Sports

Donovan Jackson, 12, of Juneau competes in the one-foot high kick during the 2022 Traditional Games on April 2, 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)

Record number of participants expected for seventh annual Traditional Games

Teams from Alaska, Canada and Lower 48 to compete in 12 Indigenous skills events starting Friday.

Donovan Jackson, 12, of Juneau competes in the one-foot high kick during the 2022 Traditional Games on April 2, 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
Alwen Carrillo, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, signs a letter of intent on Monday to play college basketball at Edmond College in Lynnwood, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Annie Lazo-Chappell)

Alwen Carrillo signs letter of intent to play basketball for Edmond College

All-state JDHS guard averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 assists during senior season.

Alwen Carrillo, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, signs a letter of intent on Monday to play college basketball at Edmond College in Lynnwood, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Annie Lazo-Chappell)
Juneau’s PJ Foy, shown winning the 2023 100 yard butterfly in 48.27 for Thunder Mountain High School during the ASAA state championships at the Dimond Park Aquatics Center on Nov. 4, 2023, qualified for the 2024 June Olympic Team Trials by swimming a 100 long course meters butterfly in a personal best 53.44 on March 16, 2024, at the Speedo Sectionals in Federal Way, Washington. (Klas Stolpe for the Juneau Empire)

Foy ‘flies’ through 100 meters to qualify for Olympic Swim Trials

“To do what nobody else can do, I need to do what nobody else will do”

Juneau’s PJ Foy, shown winning the 2023 100 yard butterfly in 48.27 for Thunder Mountain High School during the ASAA state championships at the Dimond Park Aquatics Center on Nov. 4, 2023, qualified for the 2024 June Olympic Team Trials by swimming a 100 long course meters butterfly in a personal best 53.44 on March 16, 2024, at the Speedo Sectionals in Federal Way, Washington. (Klas Stolpe for the Juneau Empire)
A male rusty blackbird in breeding dress. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: A hungry goshawk and some early spring observations

Every late afternoon, a bunch of mallards is in the habit of coming to snack on fallen birdseed that accumulates on my ice-covered pond. And… Continue reading

A male rusty blackbird in breeding dress. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
Peter Delamere poses in front of a sign in Rainy Pass in the Alaska Range during the 2024 Iditarod Trail Invitational race. On his face is a “nose-hat” invented by Fairbanks athlete Shalane Frost. (Photo by Peter Delamere)

Alaska Science Forum: Long winter bike ride aided by naps

If you could have read that frost-covered fat-biker’s mind as he rolled toward McGrath, Alaska, “as if Velcroed to the snow,” you might have suspected… Continue reading

Peter Delamere poses in front of a sign in Rainy Pass in the Alaska Range during the 2024 Iditarod Trail Invitational race. On his face is a “nose-hat” invented by Fairbanks athlete Shalane Frost. (Photo by Peter Delamere)
Compromise isn’t always possible, but when it is Alaskans benefit greatly when posturing is replaced with good-faith negotiations that yield results that help Alaskans. (Photo by Jeff Lund)

I Went to the Woods: The future of fish

The Forest Service cabin was a sauna so I went outside, stood at the edge of the lake and listened. We had hauled in some… Continue reading

Compromise isn’t always possible, but when it is Alaskans benefit greatly when posturing is replaced with good-faith negotiations that yield results that help Alaskans. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
Thunder Mountain High School coach John Blasco, shown in action at the state tournament opening game against West Valley last week, was selected the 2024 4A Boys Coach of the Year by the Alaska Basketball Coaches Association. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Blasco, Young and Brock selected respective divisional state coaches of the year

Thunder Mountain, Mt. Edgecumbe, Petersburg coaches note the award is about the kids, communities.

Thunder Mountain High School coach John Blasco, shown in action at the state tournament opening game against West Valley last week, was selected the 2024 4A Boys Coach of the Year by the Alaska Basketball Coaches Association. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Angoon’s Levi Johnson Jr. takes a shot under the basket against Hydaburg during the B Bracket championship of the 75th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Saturday at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Hoonah takes two titles, Angoon and POW one each in 75th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament

Longtime participants say little has changed over decades as huge crowds from communities show up.

Angoon’s Levi Johnson Jr. takes a shot under the basket against Hydaburg during the B Bracket championship of the 75th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Saturday at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A robin feeds on insects along the shore of Mendenhall Lake. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)

On the Trails: Robins come, and it’s springtime

Spring comes, quite reliably, but sometimes reluctantly, by fits and starts. Every year we go through a process of counting the increasing hours of daylight,… Continue reading

A robin feeds on insects along the shore of Mendenhall Lake. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
The Thunder Mountain Falcons boys basketball team poses with their runner-up trophy after falling to East Anchorage 60-34 in the title game of the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championship game on Saturday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain boys fall to East 60-34 in state title game

Falcons’ historic final season ends after surprising run at championship, but journey will continue.

