Almost as Old as Iditarod, Annual Ski Invitational Returns to Koyuk, Along with the Mushers

Winter in Koyuk. Photo: KNOM file.

Coinciding with the mushers of Iditarod 2019 coming through town, Koyuk held its 42nd annual ski invitational last weekend, with Nome and several Bering Strait School District schools in attendance.

Before the front runners in the 1,000-mile sled dog race had reached the Norton Sound coastal community, high school boys and girls had already completed the biathlon and cross-country ski events. Dean Hawkins and Bruce Eakon were top competitors for Unalakleet, as Hawkins took first in cross country (total time: 26’05”) and second in biathlon (24’22”), while Eakon took second in cross country (26’39”) and first in biathlon (22’40”). Both are freshmen.

Placing third in both events was sophomore Noah Hobbs of Nome.

For the high school girls, the Wolfpack again was at the top of the standings. Margo Daniels (cross country: 27’46”, biathlon: 20’42”) and Lauryn Nanouk-Jones (XC: 37’08”, biathlon: 29’04”) of Unalakleet placed first and second in both events, respectively. Both athletes are also in ninth grade. Martha Butler of Savoonga took third place in the cross-country event (total time: 50’17”), and Kayla James of Gambell rounded out the top finishers for biathlon (37’22”).

Based on overall team awards for the seven participating high- and junior-high schools, Unalakleet was first, followed by Koyuk in second, and Nome in third. The participating schools included: Unalakleet, Nome, Stebbins, St. Michael, Koyuk, Savoonga, and Gambell.

Image at top: Winter in Koyuk. Photo: KNOM file.