2013 Year in Sports: Lots to rejoice at Eastlake, Skyline
December 29, 2013
By Neil Pierson
New: Dec. 29, 12:52 p.m.
There may have been a few disappointments in 2013 for prep sports teams on the plateau, but the year wasn’t without a large number of impressive achievements.
Sure, the Skyline High School football and girls soccer teams came up short in their quests for a third straight state championship. The football team won the KingCo Crown Division title before losing its state playoff opener to Federal Way, while the soccer team also won a conference title before falling to rival Issaquah in the state quarterfinals.
Although only one local high-school team – the Eastlake boys golf squad – managed to hoist a first-place trophy at the state championships, there were several groups and individuals who could claim high levels of success during the past year.
Swimming: Kim keeps collecting the hardware
Graham was able to break a regional record previously held by Edward Kim, who kept swimming his way into Washington’s high-school record books.
At February’s 4A state meet in Federal Way, Kim added to his collection of championship medals. The Eastlake High junior won the 50-yard freestyle in 20.11 seconds – the second-fastest time in meet history – and was first in the 100 butterfly, giving him six individual titles in his prep career.
The Harvard-bound Kim, who already held several school records, broke Eastlake’s top mark in the 500 freestyle in December.
Diving: Spartans star Levy takes home top honors
Max Levy had finished second at the 4A state meet as a sophomore and as a junior. He wasn’t about to let his senior year end the same way.
The Skyline High star won the 1-meter diving championship in February, compiling 463.50 points to obliterate the competition. Runner-up Eric Klassen of Redmond was more than 50 points back.
Wrestling: EC’s Iwicki captures 120-pound title
Sammamish resident Matt Iwicki stole the show when plateau wrestlers converged on the Tacoma Dome for the Mat Classic XXV state championships in February.
Iwicki, a sophomore at Eastside Catholic School, won the Class 3A state title at 120 pounds, a year after finishing third at 113. It was Eastside Catholic’s first individual wrestling crown in 27 years.
At state, Iwicki was barely challenged. He beat Hazen’s Zack Moore with a 16-0 technical fall, advanced to the quarterfinals with an injury-default win, pinned Prairie’s Wil Treadwell, and blanked fellow finalist Kiegan Schauer of Mount Spokane, 5-0.
Softball: Eastlake girls climb ladder to regionals
The Eastlake Little League baseball team may have received more accolades, but the Eastlake softball all-stars also made plenty of noise.
Under the direction of manager Steve Pollis, the Eastlake girls stormed through its district and state brackets, picking up the state championship with an 8-0 record. They punched their ticket to the Western Regional tournament courtesy of a 9-8 victory over Mill Creek/South Everett on July 11.
At regionals in San Bernardino, Calif., the team finished pool play with a 3-1 record, beating teams from Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Eastlake bowed out in the semifinals with a 4-1 loss to Granada Hills, Calif.
Golf: Wang, Weiss guide Wolves to state title
After finishing second in 2011 and 2012 at the 4A state golf championships, the Eastlake Wolves knew 2013 might be their best chance to reach the mountaintop.
At May’s state event near Vancouver, Eastlake got a pair of medal-winning performances from Li Wang and Spencer Weiss, and scored 97 points to finish in first place.
Wang, a three-time state runner-up, is now competing at Yale University, and Weiss, who is committed to Washington, will try to lead the Wolves to a repeat title this spring.
Volleyball: Skyline claims second trophy in three seasons
It wasn’t the start the Skyline Spartans envisioned at November’s Class 4A state volleyball tournament. Emerald Ridge, featuring a blistering offensive attack, swarmed Skyline 3-0 and pushed the Spartans to the brink of elimination.
Needing to win consecutive games to reach the trophy round, the Spartans did it against Mead (3-0) and Rogers of Puyallup (3-1). Skyline then capped a 20-5 season with a straight-set win over Bothell, earning the seventh-place trophy.
Coach Callie Wesson’s program solidified its status as a perennial 4A powerhouse, advancing to state for a third straight year. The Spartans were sixth in 2011.
Football: New coach Bartel sparks Wolves’ return to prominence
After a difficult 2012 season in which head coach Gene Dales resigned for personal reasons, the Eastlake High football program was hungry to prove itself.
Under first-year coach Don Bartel – a former Skyline defensive coordinator – the Wolves ran roughshod over most opponents en route to a 7-2 regular-season record.
In the playoffs, the Wolves got big performances from their top players – quarterback Blue Thomas, and running backs Troy and Drew Lewis – to blow out Roosevelt and Kentwood. They edged Union to reach the state quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons, but lost to eventual runner-up Camas.
Swimming: Skyline girls return to the podium
Three straight state titles between 2009 and 2011 have made expectations mighty high for the Skyline girls swim team, and the squad again met many lofty goals in 2013.
The Spartans finished fourth at November’s state championships in Federal Way, winning five individual medals and two relay medals.
Seniors Erin Taylor, Stephanie Munoz and Yui Umezawa piled up most of the points. Taylor finished second in diving, while Umezawa was eighth in the 100-yard backstroke. Munoz won medals in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
Soccer: Local girls share in Eastside FC’s success
It had been 17 years since a girls team from Washington had won the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships, but the Eastside FC under-14 squad ended that streak on July 27 in Overland Park, Kan.
Sammamish residents Molly Monroe, Cameron Tingey and Alexa Kirton were part of the squad, which defeated YMS Xplosion of Pennsylvania in the title match, 2-1.
Two weeks earlier, Eastside FC’s U-18 team capped its postseason run with a second-place finish at the National Presidents Cup tournament in Auburndale, Fla.
Several Skyline players were part of the team, including goalkeeper Emily Baril and defender Emma Elder.
Swimming: Ivan Graham becomes a prodigy in the pool
Sammamish resident Ivan Graham set multiple records during the last youth swimming season.
Competing in the 11-12 boys division, Graham broke the Pacific Northwest Swimming record in the 200-yard breaststroke March 27, finishing in 2 minutes, 15.94 seconds. And his time of 1:02.01 in the 100 breaststroke five days earlier was among the top-20 times of the year nationally for his age group.
In January, Graham won seven races at a meet in California, and broke a 26-year-old Pacific Northwest record in the 100 individual medley at 57.87 seconds.
Girls basketball: Skyline advances to state quarterfinals
While the season ended in disappointment with losses to Mead and Inglemoor, the Skyline Spartans girls basketball team turned a lot of heads in their march to the 4A Elite Eight.
The Spartans (20-7 overall, 13-2 conference) had a balanced lineup, as guards Rachel Shim and Lacey Nicholson aligned with Colorado-bound post Haley Smith – the KingCo Player of the Year – to form a dangerous scoring trio.