Local athletes win at state track championships

May 28, 2013

By Greg Farrar Liberty High School teammates (from left) Ashby Brown, Hiron Redman, Romney Noel and Alex Olobia link arms and display their 4x400-meter relay medals after winning second place with a time of 3 minutes, 20.42 seconds during the 3A state track and field championships May 25 in Tacoma.

By Greg Farrar
Liberty High School teammates (from left) Ashby Brown, Hiron Redman, Romney Noel and Alex Olobia link arms and display their 4×400-meter relay medals after winning second place with a time of 3 minutes, 20.42 seconds during the 3A state track and field championships May 25 in Tacoma.

Immediately after Liberty High School track stars Alex Olobia and Hiron Redman competed in the last race of their high school careers, the seniors embraced as they shook off the disappointment of a second-place finish in the 4×400-meter relay at the state track and field championship.

“Bellevue had just that much more, just a little bit more,” Redman said. “He just got me by a 30th of a second. That’s it.”

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Patriots find hidden gems during rebuilding year

April 23, 2013

By Greg Farrar Romney Noel (center), Liberty High School sophomore, beats Mount Si’s John Proctor (left) and Bradley Stevens over the last 100-meter hurdle to win in a time of 15.7 seconds.

By Greg Farrar
Romney Noel (center), Liberty High School sophomore, beats Mount Si’s John Proctor (left) and Bradley Stevens over the last 100-meter hurdle to win in a time of 15.7 seconds.

When in the midst of a rebuilding year, coaches like Liberty High School’s Michael Smith are resigned to appreciate the little victories.

Take, for example, the Patriots’ home track meet April 18 against Mount Si. In the steady rain, Smith was able to find the silver lining in the girls’ narrow 2-point win and the boys’ 30-point loss.

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Liberty High School relay buddies take final trip to podium

May 29, 2012

Josh Gordon (left), Liberty High School senior, gets the baton handoff from teammate Hiron Redman for the anchor leg of the 4x400 3A state championship relay race May 26 in Tacoma. By Greg Farrar

Hiron Redman could barely believe it.

“Wow,” he thought. “This is it.”

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Local high schools’ track teams evaluate mid-season progress

April 10, 2012

Joey Domek, Issaquah High School junior, leaps a barrier as he wins the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 17.54 seconds April 5 against Bothell. Domek also persevered in the 300 hurdles with a time of 44.4 seconds. By Greg Farrar

If there’s one single word in the English language to describe a strategy in high school track, it might be survival.

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Retiring Sports Editor Bob Taylor shares milestones from a long career on the sidelines

March 6, 2012

Kasen Williams, then-Skyline High School senior, makes his winning triple-jump leap of 45 feet, 5 1/2 inches, during the KingCo track and field championships May 13, 2011, at Juanita High School. File

I kind of know how Bill Gates must have felt when he made his first million. When I joined The Issaquah Press news staff May 22, 2000, I struck it rich, too!

Five days after being hired at The Press I covered my first Issaquah School District state championship team. Actually, it was inevitable that an Issaquah team would win when Issaquah and Skyline met for the 3A state baseball title in Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium. Issaquah won 5-3.

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Kasen Williams leads parade of 2011 best efforts from individuals, teams

December 27, 2011

Peyton Pelluer (right), Skyline High School junior linebacker, and teammate Nic Sblendorio (9), junior defensive back, combine to throw Woodinville senior running back Devin McKee to the turf during the 4A state semifinal game Nov. 26. By Greg Farrar

It was a year of state titles for Skyline High School, and the end of a career for a Spartan who always seemed to be in championship form.

When he graduated last spring, Skyline’s Kasen Williams left a legacy that might never be duplicated in the Issaquah School District. He was definitely the most dominant figure in the local sports scene in 2011.

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Humble and respected, Liberty’s Josh Gordon is a quiet success

November 29, 2011

Liberty High School senior Josh Gordon, a leading receiver for the Patriots in 3A KingCo football, is being recruited by the University of Washington and Brigham Young University. Contributed

Josh Gordon, a standout athlete in track and football, Eagle Scout, honor student and brother, identified himself as a competitor at a young age.

Gordon and his father were attending a University of Washington football game and Josh pointed to the field.

“Someday, I’m going to make a touchdown there,” Josh told his father.

