The statewide Native Youth Olympics tournament wrapped up Saturday after three days of competition.
Dillingham earned the rare distinction of winning both first place overall and the top sportsmanship award.
“His knuckles must be peeling! Ahh…”
The athletes mimic a hunter’s movement, with his fingers curled around a spear as he sneaks up on a seal.
Minutes before, it was the girls’ seal hop. The female athletes hop on their palms instead of knuckles, and the endurance event was the Dillingham Wolverines’ final win of the weekend.
“I went at least 127 feet, and I won,” said Britney Dray,a sophomore at Dillingham High School. “This is my second time winning Seal Hop for state.”
Dray hopped nine inches farther than last year, setting a new personal best. She and her other teammates who got to the podium earned their team a total of 41 points.
“I did think I was gonna win, but I was really nervous,” said Justin Dye, who placed first in the wrist carry. “I just had my hopes up and came in really confident.”
Dye was carried 644 ½ feet by seniors Martin Gardiner and Gabe Gomez – those two also carried eight grader Sadie Tuckwood to a first place victory in girl’s wrist carry.
Junior Jacinto George, a first-timer to NYO, won first in Indian Stick Pull.
Defending champion Sarah Schroeder took second in the Eskimo stick pull. Britney Dray and Sydney Dray also took third in the Alaskan High Kick and Kneel Jump, respectively, and John Bouker placed third in one-foot high kick. Katarina Mowrer took third in the one-hand reach.
On top of their impressive athletic performance, Dillingham was chosen for the third year in a row for the coveted team sportsmanship award. It’s a distinction voted on by other coaches and officials in the competition, and singles out a team for their kindness, work ethic, and willingness to help others.
It’s been 15 years since Dillingham won first place, and being picked for sportsmanship on top of that is a special triumph.
“Bringing both of them home at the same time, it’s never been done,” said assistant coach Serena Macarthur.
Head coach Karl Clark said he was on “cloud nine,” and gave much of the credit to his senior athletes.
“A lot of personal bests, that’s what we shot for this week, and you can see when we shoot for personal bests, what happens,” said Clark. “So I’m super, super proud today.”
Another impressive performance from the Bristol Bay region came from Rhemus Bavilla, a senior from Togiak who took second place in the Alaskan High Kick.
In second place overall was the team from Lower Kuskokwim School District. Unalaska took third in the overall competition, followed by the Mat-Su A team in fourth and the Anchorage A team in fifth.
For a complete list of 2016 results, visit the NYO website.