SVSJ commentary: Year one back in Wesco for Cedarcrest High School sports went as expected, so now what?

The 2018-19 school year is fast coming to a close, and with it comes the end of the first season for Cedarcrest High School back in the Wesco Conference following a long, 20-plus year association with the Cascade Conference, which dissolved prior to the start of this school year necessitating the Red Wolves’ move to Wesco. And this has been, as was expected, an interesting year to say the least for Cedarcrest.

When this move was announced early in 2018, we opined at that time that the school would see mixed results from the move, that some programs would be able to compete, others not so. And as it turned out, that was the case pretty much along the lines we expected it would go. Programs such as soccer, basketball and softball, all of whom we anticipated would be challenged but would hold their own in the new league, did all right while programs such as volleyball, which struggled in the old Cascade Conference, would find the going challenging. There was one surprise – baseball, but we’ve told you some of the other factors that were at play there and we trust the Red Wolves will address those issues in the offseason and be back to competitive levels next season.

Football, of course, was the linchpin of the move to Wesco and they fared a bit better this past fall within the new Northwest consortium, but the school as you know made a coaching change this offseason, hiring ex-UW Husky great John Fiala to take over the program after Billy Ojeda was let go following last season. It seems as if the program is making some strides already under the new coaching staff, so it’s certainly hoped things will be better for them moving forward.

And that’s what this commentary revolves around. This first year for CHS back in Wesco we think probably opened some eyes to what the school and its various programs will need to do on many fronts in order to become more competitive within a much tougher Wesco landscape. And the reality of the situation is is that people need to wake up and pay attention now, because the question of long-term league affiliation will be front and center this coming school year for CHS as they and the Wesco folks determine whether a continued relationship will be in the best interests for both the school and the league.

As things stand currently, it is our belief that a long-term arrangement with the conference makes the most sense for Cedarcrest and the Riverview School District. However, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently passed a rule change that could provide the school with an option that we feel could make even more sense for the school. This rule change, passed by the association’s membership this spring, allows for large schools such as Cedarcrest to request to be moved down a classification in football only. Were CHS to apply for such a waiver, have it granted and be dropped down from 2A to 1A, it could help in the near term for the Red Wolves as they work to grow the numbers in the program under new coach Fiala, which have struggled in recent years. A drop down, and the resulting separation of football from other sports at the school in relation to league alignment, could also open the door for Cedarcrest to petition for membership in the Kingco Conference for the non-football sports as a 2A member.

We believe, but are not sure, the prevailing view of folks supporting Red Wolves sports would be for the programs to be part of Kingco as opposed to Wesco. Geography is not the only factor we think would drive this sentiment, if such exists, but there is also the added component of the school and community’s youth sports programs that feed players into Cedarcrest’s programs largely playing opponents that for the most part feed players into Kingco high schools as opposed to Wesco. So there’s a known quantity there for everyone and that also is a help for sure. But because of Kingco’s desire, which we discussed as part of our previous coverage, to have its 2A members with limited exceptions play a league football schedule (read: against Bellevue) as opposed to within the Northwest 2A consortium, the decision was made by Cedarcrest to join Wesco instead. For the school in our view to join Kingco based on the current situation, one of the following we believe would need to occur:

-The school decides to split football from all other sports and seeks, and receives, a waiver to drop football to 1A

-Kingco merges the 3A and 4A leagues together, as has been discussed, with the 2A schools ending up playing with the Northwest consortium for football

-That merger doesn’t happen but the league chooses anyway to send the 2A’s north to play football

So as we discussed in our previous commentaries on this subject, once again the decisions for CHS will largely be made by outside forces, other actors so to speak. But the truth of the matter is this: Whether it’s Kingco or Wesco, the reality for Cedarcrest sports is that you all are competing with the “big boys and girls” now and it’s time for your programs, particularly your parent booster clubs, to act like them.