Now 17 and attending his final year at Liberty High School, Gordon is working hard to make good on that promise. He’s the leading receiver for KingCo in 3A football, and if football doesn’t work out, Gordon will look to track and field. As a junior, he won first place at state in the long jump and 1,600 relay, adding to the second-place medal he earned as a sophomore.

One would think his success might change his personality, or make him susceptible to the culture of boastful talking.

Not Gordon.

“Josh is the most humble kid you will meet,” said Mike Smith, the boys coach for track and field at Liberty. “He wants to be on the relay, not just individual sports, and if someone needs help, he’s the first one to jump in, taking time out of his own practice.”

It’s a trait that has won him the respect and admiration of his teammates on both fields of play, said Steve Valach, Liberty football coach.

“When we were down 21 and four in with Juanita, we had seconds on the clock. Josh caught the ball and ran it back for the game-winning touchdown,” Valach said

No jumping up and down. No grandstanding.

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Issaquah grad earns first win

July 26, 2011

Former Issaquah High School pitcher Matt Wickswat, who is playing for the Winston-Salem Dash in the Class A Carolina League, recorded his first victory of the season July 8 by blanking Myrtle Beach 5-0 in a rain-shortened home contest in front of a sellout crowd of 6,673.

The contest was stopped in the bottom of the eighth because of rain.

Wickswat, in his second start with Winston-Salem, cruised through the Myrtle Beach lineup. After allowing a one-out double in the second inning, the lefthander retired 15 straight batters. He finished with a two-hitter and five strikeouts.

Wickswat followed with a 6-3 victory against Lynchburg on July 14.

He was also selected Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending July 10.

On July 19, Wickswat improved his record to 3-1 when the Dash defeated Kingston 11-6.

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For Devin Bennett, the final piece of a family legacy

July 19, 2011

In the quiet farmland of Pasco, where the scorching summer sun routinely drives temperatures into the triple digits, Devin Bennett wakes up before 5 a.m. to get to work.

Devin Bennett, Liberty High School senior, jumps out at the start of the 400-meter race May 20 during the 3A Sea-King District Championships, qualifying for state with a time of 51.01 seconds. By Greg Farrar

From mid-June to mid-July, he spends between 10 and 12 hours per day on his family’s cherry orchard, loading bins of fruit onto a tractor.

Although Bennett — a 2011 Liberty High School graduate — has come to the farm each summer for the past six years, this is the first year he has taken to grueling manual labor.

The hard work fits perfectly in line with his tremendous work ethic.

It’s a work ethic that led him to success as an athlete. It’s a work ethic that led him to success as a student. And it’s a work ethic he will build upon when he joins the track-and-field team at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., as a walk-on next year.

Driven by his will to put in the effort, Bennett hopes to become a college decathlete, competing in 10 different events.

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Lakeside hurlers toss no-hitter

June 14, 2011

Connor Gilchrist, Aaron Sandefur and Andrew Kemmerer combined on a no-hitter June 11 as Lakeside Recovery’s Senior American Legion team blanked Garfield, 7-0, in the second game of a doubleheader.

Lakeside Recovery, 7-1 in league play and 7-4 overall, also won the opener, 11-1.

In the second game, Gilchrist was the starting pitcher and picked up his first victory of the season. The Skyline High School player worked the first three innings before getting relieved by Sandefur, of Newport. Sandefur pitched the next three innings. Kemmerer, of Issaquah, worked the seventh inning.

Nate Anderson, a Newport High School player, had three hits, one a home run, and knocked in three runs for Lakeside. Kemmerer had two hits and two RBIs.

In the opener, Lakeside scored 11 times in the bottom of the fifth inning to snap a two-game losing streak. Dan Altchech, a Newport graduate, had two hits and three RBIs to lead Lakeside.

Altchech capped the fifth inning with a home run. Wes Blackburn, of Skyline, had two hits and drove in a run. Winning pitcher Brandon Lundeberg, of Skyline, tossed a complete game, allowing two hits and striking out nine batters.

Lakeside Recovery dropped a tough nonleague game June 8 to Chaffey, 4-3, at the Husky Ballpark. Lakeside got a strong effort from pitcher Travis Snider, of Skyline, but poor defensive play cost the club, which made five errors.

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