State volleyball preview, part 1: Travel information for Wildcat fans who want to head east to see the games

We will be doing a three-part series of items here today through Wednesday getting you ready for the 2010 state volleyball tournament in the Tri-Cities, which Mount Si will be a participant in once again. We begin this series by, for the third straight year, offering you Wildcats volleyball fans some information that you will need to know before you head over to the Tri-Cities to watch the state volleyball tournament this weekend. So let’s get to the skinny.

About the event:

-The tournament is being held at the Toyota Center arena in Kennewick, right near Columbia Center Mall on the west side of town. This arena is home to the Tri-City Americans hockey team.

-To get there from the Valley, you will want to get on I-90 in North Bend and head over the pass to Ellensburg. At Ellensburg, I-90 hooks up with I-82 (exit #110). Exit onto I-82 going south towards Yakima. Head down I-82 through Yakima and east through the Yakima Valley until you reach the Tri-Cities. At exit #102 is the interchange for I-182, which is a spur freeway linking I-82 with the Tri-Cities. Take this exit and follow I-182 east to the SR 240 interchange, and exit going south. Follow SR 240 to the Columbia Center Blvd. exit – this is the exit going to the mall, and take this exit. Turn right onto Columbia Center Blvd. and follow south to Quinault Ave. Turn left on Quinault and follow that road to a traffic circle. In front of you at this traffic circle is the arena, turn right off this traffic circle and follow to the parking lot entrance which is on the left. Parking is free. Total trip time is about 3 hours, and will be longer if there is snow in the passes, so take the chains.

-The first match time is to be determined, but it may be in the afternoon, so fans should be able to leave Friday morning and make it in time. As it is, just because it’s at a certain time doesn’t mean it will start at that time. It will start 20 minutes or so after the completion of the previous match on that court, so if matches are running long, chances are it will be later on in the day. The WIAA only has scheduled 90 minute blocks for each match, so if a match runs four or five sets, it will run over this time. There are four courts in the venue, with seating at the ends of the courts on both sides as well as side seating on the two end courts. Also to be determined is which court Mount Si will play on; we’ll let you know all this info as soon as we get it.

-Tickets will cost $9 for the day, $15 for both days for adults. Get the both days pass, you will want that one for sure. $7 for the day, $10 for both days for students. Tickets can be purchased at the walk-up window at the main entrance to the arena.

-There are several hotels within short distances of the arena; these include a Hilton Garden Inn, a Red Lion, a Comfort Inn and a Fairfield Inn. We are not sure where Mount Si will be staying, but in the past they have stayed at the Red Lion hotel, which we have linked here. Punch Kennewick, Washington in the search box along with the other info needed there, and off you go. A check of their site shows that the Kennewick Red Lion has sold out this weekend. However, other Red Lion hotels in the area however still have rooms, so check with those hotels as well.

The Comfort Inn and Quality Inn hotels just down Quinault are a bit less expensive, so if you’re more budget conscious, those would be good places to look. There is also a new hotel near the arena, called the Cedars Inn & Suites. Roomas at all of these places are going fast; infact many of these hotels may not have rooms when you call or log on to book them. If you plan on going, but need a room regardless of the hotel, book it TODAY. There is a good likelihood you may have to book a hotel farther away from the arena; one hotel that other Mount Si teams have stayed at in the past when over there for games is the Hampton Inn in Richland, see website here. Search Richland, Washington. They do have rooms available and are charging $115 a night for those.

For more info here’s a link to the Tri-Cities visitors bureau. It would be wise to book Friday and Saturday nights if possible due to the long driving distance and the possible weather issues across the pass. And there’s also the fact that Mount Si could be in a placing game and those don’t start until late on Saturday.

-Note that whatever hotel you stay at, chances are there will be at least one or more teams who will be there as well. All of the 2A, 3A and 4A teams will be competing in their respective tournaments there, meaning a lot of potentially loud teenage girls in their rooms late at night, maybe next to yours. Be aware of this if you are an early sleeper.

-All of these hotels are also within walking distance of the Columbia Center Mall, which is owned by Simon, the same people who own North Bend’s factory outlet mall. This blogger made a stop in there on some down time during the 2007 event, and we can say it’s a nice mall, similar in size and store selection to maybe Capital Mall in Olympia. The Columbia Center Mall includes a Sears, Penney’s, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, Toys ‘R’ Us and a movie theater. There is a food court inside the mall which includes an Ivar’s, DQ, Cinnabon and Sbarro Pizza. There are a number of sit-down places in and around the mall; these include Applebee’s, Old Country Buffet, Red Lobster, Azteca Mexican Restaurant, P.F. Chang’s, Red Robin and Shari’s. The Red Lion hotel which we mentioned before also has a sit-down restaurant as well.

-There are concessions at the arena, but these are a bit limited and a bit pricey so if you can avoid these, your wallet will be happy you did. Tournament souvenirs will also be available there as well, you may want to spend your $$ this way.

-And one last thing: All of you who go, whether you are students, parents, or just regular fans, are representing your community at this event. Show class inside and outside the arena and behave yourselves. The last thing we want to report in the Valley Record is an incident involving the Mount Si team or fans which reflects negatively on our community. Mount Si won a sportsmanship award at the 2007 event which was one of a very few awarded during the event to an entire fan section; let’s do this again in 2010.

We hope this information helps you get ready for this weekend if you plan on going.

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.View all posts by Rhett Workman →

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