Increase your fundraising. Work harder to get business sponsorships for your teams. Expand your community outreach, particularly via social media. Cedarcrest’s football program has done a lot of this in the weeks since Fiala was hired. They now have a Twitter feed, an Instagram account and an active Facebook page. Under Ojeda, there was no Twitter or Instagram as far as we know and their Facebook wasn’t nearly as active as it’s been the past couple of weeks. The Red Wolve baseball, basketball and softball programs all are on Facebook, too (and girls’ hoops has an Instagram page also). Same for girls’ soccer. But we’d like to see more. Actual websites. Some programs are getting this message – basketball, girls’ soccer for example – but others need to join that crowd.

Coaches need to demand and parents need to embrace in those sports with a year-round component the idea that kids need to play club in the offseason. We see this as especially necessary with Red Wolve softball. If it means forming a rag-tag group with parents coaching the kids, let’s say in a U16 environment with a limited schedule of tournaments both locally and out of town, so be it. The point is you need the girls getting reps against high-quality opposition.

Essentially, the point we’re trying to make to all of you there in the lower Valley is that the days of small-town high school athletics are probably over. So it’s time to embrace life as a school competing against larger schools and do things to help your programs compete in that more challenging landscape.

Another thing we would suggest as we head into this summer would be for principal Ray LaBate and athletic director Jason Frederick to work with Red Wolve sports booster clubs to schedule informal parent meetings, let’s say in a cookout-type setting at a program family’s home, to gauge parent sentiment about the possible league alignment options and what parents would like to see CHS seek as it looks for long-term league membership. Knowing what your stakeholders would like will help Frederick and LaBate better look out for the interests of Cedarcrest student-athletes, interests which we feel were not protected at all with the length of the 2017-18 alignment discussions.

With that all said, it’s time to head into the summer, and we look forward to continued growth of CHS sports in Wesco this coming school year.

Posted in Basketball, Football, News and Comment, On the Diamond, On the Links, Soccer, Track/XC/Running, Volleyball, Wrestling/Gymnastics | Leave a comment

Mitchell’s Valley football camp announced

Speaking of the Mitchell’s, we want to also mention that their football camp is coming up. It’s June 8 at Mount Si High School, with two separate sessions scheduled.

The camp is geared for children, both boys and girls, grades K-8 and will provide kids with fundamental instruction in various skills of the sport. Things such as passing, kicking, defense and rushing will be discussed. Instructors are Josh, Taylor, Caleb, Nick and Sara Kaitlyn Mitchell, all of whom were decorated athletes while at Mount Si. Sara is graduating this spring while the boys all are MSHS grads, with Taylor, Nick and Josh all associated once again with Mount Si’s football program following college football careers – Josh and Taylor as coaches and Nick as an independent videographer – and Caleb, as we just mentioned earlier, is playing football at the University of Montana. Their parents, Jeff and Rhonda, are longtime Valley residents who both have been tireless supporters of Wildcat athletics for many years and are also great friends of this blog and your editor. The family resides in North Bend.

The camp costs $35 to participate in. The camp for younger ages will be from 4-5:30 p.m. with the middle-school age camp (grades 6-8) happening from 6-7:30.

For more information or to register, here is their website. We’ll add this as well in our news links at right. It should be noted that Nick announced on Twitter last night that Mount Si’s junior football booster club has donated $3,500 toward this year’s camp, enabling them to offer the next 100 registrants free entry into the camp. You’ll need to sign up then once you check out, you’ll need to enter the promo code “Wildcats” to get that discount. Those spots will fill up fast so do it today if you want to register your child for this camp!

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Two MSHS alums playing college sports recognized for academic excellence, and your first look at Wildcat boys’ soccer’s state semifinal playoff opponent, Ferris

Good Tuesday morning. Very light morning today so we have a news item first then we’ll take a look at Friday’s WIAA 4A boys’ soccer semifinal opponent for Mount Si, the boys from Spokane’s Ferris High School.

That news item comes from the classroom, where a pair of MSHS alums playing college sports have received accolades for their efforts academically.

The University of Montana’s football program announced yesterday that among those from the team who made the school’s “President’s List” for achieving a 4.0 grade point average in his classroom work for the university’s spring quarter is a Valleyite. Sophomore Caleb Mitchell, from North Bend and a 2016 Mount Si HS alum, was one of five Grizzlies players to earn that designation, and it helped the program acheive a high water mark of a team cumulative 3.0 grade point for the second straight semester; they acheived this as well for the fall 2018 quarter and set a school record in the process.

