Sports

2007: A year to remember

By AARON MANAGHAN

Sports editor

Winter wonders

Boys basketball: Ups, downs and turnarounds

For Central Kitsap, it was a transition year that saw the Cougars introduce some talented fresh faces to the mix, complementing some of the team’s established seniors. Ultimately, CK (7-12, 4-11) missed out on the postseason, but built the momentum for this season’s team that rounded out 2007 off to an 8-1 start behind guys like Brandon Durham, Cody Thurmond and Philip Thomas.

As for Olympic, the Trojans showed they had been building momentum during the previous two seasons in finishing 13-7 (9-5 in Olympic League play). While the Trojans improved significantly to give coach Tyson Whitfield his first winning season, the team got outed in the Oly League Tourney by Port Angeles. Whitfield was then forced to leave the team, however, returning home to Yakima for family reasons.

And then there’s Klahowya. The Eagles also surprised many by finishing 10-10 in the regular season. Two years ago, Klahowya was 0-20. While John Rarig and Kyle Spoon, two key contributers, graduated from the Eagles team that went to districts, it’s a core group of guys like Andre Moore, Caleb Leavitt, Chris Zumdieck and more who have the Eagles (5-3, 3-1) among the top Olympic League squads at this season’s winter break.

Girls basketball: Area’s hardwood heavy hitters

Central Kitsap County continued to prove its dominance on the girls basketball court in the 2006-07 season, with Central Kitsap advancing to state and Olympic nearly doing the same.

For the Trojans, an undefeated Oly League season and title was the result of seasons of hard work turning around a program that won just a single game two years ago. Led by players like Shannon White, Kelsey Anchors and Shawntell Bradford, the Trojans sparked a run that saw them advance to the 3A West Central-Southwest Bi-District Tournament.

CK shocked many with its advancement to the 4A state tournament. The Cougs struggled early in the year, starting out 2-7, but rebounded behind the likes of Dacotah Ettl, Kim Kummer, Melinda Pfaff and Amanda Evans, amongst others to finish 10-10 and return to state. And while the trip to state was short again, the season was certainly sweet for CK.

Wrestling: Mat men, woman dominated 2007

Central Kitsap County cemented itself back on the high school wrestling map with authority this year, with the Olympic Trojans leading the way with a new school record of 10 state participants, leading to a 10th-place finish. The Trojans also won the Olympic League crown.

At 103 pounds, Camie Yeik became just the third female wrestler in the state to medal at the boys state tournament, taking eighth. This year, she’ll be the final female wrestler competing with the boys following the year’s emergence of a separate girls state tournament.

She was joined on the podium by Mick Pollilo (eighth, 130), Billy Neary (seventh, 145), Laurice Gerig (fourth, 189) and top placer Kevin Siperek (second, 285).

Central Kitsap earned a podium spot as well, finishing sixth at 135. Karl Neumann was the Eagles’ lone placer, taking seventh at 140. All three schools won various regional, league and tournament titles throughout the season.

So far, all are off to a strong start again heading into 2008.

Boys swimming: Parker led the pack

Central Kitsap’s Seth Parker was the pool’s pack leader last winter, finishing second at state in the 100-yard breaststroke, fourth in the 100 freestyle and helping two CK relays get to the top state competition. His breast time was an all-American mark. Parker is off to a hot start again as 2007 closes, having already qualified for 2008’s state championships in several events.

The Trojans’ road ended at districts, led by 2006-07 Male Student Athlete of the Year Jace Caulkins.

Girls bowling: Rollers realized success

The Trojans were the Silverdale-area’s class on the lanes once more, finishing fifth in the state. While nearby Bremerton won the league crown and finished a spot ahead of Oly at both districts and state, the Trojans made it close. Late 2007 was more of the same, with Bremerton edging Oly for the early lead on this year’s league title. Led by Jessica Sutton, the Trojans are eyeing a return trip to state.

Klahowya’s Chelsea Schmittler advanced to state solo in 2007, hoping to get the Eagles back in 2008. And while Central Kitsap’s Cassie Ogle, the Cougs’ lone state participant, graduated, the Cougars too are looking solid at the break.

