The year in sports: Top stories from the Snoqualmie Valley
December 26, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
Vince Lombardi was wrong.
Winning isn’t everything and it isn’t the only thing. Sometimes, a run across an already-christened finish line makes just as great a story.
Athletes of all ages aimed for the podium this year. Some made it, some didn’t, but their efforts made them all worthy of the community’s support throughout 2012.
The high school’s football team did not win state, but they thrilled crowds Friday after autumn Friday. Swimmer Alexandria Havas finished second at the Special Olympics’ state meet, but that silver medal looks tiny compared to the odds she beat earlier in life.
To them, and those who did make it to the top — Bradly Stevens with a javelin, grade-schooler Mark Marum on the wrestling mat — goes this tip of the cap.
Football reaches state semifinals
For the first time, the Mount Si High School Wildcats reached the semifinals of the state 3A competition, losing to Bellevue at the Tacoma Dome, 37-7.
“We are not going to hang our heads,” head coach Charlie Kinnune said. “We’ll enjoy the year we had, the best team in school history.”
The team posted an all-time best record of 11-2, both losses coming against the Wolverines. Wildcat players earned conference accolades like Lineman of the Year (Griffin McLain), Offensive Player of the Year and Punt Returner of the Year (Trent Riley) and Special Teams Player of the Year in UW-bound Cameron Van Winkle.
The conference’s 3A Coach of the Year Kinnune led a team that posted scores that bordered on the absurd, winning its regular season matches by a combined score of 350-77. Even with the loss to Bellevue in Tacoma, the combined score for the playoffs was 149-70.
Falls Dodgers win first championship
Posting an 18-1 record, the Falls Dodgers Little League team majors division won the Snoqualmie Valley tournament this summer, the first-ever crown for the Dodgers’ majors team.
“When you get to the highest level of Little League, it’s very competitive,” manager Bob Bostwick said. “Some of them are among the best baseball players in the Valley.”
The team gathered 11- and 12-year-olds from Fall City and Snoqualmie. On the last game, they came back from 7-6 down to win 8-7 in extra innings.
The children celebrated with a trip to an indoor skydiving place in Tukwila.
“They had a lot of games, and every time they were on the brink of losing, they would come back,” outfielder Will Niemela’s mom Monica said. “A great group of boys, great coaches, great parents — it was the best season ever.”
North Bend’s Max Brown plays for New Zealand in baseball classic
Former Mount Si High School Wildcat centerfielder Max Brown made the provisional roster of New Zealand’s national team.
The Diamondbacks, as the team is known, competed in the World Baseball Classic qualifier against Chinese Taipei, Thailand and the Philippines. They lost to Chinese Taipei, 10-0, and then defeated the Philippines, 10-6, and Thailand, 12-2. In the finals, they lost to Chinese Taipei, 9-0. New Zealand was the group’s only unranked team.
Brown had one run batted in and scored two runs against a Thai team that featured major-leaguer Johnny Damon playing first base. Against the Philippines, “a team loaded with minor-leaguers,” according to the WBC website, Brown went 2-for-5 with one run scored.
Brown, who plays for Bellevue College, was a starter with the 2011 Mount Si team that won the 3A state championship.
Lacrosse team makes playoffs
After winning a total of two games in its first two seasons, the Mount Si Lacrosse team won 10 of 13 and played the first playoff game in its history May 12.
Mount Si lost the game, 7-3, to Richland’s Three Rivers Coyotes at Mount Si High School’s stadium. The Coyotes scored four times in the first quarter and had a 6-1 lead at halftime.
Still, the future looks bright for the rising Wildcats.
“Things are looking great for next year,” head coach Woodroe Kiser said after the match. “All but three players are returning and we had a strong JV season this year. The players will be fired up this year, ready to roll.”
Four Wildcat players earned all-conference honors: Andrew Bottemiller, Matt Mahrer, Cameron Pike and Tyler Smith.
“We’re still growing. This is our first year,” the Wildcats’ Sal Francisco said. “We’ll take it next year.”
Track and field meet reappears after 23 years
Aided by a day of sunshine, the Mount Si High School Track and Field team welcomed back the school’s invitational meet in April.
The meet had last occurred in 1989. The school’s deteriorating track made it impossible to keep it going.
