Issaquah School District teams reflect on 2012 missions accomplished

December 25, 2012

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.

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Eagles eke out victory over winless Spartans

December 18, 2012

Ty Gibson (5), Issaquah High School sophomore guard, collides with Skyline junior guard Jonah Eastern, who goes to the floor as Nels Thorsrud (left) looks on during their Dec. 14 matchup. By Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Thousands of prep basketball fans jammed into Issaquah High School’s gymnasium Dec. 14 to witness the annual pre-holiday KingCo 4A hoopfest between winless Skyline and the 4-1 hosting Eagles, who pulled out a 49-48 nail-biter in regulation.

Skyline, seeking its initial victory, appeared to be well on its way to doing just that as the Spartans held a 24-19 advantage at intermission, behind the shooting of Jonah Eastern, who wound up being the leading scorer with 20 points.

“I told our guys in the locker room at the break, that if they wanted to win this game, they were going to have to earn it. It was apparent from the way that the Spartans were playing, that Skyline wasn’t going to just hand over the triumph to us. That is what this rivalry is all about, though. These battles with Skyline are almost always barnburners,” Issaquah head coach Jason Griffith said. “Ty Gibson, Jake Henke and Cory Nevin, among others, all really stepped up tonight in the fourth quarter especially, doing a better job of executing our sets and attacking the basket.”

Gibson and Henke were the top point getters in the showdown, combining for 32 points.

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Issaquah girls basketball team bolts out to 5-0 start

December 11, 2012

Jozie Crisafulli, Issaquah junior forward, is double-fouled taking a shot during the first quarter by Garfield’s Aireonna Davis (right) and Cierra Levias. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School girls basketball squad has compiled a 5-0 overall record in its first five contests and is the frontrunner in the Crown Division of the KingCo 4A.

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Cedric Cooper lands on feet after leap to Skyline

December 4, 2012

Cedric Cooper, Skyline High School senior running back, eludes a Bellarmine Prep tackler on a 5-yard carry in the fourth quarter. By Greg Farrar

Difficult circumstances led Cedric Cooper to Skyline High School for his senior year. But he’s made an easy transition, helping the top-ranked Spartans return to the Class 4A state football finals.

It’s been an unexpected ride for Cooper, a running back and cornerback who played at 2A Foster High School in Tukwila the past two years. He had mixed emotions last summer when family issues forced him and his mom to move in with a friend in Sammamish.

“I wanted to stay at Foster because I had my friends there, but I’m open to a lot of new things,” said Cooper, who has moved a lot. He played freshman football in South Carolina.

He’s enjoying Skyline’s success. Foster was 10-10 in his two seasons.

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December 4, 2012

Athletes’ triumphs create community pride

Skyline High School’s football and soccer teams just keep bringing home honors to the Issaquah School District. The Issaquah and Liberty high school teams have also added many awards to the virtual district trophy case.

Skyline girls soccer took first in state for the fourth time in five years. And the Dec. 1 state playoff football game gave Skyline the gridiron title again for the fifth time in eight years. Skyline’s 200-medley relay team won the state swim title last month.

Issaquah is a known winner among 4A KingCo teams. The Eagles came in second, to Skyline, for the state girls soccer championship. This year’s football team reached the playoffs. The school’s wrestlers won the district title in 2011 and sent six wrestlers to state.

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Issaquah Eagles stand tall, tested on basketball court

December 4, 2012

If there is one thing even the casual observer notices right away about the Issaquah High School boys’ basketball squad, when its players come jogging out onto the hardwood for warmups, it is the fact that it looks like a basketball team.

In basketball, as in other sports, sometimes the intimidation-through-imagination factor is worth its weight in gold, but with the Eagles you don’t have to peruse a roster to easily surmise you could be outrebounded by these guys — it is clearly visible and obvious the Eagles possess great overall team height.

Coach Jason Griffith guided the Eagle hoopsters to the promised land as a crescendo to the 14-10, 2011-12 outing and is heading into his third campaign as the man at the helm for the Issaquah program.

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Skyline High School wrestling struggles to fill top of roster

November 27, 2012

With 32 athletes already signed up and several returning state qualifiers, the Skyline High School wrestling team is hopeful as it continues to hunt for a heavyweight competitor to complete the lineup.

“We are strongly optimistic. We have a good bunch of returning young men and we have some good athletes that are turning out,” coach Gus Kiss said.

The Skyline Spartans finished 7-3 last year in KingCo dual meets and qualified four wrestlers for the State Mat Classic, including Kara Alden. The team’s only female went on to become the team’s top finisher after taking sixth place in the 145-pound girls division. She returns this year as a junior.

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Liberty High School wrestlers adjust to home away from home

November 27, 2012

Joanna Moreira, Liberty High School freshman (top) wrestles Garfield junior Amanda Triandafilou in the 132-pound women’s match in an exhibition match last January at Issaquah High School. By Greg Farrar

The uniform will say Liberty, but for the 2012-2013 wrestling season, the Patriot wrestlers will have to call Maywood Middle School home due to construction going on at Liberty High School.

It’s been an adjustment for the squad, Liberty coach Manny Brown said. The team practices at Maywood but must wait to use the wrestling mats until the middle school team is done.

“Since Liberty is in construction mode, we will have all of our home matches over at Maywood Middle School,” he said. “It’s worked out well for us, but we still miss being home at Liberty High School.”

Despite the inconvenience, Brown said the team is excited and eager to build upon its fourth-place finish at last year’s KingCo 3A Conference championships.

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Issaquah wrestling team sees return of 17 lettermen

November 27, 2012

Jonathan Norris, Issaquah High School junior, wrestles his opponent in the 285-pound class on the way to winning with a pin, during the Eagles’ match against Woodinville last January. By Greg Farrar

As another Issaquah High School wrestling campaign gets under way, there can be little doubt that if any group of mat men has a head start on the rest of the conference, it would have to be the guys in the purple-and-gold grappling gear.

The Eagles began the season with 32 young men vying for starting spots in the varsity lineup, 17 of which are returning lettermen. The Eagles swing back into wrestling filled with confidence, after forging a 9-1 league mark in 2011-12, as well as wrapping up the KingCo 4A title and taking a half-dozen wrestlers to state a year ago.

One of the six wrestlers representing the IHS banner at the state tourney was 285-pound heavyweight Jonathan Norris, who took sixth in state as a junior.

Eagle wrestling coach Kirk Hyatt said Norris provides an enthralling example of what can happen, if you keep your nose to the grindstone in your training endeavors and never leave anything out on the mat.

On the other end of the spectrum for Issaquah is featherweight freshman Steven Solusod, who has at least been penciled in as the 106-pound selection for the Eagles. The wrestlers have not been assessed or certified yet, though, so little else is certain, according to Hyatt, an Eagle alum in his 17th season as the main mat mentor at IHS.

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Skyline blanks Issaquah for girls state soccer championship

November 20, 2012

Bianca Saint (right) screams and leaps into the arms of Brooke Holland as the Skyline High School girls soccer team is awarded its state 4A championship trophy Nov. 17 at Carl Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, after beating cross-district rival and co-tournament finalist Issaquah, 1-0. By Greg Farrar

Sometimes, really good things come in small packages.

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