The Native Youth Olympic team representing the Kenaitze Indian Tribe IRA participated in the state Junior Native Youth Olympics in January in Anchorage, marking the first time the tribe has had a junior team at the event.
The squad, directed by head coach Amber Glenzel, the cultural heritage director and tribal archaeologist with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, adopted the nickname Ggugguyni, which means Raven in the Dena'ina language.
The team certainly had plenty of success at its first state competition. Gabe Holley was first in the stick pull and second in the seal hop among first- and second-graders.
Raini Phelps, competing with third- and fourth-graders, was fourth in the wrist carry.
In the fifth and sixth grade category, Sharon Alexie was first in the Alaskan high kick, fourth in the one-foot high kick and earned the All-Around Female Athlete Award for the games.
Also in the fifth and sixth grade category, Shannon Alexie was second in the scissor broad jump, while Edward Van Velzer was third in the one-foot high kick and third in the Alaskan high kick. Raymond Batt and Mathew Leach also competed in the games.
Students from Ninilchik School also competed at the games and worked closely with the Kenaitze team, staging a minicompetition prior to the state event. At the state event, Ninilchik School's Brianna Coins was first in the scissor broad jump, second in the Alaskan high kick and third in the one-foot high kick. Lindsey Rohr was fourth in the scissor broad jump and fifth in the one-foot high kick.
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