“We were having money issues back in the 1980s and the district just didn’t have the money to maintain the track and upgrading it,” girls’ head track coach David Clifford said.
The upgrade came in 2005, turning the track into what Clifford termed “the envy of the KingCo league.”
Reviving the meet took a few years, since the track has no lights or covered stands.
“This year, we said, ‘The heck with it, we are going to figure out a way to get stands out here and we’re going to have it during the day,’” Clifford said.
In the 2012 meet, the Wildcat girls tied for first and the boys finished fourth.
Bradly Stevens wins state javelin crown
Then-junior Bradly Stevens hurled a javelin 205 feet, 10 inches at the 3A state track and field meet in Tacoma.
Stevens not only earned the top spot in his school’s record books for the javelin, he earned first place at the tournament.
“It feels like a dream come true,” Stevens said.
He’s the first member of his family to win state, but the third to hold the school record for the sport. His father Jim graduated as the record holder in 1985. Bradly’s older brother Kyle became the top thrower in 2009.
Kyle held the record until Bradly broke it in April, before the state meet. Then, at state, Bradly broke it again, with Kyle watching and cheering.
“I hope he sets it high enough so that no one can break it,” Kyle said. “Not until my kid goes to Mount Si.”
Kicker plays for Team USA
Mount Si High School kicker-punter Van Winkle was selected to the U.S. national U-19 football team that played in the world championships in July.
The U.S. finished second, losing to Team Canada, 23-17, in Austin, Texas.
“We’re so pleased that someone from our program gets to mix with international players,” Mount Si head coach Charlie Kinnune said. “Plus, he’s experiencing life on the University of Texas campus and getting to play in a first-class facility. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Kinnune said Bothell High School coach Tom Bainter — a former Team USA coach — recommended Van Winkle for the team. Van Winkle had set a state record in 2011 with 18 field goals for Mount Si.
Youth wrestler wins national championship
Nine-year-old Mark Marum won first place in freestyle wrestling at nationals this summer, wrestling for the Snoqualmie Valley Wrestling Club.
“It was really cool,” he said of the tournament in Orem, Utah. “You get to be in a really big stadium and have a really big crowd watching you. It was really amazing to get my hand raised.”
For Marum, wrestling is not just a fun sport — it’s a family affair. His sister videotapes his matches and his dad coaches.
“It’s 10 months a year, three times a week and we wouldn’t change a thing,” Mark’s mom Ellen said.
Besides Marum, 8-year-old Benton Grisso won the Outstanding Bantam Wrestler award at regionals in Pocatello, Idaho. Seven-year-old Kyan Zimmerman and 6-year-old Isaiah McClure also qualified for regionals. Zimmerman and McClure won matches at regionals despite being among the youngest wrestlers there.
Hydroplane driver finishes fourth at Seafair race
North Bend’s Brian Perkins did not win, but he triumphed.
He competed at Seafair’s hydroplane race in July, triumphing over tight finances that had limited his season to two races. He finished the race, better than he did in 2011 when his propeller fell off. He finished fourth, far besting his performance in the other race of the season, where he did not make the finals.
“It was better than we were hoping,” he said. “We had a boat that ran pretty well but not as well as we would have liked, so the fourth overall was kind of above our expectations.”
His top Seafair finish was third in 2010. At 27, he anticipated a long career in the sport.
“It wouldn’t be a devastating thing if I didn’t race boats anymore, but it certainly would be something that I would like to do as long as I can,” he said.
Swimmer takes second place at Special Olympics state meet
Mount Si High School’s Alexandria Havas, who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a toddler, finished second in the Special Olympics’ state swimming competition in Federal Way in June.
“It was incredible,” Alexandria’s mom Franchesca said. “To see her just dive in and just go, go, go, and to then see three lengths between her and the next person, it was like, ‘Oh my god.’”
Swimming helped Alexandria not just win medals but strengthen her muscles and recover her balance after the accident.
She learned to read four years ago, plays two musical instruments, has a driving permit, has played golf, tennis and soccer and no longer throws the tantrums that had her mother fearing the worst for Alexandria’s future.
“I just knew that one day, I would have a normal child,” Franchesca said. “That she was in there and she was going to come out at some point. Just had to be patient.”
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.