By Shannon Reid
For the Homer News
In addition to playing scheduled games at the Jack Gist Park every evening Monday-Thursday, three Homer Softball Association teams — Kharacters/Cups, Spenard Builders Supply and Beluga Lake Lodge — are preparing to compete in the statewide Kenai Firecracker Tournament in Kenai this Saturday and Sunday.
Eighteen-year old Pedro Ochoa, a 2014 Homer High School graduate who was on the school’s cross country and track team, ran to first place in Saturday’s “10K to the Bay” Homer Spit Run. Ochoa finished in a time of 0:36:18.13.
Claiming first place for the women was Molly Mitchell, a Homer High junior who also ran on the school’s cross country and track team. Mitchell crossed the finish line in 0:40:51.14.
Cheers of encouragement and taunting can be heard coming from the Jack Gist Park softball fields every evening, Monday-Thursday, while Homer Softball Association teams compete in friendly rival games.
Scheduled games start at 6:30 and 8 p.m. and offer fun competition for both skilled and amateur athletes.
It’s Olympic gold for Myrna Kuchenoff of Homer. Kuchenoff was one of two swimmers representing Alaska at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.
Kuchenoff earned the gold with a first-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle. Her teammate, Elizabeth Broeckel-Berryman of Anchorage won silver in the 25-yard backstroke.
Kuchenoff also scored an impressive personal best in the butterfly.
Replace golf clubs with flying discs, golf holes with raised metal baskets and the result is known as disc golf, Frisbee golf or the combined hybrid word “frolf.” Some use the disc golf course at the Jack Gist Park as training for competitions, others as an excuse to get outdoors.
Edan Badajos, competitive disc golfer and board member of Jack Gist Recreation Park Association, has coordinated field trips for Fireweed Academy and Chapman Elementary School, and said kids often return with their parents to play.
Runners and walkers in this year’s “10K to the Bay” Homer Spit Run will not only enjoy the scenic 10K course that begins at Homer High School and continues the length of the Homer Spit, they also will benefit from the event’s new automatic timing technology, as well as other added conveniences.
Celebrating clean water, healthy salmon and healthy people, 67 runners and bikers from Anchorage to Soldotna to Homer turned out June 14 for the first Mouth to Mouth Wild Run & Ride.
Participants ran, fat biked or mountain biked 10 miles from the mouth of the Kenai River to the mouth of the Kasilof River along the beach at low tide. The event was sponsored by local nonprofits Cook Inletkeeper, Kenai Watershed Forum and Tsalteshi Trails Association and proceeds went to supporting clean water and healthy salmon in the Cook Inlet Watershed.
As the bustle of Homer’s summer activities arrives, the Homer Softball Association also winds up. The skilled and the amateur, the young and the young at heart all make up the eight different teams in the Homer Softball Association. Athletes 18 years and older gather at Jack Gist Park Monday-Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to play ball.
It’s a family event, according to Homer Softball Association Commissioner Jessica Marx, and many of the supporting spectators include kids and dogs.
The deadline for advance registration of the June 28 certified 10K to the Bay Spit Run is Friday for both online and mail-in. Advance registration is $30. On-site registration is $40 and will be available from 8:30-9:30 a.m. the day of the race. Runners age 9 and younger are free. T-shirts are available to the first 225 registrants in order to encourage early registration. The race begins at Homer High School at 10 a.m. and ends at the end of the Spit.
First-time Relay for Life of Homer event chairs Michelle Drake and Michelle Geagel definitely got their feet wet over the weekend. So did the other 185 registered relayers and weekend add-ons, thanks to heavy, wind-driven rain on Friday.
That’s didn’t dampen Homer’s support of the event, which benefits the American Cancer Society, however.
The fundraising goal was $60,000 “and we raised a total of $65,600 and something,” said Drake. Donations will continue to be accepted through August.
Summer or winter, the city of Homer Parks and Recreation offers plenty of ways to stay active. If there’s an interest in a specific activity that isn’t on the schedule, Mike Illg, the program coordinator, will do what he can to make it available.
“I always tell people the recreation program is organic,” said Illg, whose office is located at Homer High School and carefully builds the program around the school district’s calendar.
The annual Homer Spit Run, a certified 10K race, will be June 28. The race begins at Homer High School and ends at the end of the Spit. Race sign-in will be from 8:30-9:30 a.m. The race begins at 10 a.m.
Entry fee is $30 online or by snailmail. Race day entry fee is $40. There is no fee for runners 9 and under. Proceeds support youth running programs.
Online registration is at kachemakbayrunningclub.org. For more information or to volunteer, cally Billy Steyer at 399-1078.
Not only is Alaska represented at the Special Olympic USA Games held in New Jersey June 14-21, Homer also has a toe in the water, so to speak, with swimmer Myrna Kuchenoff and the Alaska swim team’s coach Ruhiyyih Baker.
“I’m really proud of Myrna. Swimming has been her passion for many, many years,” said Carol Shuler, Homer community director for Special Olympics-Alaska. “She’s really dedicated herself to it and we are very pleased she was chosen to represent us at the national games.”
Kicking off the summer with a promising start, the Soccer Association of Homer is seeing consistent development with increased game competition opportunities, participation and volunteer help.
For the first time, traveling U-13 and U-15 Kenai teams have committed to traveling to Homer every other week starting this month. Homer will travel to Kenai on opposite weeks, creating weekly game experience for the U-13 and U-15 teams. U-13 players are under the age of 13; U-15 players are under the age of 15.
Seventh-five people crossed the starting line of the 5k Homer Special Olympic Torch Run on Saturday, one part of the statewide 2014 Alaska Law Enforcement Torch Run and Pledge Drive.
John Hendricksen was Homer’s torchbearer, assisted by Homer Police Officer Charles Worland.
The event raised more than $8,000 in donations and merchandise for the event, with Eddie Escalera single -handedly bringing in cash and prizes worth $3,659.77.
Yes, the shorebirds showed up. So did lots of visitors for the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival. And there was plenty of sunshine.
Small wonder, then, that more than 170 runners signed up for the 17th annual Migration Run, a USATF-certified 5k event that begins near the Fishing Hole and ends at the base of the Spit.
Paddlers and boaters from around Kachemak Bay, the Kenai Peninsula and the state are invited to an inauguration of the Kachemak Bay Water Trail. Two ceremonies are planned for June 6:
• Noon-2 p.m.: Seldovia ribbon-cutting;
• 5-8 p.m.: Homer ribbon-cutting.
The celebrations include food, fun and water activities.
About 20 people showed up Sunday to try out the sport of curling at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena, part of Kevin Bell Appreciation Day events. A Homer Curling Club is being formed, with appeals to buy a set of curling stones, about $5,000 for 16 used stones. Curling involves sliding stones toward a painted circle. “It’s like darts, but with 46-pound pieces of granite,” said Joel Vos, one of the organizers. To donate or for more information on the club, call Ted Otis at 399-7339.
The Divas, Homer’s women’s hockey league, took three teams to participate in the Fools on Ice state hockey tournament in Anchorage. Twenty teams from around the state participated including teams from Homer, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak and Palmer. The Diva teams represented Homer in three divisions: novice, intermediate, and advanced.
The Kevin Bell Arena is ending the season this weekend with a bash, including the Annual Ash Cup Tournament Friday thru Sunday with participants from Anchorage and the Peninsula, a team from one of the nearby Russian communities and a couple of local teams. Also, Kevin Bell Day is Sunday with fun activities for different groups and the public to attend. This will include an hour dedicated to curling.