Three Yukon athletes were in Juneau, Alaska, for the Native Youth Olympics 2019 Traditional Games Championship on March 16 and 17 at Thunder Mountain High School.
The Native Youth Olympics are an Alaskan competition featuring the type of events commonly associated with Arctic sports in the Yukon, including scissor broad jump, kneel jump, wrist carry, one-foot high kick, Dene stick pull, Inuit stick pull, two-foot high kick, one-hand reach, Alaska high kick and seal hop.
The Juneau event is a regional competition held in the lead up to the state-wide Native Youth Olympics to be held in Anchorage, Alaska, near the end of April and included 12 teams from Alaskan schools, teams from Whitehorse and Northern Arizona University, and individual athletes from four more Alaskan communities.
Team Yukon, composed of Kate Koepke, Emily King and Kuduat Shorty-Henyu, won the overall team award for small teams — those with less than five team members — and both Koepke and King won first all-around in their respective middle school and high school age groups.
Koepke finished first in kneel jump, one-foot high kick, wrist carry, Dene stick pull, two-foot high kick, one-hand reach, Alaskan high kick and seal hop, as well as finishing second in scissor broad jump and third in Inuit stick pull.
King won scissor broad jump, knee jump, one-foot high kick, two-foot high kick and seal hop, finished second in one-hand reach and fifth in wrist carry.
Shorty-Henyu finished fourth in the open men division seal hop.
Coach Sarah Walz said the championship, which is still a relatively new event in Juneau, was a success for the Yukoners.
“Overall it went really well,” said Walz. “I think everyone was pleased with how they did and will hopefully go back again next year.”
While next year’s competition is a year away, the state championships are approaching much faster and Walz said she hopes Koepke and King will join a larger group of athletes for the competition in Anchorage.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com
Small team overall standings
1 Whitehorse 82 points
2 University of Alaska Southeast 40 points
3 Ketchikan 24 points
High school girls overall
1 Emily King 30 points
2 Racquel Slim 19 points
3 Sara Steeves 16 points
Middle school girls overall
1 Kate Koepke 47 points
2 Sophielynda Agoney 15 points
2 Luella Tumulak 15 points