Wrapping up the weekend…..

Good Monday morning. We continue our high school sports preview series later this morning with a look at Cedarcrest High School’s boys’ basketball team. First, though, here’s a wrapup on news from yesterday.

Softball
The Issaquah-based Northwest Bullets Zacher 16U softball team finished up their final weekend of action for the fall yesterday with a split of two games in southern California at the Surf City tournament. Here’s a look at how things went:

Zacher 10, Colorado Warriors (Denver) 0: NWBZ pitchers held the Colorado team to just one hit in the blowout win. Mount Si High School’s Maddy Trout hit into a fielder’s choice in her lone at-bat in the contest for the Zacher team, but drove in a run as a result.

Roseville (CA) Heat 5, Zacher 4: The suburban Sacramento team eked out a win over NWBZ despite a hit, a run batted in and a run scored from Trout; the hit, a single, was the lone one on the weekend for the Wildcat sophomore.

Soccer
The University of Washington men’s and women’s teams, both of whom feature Mount Si High School grads on their rosters, played in NCAA playoff action yesterday; here’s how things went.

UW men 1, Furman 0 (Teams tied 0-0 after two overtimes; UW won on penalty kicks, 6-5): In Seattle last night, the Huskies rallied in the shootout to avoid the huge upset and move on in the NCAA Division I men’s tournament. They head to Michigan State next weekend and will play the Spartans next Sunday in East Lansing, MI. Fall City’s Ryan Herman, a Husky goalkeeper, did not see action in last night’s contest. He is a junior and a 2011 MSHS alum.

Stanford 1, UW women 0: The Husky women saw their season come to an end yesterday with a road loss to the Cardinal in Palo Alto, CA, and with that season end came the close of sophomore Miranda Rawlings’ first campaign in purple and gold. The 2013 MSHS grad from North Bend saw 11 minutes of action off the bench for the UW with no stats of note to report; the Huskies finished 14-7-2 on the season.

Football
Another Mount Si High School grad to play for football title: The NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision announced its playoff field yesterday, and a Mount Si High School grad and his team will be in the mix.

Illinois State, which features junior Joe Farmer, a tight end from North Bend and 2010 MSHS alum, was seeded fifth overall in the field and will get this coming weekend off before opening playoff action next weekend with a home game against the winner of this weekend’s Northern Iowa-Stephen F. Austin game. Next weekend’s game will be on December 6, at 11am, to be televised exclusively online through ESPN3, which is available through Comcast in the Valley. A win by Illinois State could send them into a showdown the following weekend against Eastern Washington over in Cheney, as EWU was seeded fourth and also will get a bye this weekend.

Farmer joins ex-Wildcats Brian Copeland (MIT), Stephen Nnabue (Linfield), Blake Herman (Wheaton-IL) and Hunter Malberg (Minnesota-Duluth) in national championship college football playoff fields this season.

In other FCS playoff news, Montana, where senior MSHS lineman Chris Schlicting plans on playing his football collegiately next year, earned a playoff berth as well; they play this weekend at home in Missoula, MT, against the University of San Diego. Montana, along with EWU and Montana State, will represent the Big Sky conference in the field.

Good stuff for sure, and we congratulate Farmer and the Redbirds on their selection.

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College football scoreboard

We wrap up our Sunday package with the college football scoreboard.

MIT 27, Husson 20 (OT) (NCAA D-III first round, Bangor, ME): The historic season for MIT continues after a dramatic overtime road win yesterday that was the first NCAA football playoff win in school history. The Engineers will meet Wesley in Dover, DE, next weekend in the second round of the playoffs. Sophomore left tackle Brian Copeland, from Snoqualmie and a 2012 Mount Si HS grad, started there for MIT and played in the contest.

Minnesota-Duluth 25, Northwest Missouri State 21 (NCAA D-II first round, Duluth, MN): UMD scored the game’s final 19 points to rally from a 21-6 deficit and stun the defending national Division II champions at home. UMD scored the game-winning touchdown with 26 seconds left to send them on the road next week for the second round, against Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia, AR. Sophomore Hunter Malberg, from Snoqualmie and a 2013 Mount Si High School grad, had three assisted tackles on defense for UMD in the contest.

Wheaton (IL) 43, Benedictine 14 (NCAA D-III first round, Wheaton, IL): Wheaton rolled to a home win, and the team, which includes Fall City’s Blake Herman on its roster, will play John Carroll at home next week in the second round of the playoffs. Herman, a sophomore and 2013 Mount Si HS grad, did not play in yesterday’s game.

