The morning round of cuts, and a note from your editor about Cedarcrest’s class of 2019

Good morning. We’ll have some diamond cuts for you coming up but we first want to take some time to recognize the Class of 2019 at Cedarcrest High School, who are graduating tonight in a ceremony to be held at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond.

Tonight is a special night for those Cedarcrest seniors, as they all celebrate graduation and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives, as they move onto college or other endeavors and become adults.

The moment for all of these kids, whether they are athletes or not, is one that has been earned through a lot of years of hard work and sacrifice, both by the kids themselves and their families. These young men and women have faced many challenges over the years, both individually and as a group, but they have risen above that to make it to this special night tonight.

It has been your editor’s honor and privilege these past four years as a local writer to tell the athletic stories of this great group of kids. Whether it’s been boys’ three-sport leader Chris Busch (football, basketball, baseball), girls’ basketball leader Cassidy Sweney, boys’ two-sporter Tyler Gray (football, baseball), girls’ softball players Michaela Carter or Katelynn Smith, soccer athletes Caleb Chung, Brooke Benson, Connor McCabe or Sarah Hommas, or dozens of others too numerous to mention here, the accomplishments of these kids, both on the field and in the classroom, are accomplishments that will forever be etched in history.

But tonight’s ceremony will feel a lot different for this group of seniors than past years, as not a minute likely will go by without kids, their parents or others there (administrators, teachers, other school staff) taking time to think about their memories of Bryce Hefner, who should be walking this graduation aisle tonight with his fellow seniors but sadly will not, him as you know having passed away suddenly earlier this spring. This senior class, along with a lot of people in the Cedarcrest campus community, are still coming to grips with his passing and tonight will be a night that won’t simply be about celebrating the accomplishments of this senior class, it will also be a night where seniors and their families get a chance to think about Bryce’s accomplishments and what he meant to all of them individually and as a group.

Cedarcrest High School senior Bryce Hefner, who passed away earlier this spring, was slated to graduate tonight along with his fellow CHS class of 2019 members. He is seen here with one of the many awards he received during his school years, proof of how amazing an individual he was on many different levels. (Photo courtesy Kate Hromada)

We got in contact this past week with his mom, Kate Hromada, and she sent us a beautifully-written piece describing Bryce and what he meant to his community. So here that is now.

Bryce Hefner has been a part of this community from Kindergarten through his senior year at Cedarcrest High School. He was loved and cherished not only by his teachers, but fellow students and coaches. He was a great athlete who cared about his coaches and his teammates. He grew very close with his basketball team, a team that started playing in middle school together. They were some of his best friends, he viewed them as family. He ran track and cross country and grew to love running. He formed new friendships on these teams that he valued tremendously. Bryce was always someone who cared deeply for others. He was the ultimate team player.

Bryce’s exceptional sportsmanship stood out across all sports. Parents, opposing coaches and players often mentioned how Bryce was the first one to pick up a fallen player on either team. When he was not playing, he emphatically cheered on his teammates and patted them on the back. His coaches would speak about how much he cared, and about the high standard he held himself to. It was said more than once that Bryce almost cared “too much”, but it was reflected in how hard he worked and never got in the way of his sportsmanship and care for others. He was known for his smooth, graceful style on the court and his unorthodox running form. He was everyone else’s number one fan often dressing up or making signs to cheer on his classmates.

Bryce wrestled in sixth grade, played baseball for several years in little league and played a few years of Junior Red Wolves football. He played advanced club basketball for i-Ball and traveled to Texas where he was able to meet Gary Payton.

Outside of sports, Bryce had a passion for computer programming. He started a small app company with his closest friends and participated in numerous extracurricular coding events. He was in the chess club and debate club. He enjoyed, music, art, and food. He enjoyed traveling. He loved spending time with family and just hanging out at home. He enjoyed skateboarding and snowboarding. Bryce recently began to take an interest in investing.

