The 2017 Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal’s Year in Review, part 2

Good Wednesday morning. Time now to complete our year in review series. We had our first part yesterday; we finish it today with part two, with five of our biggest stories this year which we covered here for you at the Journal.

5. Valleyite Johnson delivers on summer diamond: It was a special summer baseball season this past summer for Snoqualmie’s Evan Johnson. Johnson, a 2015 Mount Si High School graduate who is a senior this coming spring for the University of Northern Colorado’s baseball squad, came home for the 2017 college summer baseball campaign, playing over on the east side of the Cascades with the West Coast League’s Wenatchee Apple Sox. And the first half of the season was simply off the charts. He hit better than .400 for much of it, and racked up the homers and RBI’s, earning him a spot on the WCL’s northern division All-Star team. He tailed off as the season went on, but finished with a solid .321 batting average, a franchise-record 54 RBI’s for the season along with seven homers. Wenatchee missed the playoffs, and saw their season end tragically as one of their California-based players died suddenly just before the season came to a close in August. But Johnson’s special season, if he can translate that to success this coming spring, could see him end up in professional baseball, perhaps as another ex-‘Cat getting drafted, we’ll see.

4. CHS cross country advances to state: The Cedarcrest High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams both advanced to state this past fall after both finished in the top four at the Northwest District meet. But the October 28 district race, at South Whidbey High School, proved to be the defining race of the season, especially for the boys. The girls took third as a team, so they made it in comfortably (with lead runner Elsie Dombek finishing third overall in the race), but the boys were on the bubble. We’ll leave it once again to coach Bruce McDowell to tell us the story, which is frankly our quote of the year by the way.

“For this race, we ran nine (a scoring seven and two alternates). However, the alternates were pre-designated and weren’t scored in the meet. On the ferry ride to the meet, Ryan LaTurner (one of our designated seven) came to us (McDowell and assistant coach Dean Vergillo) and said he didn’t think he could run at his best due to him being sick all week. So we made a last minute switch and moved Brady (Shaw) from an alternate spot to one of the designated seven. Brady ran as our #4 today. Started the day as our #8. Finished the day as our #4. Certainly, Brady gave us that extra push to state,” McDowell told us by email. Shaw’s performance in part helped guide the CHS boys to a fourth-place finish, earning them a ticket to Pasco. Both teams ended up with top-10 finishes at state November 4, and a number of them then ran the following weekend November 11 at a regional meet in Idaho doing very well.

The Red Wolves squad will lose a number of seniors, of course, but this fall is once again shaping up to be a strong one. And regardless of what league they’ll be competing in, they’ll be very competitive.

3. CHS girls’ soccer makes state: The Red Wolve ladies had another stellar season, but unlike last year, when they fell short of making state, this fall they made it, going all the way to the Northwest District title game, and finished as the runner-up, as they fell to Liberty. Coach Alex Hickox and his strong crew, anchored by senior keeper Dakota Barnes and a number of top young offensive stalwarts, opened state on a strong note in November, taking care of Longview’s R.A. Long. They then went on the road for their second-round match, against White River in Buckley, and fell to the Hornets, ending their season. Still, though, CHS had nothing to be disappointed with, a 14-3-3 finish with a top placing in the Cascade Conference.

2018 shapes up to be a different kind of year as a result of the impending league change for CHS, which we will have plenty of discussion about as that becomes more official. That said, some of their success came against teams from outside of the Cascade, so they should be competitive wherever they end up this fall.

2. Mount Si football falls in playoff heartbreaker: The Mount Si football team faced a gauntlet to start the season. The four teams they were vying with for postseason -Bothell, Woodinville, Skyline and Eastlake – were opponents in the first four games of the season. The Wildcats went 2-2 in that four-game opening stretch and that sparked them to a 7-2 record in the regular season that sent them into the week 10 playoff first round once again. They faced a strong Monroe team in that first game in November, but how the game ended is what will be remembered, as the Wildcats suffered perhaps their most painful playoff loss in nearly 10 years.

With the lead late in the game, Mount Si fumbled the ball back to the host Bearcats, whose star running back, Isaiah Lewis, scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown with 17 seconds left, giving Monroe a 44-40 win and the Wildcats their first-ever loss in these week 10 playoffs since the opening round format was introduced back in the middle part of the last decade. Mount Si ended the season at 7-3, but returns a strong quarterback-receiver combo in Cale Millen and Jonny Barrett this fall. They do, however, graduate jack-of-all-trades senior Jesiah Irish, who as you know just a few days ago signed a letter of intent to attend and play for Oregon State this fall, and people are looking for big things from him at the next level.

1. Snoqualmie’s Warford establishes himself as one of the top youth golfers in the entire Northwest: This past summer was a special one for Mount Si High School boys’ golf star Drew Warford. Warford, from Snoqualmie, achieved a rare feat for youth boys’ golfers – win his state’s youth golf association championship and follow it up with a regional one. He did that in the stroke of a couple of weeks back in August. First, Warford, on August 3, beat four other competitors by a pair of strokes with an ever-par 216 for three rounds to win his boys’ age group at the Washington Junior Golf Association’s state tournament in the Tri-Cities.

Then, two weeks later, Warford traveled to Oregon to compete in the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s junior boys’ amateur championships, seeing him take on the best of the Northwest. And things started out well for the local, as he made it all the way to the semifinals August 17, taking on arguably the favorite to win it all – that being Oregon’s Scotty Kennon. Kennon held the lead most of the way, but Warford found a way to get it done. The Valleyite was one down in the match-play round on the 18th hole and needed to win that hole to force extra holes. He did just that, with a birdie, then on the first extra hole, he birdied it again to win the hole and stun Kennon.

Warford used that win to spark a run to the title, in another sudden-death barnburner, this a 36-hole contest on August 18 between him and Colt Sherrell, from Maple Valley. Warford opened the match with the lead, which he maintained through much of the early portion, before his opponent rallied to himself take command. But a par on the 17th in the second half of the match won him that hole and helped force extra holes again, and Warford took control on that first extra hole, birding it to win the title and become the first youngster from the Valley we believe in the history of this event to take the title. It has continued to be a strong fall for the Wildcat, as he helped lead Mount Si to a strong season and earned another trip to the state tournament next spring, where he’ll look to improve upon a 28th-place finish in 2017.

So there you have it. Our year in review, with some of our biggest stories of this year here in the Journal.

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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