News and notes on this Friday

Cedarcrest High School senior baseball pitcher Aaron Davenport signs his national letter of intent to play college baseball for the University of Hawaii beginning in 2019. (Courtesy photo)

Good Friday morning. Quick note for you and that is we are still working on getting a hold of Mount Si High School winter sports coaches to get interviews set up for team previews for the Wildcats. We hope to start bringing you their previews in the next few days. We do plan on wrapping up our Cedarcrest High School previews this weekend with a look at boys’ basketball.

In the meantime, we have a small bit of news from CHS, and that is that the signing of baseball pitcher Aaron Davenport to a national letter of intent has taken place. Davenport, as we told you recently, signed with Hawaii. His mom, Sue, sent us a photo which you can see above of her son signing the document. Davenport, along with fellow Red Wolve seniors Sydney Turner and Elaine Townley, signed college letters of intent during this signing period. Turner will be playing women’s basketball for Multnomah University in Portland while Townley, who is a girls’ hoops teammate of Turner’s with CHS, also plays softball and will be playing that sport for Hillsdale College in Michigan.

Volleyball note as well on this Friday from the colleges:

Concordia-PDX def. St. Martin’s 25-16, 23-25, 25-23, 25-16: The Saints fell on the road last night to the Cavs in Portland. Junior Liz Larson, she of Snoqualmie and a 2015 Mount Si HS grad, had five kills and five blocks for St. Martin’s in the contest as they dropped to 9-18 overall, 4-15 in league (NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference) with the loss.

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SVSJ preview: Young, but loaded, Red Wolve ladies hoopsters aim for another postseason run

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our winter high school sports preview series continues today as we hit the hardwood for the first time, looking at what could be a special season ahead for Cedarcrest High School’s girls’ basketball team.

The Cedarcrest High School girls’ basketball program has got a bit of a youth movement this season.

“We have 15 freshman this year, which is remarkable when you consider that when we went to state in 2013 we had 14 players overall…8 on varsity and 6 on JV. Three of these freshmen are on varsity this year,” said coach Brad Knowles, who is back for his seventh season and last year led the Red Wolves to a 14-8 record, 9-3 in Cascade Conference play and a trip to the Northwest District tournament. That said, many of the team’s top players from their successful season last year are also back, and it all shapes up to be a strong season ahead for CHS.

Three senior starters are back this winter, among five who will be on the roster. Post Madi Weir, who led the team in scoring last season, and 2016-17 Cascade second-teamers Elaine Townley and Haley Hill are all back. Townley, as you all know, just signed a college softball scholarship letter of intent with Michigan’s Hillsdale College. Another senior who likely will see significant playing time is Sydney Turner. Turner, who missed last season with a leg injury, just signed with NAIA Multnomah down in Portland. The fifth senior is Maya Catherman, and she, according to Knowles, will be playing at the small forward position.

Among the freshmen to watch is point guard Jaylin Yowell. “She will be our starting point guard and is a great ball-handler and tough defender, very quick, she will make an immediate impact for us.,” Knowles said.

The two other freshmen who made varsity are post player Rose Carlson and guard Sidra Griffin, who had a strong freshman season with the CHS girls’ soccer team, helping them make state.

Other players to watch include juniors Cassidy Sweney and Katelyn Smith, and a pair of sophomores who are younger sisters of current and former CHS players. Hannah Hill (Haley’s sister) and Helena Van Ess (sister of 2017 Red Wolve alum Mieke, playing this winter for Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon) both, according to the coach, are talented in all facets of the game, so both of them will see plenty of action this season.

As loaded as this team looks to be, Knowles’ goals remain the same. “Our goal every year is to go the Sun Dome in Yakima and compete in the state playoffs. We have more speed and depth than ever before….our pace of play will be the fastest we’ve ever had,” he said. Conditioning then will be a big key for the girls as the season wears on, so that will be something to watch.

Knowles expects Archbishop Murphy to be the favorites to win the conference, largely due to their experience and talent. He also looks for King’s, Cedar Park Christian and South Whidbey to also make runs this season. “I’m confident we can compete with anybody, in league play, non-league play and post-season,” he said.

