Now that 2018 is in the rear-view mirror, what will be the biggest local sports stories ahead in 2019? Here are our predictions for the upcoming 12 months:
The Lynnwood Royals and Edmonds-Woodway Warriors will resume their fierce girls basketball rivalry at least once this winter — maybe more if they meet in the postseason.
The Edmonds-Woodway Lady Warriors lost just four games last year, but two were to the Lynnwood Royals, including a 69-59 defeat in the District 1 3A Girls Basketball Tournament that ended the Warriors’ season. This year E-W is 7-3, undefeated at 4-0 in the 2A/3A Wesco League and considered a league title contender. But Edmonds-Woodway still has to face its nemesis on the road in a Jan. 25 regular-season matchup at Lynnwood High School.
The Royals are 6-4 halfway through the 2018-2019 season and not necessarily on anyone’s radar as a potential league champion. But with their history of knowing how to win at crucial times (Lynnwood has qualified for state five years in a row) and with junior point guard Amayah Kirkman averaging 22.8 points per game, the Royals are a dangerous matchup for anyone, including Edmonds-Woodway.
Warriors’ Coach Jon Rasmussen knows the Royals can be a thorn in his squad’s side; he even attended the Lynnwood-Bothell early-season game on Nov. 29 to scout the Royals in preparation for their Jan. 25 clash — and any potential matchup between the two rivals in the postseason.
The Edmonds-Woodway Warriors wrestling team will send a huge contingent to Mat Classic XXXI, the state wrestling championships, Feb. 15-16 at the Tacoma Dome.
The Edmonds-Woodway Warriors’ wrestling program has a long history of producing top-notch wrestlers; this year’s squad is no exception.
Seven Warriors are currently ranked in the top 10 of 3A state wrestlers in their specific weight classes according to WashingtonWrestlingReport.com, including a pair of grapplers who took home medals from last year’s state championships. Senior Grayson LeCompte placed third at 126 lbs. in the 2018 Mat Classic and is state-ranked No. 2 in the class this year; junior Howie Hare took home eighth place last year at state at 120 lbs. and is now ranked No. 8 in the 132-lb. weight class.
Other Warriors currently state ranked and looking to earn spots at Mat Classic XXXI in February are Ethan Nguyen at No. 2 and Reece LeCompte at No. 5 in the 106-lb. class; Baylor Denkinger at No. 5 in the 113-lb. class; Alex Rapelje at No. 6 in the 132-lb. class; and Josh Brown at No. 10 in the 195-lb. class.
The Mountlake Terrace Hawks boys basketball team will be a contender for a 2A state championship this March.
Over the past two seasons, trips to the WIAA 2A State Basketball Tournament ended sooner than many predicted for the Mountlake Terrace Hawks as the team suffered losses — and elimination from further tourney play — on the first day of Hardwood Classic competition in Yakima. This year’s Hawks’ squad hopes to get beyond Day 1 of the tournament (Feb. 27-March 2) and still be playing on the tourney’s final day.
“That’s what our goal is, March 2,” said Hawks’ Coach Nalin Sood.
Terrace has begun the 2018-2019 season undefeated after eight games and is currently ranked No. 3 in the latest WIAA 2A state RPI rankings. With three players averaging double-figures in scoring (Mason Christianson, Mason Petersen and Jace Breakfield), a swarming team effort on defense and Washington State Hall of Fame Coach Nalin Sood leading the charge, watch out for the Hawks in late February and early March.
Lynnwood Royals’ alum Mikayla Pivec will continue to gain national attention for her play with the Oregon State Beavers this season.
Mikayla Pivec, a 2016 graduate of Lynnwood High School, is in her third season as a starter for the Oregon State Beavers and is entering 2019 red hot. The Oregon State junior had a perfect game shooting on Dec. 29, scoring a career-high 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 92-52 Beavers victory over Cal State Bakersfield. In that game, Pivec was 9-for-9 from the field — including three shots from behind the 3-point arc — and made her only free throw attempt in the Beavers’ win.
Pivec has started at point guard every game for Oregon State since the start of her sophomore year, is averaging 13.7 points per game this season and has helped the Beavers to a 10-2 record and a No. 11 ranking in both the Associated Press and Coaches national polls.
The 2017-2018 Beavers’ season didn’t end until a loss in the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Tournament to No. 1-seed Louisville in the Lexington Region final; Pivec and this year’s Oregon State squad hope to get back into the NCAA tourney this March.
Lead by junior Kate Houghton, the Meadowdale Mavericks softball team will seek their seventh trip to state in eight years this spring.
There are few givens in high school sports. The Meadowdale Mavericks softball team having a successful season may be one.