In eighth grade Bryce won the humanitarian award at school. This speaks to his compassion and big heart. He has volunteered at local food banks (and at) Eastside Baby Corner sorting clothes. He helped at the basketball camps for kids in the summer, he volunteered with the special needs miracle league basketball team, he planted trees for Redmond Parks, and completed 35 community-service hours helping ESL students at Cedarcrest after school. Bryce was a great student completing classes like AP Computer Science, Honors Physical Science, Honors Biology, Spanish 2, Pre-Calculus, Game Programming, Advanced Programming, Animation.

Bryce was an asset to the community bringing kindness wherever he went. He was always very courteous and quick to help out people in need (opening doors, buying someone lunch, being available to talk, etc.). For prom he organized a signing group with flowers and a sign to do a “promposal” that went viral with over 4 million views. This shows the incredible thoughtfulness and kindness that is Bryce. He was the ultimate gentleman.

Since his passing, many classmates and teachers have come forward with stories about the great kindness Bryce consistently displayed. From making a new student feel welcomed when they were struggling, to just making kids feel “present” by acknowledging them when so many others wouldn’t. He was friendly and often used humor to lighten the mood or break the ice. We have heard students tell us that Bryce was the reason they were able to tackle challenges in their lives. Most of all Bryce was an active participant in the Cedarcrest class of 2019.

Bryce was heading to Western (Washington University) in the fall for Electrical Engineering. Our community has lost an incredibly kind and beautiful soul. Bryce, there is only one you and you will be greatly missed.

We thank Kate for sharing this with us about Bryce and from this, you can tell this class of 2019 has a big hole that it will never be able to fill. Bryce, we believe, was destined to be a star as a young adult, a star in his own way, a star that would leave an indelible mark on his community for many years to come. Bryce had a tremendous future ahead of him, and these seniors now will seek to carry on the vision that he left behind, one that exemplifies success but also makes sure that it is achieved the right way, with class, respect for others, humility and dignity. Bryce’s legacy will be an example, in our view, for others at Cedarcrest and throughout the Riverview School District to follow in future years, and this school, this lower Valley, will forever benefit from the impact he left behind.

This Cedarcrest Class of 2019 will move on after tonight, many headed to college, others to the military or the workforce. There will be some challenges on that trail, but there will also be opportunities for these kids to chase, opportunities which may see them head elsewhere. But these kids will always have a piece of this Valley in their hearts, and will always carry with them a piece of the vision that Bryce left them. A vision which we just noted, one of seeking out success but doing so the right way. And we trust this group will do just that, and achieve as a group in their own way that vision.

We salute this Cedarcrest Class of 2019, and wish them good luck in their future travels, and we also dedicate this morning’s round of diamond cuts to the memory of Bryce, whose impact on this community will never be forgotten.

The ceremony is at 6:30 tonight down at OCC and, unlike Mount Si’s, is not webstreamed.

Time now for this morning’s round of cuts. Youth highlights powered by Gamechanger and the Gamechanger app, available on Apple IPhones and IPads in their app store.

Bellevue Dragons 16U Elite 4, Rippers Baseball 16U 3: This one under the lights at Hartman Park in Redmond last night saw the Dragons score four in the third to break the ice but then have to hold on down the stretch after the Redmond-based Rippers plated three in the fourth. Mount Si’s Anthony Gilden went 0-4 for BDE while Mason Pudwill paced the Cedarcrest duo on the Rippers, going 0-1 with a walk and run scored. Fellow Red Wolve Kian Pegueros-Warren went 0-3 for Rippers.

City Baseball Showcase 1, Washington A’s 18U Premier 0 (9): Seattle-based City took the extra-inning pitcher’s duel at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. 2018 Mount Si HS grad Will Scott was the hard-luck losing pitcher in this one for the Sammamish-based A’s, allowing that one run in the ninth unearned on two hits, striking out two in his one inning of work. He also went 0-3 at the plate.

FSP Baseball 18U 6, Northwest Bandits 2: The Eastside rivals squared off down in Kent in the SPL Invitational with Mount Si’s Harrison Clark powering the Bellevue-based Ford team to the win; he had a hit, walk, run scored and drove in two more runs for FSP. Fellow Wildcat Troy Baunsgard added a hit, walk and run scored to the efforts as well for Ford. A name familiar to Mount Si fans, John Tveit from North Creek, paced the Kirkland-based Bandits, going 1-4 with an RBI.

