Kenai's Jed McGlasson tries to get a shot past Soldotna last December.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
For those who love cliches about success, Kenai Central senior Jed McGlasson is the man. He’s all about attaining goals, clearing hurdles and climbing mountains.
“He’s very goal-driven,” said Jed’s mom, Michelle McGlasson. “He’s a self starter. He has really high expectations of himself and the other people around him. He feeds that into the group of people he’s with. He’s a very positive person.”
In hockey, McGlasson’s hard work let him meet his goals. Specifically, he had 16 goals and 20 assists as a junior and 37 goals and 39 assists as a senior.
In track, dedication has allowed McGlasson to clear hurdles. He’s come from finishing sixth in the 300 hurdles at the Region III meet as a freshman to finishing third in the state last year in the 300 hurdles and setting a school record of 40.44 seconds in the process.
In Mount Marathon, McGlasson’s resolve led to ever-improving results in the junior race. He finished 11th in the steep race halfway up and down the legendary peak in the summer before his freshman year. McGlasson was sixth before his sophomore year, fifth before his junior year and second before his senior year, finishing 25 seconds behind Skyview senior Erick Romig.
McGlasson’s first passion has always been hockey. He started skating when he was 4 years old and started playing hockey when he was just 5. He always followed in the footsteps of his brother, John, a hockey and track standout who graduated from Kenai in 2005.
“He was probably the biggest influence on me,” Jed said of his brother. “As a player, he went through all the steps and he gave me a heads up so I knew what to expect. I learned a lot from him.”
Kenai Central coach Nate Kiel first coached McGlasson at age 8 or 9.
“He’s always been a forward, and he’s always been fast,” Kiel said.
After helping the Kenai Central varsity hockey team to state berths as a freshman and sophomore on the third line, McGlasson decided he wanted to earn a college hockey scholarship. At the beginning of his junior year, he went up to Anchorage to try out for the Alaska All-Stars Midget AAA team, which McGlasson said is the top Midget AAA team in the state.
“Going up there, I had a lot of confidence in my game,” McGlasson said. “When I got out there, there were 100 other kids on the ice, and here I am from Kenai. It was pretty intimidating.”
McGlasson survived the final cut to 16, meaning from August until the end of October he would live in Anchorage, attend South High and play at a high level of hockey with the All-Stars.
“Down here, it’s easy to be a big fish in a small pond,” Michelle McGlasson said. “Up there, it’s really easy to be a small fish in a big pond. That part he didn’t like. He likes going down the hallways, saying hello and seeing how everybody is doing. South is too big to do that.”
McGlasson said getting used to the fast-paced level of play with the All-Stars helped him during the high school season.
“Playing triple A hockey up there teaches you to move the puck quicker and support your teammates faster,” Kiel said. “Everything happens with a little quicker speed and he was able to adapt to that because he’s so athletic and quick.”
As a junior, he had 36 points to tie Owen Dukowitz for the team lead as the Kardinals were upset in the semifinals of the North Star Conference tournament by Colony to come up short of state. McGlasson was named to the all-conference first team.
After that loss, the team made winning conference this year a goal. Kenai’s top line of McGlasson, Dukowitz and Brad Fusaro helped the team to a perfect regular season conference record and a conference tournament title. Overall, Kenai was 15-0 in the NSC, the first time in school history the Kardinals had a perfect conference record.
McGlasson said he and Dukowitz have played together every year since they were 5 years old.
“We just know where each other is going to be the entire time,” McGlasson said. “He’s easy to play with and he’s somebody I like to play with. We’re also very good friends off the ice.”
McGlasson said he started playing with Fusaro sophomore year. McGlasson, Dukowitz and Fusaro each had over 50 points, with McGlasson collecting seven hat tricks.
“The best one was against East when I scored two short-handed goals on the same power play,” McGlasson said. “I don’t think I’ll ever do that again.”
At state, Kenai finished in fourth place, another best for the school. McGlasson again was named first team all-conference. He also was named to the state all-tournament team. With wins over Service, Chugiak, Bartlett and East in McGlasson’s junior or senior years, Kiel said the Kardinals had a level of success against Anchorage schools not seen since the late 1980s or early 1990s.
McGlasson said one reason he has kept improving every season in hockey is because he has become a faster and faster skater. McGlasson said he does in-line skating once every two days in the offseason and also hikes and bikes. He has become an increasingly avid weight lifter, lifting nearly every day during his senior year. McGlasson also credits track for making him a better hockey player.
“Every year I’m getting faster on the ice and faster on the track,” McGlasson said. “I like the track workouts. They keep my body guessing. It helps my muscles out a lot.”
Kenai track coach Tim Sandahl said, many times, it takes a special attitude to succeed in track.
“You can get frustrated, especially as a freshman but even as a sophomore, because you are not winning,” Sandahl said. “You’re not as gigantic as the juniors and seniors you are competing against.”
After not making it to state as a freshman in the 300 hurdles, McGlasson finished third at the region meet to qualify for state in the 300 hurdles as a sophomore.
“He’s like a poster child for a hard worker,” Sandahl said. “He comes to practice every day to learn to do his best. His hurdling technique, if it’s not the best in the state, it has to be No. 2. That comes from coming to practice every day and not letting his size get him down (early in his career).
“Now he’s just a ripped guy. He’s a developed man now.”
McGlasson won the region title in the 300 hurdles last season as well as running a leg on the region championship 1,600-meter relay team. That 1,600 relay finished second in state. This year, McGlasson would like to win state in both the 300 hurdles and the 1,600 relay.
Sandahl said he can see the influence of parents Michelle and Rick and brother, John, and sister, Amber, in Jed.
“They’re an awesome family,” Sandahl said. “All the kids have a very strong work ethic and the parents are unbelievably helpful. They’re there at every meet timing and helping out.
“Jed’s always willing to help out, too. He’s not the high school kid who’s too cool for everyone.”
Ken Felchle, a teacher at Kenai Middle School who has coached McGlasson, agrees.
“Jed’s one of those kids we are going to be talking about to many kids down the line,” Felchle said. “He’s just that quality of an individual. It starts with his mom and dad and just goes on down the line.
“He’s made a lasting impression in the classroom and he’s made a lasting impression as an athlete.”
Another family tradition has been Mount Marathon. Each member of the family has done the race at some point.
“It’s just a great thing to do on the Fourth of July,” Michelle said. “It’s challenging to run the mountain and Seward’s a great community to be in on the Fourth of July.”
McGlasson also does well in the classroom, where he has a 3.6 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society. His interests are business, math and investing.
After graduating, McGlasson wants to try and play in the Junior A British Columbia Hockey League. Last season, 75 players from the BCHL committed to play for a college. McGlasson said the league gives him a good shot at getting the Division I scholarship he covets.
“I believe I can as long as I work hard,” he said. “Hopefully, my work ethic will pay off.”
Last summer McGlasson played at the USA National Developmental Camp for 17-year-olds. Kiel said that, arguably, this puts McGlasson in the top 240 players in the country at his age level.
“I think he’s capable of doing that,” Kiel said of earning a Division I scholarship. “He’s right up there with the elite players at his age level.”
After all, it’s just another goal to attain, hurdle to clear or mountain to climb for McGlasson.
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