Another factor that will help the Red Wolves this season learn what it takes to be successful and make that deep postseason run is who they have on their coaching staff. In addition to Knowles and lead assistant Mike Pluschke, back for his third season on the staff as a varsity assistant and head JV coach, among the volunteer assistants this season is former Red Wolve great Susan Kenney. Kenney, who led CHS to state back in 2013 and parlayed her success at the high school level into a successful two-year college career at Centralia College, has joined the program as one of the volunteer assistants. Also helping out this season is longtime Cedarcrest travel ball coach Sam Farnworth. Farnworth is someone a lot of the freshmen are likely very familiar with, so having that familiar face on board should help the younger players make a smoother transition to high school play and what Knowles is looking for, which is expected to be strong offense backed up by tough, scrappy defense.

The Red Wolves open the season November 29 at Liberty, with their home – and Cascade opener – being December 5 against Cedar Park Christian. CHS was scheduled to play Mount Si in the Valley Cup on December 2, but MSHS due to schedule conflicts had to back out. Cedarcrest instead will be at Bellevue Christian that night, and the Red Wolves’ games against Archbishop Murphy will be on December 12 at ATM and January 12 at CHS. Home games will begin at 6:45 p.m., except for Friday games, which begin at 6:30 and will be prior to boys’ home games, which will tip around 20 minutes following the conclusion of the girls’ games.

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SVSJ preview: CHS grapplers look for another strong season aided by solid returners and a freshman with a lot of high expectations

EDITOR’S NOTE: We continue our winter sports preview series today with our first boys’ sports preview, and this comes from the mat, with Cedarcrest High School’s wrestlers. Tomorrow, we will preview the Red Wolve girls’ basketball team, with Mount Si team previews hopefully as well as our series continues.

Cedarcrest High School’s wrestling program has been one of the stronger programs locally at the 2A level in recent seasons, and that is expected to continue once again this season. Anchored by a strong junior class and a freshman newcomer that has already made waves statewide, the Red Wolves are looking to once again be among the best in the Cascade Conference.

Mark Ward is back for his fourth season as head coach. CHS finished 3-1 in league meets and 6-3 overall last season, and returns a couple of top juniors. Fredrick Reid and Caleb Lay both were state qualifiers last season and will look to once again make it to the “Woodshed” for Mat Classic, the state high school wrestling meet at the Tacoma Dome, with an eye on podium positions, this year. Reid is expected to compete in middle-weight divisions (145 or 152 lbs.) with Lay likely to compete perhaps around 170 or so. A pair of seniors will also be back looking to also make state. Garrett Nelson (275) and Cameron Staley (220) will be anchors in the two heavyweight classes for the Red Wolves.

Matthew Weinert is the top freshman to watch, according to Ward. Weinert is, reports the coach, among the top 10 freshmen to watch in high school wrestling statewide, so he will have a lot of people paying attention to him to start the season. It’s not known what weights he’ll be wrestling at, but normally, freshmen will tend to wrestle in lighter weights, so look for him maybe around the 120 lbs. division.

The goals for the coach are simple. “My goals for this season are to make a good showing at the state tournament with multiple place winners.  We hope to build on our success from last year, stay healthy, and have fun.  We believe there is no secret recipe to success.  It comes down to who wants to put in the work.  That’s usually who is successful in a sport like wrestling,” Ward said.

Ward looks for his team to finish among the tops in the conference. Look for Archbishop Murphy and Granite Falls to likely provide the toughest challenges for CHS this coming season.

As for the coaching staff, there is an addition of note. Jeff Keener, who Ward worked with over a decade ago while the two were coaching at Juanita High School in Kirkland, has joined CHS as a lead assistant. Keener is a five-time assistant coach of the year in Kingco, and with the Kingco being among the better wrestling leagues in the state at the high school level, Cedarcrest athletes should benefit from Keener’s coaching this season. Adam Reid is also back for his second season as an assistant coach with the Red Wolves.

CHS opens the season with a double-dual meet against Mercer Island at Mercer Island High School, with the Red Wolves hosting just one home meet this season – January 18, a double-dual with Granite Falls and Sultan. The Saturday tournament schedule features a number of tournaments the Red Wolves have attended in the past, such as the White River Classic December 2 and the King of the Mountain in Darrington on January 13, but they’ll also do the Black Hills meet on December 20 and the South Kitsap meet on January 20 among others. The full Red Wolves schedule is at the Cascade Conference website,

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Valley girls’ hoopsters celebrate tourney title

The Cedarcrest youth travel ball girls’ eighth grade team celebrates following their Hardwood Jam tournament championship on Sunday in Snoqualmie, which earned them a trip to their end-of-season state tournament. (Courtesy photo)

Light Tuesday for you but one small item for you and it comes to us from travel youth girls’ basketball. A Lower Valley team took care of business over the weekend at a local tournament to earn a trip to their end-of-season state tournament.

