Final Statement

February 19, 2013

All area high school swimmers win team, individual state titles

By Greg Farrar Raymond Ha, Liberty High School senior, steps up out of the pool after repeating as 3A state champion in the 100-yard butterfly Feb. 16 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

By Greg Farrar
Raymond Ha, Liberty High School senior, steps up out of the pool after repeating as 3A state champion in the 100-yard butterfly Feb. 16 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

At the 2013 4A Boys State Swim and Dive Championships, Issaquah High School coach Laura Halter wore a T-shirt with an illustration of purple-and-gold eagle wings on the back. Each feather included the name of one of her swimmers.

It proved to be an appropriate symbol, as it took each swimmer working together to help the Eagles take flight toward a fourth-place finish at state.

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Diver Max Levy makes a splash before state championship

January 29, 2013

Max Levy stretches his body straight as he enters the water Jan. 9 during diving practice with his teammates at Julius Boehm Pool. By Greg Farrar

Max Levy stretches his body straight as he enters the water Jan. 9 during diving practice with his teammates at Julius Boehm Pool. By Greg Farrar

The end of the diving board at Julius Bohem Pool flutters under Max Levy, who bounces more intently every time until finally he lifts off, the line from his pointed toes to his up-stretched hands forming an arrow.

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Skyline swimmers fall to Redmond, Eastlake in season opener

December 11, 2012

Skyline junior Matt Haynie wins the 500-yard freestyle race Dec. 4 at Redmond Pool with a time of 5 minutes, 35.54 seconds. By Greg Farrar

With more than a dozen of its 63 competitors missing, the Skyline High School boys swim team took to the pool Dec. 4 for its season opener dual meet, eventually losing 96-87 to Redmond and 101-84.5 to Eastlake.

“The boys still did really, really well. We are really pleased with them,” Skyline coach Susan Simpkins said. Athletes must have at least 10 practices before they can compete. “I think when we get all our kids qualified to swim, after the 10-practice thing, we will have a well-rounded team.”

This year, she added, the team’s leadership in terms of experience comes from a strong group of juniors: Paul Jett, Matt Haynie and Nick D’Alo.

Those three, along with several others, helped the Skyline Spartans grab several victories.

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Condition of aging Julius Boehm Pool could shape park bond measure

September 18, 2012

Come summertime, about 1,000 people each day slip into the 84-degree water at Julius Boehm Pool, a fixture in downtown Issaquah for decades.

The crowd is diverse in age and activity — early-morning lap swimmers, senior citizens in water-exercise classes, children for swimming lessons and more. Summer is the busiest time of year for the pool.

The pool is 40 years old — 15 years older than designers intended for the facility — and visitors and employees often encounter signs of age.

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Issaquah boys swimmers celebrate second place in state

February 21, 2012

Issaquah’s boys end with best finish ever

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. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah High School coach Laura Halter hoisted the second place trophy high above her head and smiled ear to ear. Halter’s team had surpassed even her expectations when it finished second in the Class 4A boys state swimming and diving championships Feb. 18 in Federal Way’s King County Aquatic Center.

“This is just a surprise,” Halter said. “Any one of the top five teams could have won this meet. I’m really, really proud of the boys.”

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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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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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Skyline edges evenly matched Eastlake in swimming opener

December 13, 2011

Max Levy, a Skyline High School sophomore, executes a dive Dec. 6 at Redmond Pool. By Christopher Huber

At the rate Skyline and Eastlake high school swimmers qualified for state events in their first meet of the season, there might not be much room for other 4A competitors at the championship this season.

In each team’s first dual meet of the 2011-12 boys swim and dive season, Eastlake qualified a swimmer in three events and Skyline had one swimmer who finished fast enough for a state time. Ultimately, Skyline edged out Eastlake, 96-90, Dec. 6 at Redmond Pool.

“I look forward to see what they do at state,” said Kate McCary, Eastlake’s second-year head coach.

In some of the day’s fastest races, Eastlake’s Edward Kim, the state champ in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events as a freshman, won the 100-yard butterfly in 52.75 seconds, almost two seconds faster than needed to get to state, and ahead of Skyline sophomore Paul Jett (57.41 seconds). In the 100-yard backstroke, Kim finished in 52.51 seconds, nearly five seconds faster than the state 4A standard.

Teammate Zach Alleva qualified for state with a winning time of 1 minute, 2.64 seconds in the 100 breaststroke. Skyline’s Alec Raines, also a top performer at state last year, took second to Kim with a time of 58.25 seconds.

Raines, a sophomore, qualified for the state meet in the 500 freestyle event, hitting the wall in 4:56.42 and beat Eastlake’s Jackson Berman by nearly 13 seconds.

“He’s a workhorse,” Paul Doran, Skyline assistant coach, said. “We can put him anywhere.”

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