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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Issaquah schools high schools keep same classifications

January 24, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Jan. 24, 2012

Issaquah, Skyline and Liberty high schools will all remain at their current classification levels for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board approved the classification enrollment figures to the next two schools years at its Monday meeting.

According to the figures, Skyline (1,443.57 students) and Issaquah (1,396.47) both were clearly in the 4A classification. Liberty (870.64) opted up to remain at Class 3A.

When the new classification system was implemented for the 2010-12, the goal was to balance the number of schools in each class so they would have equal post-season opportunities, or as close to it as possible. Currently, there are 66 schools in 4A, 67 in 3A, 64 in 2A, 65 in 1A, 62 in 2B and 62 in 1B.

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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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Liberty student athletes prepare for collegiate soccer

December 20, 2011

Kimberly Fry, Liberty senior midfielder (right), and Nicole Candioglos, Skyline senior midfielder, brace for impact with the soccer ball during a Sept. 6 match. By Christopher Huber

Liberty High School seniors Cassidy Nangle and Kimi Fry know success on the soccer field isn’t something that’s just handed to you.

“You just have to make sure you put in the dedication and hard work, and it really pays off for you,” Fry said. “You can’t just hope for it, you have to work for it every day.”

For Nangle, soccer has been something she keeps going back to because even though the sport requires time, dedication and sacrifice, there’s nothing sweeter in the world than winning a close game or helping a team make it to the state championship match.

“There’s no other greater feeling than that reward, that payoff,” she said. “Success requires sacrifice. It’s a sport that lives by that quote. I’ve thrived on that. I feel like you have to be very self-motivated, very team-oriented to be successful in this sport.”

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Issaquah’s Audrey Thomas named 4A KingCo most valuable player

November 29, 2011

Several athletes make all-league soccer team

Audrey Thomas (left), Issaquah junior midfielder, and Brooke Bofto, Skyline sophomore midfielder, battle during the Oct. 18 soccer match. By Greg Farrar

One of the smallest players in KingCo Conference 4A girls soccer had a mighty big impact this season.

Audrey Thomas, just 4-feet-11, was a dynamo on the pitch for Issaquah High School. The junior midfielder led the conference in scoring and sparked the Eagles to the 4A state tournament.

She was also selected the league’s most valuable player.

“She won it by a landslide,” Issaquah coach Tom Bunnell said. “She was just so dynamic.”

Although on the small side, Thomas commanded respect from every team she played against.

Thomas scored a league-leading 10 goals and had 11 assists to tally a league-leading 31 points.

“She is extremely quick and she can jump like nobody’s business,” Bunnell said. “She has the whole package. She has a great knowledge of the game and very good vision. Teams would come up with plans trying to stop her, and she always would find a way to avoid that plan. She is tough physically and can take a hit.”

Thomas was joined on the all-KingCo first team by teammate Lyrik Fryer, a freshman defender.

“Lyrik is fantastic,” Bunnell said. “She really took to the position. She had a great freshman season.”

Fryer’s speed made her a force on defense.

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‘Further than it’s ever been’ for Liberty soccer team

November 22, 2011

Liberty takes second at 3A state soccer championship

Kali Youngdahl (8), Liberty High School sophomore midfielder, is mobbed by teammates Mollie Cooke (left) and Kailiana Johnson after putting the Patriots up 2-0 with a goal in the sixth minute. By Greg Farrar

After the Liberty High School girls soccer team dropped its first match of the season to the Skyline Spartans on Sept. 6, the Patriots made a commitment to themselves — and each other.

“We never wanted to feel that way again,” Liberty starting forward and co-captain Cassidy Nangle said.

Eighteen straight victories, including the 1-0 win against Eastside Catholic Nov. 18 to catapult Liberty into the 3A state championship game, brought the Patriots closer to their ultimate goal: a state title.

The Nov. 19 state championship at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup pitted experience against unfamiliarity as Liberty faced Seattle Prep, the defending state champions who have played in the title game five of the past six years.