The Thunder Mountain Falcons boys basketball team poses with their runner-up trophy after falling to East Anchorage 60-34 in the title game of the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championship game on Saturday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain High School senior Jenna Dobson (5) defends Mountain City senior Morgan Maldonado during the Falcons’ 52-37 loss to the Lions in the 3rd/5th-place game of the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Saturday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School girls end historic final season at state tournament

Falcons battle, but fall 52-37 in third-place game loss to Mountain City.

Thunder Mountain High School senior Jenna Dobson (5) defends Mountain City senior Morgan Maldonado during the Falcons’ 52-37 loss to the Lions in the 3rd/5th-place game of the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Saturday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain High School junior Cailynn Baxter (23) powers a shot against Colony junior Tonya Karpow, freshman Jericho Wuestenberg and junior Alycia Shelley during the Falcons 69-35 semifinal loss to the Knights at the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Friday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Fourth-ranked Thunder Mountain girls fall to top-ranked Colony in state semifinals

Coach Lee says Falcons “built for competition, have earned the right to play tomorrow.”

Thunder Mountain High School junior Cailynn Baxter (23) powers a shot against Colony junior Tonya Karpow, freshman Jericho Wuestenberg and junior Alycia Shelley during the Falcons 69-35 semifinal loss to the Knights at the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Friday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain celebrates their 48-45 overtime win against the Service Cougars in a semifinal at the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships on Friday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. The Falcons will play East Anchorage for the state championship Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain boys defeat Service, will play top-ranked East Anchorage for state title Saturday

Sixth-ranked Falcons score second upset of tournament, defeating second-ranked Cougars 48-45 in OT.

Thunder Mountain celebrates their 48-45 overtime win against the Service Cougars in a semifinal at the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships on Friday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. The Falcons will play East Anchorage for the state championship Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
A boreal owl perches in a spruce tree not far from a nest box from which he has been singing each night in March 2024. (Photo by Ned Rozell)

Alaska Science Forum: Boreal owls perform by daylight

On these March nights, a male boreal owl has been singing from a wooden owl box near our home. The late biologist Dave Klein attached… Continue reading

A boreal owl perches in a spruce tree not far from a nest box from which he has been singing each night in March 2024. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Thunder Mountain senior Jaya Carandang defends Dimond senior Maile Wilcox (5) during the Falcons 58-47 win over the Lynx in the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain girls open state tournament with 58-47 win over Dimond

Falcons earn season rematch against top-ranked Colony in Friday semifinals

Thunder Mountain senior Jaya Carandang defends Dimond senior Maile Wilcox (5) during the Falcons 58-47 win over the Lynx in the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain senior Samuel Lockhart (14) passes to senior Kasen Ludeman (13) under pressure from West Valley senior Sawyer Petersen (24) during the Falcons 53-51 overtime win against the Wolfpack in the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

TMHS boys rally from 11 down in 4th quarter, open state tournament with OT win against West Valley

No. 6 Falcons top No. 3 Wolfpack, next face second-ranked Service Cougars in Friday’s semifinal.

Thunder Mountain senior Samuel Lockhart (14) passes to senior Kasen Ludeman (13) under pressure from West Valley senior Sawyer Petersen (24) during the Falcons 53-51 overtime win against the Wolfpack in the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears and Thunder Mountain Falcons cheer teams pose with their champion and runner-up trophies on Tuesday at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas wins fourth state cheer title in a row

Thunder Mountain Falcons earn highest finish with second

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears and Thunder Mountain Falcons cheer teams pose with their champion and runner-up trophies on Tuesday at the 2024 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cheer State Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Klas Stolpe, For the Juneau Empire)
A palm cockatoo, which among males is known for its loud drumming behavior. (JJ Harrison/CC BY-SA 3.0)

On the Trails: Drummers on land and in water

In an orchestra, drums are a central feature of the percussion section, in which sounds are made by an object striking another one, creating aerial… Continue reading

A palm cockatoo, which among males is known for its loud drumming behavior. (JJ Harrison/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Metlakatla’s Drena Hayward (#15) passes the ball to a teammate in their opening game against Yakutat during the 75th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Sunday morning at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

75th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament opens with all harboring hopes for week ahead

Winners and losers not reading too much into opening games with some teammates still to arrive.

Metlakatla’s Drena Hayward (#15) passes the ball to a teammate in their opening game against Yakutat during the 75th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Sunday morning at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons Region V champion girls basketball team pose for a photo during practice at the Thunderdome on Friday. The Falcons begin state tournament play Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain girls basketball team ready for back-to-back state tournament play

No. 4 Falcons begin school’s final chase for a title against No. 5 Dimond High School on Wednesday.

The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons Region V champion girls basketball team pose for a photo during practice at the Thunderdome on Friday. The Falcons begin state tournament play Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)