Illinois State 44, Southern Illinois 29: Look for a fourth Mount Si High School grad to get a chance to play for a national football championship later today, as Illinois State handled in-state rival SIU and won a share of their conference title yesterday at home in Normal, IL. The Redbirds, which include junior tight end Joe Farmer, from North Bend and a 2011 MSHS alum, will find out their NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff destination later today. They are 10-1 on the season and ranked in the top ten in the latest FCS rankings. As for yesterday, Farmer suited up and played, but recorded no stats of note for ISU.

Washington 37, Oregon State 13: The UW earned bowl eligibility with their blowout of OSU last night at home in Seattle in a game pitting ex-Wildcats against one another. Sophomore kicker Cameron Van Winkle, from Fall City, was perfect in his kicking for the Huskies, going 3-3 in field goals and 4-4 in extra points. His longest field goal was for 41 yards, and he also kicked off once, for 38 yards. Junior center Josh Mitchell, from North Bend, and his fellow linemen did their best to help the Beavers and their quarterback, Sean Mannion, but Mannion was sacked four times by the UW defense despite a solid 30 for 46 in pass completions and attempts respectively, which netted the Beavers 314 yards and also a pair of touchdowns, with one interception. Mitchell graduated in 2012 and Van Winkle walked the aisle in 2013.

Hawaii 37, UNLV 35: The Rebels suffered a heartbreaking road loss last night in the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu to the Warriors in MWC action. Freshman Trent Riley, a 2013 MSHS grad from North Bend, saw action for UNLV, but recorded no stats of note.

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SVSJ preview: Mount Si gymnastics begins new era as member of Kingco 4A

EDITOR’S NOTE: We continue our Valley high school winter sports preview series this morning with our first look at Mount Si High School winter sports, today featuring their gymnastics team. 

The change in classifications and leagues for Mount Si High School’s athletic program, from Kingco 3A to Kingco 4A, is expected to result in much tougher competition for all Wildcat teams; the recently completed fall sports season showed that to be very much the case. But one sport where that change could be especially significant is gymnastics. The Wildcat gymnastics team, coached by Jessica Easthope, who is back for her eighth season at the helm, became a powerhouse at the 3A level, winning a number of league and district titles and earning state trips each of the past six seasons, finishing third in the 2014 meet, their best-ever finish.

Mount Si High School's gymnastics team poses with the SeaKing 3A championship trophy after the Wildcats won the district gymnastics meet last season. Mount Si is a new member of Kingco 4A this fall, and is expected to have a tough road if they want to be on top again this season. (File photo, photo courtesy Christy Trotto Photography)

Mount Si High School’s gymnastics team poses with the 2014 SeaKing 3A district championship trophy, won back in February. Mount Si is a new member of Kingco 4A this fall, and is expected to have a tough road if they want to be on top again this season.
(File photo, photo courtesy Christy Trotto Photography)

But the 4A Kingco is a whole different ballgame. Last season, Woodinville beat Newport for the state title, with an eye-popping 180.475, and the Knights weren’t too shabby, either, recording slightly under 173. Both scores, which if Mount Si hit them, would be undeniably school records.

So, what is Easthope’s approach this season? “I think the fans can expect my girls and my team and myself and the assistant coach Megan (Marino) to not back down from a challenge,” Easthope said. “I think we did get a little comfortable in our league as a 3A (team), so over the years, we’ve been improving our skills and making ourselves more tough competitors. We didn’t really have anything to chase, so I think now that we do, the kids are up for working towards bigger skills.”

The group of Wildcat gymnasts is led by seniors Jenn Rogers and Hailey Johnson, both of whom return after top-40 finishes at the state 3A meet in the all-around last season. Rogers herself finished ninth overall in that meet with a score of 36.125, and expects this season to provide a big test for her. “They can expect me to go out there and try to make a name for myself. I mean, it’s a new league, so it’s going to take a lot and I have to go out there and prove myself,” she said.

Johnson hopes to see a stronger showing from the team this season. “They should expect us to be hopefully better than last year,” she said. “It’ll be interesting.”

Rogers, Johnson, juniors Maggie Kenow and Abby Weber, and sophomore Samantha Holmes are all back this season and will form a very experienced five-girl group that should be expected to compete in most, if not all, events during meets this winter. Weber is coming back from missing last season due to a concussion, so her return likely will be very welcome for Mount Si as it looks to challenge in a tough Kingco 4A. The focus is going to be on how the girls compete in those meets, according to Easthope. “I want to teach them fight, I want to teach them grit, I want to teach them to earn every tenth they can,” she said, and to that end, she mentioned to the SVSJ during our interviews for this preview last week at Mount Si High School that she had spent part of one of their practices discussing with her athletes exactly that as it pertained to the beam routine, considered to be the toughest of the four events in the sport.