Tomahawks iced out of postseason

Last season wasn’t the kind of hockey season Tomahawks coach Josh Reis is accustomed to. The Tommies finished the 2006-2007 season with an overall record of 14-30, leaving them six points behind fourth-place Tri-Cities in the Northern Pacific Hockey League Pacific Division.

“In my 15 years as a hockey coach I’ve never had a losing season,” Reis explained. “I can’t remember the last time my teams weren’t playing hockey in February. It’s disappointing not to be playing right now. Our goal was to simply make the playoffs.”

The Tomahawks look to right the ship in 2008.

Springing ahead

Baseball: Diamond dandies

While Central Kitsap was, without a doubt, again at the top of the area pile up, compiling a 17-6 overall record and returning to state for the first time in 11 years, the Cougars were hardly the only team to make a splash last spring. While the trip to state didn’t last long, it was still a major accomplishment for the team’s seniors, who came close the past two seasons only to fall short, including David Stilley, the Wazzu-bound lefty who helped pitch CK ahead. CK’s Caleb Brown dominated from center field and first base, taking the Narrows League’s MVP award.

Klahowya raised the bar as well this season. The Eagles’ 10-12 record deceived many, since they played up against the likes of Olympic, Port Angeles and Peninsula in the Olympic League. Regardless, the team pushed on and found itself back in the state tournament’s regional round. And while the Eagles’ stay also was a short one, a youthful core should help the Eagles continue to rise this spring.

Olympic, too, made the playoffs, overcoming a third-place standing amongst the Oly League’s 3A schools to pound Port Angeles and advance to districts. The Trojans almost advanced to state, with two Mt. Rainier runs in the bottom of the seventh ending that dream. Oly also has some young promise who will come back with that much more experience in 2008.

On the honors side, Olympic coach Nate Andrews and Klahowya coach David Neet were named the Oly League’s Co-Coaches of the Year.

Softball: State runs once more

Silverdale was one Kitsap hotbed for softball action, with Central Kitsap, Klahowya and Olympic all experiencing varying degrees of success.

For CK, it was a return to state, the first time the Cougars had advanced since 2000. The accomplishment ended back-to-back years of district heartbreak. Pitcher Erika Quint was a huge part of that, pitching even while coping with the death of her father. She was named Narrows League Co-MVP. Coach Bruce Welling was the Narrows coach of the year.

Klahowya continued its close calls, coming within one game of state after nearly advancing in 2006. And while the Eagles fell short, they were still one of the top teams in the area. Indiana-bound Brittany Devitt wrapped up a sensational career.

For the Trojans, the season didn’t quite go as planned after entering as the 3A favorites in the Olympic League. And while Oly didn’t make it out of the league tournament, a strong returning core should help make the final push.

Boys soccer: Oh so close

Olympic finished a half-game back of the Olympic League title, getting knocked out a game shy of state with league MVP David Meherg and 17-goal-scorer Cody Clark at the helm.

Central Kitsap also enjoyed a strong year, but fell in a narrow shootout to come within a game of a district berth.

Girls tennis: Hello ‘Motos

Area tennis success was highlighted by one common name in 2007: Sugimoto. Central Kitsap sisters Aya and Sachi Sugimoto and unrelated Kathrine Sugimoto were at the forefront of a strong state tournament in 2007. Aya, a singles competitor, took sixth place overall, while Katherine and Sachi, a doubles duo, were out after two hard-fought matches. But another doubles squad, freshmen Corinne Wurden and Aimee Rozier, rallied within a match of a podium spot.

Track and field: Rucker reigns supreme

The 2007 track and field season can be summed up in two words: Sam Rucker. The Klahowya senior sprinted his way to two state crowns, winning the 2A 200- and 400-meter races. Rucker recently made his University of Washington debut.

But Rucker wasn’t alone. Klahowya’s boys took eighth at state, as Ben Dekock (fifth, javelin) and Sharon Cox (eighth, long jump) also placed.