Mitchell has seen very little playing time, but that could change this fall, we shall see. In any event, that he is continuing to get it done academically shows the work ethic that will help him get it done on the field when he gets a chance to play this fall.

Closer to home, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference this past Thursday announced its women’s track and field All-Academic team, and St. Martin’s senior thrower Liz Larson, from Snoqualmie and a 2015 MSHS’er, was one of 13 Saints to make the roster. She is carrying a strong 3.86 GPA as she double majors in math and biology and is set to graduate in just a few short weeks time.

Two more examples of academic success from MSHS alums playing college sports. Good stuff for sure.

Time now for your first look at Ferris’ boys’ soccer team.

Mount Si boys’ soccer to play Ferris in semis at 4A state tournament
While Mount Si and its fans continue to revel in the moment heard ’round the Valley last Saturday night – the goal from 60 yards out by Reed Paradissis that helped the Wildcats beat Issaquah and advance them to the state semifinals for the first time in soccer in school history, either boys or girls, Paradissis and his teammates and coaching staff are hard at work getting ready for their next test.

That next exam comes Friday night as Mount Si meets Ferris from Spokane at 6:00 down at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup in the WIAA’s 4A state semifinals. So, what is there to know about Ferris?

First off, they’re good. Real good. 18-1-0 good. The team is ranked both in the top 10 in the MaxPreps state rankings and ScoreCzar computer 4A soccer rankings. It’s a junior and senior-laden roster full of experience and one that has only allowed nine goals all season according to ScoreCzar. So the goals could be tough to come by on Friday night. But we told you yesterday we saw one big red flag with them.

As noted, they’re 18-1-0. An awesome record to be sure, with their only loss coming at mid-season to Central Valley of Spokane. But, you look at their schedule, and you see something about that schedule that to us raised a red flag. Their schedule this spring, outside of their playoff opposition and a game against an Alaska team over spring break, was against exclusively Spokane-centric opposition. In other words, they have not seen a team like Mount Si with their physical, attacking style. Granted, they’ve probably gone to YouTube and found the Wildcat game streams there and are starting to study up, but seeing the boys in person is a heckuva lot different than watching them on film.

That all said, ScoreCzar does note that they do have a solid strength of schedule factor, with half their opposition being strong foes within the Greater Spokane League, so the overall schedule preparation should serve them well. And we should just note that the GSL is a very strong league in a lot of sports, with Ferris’ rival Gonzaga Prep as you remember beating the Wildcat boys’ basketball team back in March for that sport’s 4A state high school title as an example.

We haven’t seen any video on them, but if we do, we’ll let you know. Suffice it to say, however, and that is Mount Si coach Darren Brown and his staff are watching a lot of film, and the players are getting prepared. They’ll practice again today through Thursday, then head down Friday for the game at Sparks.

Travel info: To get to Sparks in Puyallup from the Valley, you would usually travel down SR 18 to do this. However, with it being the middle of rush hour on Friday and the road likely to be jammed, it is suggested by us you head down I-90 to Bellevue, then take 405 and SR 167 south to get to Puyallup. Those two roads are likely to be jammed, too, so if you can, try to carpool so you can use the HOV lanes going south. Follow 167 south from Renton to Puyallup and take the SR 512 exit heading west. You’ll get off at the first exit – Pioneer Ave. – and at the bottom of the exit ramp, you’ll turn left. Head west on Pioneer through downtown Puyallup to 5th St. SW. Turn left and head south a couple blocks. The stadium and parking will be on your right. If you go Saturday, SR 18 should be fine and you’ll just travel down 18 to Auburn, get off at 167, then head south as directed previously to Puyallup and the stadium.

