Top sports stories of the year
December 31, 2013
Issaquah athletes take top state honors
It was another successful year for Issaquah community sports.
Athletes at the three district high schools took home conference titles and state championships, while an Issaquah racing team made a splash on the water.
Here’s a recap of the top local sports stories in 2013:
Liberty soccer wins state
The Liberty girls soccer team captured its first state title with a 2-1 victory against Kamiakin Nov. 23.
It was an improbable finish for the 2013 Patriots, who didn’t even win their league championship, which went to Bellevue. But they won the only trophy that mattered.
They got some early postseason momentum with a shocking upset of top-ranked Columbia River in the first-round. Liberty was the first team to score on the defending-champion Chieftains this season, notching a 2-0 victory on the road.
“To end your season with a win, only one team does it and we’re glad it’s us,” Liberty coach Tami Nguyen said.
Kip Brown wins gold
The National Football League has the Super Bowl; Major League Baseball has the World Series; but for hydroplane racing, it’s the Gold Cup that stands as the pinnacle of the sport’s achievements.
Local team Our Gang Racing, of Preston, took home that gilded trophy, after driver Kip Brown came in first place in the Detroit American Power Boat Association’s Gold Cup July 14.
Brown, of Ravensdale, drove the 95 Spirit of Qatar, in what Our Gang Racing principal owner and Issaquah attorney John O’Brien said was one of the best races he had ever seen.
District boys swimmers excel
All three school district boys swim teams competed at the 2013 State Swim and Dive Championships Feb. 15-16 and each came home with a first-place finish.
Issaquah High School’s 200 freestyle relay team of Willy Matsuda, Henry Pratt, Gabe Florsheim and Spencer McCulloh surprised everyone but themselves with a come-from-behind, first-place finish in 1 minute, 28.95 seconds.
Skyline High School’s Max Levy won the 1-meter diving championship, compiling 463.50 points to obliterate the competition.
Finally, Liberty High School senior Raymond Ha successfully defended his title in the 100 breaststroke with an All-American consideration time of 57.79.
Issaquah, Liberty tennis doubles teams take second
The top doubles tennis teams from Liberty and Issaquah high schools had a lot in common this season.
Both teams paired a senior with a junior. Issaquah’s girls team consisted of senior Sam Garrard and junior Kelsey Wilson, while Liberty had a similar duo of senior Kristy Braunston and junior Jenny Adams.
The teams each took second place at the KingCo championship. Garrard and Wilson finished second to Garfield in the 4A tournament, while Braunston and Adams fell to Mercer Island in the 3A competition.
Finally, in what was a rematch of the KingCo championship for both teams, each earned second-place medals in the state tournament May 25.
Skyline cheerleaders claim state title
For the third time in three years, the Skyline High School green cheer team walked away from the Cheerleading State Championships on Jan. 26 with the state title.
The girls’ score of 253 points in the large 3A/4A division not only shot them to the top of their own category but it also was the highest score earned by an all-girls team in any category. The only squad that scored more was a co-ed team from Kentwood.
Issaquah’s final Gellatly brother suits up for senior season
When Jack Gellatly played his final football game at Issaquah High School this year, it was the end of a glorious era that began with his brothers Cameron, Matt and Grant.
Arguably, no family has meant more to Issaquah High sports than the Gellatlys, with all four boys starring for the football and baseball teams. When one graduated, another one would surely follow, leaving opposing coaches lamenting, “Another Gellatly?”
Issaquah athletics without a Gellatly is something that the Eagles haven’t had to worry about in more than 10 years, but it will soon become a reality, as the final Gellatly is in his senior year.
Skyline girls basketball team advances to state quarterfinals
While the season ended in disappointment with losses to Mead and Inglemoor, the Skyline Spartans girls basketball team turned a lot of heads in its march to the 4A Elite Eight.
The Spartans (20-7 overall, 13-2 conference) had a balanced lineup, as guards Rachel Shim and Lacey Nicholson aligned with Colorado-bound post Haley Smith — the KingCo Player of the Year — to form a dangerous scoring trio.
Liberty’s Mackenna Briggs recaptures state title
Liberty junior Mackenna Briggs captured her second individual crown in three seasons, winning the 100 butterfly (55.02).
Briggs, who won the 100 backstroke title as a freshman, also finished second this season in the 200 individual medley (2:04.71) at the Nov. 15-16 state swimming championship.
Issaquah soccer comes in second, again
This was supposed to be their year.
After a painful loss to rival Skyline in last year’s state championship, the Issaquah High School girls soccer team was not about to let the sting of second place plague them again.
The Eagles got off to a great start in 2013, finally defeating the Spartans in a thrilling shootout victory in the state quarterfinals Nov. 16.
They ran past Olympia with ease, notching a 3-0 win in the state semifinals Nov. 22.
Yet, for the second straight year, the Eagles came up short in the 4A state title game after a heartbreaking 3-2 penalty-kick shootout loss to Central Valley at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium Nov. 23.
Issaquah coaches named to halls of fame
Issaquah coaches Gwen Robertson, Rob Reese and Brandon Fortier were each selected to their sports’ state hall of fame this year.
Robertson was named to the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame; Reese was elected to the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame; and Fortier was added to the Washington State Lacrosse Hall of Fame.