Several newcomers also are part of the group this fall; they include sophomore Lauren McCallum, and freshman Daisey Hartman, whose name fans may already be familiar with – she competed with the Wildcat swimming team this fall. Easthope likes what she sees from the new girls. “They are coming in pretty strong. We have not had to spend a whole lot of time on basics. We’ve been able to pretty much go straight into skills and routines, so that’s been I think a big advantage for us,” the coach said.

But one issue that could be a factor as time goes on is the team’s size. Mount Si this fall only drew 14 athletes – which sounds a bit low considering how well they’ve done in the past. “I would love to see the program grow,” Easthope said, but they are content with the small size due to the safety risks of the sport and the lack of coaches (just Easthope and Marino); a growth in the program, ideally to 20-25 athletes according to the coach, would necessitate additional assistant coaches. Mount Si had a third assistant a few years ago, but that coach resigned and that job was never filled.

The top teams in the league are all expected to be strong; those include the aforementioned Woodinville and Newport squads, but it is also expected Bothell will also be a tough foe this winter for the Wildcats.

With team scores likely needing to be closer to 170-175 for each meet for Mount Si to be competitive, start values for individual routines in events will be key. Rogers is working hard to achieve that now. “I’ll have a 10 start value hopefully on three out of four events. I’m working on vault right now,” she said, and as part of that, she’s working on what is known as a tsuk, a skill that usually results in higher scores from judges were that to be successfully completed.

Mount Si opens with a meet against Bothell December 4, and opens their home schedule December 11 against Redmond. The Wildcats will have three home meets this winter – December 11, January 8 and January 29. All meets are on Thursday nights and start at 7:00.

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Our Sunday news notes…..

Good Sunday morning. We’re busy this morning. We’ll have our college football scoreboard coming up, but first, we have a roundup of other sports action, then later this morning our Mount Si High School gymnastics team preview for the 2014-15 season.

Rugby
Valleyite to represent USA in international tournament: North Bend resident Aladdin Schirmer, a senior at Central Washington University and a Mount Si High School grad, has been selected to compete for the USA men’s national team at the upcoming HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

“Honestly, I had tears in my eyes when I heard I got selected. Ever since I started playing rugby, it has been my dream to represent my country on the field,” Schirmer said in comments released by CWU and posted on the school’s website. “This time last year I told myself I was done playing when we lost in the Sevens back in North Carolina. Coach (Tony) Pacheco helped me realize that this game is not just about me and he was able to help me realize that I have one last chance at this and I was dedicated to making the most of it.” And the coach is equally thrilled. “This is the highest level a player can reach in Sevens outside of the Olympics,” he said, also in comments released by the school. “Aladdin earned this opportunity with his performance on the field and his dedication to preparation.”

Schirmer was one of 12 athletes from all over the country selected to participate in the event, which is among nine tournaments held all over the world, and this particular tournament, according to the school, will double as the qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio. The top four ranked teams out of this event will make it to the Olympics, meaning we could see Schirmer compete for gold down the road if things go well in this upcoming event, which starts December 5.

A great honor to be sure, and we congratulate him on this recognition.

Basketball
William Jessup men 73, Oregon Tech 66: WJU senior Justin Downer, from North Bend and a 2010 Mount Si grad, scored 13 points on 5-11 from the floor, including three three-pointers, in 25 minutes of action, helping the Warriors win over host Oregon Tech in a tournament in Klamath Falls, OR. Downer also had a rebound and an assist in the contest.

Dickinson State 82, Carroll-MT men 69: Carroll suffered their second loss of the season, on the road in North Dakota to host DSU, despite 13 points on 5-12 from the floor, which included a three-pointer, and two free throws, from sophomore Zach Taylor, from Duvall and a 2013 Cedarcrest HS grad. Taylor also recorded three boards and four assists.

Cross Country
NCAA D-II Women’s Southeast Region meet, Montevallo, AL: Brevard College (NC) sophomore Madison Smith, from Duvall and a 2013 Cedarcrest HS grad, competed in the meet yesterday and finished well back in the 185-runner field, running the 6k course in 28 minutes, 51.82 seconds, good for 166th.

NAIA Men’s National Championships, Lawrence, KS: College of Idaho freshman Quinn Radbourne, from Duvall and a 2014 CHS grad, competed in his first nationals yesterday and finished 263rd overall in the race, clocking 28:09.50 over the 8k course.

