Issaquah School District teams reflect on 2012 missions accomplished

December 25, 2012

By Staff

Jubilant members of the Issaquah High School boys swim team and their coaches hoist their state 4A second place team trophy and give themselves a cheer Feb. 18 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah School District high school sports teams have a strong tradition of excellence, and 2012 was no different.

Athletes took home conference titles, state championships and even national awards.

Skyline quarterback Max Browne ended his storied career with a state title, earning Gatorade’s National Football Player of the Year along the way.

Issaquah boys swimmers earned their best state finish ever, taking home second place.

In November, the Liberty girls soccer team made it to state again, under the tutelage of yet another new coach, coasting to a fourth-place finish.

Here’s a recap of the top local sports stories in 2012:

Skyline football legacy continues with state title

The Skyline High School Spartans dominated high school football this year. The team culminated its perfect 14-0 season Dec. 1 with its fifth state title in eight years by beating Bellarmine Prep, 49-24.

“I feel awesome. This is the very best,” Coach Mat Taylor said. “It continues to get better every year.”

Within Skyline’s first drive of the night, Max Browne became the state record holder in career passing. By the time Browne had thrown his last pass as a high school quarterback, he had broken Brian Lindgren’s (DeSales) 14-year-old record of 12,575 passing yards. Browne now holds the record at 12,951.

That same week, Browne was named one of six finalists for the 2013 U.S. Army Player of the Year Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding senior in high school football participating in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Liberty High School loses a legend

The Liberty family was dealt a devastating blow in October, when the community learned that longtime announcer Dan Braillard had passed away.

Braillard spent 25 years announcing Liberty football games and 15 years calling Patriot basketball games.

After Sept. 11, before every game, Braillard would ask fans to stand and honor the servicemen and servicewomen stationed around the world with a moment of silence. It became his signature call.

“Friday night at Liberty was kind of a production,” Liberty football coach Steve Valach said. “Dan used that microphone as a way to just enhance the whole experience. It was kind of like a Shakespearean performance.”

Braillard’s passion for the blue-and-green ran deep. For him, there was nothing better than sitting down in the bowl that is Liberty’s field, watching the sun set and rooting for the Patriots.

Liberty football games will never quite be the same without the “Voice of the Patriots.”

Issaquah grad Jennie Reed wins Olympic silver in London

After going on to become a world champion sprint cyclist and participating in two Olympiads, Jennie Reed was ready to hang up the bike in the metaphorical garage and retire. When she was invited to be part of the team pursuit for the 2012 games, she knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

When Reed found herself competing in the summer Olympic games bicycle racing, it was the attention that the sport gets in London that probably sent her over the moon emotionally and consequently provided her with the impetus to claim silver.

The biggest difference for Reed about London compared to her previous two Olympiads in Beijing, China, and Athens, Greece, was the interest that Great Britain has in track cycling.

“It was cool going in because I’d never experienced that before. The athletes engaging in this sport are like national heroes. There was a lot more media, a lot more attention on it. You run into people, fans, and all of a sudden people know exactly what you’re talking about.”

Skyline cheerleaders earn state, national honors

Skyline High School cheerleaders finished another successful season in seventh place at the National High School Cheerleading Championship.

Skyline’s Silver and Green squads traveled to Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 11-12 and gathered with 22,000 athletes at Walt Disney World for nationals. The more than 600 teams were split into different categories depending on their size and types of routines.

The Skyline Silver squad competed in the Medium Varsity Non Tumbling group; they finished seventh. Skyline’s Green team performed in the Medium Varsity Division 1 category — one of the hardest divisions, according to head coach Stephania Lemeshko — but did not place.

Before nationals, Skyline took on squads from the state on Feb. 4 and came out on top. With a score of 231 points, the Green team took first place in the medium 4A division, finishing ahead of Ballard, Marysville Pilchuck, Battle Ground and Bellarmine Prep.

Issaquah girls’ tennis goes undefeated, wins KingCo

As far as KingCo 4A tennis was concerned in 2012, there was a new sheriff in town.

The Issaquah High School girls tennis team went 10-0 on their way to the KingCo conference championship. Along the way, they defeated quality opponents in Skyline and Woodinville, and even beat Newport, who had not lost to another school in more than 10 years.

“After we beat Newport, we caught fire in the conference,” head coach Shannon Small said. “It was quite an accomplishment for the girls … they were ecstatic.”

After toughing out some terrible weather early in the season, Issaquah was able to put in hard work in the limited practice time they had.

“A lot of them gave up other sports to focus on making varsity,” Small said. “It’s just great for them to be able to walk away from their high school career as KingCo champs.”

The road to the state championships was next, for which Small said she has two hopefuls — Samantha Garrard and Kelsey Wilson. But for now she’ll sit back and take in their accomplishment.

Spartans relay swimming prowess into state title

When the Skyline High School girls 200-yard medley relay team marched out to the pool at the 2012 4A Girls State Swim and Dive Championships, it was ready for battle.

First off the block in lane four was Spartan Kristaley Umezawa; next to her in lane five was Stacy Maier, swimming backstroke for the Issaquah Eagles. The two emerged for their first breath at the same time, throwing their arms back in synchronized windmills. Maier edged ahead and Issaquah’s Kayla Flaten maintained the slight lead over Andi Scarcello in the second leg.

Then, Stephanie Munoz, of Skyline, dove in for the third leg and passed Eagle Kellie-Marie Langan. Keeping the momentum going, Maria Volodkevich dove in the pool for the final leg and pulled ahead of everyone to take the title for the Spartans with a time of 1 minute, 49.12 seconds.

Skyline, which won the overall state title in 2009, 2010 and 2011, finished fifth overall with 132 team points.

Skyline soccer wins another state championship

For the fourth time in five years, the Skyline High School girls soccer team claimed the 4A state title Nov. 17. When the dust cleared that evening at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium, the Spartans had blanked their KingCo 4A nemesis, Issaquah, 1-0 to claim the state crown.

At the 15-minute mark of a hard-fought game, Skyline sophomore striker Isabella Marshall registered the encounter’s solitary goal when she took a picturesque assist from fellow sophomore forward Amanda Johnston and, amid heavy traffic in front of Issaquah’s goal, legged in a left-footed rocket from about 5 yards out.

“When you work hard, believe in yourselves and play confidently … you can achieve great things,” Marshall said.

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