Admission prices have increased for the semifinals. It’ll be $11 to get in for the game, but if you want tickets for both games Friday and Saturday – and they will play Saturday regardless of the Friday result – those will cost $20, just ask at the door. Students with an ASB will pay $8 (Friday only) or $14 (for both games). Concessions should be available there at the stadium but if you want a bite to eat, you’ll want to get over to Meridian east of the stadium to find food options there. Among the closest, off of Meridian at 7th Ave. SW, are a Taco Bell and a Jack in the Box. Also note, especially for Saturday, that events at the fairgrounds could also impact the parking around Sparks, so another reason to carpool. We are not aware at this time of any student or fan rooter busses for the games this weekend, and are not anticipating any to be scheduled. If that changes we’ll let you know.

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News notes: State golf tee times announced, and MSHS boys’ soccer gets recognized by major newspaper

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has released first round tee times for tomorrow’s 2A boys and 4A boys and girls’ state tournaments in Spokane.

The seven boys representing Mount Si and Cedarcrest High Schools are all set to go out in the 8:00am hour tomorrow morning, leading off with Wildcat junior star Drew Warford at 8:15, followed by Cedarcrest’s Hayden Whetten six minutes later, at 8:21. The Mount Si girls will all tee off within the 10am hour, led by freshman top competitor Kasey Maralack at 10:18am. CHS did not have any girls make the state field this year. Those who make the first round cut will again tee off on Tuesday. Warford is expected to make the cut, with the remainder of golfers still to be determined.

Here’s the full list. Note that the 4A boys compete at the Creek at Qualchan course along US 195 south of Spokane’s downtown, the 4A girls are just up the road at Hangman Valley Golf Course and the 2A boys are out at Liberty Lake Golf Club in the Spokane Valley.

BOYS
8:15am-Drew Warford (Mount Si)
8:21-Hayden Whetten (Cedarcrest)
8:24-Cooper Neil (Mount Si)
8:33-Cole Bostwick (Mount Si)
8:39-Nicolo Cammarano (Cedarcrest)
8:42-Noah Lange (Mount Si)
8:51-Jack Miller (Mount Si)

GIRLS
10:18-Kasey Maralack (Mount Si)
10:27-Tori Berger (Mount Si)
10:36-Annie Burns (Mount Si)
10:45-Erika Groshell (Mount Si)
10:54-Allie Miller (Mount Si)

MSHS boys soccer recognized by Seattle Times
Three top players and coach Darren Brown from Mount Si High School’s boys’ soccer program received recognition today by the Seattle Times, as the newspaper named the foursome to the spring’ boys’ soccer “Star Times” postseason recognition, highlighting the best players and coaches in King and Snohomish Counties.

Senior midfielder Drew Harris and defender Reed Paradissis, sophomore forward Sullivan Smith and coach Brown were named to the team on the strength of their Kingco 4A title and trip to the state semifinals this weekend.

The four were the only MSHS reps in this spring’s “Star Times” selections for baseball, softball and boys’ soccer, although the school in past years has had a number of athletes across a number of sports get this recognition, which involves a trip to the Times’ facilities in Bothell for a luncheon and a photo shoot.

A congrats to all of you from us here at the SVSJ.

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The weekend wrap and the Athletes of the Week…..

Good Monday morning. Weekend wrap with the diamond cuts and then our Athletes of the Week. Final boys’ selections of the year this week.

Youth Baseball
Yesterday wrapped up the first big tournament weekend of the summer ball season, the GSL BaumBat tournament in southeast King County. Scores and highlights from Gamechanger and the Gamechanger app, available on Apple IPhones or IPads in their app store.

Bellevue Dragons 15U Elite Green 2, Renegades 1: Mount Si’s Luke Richter went 2-3 with a double, and fellow Wildcat J.T. DeRouen also doubled pacing the Bellevue team to a win over the Kitsap County-based Renegades at the tournament in Ravensdale. Several other Wildcats played in the contest for the Dragons, including Ryan Llewellyn, Brady Hossfeld, Brady Farris and Chris Jarocki.

ExploSwing NW 16U 4, Bellevue Dragons Elite 16U 0 (seventh place): Bellevue-based ExploSwing got a combined one-hitter from starter Davis Franklin and his relief counterpart, Mount Si’s Turner McCutchan, to take seventh in the tournament last night. Franklin allowed the lone hit, with McCutchan pitching a perfect seventh inning. He and fellow Mount Si’er Anthony Gilden, playing for BDE, both went 0-2 and Gilden also pitched an inning for the Dragons, and he walked one and struck out one in his inning of work in the fifth.