It was Liberty’s first time in the final game in the school’s 34-year history.

After battling hard into the final seconds of the game, the Patriots fell to the Panthers, 3-2.

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Local high schools’ fall sports teams wrap up

November 22, 2011

Girls cross country finally makes state

Kim Bussing Issaquah High School

Issaquah High School’s girls cross country team made a triumphant return to the state championships earlier this month, finishing 10th overall and placing 21st out of 72 teams.

The 2011 season commemorated the team’s first return to state in 13 years after succeeding in various invitationals, finishing second at the KingCo Conference and placing fifth at districts.

Notable runners include senior Rachel Osgood, who placed 32nd overall at state; freshmen Ellie Clawson, Cayla Seligman, Abby Wilson and Ellie Hendrickson; and sophomore Amanda Chalfant, all of who participated at state.

“Everyone improved drastically,” captain Madison Callan said. “The team worked really hard this year, and we ended up holding a season record of 9-1.”

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Liberty falls to Seattle Prep, takes second at state

November 19, 2011

NEW — 5:45 p.m. Nov. 19, 2011

Battling into the last seconds of the game, the Liberty High School Patriots were defeated by the Seattle Prep Panthers 3-2 in the 3A state soccer championship game Saturday at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

After Liberty junior Kiana Hafferty found the back of the net with an assisted goal from senior Cassidy Nangle only two minutes into the game, sophomore Kali Youngdahl slipped a goal by Panthers goal keeper Abby Rockwell. Kimi Fry assisted the goal six minutes into the game.

Liberty coach Jamie Giger said being up 2-0 is often the one of the most difficult places to be in a competitive game.

“You feel comfortable,” she said. “You feel that you have the game…that’s just the way it goes. They came back. Give it to them, they played really hard when they were down.”

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Liberty girls soccer team takes out Chieftains, Seagulls to reach semifinals

November 15, 2011

Kiana Hafferty, Liberty High School junior forward, threatens to score again in the second period against Columbia River Nov. 9 after giving the Patriots the early lead in a 2-1 victory. By Greg Farrar

It has been a while but the Liberty High School girls soccer team has reached the Class 3A state semifinals again.

Liberty defeated Columbia River, 2-1, Nov. 9 in the first round of the state tournament, and then downed Everett, 2-0, Nov. 12 in the quarterfinals.

The Patriots, 17-1-0, meet Eastside Catholic at 4 p.m. Nov. 18 in the semifinals at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium. Meadowdale and Seattle Prep meet in the other semifinal at 2 p.m. The winners play for the state title at 2 p.m. Nov. 19 and the losers meet at 10 a.m. to settle third and fourth place.

This is the fourth time Liberty has reached the semifinals. The last time was in 2001, when the Patriots fell to West Valley of Yakima, 2-0. Liberty also lost to Lakeside, 2-1, on a shootout in 2000, and fell to Highline, 2-1, on a shootout in 1998. Each time the Patriots finished third in the tournament.

The KingCo Conference 3A/2A champions reached the Final Four thanks to its victory against visiting Everett.

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Liberty girls soccer advances to state quaterfinals

November 9, 2011

NEW — 8:40 p.m. Nov. 9, 2011

With a 2-1 win over the Columbia River High School Chieftains on Wednesday, the Liberty Patriots advance to the quarterfinal match up in the state soccer tournament.

Liberty junior Kiana Hafferty gave the Patriots a quick 1-0 spark with an early goal in the first half.  Despite an aggressive pace set by the Chieftains throughout the first half, Liberty was able to maintain the 1-0 lead into halftime.

After Easton Kawawaki, a Chieftain sophomore, kicked a goal passed Patriot keeper Macaire Ament four minutes into the second half, Liberty senior and team co-captain Cassidy Nangle answered back with a game-winning goal for the Patriots.

“They’re a good team, I wouldn’t take that way from them at all,” Nagle said, “but with the heart on this team, we got it done.”

The Patriots will face their next opponents, Everett, in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Saturday at Liberty.

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