WW Sweets 15U 19, Northwest Naturals 2: Mount Si’s Aidan Dougherty aided a balanced Sweets effort, going 3-5 with a double, two runs scored and three RBI’s as the Sammamish team beat their city rivals at Skyline High School in Sammamish last night on the strength of a 10-run fourth inning.

Northwest Naturals 17U 12, West Seattle Hammers 0: The Sammamish-based Nats blanked the Seattle team in the opener of the GSL Father’s Day weekend tournament in Enumclaw last night on the strength of a one-hitter from pitcher Alec Morrison, from Eastlake, and solid performances from their Mount Si duo of Cam Ferreri and Jack Mardon. Ferreri had a hit, a walk, reached base a third time after being hit by a pitch, scored all three times he made it on base and drove in two more runs. Mardon, while going 0-2, had a walk and also scored a run for NWN, who continues play in the tournament through this weekend.

City Baseball Navy 4, Juanita Baseball Club 16U 3: Also in GSL Father’s Day weekend action down in Federal Way, Kirkland-based Juanita could not rebound following a four-run second from Seattle-based City in a tournament-opening loss. Mount Si’s Jake Mitton went 0-1 for JBC.

Spokane Dodgers 6, Washington A’s 18U Premier 3: The Dodgers doubled up the A’s on the strength of a four-run third to take this one in the SPL Invitational. Scott, home this summer after finishing his freshman season with the Colorado School of Mines NCAA Division II college team, went 1-3.

College Summer Baseball
Victoria sinks Yakima Valley: A four-run eighth helped the Victoria HarbourCats rally from a 3-1 deficit to post a 5-3 win over the Yakima Valley Pippins in a West Coast League game over in Yakima last night. Mount Si High School alum Justin Lutz went 0-3 for Yakima, and hasn’t gotten a hit yet with the Pippins since joining them last week prior to their series with Wenatchee. He is currently looking to transfer to a four-year school after finishing up his career with the Community Colleges of Spokane.

Walla Walla rolls over Highline in non-league battle: Missed this from Wednesday but the WCL’s Walla Walla Sweets routed the Pacific International League’s Highline Bears, from Burien, 9-2 at home in eastern Washington. Of note here for Valley fans is that Cedarcrest HS grad Riley Mallot worked an inning of relief for the Bears and it went well as he allowed just one hit and walked one but did not allow any runs. He received no decision. The sophomore played this spring for a college in California after spending his freshman college season last year with Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities. Mallot is a 2017 CHS’er from Duvall.

Minor League Baseball
Mount Si alum earning praise for solid play: We of course have mentioned prominently how well 2012 Mount Si High School grad Trevor Lane is faring this season with the New York Yankees “AA” minor-league team in New Jersey. Well, it appears we’re not the only ones.

Writer Greg Corcoran with the Bronx Baseball Daily blog this week posted a rundown of some of the top players with the Trenton Thunder, that Yankees’ “AA” team, and Lane made his list. And Corcoran provided tremendous praise for the North Bend product, in his fourth season with the Yankees after being drafted by New York out of college in 2016. Noting the Valleyite’s strong ERA this season of under 1.50 and a ratio of better than two strikeouts for every walk in his 30-plus innings of work this season primarily with Trenton (he also, as you know, pitched last Friday night in an emergency outing for the Yankees’ advanced “A” team in Florida), Corcoran had this to say about Lane: “(H)e is getting dangerously close to the majors. His stuff is considered major league caliber.” Corcoran also noted that opposing hitters are hitting just .154 against the Wildcat alum, a stat he called “unbelievable” but one that should be music to the ears of the Yankee player development department.

A lot of good stuff here that definitely suggests the likelihood of a mid-season promotion to New York’s “AAA” team in Scranton, PA, which, if it happens soon, could put Lane on a collision course for perhaps a call-up to the Yankees for September that, if it were to occur, may see him be a factor in the pennant chase for New York this season as they are currently battling for the lead in the American League East. So if Lane keeps this up, you might see him wearing pinstripes sooner rather than later.

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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