The Cedarcrest travel eighth-grade girls’ team, featuring players who may end up on the Red Wolves’ high school varsity roster next season as freshmen, went undefeated at 4-0 to take the Hardwood Jam event hosted by Mount Si’s travel ball program at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie. Cedarcrest, coached by John Marsh, beat Redmond twice, including in the title game, to take the crown, and also defeated teams from Port Orchard and Mukilteo as well in their quest for top spot.

A congrats to them from the SVSJ.

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Weekend wrap from the diamond, the gridiron, and the pitch as we start a new week

Good Monday morning. We have our weekend wrap to start a new week this morning, and we head to the softball diamond of all things – yes, we know its raining outside, but one Cedarcrest High School player and her local club team played in a tournament indoors yesterday down in Centralia.

It was a busy day for freshman Jessi Polacek and her teammates from the Kirkland-based Northwest Lady Bandits Blue 16U squad, as they played a total of five games yesterday at the USSSA’s Veteran’s Day tournament at the Sports Hub complex. Polacek played in all five games and the Bandits finished well, ending up in a tie for fourth in the tournament’s 16U-18U division.

The day started out strong for the Red Wolve, as she went 1-3 with a run scored and RBI for the Bandits in a 5-1 win over the Kelso-based Washington Illusion. After the Bandits fell in their second game of the day 15-2 to the Tacoma-based Northwest Speed (in which Polacek was hitless), the Valleyite delivered in the middle game of the day, going 1-2 with another run scored and RBI, also reaching base on an error, as the Bandits rebounded with an 8-5 win over the Havoc from Battle Ground in Clark County.

Polacek’s best effort came in game number four on the day, another 8-5 win, this over the Kent-based Washington Synergy. She went 2-3 with a run scored and RBI leading the Bandits, then Polacek finished the day 1-3 for the Bandits in a 10-5 loss to the Aberdeen-based Crushers that knocked the Eastside team out of the tournament.

The Seattle-based Spice won the event going 5-0 on the weekend.

Now to the colleges.

Concordia-PDX women’s season, and that of Valley player, ends in a blink of an eye: Two goals scored 40 seconds apart in the second half lifted the University of California-San Diego to a 2-1 subregional title win in the NCAA Division II women’s soccer tournament yesterday afternoon at home in San Diego over the Concordia-Portland women’s soccer team, knocking the Cavs out of the tournament and ending their season, one of the best ever in school history at 16-4-1.

Junior Karlie Hurley, from North Bend, started the game for Concordia at defensive forward and worked 62 minutes, with no stats of note for the Cavs. Hurley, a 2015 MSHS grad, finishes the season having played in all 21 games and recording one assist on the season.

UCSD next plays Western Washington and its dangerous offensive threat, Hurley’s fellow Valleyite Karli White. This matchup takes place on Friday down in San Diego at the West regional semis.

Teams with Valleyites set to compete for national championships: Four small-college football teams with Mount Si High School grads are set to play for national titles, after announcements by both the NCAA and the NAIA yesterday. Here’s a rundown of who’s going where.

-Central Washington won the top seed in the West region of the NCAA Division II playoffs. Central, with an 11-0 record and which features three former Mount Si’ers – sophomore receiver Jonathan “Jo Jo” Hillel along with two players who are redshirting this season, linebacker Jack Weidenbach and tight end Colton Swain, gets a first-round bye this weekend and meets the winner of this weekend’s first-round game between Winona State and Texas A&M Commerce next Saturday at home in Ellensburg. Swain is from Snoqualmie while Weidenbach and Hilel are from North Bend.

-Oregon’s Linfield and Georgia’s Berry got placed in the same eight-team section of the 32-team NCAA Division III field. Linfield, with freshman Max Bonda, will meet Hardin-Simmons of Texas this Saturday in its opening round game, and Berry, with junior Colby Weldon, will meet Huntingdon in their first-round game also on Saturday. If both teams make it to the quarterfinals, the two could meet on December 1. Both players are from Snoqualmie.

-Southern Oregon will host a first-round game in the NAIA playoffs this Saturday, meeting North Dakota’s Dickinson State. Nick Mitchell, a junior from North Bend, is on SOU’s roster.

We wish all the teams luck this weekend.

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