Thurston County Saints 12, Field of Champions 16U 3 (third place): Eight runs in the first propelled the Lacey-based Saints to third place in the tournament. The Preston-based FoC’s Mount Si delegation was led by Tyler Clem, who went 1-2 with an RBI. Fellow Wildcats Lucas Costello (0-3) and Kevin Corder (0-1, walk, run) also played in the game for the Bears.

City Baseball 16U Green 6, WW Sweets 15U 4 (championship): Seattle-based City used a five-run third and held off the Sammamish-based Sweets for the title last night at Ravensdale Park in southeast King County. Mount Si’s Aidan Dougherty went 0-3 for Sweets in this one.

Other action as well, also from GC:

Rippers 16U 7, Kirkland Merchants 16U 3: The Redmond team handled affairs well with the road win over the Merchants at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore. Cedarcrest’s trio of Mason Pudwill, Carter “Deuce” Knowles and Kian Pegueros-Warren went a combined 0-5 in the game for the Rippers, with a walk. Carson Doi led the Merchants, going 3-4 with a double and run scored.

Bainbridge Mavericks 8, Washington A’s 15U 5: Bainbridge took command with a four-run second and won this one at home on Bainbridge Island over the visiting Sammamish-based A’s. Mount Si’s Matt Wieting went 0-3 for the A’s in this one.

Softball
Bellevue CC 14, Mount Hood 13 (10) (NWAC Tournament, Spokane, loser out): Bellevue rallied with two in the bottom of the 10th to walk this one off and live to play another game over at the NWAC championship tournament in Spokane. North Bend’s Maddy Trout went 1-5 for Bellevue in the game.

Clackamas 10, Bellevue CC 4 (NWAC Tournament, Spokane, loser out): Trout, a sophomore and 2017 MSHS grad, played her final game in this one for Bellevue as they fell and were eliminated from the tournament. She went 0-2 and finishes the season having hit a solid. 385 with five homers and 33 RBI’s splitting time between first base and catcher for a Bulldog team that went a stellar 42-7 this season. Look for Trout, who also had a solid .639 slugging percentage this season, to find a home next spring at a four-year school. Central Washington University we believe would be a good fit for Trout, but we’ll see what ends up happening with her this offseason.

College Baseball
Gonzaga 4, Loyola Marymount 1: GU broke open a close one with two in the seventh and won the regular-season finale in Los Angeles over the Lions. The North Bend duo of Mason Marenco and Carson Breshears both played for the Bulldogs, with Marenco, a freshman, going 0-2 and Breshears, a senior, seeing action defensively at second base late in the game but no official at-bats. Both players are MSHS grads. GU opens the West Coast Conference tournament on Thursday in Stockton, CA, playing St. Mary’s.

Mount Hood 5, Columbia Basin 4 (NWAC Regionals, Portland): Mount Hood held off CBC to advance to this weekend’s NWAC championship tournament in Longview. Sophomore Carson Corra, he of Ames Lake and a 2017 MSHS grad, went 0-2 with two walks for Mount Hood who meets tournament host Lower Columbia in their first game on Thursday night. Spokane will also feature Mount Si alum Justin Lutz, and they open play Thursday morning against Edmonds.

Yakima Valley 13, Bellevue CC 3 (NWAC Regionals, Yakima): The Yaks rolled to the win and eliminated Bellevue from the postseason in the process. Skyline HS grad Riley Gill, whose family lives in Snoqualmie, went 1-3 for BCC in the contest.

Soccer
Chicago wins, moves into first in NWSL: The Red Stars posted a 2-1 win in National Women’s Soccer League action last night over the visiting Houston Dash and that moved them into first overall in the league with three wins, a loss and two ties in their first six games. North Bend’s Nikki Stanton started the game at defensive midfield for Chicago, and the 2008 Mount Si HS grad worked the first 59 minutes of the game before being substituted. She did not return following that exit and ended up with no stats of note aside from a yellow card she was assessed during the contest in the 49th minute by officials. Chicago hosts winless Orlando on Wednesday and you can catch the game either on Yahoo Sports or if you have Dish or Direct’s sports packs, NBC Sports Chicago. Game time is 5:30.

