The Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal’s Year in Review, Part 1

We have a three part series today, tomorrow, and Friday for you with the top 15 events we covered for you here this year involving Valley sports. There were so many good choices this season some events may not have been given the kind of importance you feel they deserve, so if you want to comment about our picks, let us know in our comments or better yet, send us an email at snovalleysports@gmail.com. Note that we have made some changes to our comment system in order to eliminate spam, so be aware of that.

Now to our picks. We’ll start with 15, then finish with 11.

15. Valley college softball star leaves her mark
The past five years have been nothing short of an adventure for former Mount Si softball pitching great Kandis Clesson, as she battled tremendous controversy and turmoil behind the scenes of her college program at Idaho State. Clesson went through three coaches in that span, the first two having been let go over issues related to their conduct as coaches of the Bengals. She, too, battled an injury in her freshman year which knocked her out of action and made her redshirt that season.

But all the while, she stayed loyal to her program and her teammates, and that loyalty will not soon be forgotten by those there at ISU. Especially since she, during an April doubleheader against Weber State, broke the career pitching wins record for the Bengals, with her 37th win as an ISU pitcher. She went on to win several more contests and finished with over 40 wins.

Clesson graduated in June with a degree in athletic administration, similar to what current Mount Si baseball coach Elliott Cribby got from the University of Washington. She is currently looking for opportunities, but in the meantime, there is a possibility she may come back and help coach for the Wildcats in 2012, which if that materializes will be huge for a program which is fast developing a deep, young pitching staff.

14. Boeing Classic golf tournament continues to grow, thrive
It was another exciting year for the Snoqualmie Valley’s flagship sporting event, the Boeing Classic golf tournament up at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. There was another playoff for the title, won by Mark Calcavecchia, and the tournament made news in several ways this year that showed why it has become one of the top events on the Champions Tour for the PGA men’s pro golfers 50 and older.

First, the tournament sponsors, Boeing and Virginia Mason, agreed to an extension of their sponsorship of the event, keeping it on the Tour calendar for a few more years, then at the end of the season in December, the tournament was awarded with a postseason award from the Champions Tour, one of only several tournaments on the entire schedule which received an award.

The event has been scheduled for next August 24-26 at the TPC, and according to the Champions Tour schedule, is the final tournament before the Tour takes a month-long break from action, so it is likely a lot of top golfers will be back once again for the event in 2012.

13. The Class of 2011 sets new standard for Valley high school athletes’ college potential
The senior classes of both Cedarcrest and Mount Si High School this year graduated in June after breaking historic new ground, and that will mean big things for the future of local youth athletes.

Over 40 kids from the two schools combined signed letters of intent during the 2010-11 school year to compete in college sports this fall, and that list is led by several athletes who signed Division I scholarships. Those included Mount Si boys’ soccer star Ryan Herman (Santa Clara), Cedarcrest football star Jared Klingenberg (Idaho), Mount Si volleyball player Zoe Gogan (Washington State) and Mount Si girls’ soccer player Alexis Pearlstein (Ball State).

Klingenberg’s signing was the first D-I football signing in Cedarcrest/Tolt football history, and the overall number of signings out of Mount Si, some 30, was maybe the largest such class in total in school history.

That success is continuing this fall for members of the Class of 2012, with several more Division I signees/verbal commitments. This list includes Cedarcrest girls’ soccer player Gwen Bieck (Oregon State), Mount Si football player Josh Mitchell (also Oregon State), Bieck’s CHS teammates McKenna Swanson and Maggie Pleis (Sacramento State) and Mount Si softball player Maura Murphy (George Washington University, Washington, D.C.)

12. Mount Si volleyball returns for another state trip
It was a tale of two halves to this fall’s volleyball season for the Wildcat volleyball team. The team started out somewhat sluggish, as the group battled growing pains with a re-tooled team following the graduations of several seniors from 2010’s state-bound group. But a late-season come-from-behind win against a scrappy Interlake Saints team was the spark which drove Mount Si to a strong finish this season, which included another trip to state despite a opening-game district tournament loss to Bainbridge.

Mount Si finished sixth after beating Meadowdale and Camas and falling to Mount Spokane and Prairie.

The Wildcats had several players earn postseason honors, led by senior Sarah McDonald, and coach Bonnie Foote finally got the regional recognition she has worked so hard to achieve by being named the Seattle Times volleyball Coach of the Year, the first time a Mount Si coach has gotten such regional praise since former coach Gary McGregor got it for baseball after the 2005 season.

11. Mount Si gymnastics finishes strong at state
2010-11 was another dream season for the Wildcat gymnastics team, as they made it through league, winning the Kingco title, then districts, to make it back to state, where they finished sixth back in February.

Senior Kennedy Richmond, who graduated back in June, led the way for Mount Si at state, finishing 15th overall, and her sister, Hannah, was right behind in 31st. Hannah is back this winter leading the Wildcat team, but this year’s team is especially deep, and especially good.

Hannah Richmond, a junior this season, is joined in the elite group by Lexi Swanson, Elizabeth Holmes, Mackenzie Brown, Jenn Rogers, Jessica Trotto, Hailey Johnson and Carissa Castagno. Having so many great gymnasts is a good problem to have for coach Jessica Easthope, and the team is ensuring that continued success by promoting the program with younger girls through hands-on camps, which they did for the first time a few weeks ago.

We’ll have 6-10 tomorrow, then 1-5 Friday.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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