For Central Kitsap, Sean Walker took seventh in the state in the 300 hurdles.

Golf: The few, the proud

Olympic’s Ruthie Parsons was among the only state competitors locally in golf, taking 75th place in the 3A girls tournament. At the 2A boys tournament, Klahowya’s Kyle Spoon advanced, finishing tied for 69th. Eagles Trisha Rarey was 80th at the girls tournament.

Lacrosse: Eagles advance

The Klahowya boys lacrosse team advanced back to the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Division II tournament before being outed in the first round.

Eagles Karl Neumann and Seth Hertenstein earned second team all-state honors, while Chris Hawk was an honorable mention.

Gymnastics: OGC strikes again

The Olympic Gymnastics Center’s Level 5 team repeated as the 2007 Washington State Team Champions at the level. Then-9-year-old MaryJane Thompson was the level’s all-around champion, while Tara Black took all-around title honors at the Level 7 regional. Mara Ong also competed at that level’s regional, winning the bar crown.

OC softball sees postseason return

The Olympic College Rangers returned to the postseason for the first time in two years with an 18-14 showing in league play. While the trip was short, the team has a deep class coming into 2008.

Summer sizzles

Student-Athletes of the Year

In addition to Caulkins, who competed at the district level in both swimming and boys tennis, Trojan Katelynn Shaw was named the Central Kitsap Reporter’s Female Student-Athlete of the Year. A setter in volleyball, Shaw finished as Olympic’s record holder in single-game assists, single-season assists and career assists. She had previously been a member of the softball and basketball teams as well.

Saints slump

After winning the NAFL2 title two ears ago, the West Sound Saints found the other end of the spectrum, going just 3-7 and missing the postseason altogether.

Baseball: Boys of summer

Area summer squads excelled in 2007, beginning with the Senior American Legion Post 68 Baron, which won its district pool before being ousted at state.

The Junior American Legion state tourney also was exciting, as the Olympic Tigers, which had finished behind Central Kitsap and River Ridge in the regular season, topped both by taking fourth place. CK was felled in a narrow 14-13 loss.

BlueJackets abuzz

The Kitsap BlueJackets, finishing the regular season 32-19 (24-18 in West Coast Collegiate Baseball League play), got ousted by the Corvallis (Ore.) Knights 2-1 in the best-of-three series, Kitsap’s first year in the playoffs.

And while seeing a season come to an end is never easy, coach Matt Acker said for this year’s group, it was particularly difficult.

“It was good games. We just lost it right at the end,” he said. “When they lost that last game, emotions were showing. The time they spent by the bus, talking. (Winning the title) was definitely something they wanted to achieve.”

Still, the BlueJackets continued to show improvement in the team’s third campaign, with outfielder Brandon Kuykendall winning co-MVP honors.

Hydros: Thunder on the water

Silverdale became a part of hydroplane history as 19-year-old Kayleigh Perkins became the first woman to win an Unlimited Lights Hydroplane Racing Association race, taking the Graham Trucking Cup at Silverdale Thunder in August.

“I just can’t believe I won,” Perkins said shortly after emerging from the waters of Dyes Inlet, where she landed thanks to a celebratory toss from friend Jeff Bernard.

Rodeos: Rocking and rolling once again

While the Thunderbird Benefit Rodeo and the Kitsap Fair & Stampede rodeo both went off without a hitch once again this summer, it was the accolades the events’ earned in the winter that showed just how strong rodeo is in Kitsap County.

In October, the Thunderbird Pro Benefit Rodeo was announced the 2007 Rodeo of the Year by the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association.

To follow that up, for the third straight year, the Kitsap Fair & Stampede Rodeo earned a nomination for the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Rodeo of the Year.

And for the third straight year, the Stampede came up just short, as Deadwood (S.D.) Days of ’76 roped in its fourth-straight crown in the medium rodeo division.

• This is part one of a two-part series looking back on Silverdale-area sports in 2007. Part two, covering the fall, will appear in Wednesday’s edition of the Central Kitsap Reporter.

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