adelie McMillan, Alan Fisher, Art Dee, Beatrice Franklin, Brian Vandor, Carmen Cintron, Chip McMillan, Dave Ottoson, Gale Good, Garold Larue, George Crowder, Greg Dostal, Josie Bahnke, Lauren Smoker, Mark Poplis, Mona Mametsuka, Nick Pongphai, Susan Haymes, Vini Lata, William Smoker and Wolf Dostal.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.