Liberty girls basketball team finishes third in KingCo

February 3, 2012

NEW — 11:30 a.m. Feb. 3, 2012

The Liberty High School girls basketball team bounced back from two tough losses earlier this week to defeat visiting Mount Si 57-46 Thursday in the Patriots’ final regular-season contest.

Liberty finished third in the KingCo Conference 3A/2A standings with a 10-4 record. The Patriots, 14-6 overall, host Mercer Island at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in the opening round of the league tournament.

The Patriots, who lost to co-leaders Lake Washington and Juanita earlier in the week, shot to a 17-12 first-quarter lead against Mount Si and never looked back. Liberty held a commanding 27-17 halftime lead on Senior Night.

Appropriately for the Patriots, seniors played a major part in the victory. Senior Aspen Winegar scored a game-high 17 points. Seniors Stephanie Year, Megan Tsutakawa and Morgan Safley contributed nine, seven and three points respectively. Sophomore Sierra Carlson added 16 points.

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Who’s News

January 31, 2012

Brian Ruggles is named athlete of the month

Brian Ruggles

Senior Brian Ruggles was named Issaquah High School Booster Club Red Robin Athlete of the Month.

Ruggles is swim team captain. His coach, Laura Halter, wrote in her nomination letter that Brian “has been an outstanding leader so far this season. He is hard working and very dedicated to his sport training in the off-season almost daily. He leads by example in and out of the pool, always demonstrating good sportsmanship and respect for all other athletes, coaches and volunteers.

“He appreciates everything that people do to make our program successful and he is a main ingredient in that success. The younger athletes look up to him and really enjoy his sense of humor and attitude.”

He has been a district qualifier for the past three years and a state qualifier last year, and is on pace to do so again this year. Ruggles has also been involved in many activities, such as the Issaquah Youth Advisory Board for the past three years. He is serving as the Outreach chairman and is in charge of publicity for all of the board’s events.

Ruggles has helped tutor the high school physics review session and also tutored other students in Spanish, math and general homework. He earned his lifeguard certification and worked last summer as a lifeguard and swim instructor, as well as helped coach some team practices. Ruggles has also won a contest for the design of his K’nex roller coaster model.

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Eagles’ swim team is eager to return to the pool after winter storms

January 24, 2012

Issaquah High School boys swimming coach Laura Halter probably had the best idea about getting away from Old Man Winter. Halter and her family spent last weekend playing golf in Phoenix.

With the high school and the Julius Boehm Pool both shut down last week, Issaquah swimmers, like other winter sport athletes, were unable to get practice time.

“I can’t wait to get the team back in the pool and get things organized,” said Halter, who is preparing the Eagles for the Jan. 27 KingCo Conference Invitational at the University of Washington. The meet starts at 4 p.m. and is made up of swimmers from KingCo 4A, 3A and 2A schools.

Issaquah enters the meet with the state’s fastest 4A times in the 200-yard medley relay (1:41.14) and 400 freestyle relay (3:21.28). The Eagles are also second in the state in the 200 freestyle relay (1:33.34).

Halter said the rankings are nice but might not be a true indication.

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Brian Ruggles leads Eagles to win swimming meet versus Wolves

January 17, 2012

Brian Ruggles (bottom), Issaquah High School senior, passes an Eastlake swimmer on his way to winning the 100-yard backstroke Jan. 10 at the Julius Boehm Pool. By Christopher Huber

It was Brian Ruggles’ day to be in the water.

Despite having to swim against Ed Kim, Eastlake High School’s phenom sophomore, in the relays, the Issaquah senior dropped time from his 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke performances Jan. 10 to help the Eagles beat the Wolves, 109-76, in a KingCo Conference 4A meet at the Julius Boehm Pool.

Ruggles, who also helped Issaquah win the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard free relay, improved his state time in the 50 free when he finished in 22.57 seconds. And in the 100 backstroke, he cut 2.5 seconds from his previous district-qualifying time, finishing in 57.79 seconds.

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Liberty wrestlers take down two KingCo opponents

January 13, 2012

NEW — 4:45 p.m Jan. 13, 2012

The Liberty High School wrestling team posted two easy KingCo Conference 3A/2A victories Jan. 12 when the Patriots walloped Juanita 53-21 and crushed Sammamish 48-18.

In the Juanita match, Conner Small (138) and Austin Whitely (152) had pins for Liberty. Hamilton Noel (160) won his match with a technical fall.

In the Sammamish match, Small and Noel Brandon (195) had pins for the Patriots.

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More honors for Skyline quarterback Max Browne

January 10, 2012

Skyline High School quarterback Max Browne continues to collect accolades. Most recently, he was selected as one of 20 juniors for the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl that showcases top players from across the nation.

In addition, he earned honorable mention on’s 2011 High School All-America team, and was named the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year, and the Associated Press Player of the Year for all classifications. Browne has been rated by as one of the first five-star recruits in the 2013 recruiting class.