Now to the Athletes of the Week.

CEDARCREST – Track is it now for CHS this spring, so we recognize thrower Daniel Enciso-Navarro, who will be the lone state rep for the Red Wolve boys after taking fourth at last week’s Northwest 2A District meet in the javelin, with a toss of just over 157 feet. He has been one of the top javelin throwers all season in Wesco and will look to show off his skills this week at the state meet, which is in Tacoma.

MOUNT SI – We did soccer two weeks ago, but we’ll have something to say about them in a moment. First, though, we’re recognizing track and field here as well. Blake Woodford, Roy Bang, Murphy McDowell, Ryan Hurley and Spencer Sprague along with previous AotW’er Joe Waskom will be repping Mount Si’s boys at state down in Tacoma. Woodford will compete in the 400m individually, and will team with Hurley, McDowell and Sprague in the 4×400. Bang will compete in the shot put and Waskom competes in two distance races – the 1600m and 3200m. All of that action starts Wednesday.

Now to soccer. Mount Si’s boys are off to the final four but it seems as if everyone this morning is talking about the goal heard ’round the Valley. We mentioned it with some historical context in yesterday’s game report – the goal by senior Reed Paradissis which came off the faceoff following a second-half penalty kick goal by the Eagles which helped restore a two-goal Mount Si lead, a lead that because of this goal they would not relinquish as they beat Issy 3-2 to advance.

We’re giving Paradissis an honorable mention this week. We’ll let his coach, Wildcat head coach Darren Brown, continue here. ”I appreciate any athlete in every sport that shines in the moment. Number 3 (Paradissis) had an evening that will always be remembered,” Brown told us by email. “He was smart at a time when his team needed him most and he delivered. He is special, Reed has that gift that a lot of people do not see. He is already ahead of the next play in his mind and his anticipation to me is right there with Davis Karaica, an ‘x’ back of ours that I always use as the bench mark.” A bench mark that went on to have a stellar four-year career as a starting defender for NCAA Division II stalwart Seattle Pacific University. And while Paradissis has opted to not play college soccer this fall as far as we know, there will always be a door open for him there if he wants it.

Those of you who haven’t seen it, we have the video proof for you here, courtesy of Mount Si’s boys’ soccer YouTube video feed and videographer “Photomatto.” To get to the moment, you’ll need to scroll to 1:43:36 in the video, and then watch about the next 60 seconds or so.

(Regular feed)

(Start this one at 1:51:10, Photomatto’s second camera feed, wider view angle of the goal)

This is a type of goal that isn’t often seen in soccer, but as we mentioned yesterday, this is not the first time a Wildcat player has done this. We remember a goal back in 2005 if we remember the year correctly. Brown may remember this goal, too. It was in a girls’ game against Newport, and Krisi Lund was a defender that year for Mount Si, just like Paradissis is this spring for the Wildcat boys. She fired a shot from a similar distance on the same sort of line toward the Knight goal, and it made its way into the goal giving the Wildcats a goal and if we remember it right it helped Mount Si win and they went on to make state that season, falling in a heartbreaking overtime loss to Camas in the second round in what will probably go down as the greatest girls game that Brown ever coached as a Wildcat coach.

The goal – and the YouTube clip of it – is making the rounds in a big way this morning. KOMO was scheduled to have a feature on it last night on the 11:00 news, and at least one of Paradissis’ fellow teammates on Mount Si’s football team this past season is suggesting on Twitter this make the cut at ESPN for their top 10 plays of the night on their SportsCenter show. Hell, if we can get Scott Van Pelt to give us a shout, more power to us, we guess.

This goal by Paradissis is looking like one that people will be talking about for years in the local soccer community, especially if Mount Si is able to win it all this coming weekend. Ferris is up next Friday and while they’re good, we see at least one real red flag with their overall product and we’ll mention that more soon here.

Posted in Athletes of the Week 2018-19, College Sports, On the Diamond, Soccer | Leave a comment