The Mavs have compiled a regular-season record of 110-26 over the past seven years, a postseason record of 35-13 over the same period of time and have qualified for the WIAA 3A State Softball Tournament every year since 2012 except for one — last year. The amazing streak of postseason success includes a state championship in 2016 and two third-place finishes at state in 2013 and 2015.
Meadowdale is expected to return a number of players from last year’s team that went 13-7 during the regular season, including Kate Houghton, Carrie Petersen, Olivia Dimmock, Jasmine Welaye, Kaitlynn Bridgewater and Kelci Studioso.
Speaking of Meadowdale softball, 2017 Mavs graduate Emma Helm will contribute to a University of Washington Husky softball team hoping for a return to the College World Series this year.
As a collegiate freshman, Meadowdale alum Emma Helm helped the Washington Huskies to an overall record of 52-10 and the NCAA Women’s College World Series finals. As a catcher, Helm played in 54 games for the Huskies, batted .212, hit three home runs and knocked in 19 RBI’s.
Helm and the 2019 Huskies will be challenged to meet the success they had last year as the Pac-12 is stacked with strong teams. The UW season begins in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with nine games in eight days starting on Feb. 8. The team hopes to end the 2019 campaign in May back at the College World Series in Oklahoma City.
A number of Edmonds School District student athletes will look to return to the state track and field championships in May to improve upon good results from last year’s state meet.
The 2018 WIAA State Track & Field Championships produced two local state champions — Edmonds-Woodway’s Yukino Parle in the 3A girls 3200 meters and Hannah Hicks in the 3A girls long jump. While Parle and Hicks have graduated, this year’s crop of athletes just may hold a state champion or two also.
Mountlake Terrace’s Brandon Bach placed third in the 2A boys javelin at last year’s state meet; the senior will try to get back to state this spring and compete for a top spot. Others who may be able to stand high on a finishing podium in late May are Lynnwood’s Connor Bjornson (seventh in 3A boys javelin last year), Edmonds-Woodway’s Chinedu Acholonu (fifth in the 3A boys 200 meters and seventh in the 3A boys 100 meters last year), E-W’s Stephanie Wroblewski (ninth in 3A girls 3200 meters last year) and the Warriors’ Deyago Peraza and Dylan Hartono (11th and 12th respectively in 3A boys 3200 meters last year).
And speaking of Peraza and Hartono, the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors cross country teams will be fine this fall after the two seniors graduate in June (and the same goes for the Mountlake Terrace Hawks).
Peraza and Hartono led the E-W boys cross country team to a fourth-place finish in 3A competition at last fall’s WIAA State Cross Country Championships — Paraza finished fifth overall while Hartono placed 18th. But don’t worry about the Warriors after the two graduate this spring; Coach Al Bonney is stocked with plenty of strong runners to fill the void.
In a surprise to many, Mountlake Terrace earned a fourth-place team finish in 2A competition at the state meet last November with a squad that included only two seniors, Jaden Lofrese and Ivan Moulton, and a coach in just his first year at the school, Joel Pearson. There would not be as many surprised faces if the team returned to state — and finished near the top of the podium — in 2019.
Meadowdale’s Hunter Moen will impress many during his senior year as Mavericks’ starting quarterback.
In spite of a 3-6 team record, Meadowdale Maverick quarterback Hunter Moen put up some impressive numbers in 2018. The junior threw for 2,214 yard (an average of 246 yards per game) and 22 touchdowns. And at 6-foot-2, Moen has the height to see over the line, survey the field and give opposing secondaries fits.
With a competitive spirit — the junior is also a member of this season’s Mavs’ boys basketball squad — and a regular workout regiment, Moen will undoubtedly be focused and stronger for his senior season on the gridiron this fall. And with a spread offense and a coach in Matt Leonard, who is not afraid to let his quarterbacks throw the ball, Moen is poised to have a big 2019 season for the Mavs.
Who will coach the Mountlake Terrace Hawks football team is anyone’s guess.
The Mountlake Terrace Hawks are currently without a head football coach as former coach Kelly Dougan is no longer with the program. Dougan compiled a win-loss record of 18-21 in his four seasons with the team.
The challenge for second-year Terrace Principal Greg Schellenberg and first-year Terrace Athletic Director Sharalee Burr will be to hire someone ready to bring some stability to a football program that has seen declining numbers of players from its peak success in 2014 under long-time Coach Tony Umayum. Complicating matters, Schellenberg and Burr are also faced with filling a vacancy in the Hawks’ tennis program and dealing with the current suspension of girls basketball Coach Michael Jones for unannounced reasons.
— By Doug Petrowski