NCAA D-II Women’s West Region meet, Billings, MT: Central Washington’s Brenna Eldredge, a 2011 Cedarcrest HS grad from Duvall, finished the season with an 82nd place finish in this meet yesterday. She clocked 23:28.00 over the 6k course.

Softball
Here’s scores from the Northwest Bullets’ Zacher 16U games at the Surf City tournament in Anaheim, where they went 2-1 yesterday:

Zacher 10, Irvine (CA) Sting 2: The Issaquah-based Zacher team opened their three-game set yesterday with a blowout win over a team from southern California; Mount Si High School sophomore Maddy Trout saw action for the NWB and went 0-1 with a walk.

Zacher 8, NorCal Blast (San Francisco) 2: NWB Zacher’s hot hitting continued with another blowout win, this over a team from the Bay Area. Trout struck out in her lone at-bat in the contest.

Arizona Hotshots Gatti (Phoenix) 4, Zacher 1: NWB Zacher’s lone loss on the day came under the lights last night, to a Phoenix-area team. Trout was also 0-1 in this contest.

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SVSJ preview: Cedarcrest High School girls’ hoops looks to re-tool in tough Cascade Conference after recent success

EDITOR’S NOTE: We begin our series of winter sports previews for Mount Si and Cedarcrest High Schools this morning with a look at CHS’ girls’ basketball team. Look for previews for other Red Wolves and MSHS Wildcats winter sports teams in the coming days here at the SVSJ. 

The Cedarcrest High School girls’ basketball program the past couple of seasons has had a very good run. Their 2012-13 season was full of history, as they made their first ever state tournament appearance, and they followed it up last season with another solid showing, finishing 17-5 and 12-2 overall within the Cascade Conference. However, this winter, the team begins a re-tooling phase, as several top seniors graduated this past year, and they are being replaced by a younger group of girls who could be just as hungry for success.

Back as coach for his fourth season is Brad Knowles, and he returns three seniors who have seen it all these past two seasons. Megan Ditore comes back likely as the go-to option for the Red Wolves on offense. Ditore, who earned second-team all-Cascade honors last season as a junior, averaged over 10 points a contest and led the team in three-pointers in 2012-13. Fellow senior LuAnn Townley also returns, and is expected to provide solid defense, while Avery Rich will be a mid-season addition; she is currently recovering from off-season surgery on her knee.

The top newcomer this winter for the Red Wolves is expected to be freshman Haley Hill. “Haley is a physically strong player who can score inside or from the perimeter,” Knowles said by email to the SVSJ. Hill will look to fill the void left with the graduation loss of Cascade MVP Susan Kenney, who has taken her talents to the next level, as one of three players from the graduating 2014 class that are playing collegiately this fall. Kenney is at Centralia College, while Lacey Deming, the Red Wolves’ top defender last season, is at Skagit Valley Community College in Mount Vernon, and Kalee Fowler, who was Kenney’s sidekick on offense last winter, is at Northwest University in Kirkland and has already seen playing time this season for the Eagles.

Knowles expects the league to be a big challenge this fall, but does have a goal in mind. “We’ve gone to the district playoffs every year since I’ve been here and we want to do it again,” Knowles said. “It won’t be easy with only two teams going this year (from the Cascade Conference). We play an uptempo style of basketball, but to do it we have to get rebounds and steals.” Knowles expects King’s and Archbishop Murphy to be the teams to beat within the conference, and he anticipates Sultan, Lakewood, and Cascade newcomer Cedar Park Christian to also be quality opponents. “We are the young team in the league and have to play tough and our best to be competitive,” Knowles said. And he is right, too – outside of the three aforementioned seniors, his entire roster this season is going to consist of sophomores and freshmen.

As noted, Rich is recovering from a serious knee injury and resulting surgery. Knee injuries, specifically tears of the anterior cruciate ligament, are a big issue in girls’ athletics, and basketball is no exception. Knowles works with his players to prevent such injuries.”We have always done a pre-practice ACL exercise routine that strengthens both the knee and ankle. We also encourage every player to wear ankle braces,” he said.

The season opens with a pair of non-league games against Kingco 2A/3A opponents – a home date December 5 against Sammamish, then a road trip the next day, December 6, to meet Interlake. The Red Wolves open the league schedule Thursday, December 11, against King’s. Games will start mainly at 6:45 p.m., although the Saturday games – the December 6 game and a home date December 20 against Hazen – are afternoon start times (3:45 p.m.). Cedarcrest, after spending the past couple of years in a holiday tournament in Bellingham, are this year scheduled to compete in an event down south, in Napavine, December 26 and 27.

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