Browne threw for 4,034 yards and 45 touchdowns last season and helped Skyline to an 11-3 record and the 4A state title.

According to, Browne has received scholarship offers from California, Clemson, Colorado, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

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Issaquah swimmers breeze by Redmond

December 20, 2011

Austin Melody won two races and swam as a member of two victorious relay teams Dec. 13 to lead the Issaquah High School boys swimming team to a 110-75 victory against host Redmond.

Melody won the 100-yard freestyle in 52.6 seconds and captured the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.94. He swam as a member of Issaquah’s 200 individual medley relay team, which finished first in 1:47.73. Willy Matsuda, Dave Nam and Brian Ruggles were other members of the relay team.

Melody was the lead swimmer on the Eagles’ 200 freestyle relay team, which finished first in 1:37.37. Spencer McCulloh, Gabe Florsheim and Nam were other members of the relay team.

Issaquah made a clean sweep of the relays by winning the final event, the 400 freestyle relay. McCulloh, Matsuda, Nam and Ruggles made up the relay team, which finished first in 3:30.51.

Matsuda also took first in the 50 freestyle in 23.24. Ruggles captured the 100 backstroke in 1:00.32.

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Life on swim team is sink or swim, not just men in Speedos

December 20, 2011

My thoughts on swim team, two months ago: pale men in Speedos. My thoughts on swim team, now: pale men in Speedos, who make me feel fat.

By Jacob Brunette

When I had joined swim team on a whim, I had assumed that pretty good physical fitness and basic knowledge about how to swim would be enough to put me somewhere in the middle of the team. Instead, I ended up swimming about as well as a drunken monkey. With asthma.

My arms flail around, my lungs can hold approximately no air, my legs kick more weakly than you would think possible after running cross-country for five years, and I have multiple scabs from scraping the bottom of the pool after a flip turn. (You would think turning around wouldn’t be that difficult. You would be wrong.)

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Issaquah swim team sprints by Inglemoor

December 13, 2011

The Issaquah High School boys swimming team captured all three relays, winning two in state-qualifying times, as the Eagles cruised by visiting Inglemoor, 103-82, Dec. 8 in a KingCo Conference 4A meet at the Julius Boehm Pool.

Issaquah opened the meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay in a state-qualifying time of 1 minute, 43.62 seconds. Willy Matsuda, Brian Ruggles, Gabe Florsheim and Dave Nam made up the relay team.

Matsuda, Spencer McCulloh, Nam and Ruggles made up Issaquah’s winning 200 freestyle relay team, which had a state-qualifying time of 1:33.21.

The Eagles closed out the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:30.81. McCulloh, Nam, Florsheim and Melody made up the relay team.

Ruggles won two other races. He captured the 100 breaststroke in a state-qualifying time of 1:02.93 and finished first in the 200 individual medley in 2:05.40.

Other Issaquah first places came from Melody in the 200 freestyle, Florsheim in the 50 freestyle and Matsuda in the 100 freestyle.

On Dec. 6, Issaquah topped host Newport, 89-87, at Mercer Island’s Mary Wayte Pool.

Matsuda, McCulloh, Melody and Ruggles made up the 400 freestyle relay team for Issaquah as the Eagles won a thrilling race in a state-qualifying time of 3:25.44. The Eagles just edged Newport for first in the event.

Newport was a close second in a state-qualifying time of 3:25.85.

Issaquah also took first place in the other two relays.

Matsuda, Melody, Florsheim and Nam won the opening race of the meet, the 200 medley relay, in a state-qualifying time of 1:44.33. McCulloh, Florsheim, Nam and Ruggles made up Issaquah’s winning 200 freestyle relay team, which took first in 1:34.63.

Melody won the 500 freestyle in 5:13.58 and took the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.38.

Other Issaquah first places came from Matsuda in the 100 backstroke, Ruggles in the 200 freestyle and Spencer Gevers in diving.

The two victories boosted Issaquah’s KingCo Conference 4A record to 4-0.

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Skyline, Issaquah wrestling teams open season with wins

December 9, 2011

NEW — 12:05 p.m. Dec. 9, 2011

The Skyline and Issaquah High School wrestling teams opened their KingCo Conference 4A seasons Thursday with victories.

Skyline hosted Ballard and Roosevelt in a double dual. The Spartans crushed Ballard 66-15 and topped Roosevelt 46-36.

Issaquah overwhelmed visiting Redmond 60-18.

In the Skyline-Ballard match, Griffin Howlett (113), Jerred Kiss (126), Tyler White (138), Tyler Aguirre (145), Ian Crouch (152), Michael Mecham (160) and Douglas Lawson (170) recorded pins for the Spartans.

In the Skyline-Roosevelt match, Nathan Swanson (106), Howlett, Tristan Steciw (120), White, Crouch, Lawson and Cyrus Sarkosh (182) had pins for the Spartans.

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