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WHS athletes shine in WIAA Scholastic Cup

Renton — Woodinville High School student-athletes were awarded second place in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) 4A Scholastic Cup for the 2019-20 school year. 

The Scholastic Cup is the WIAA's most prestigious annual award. High schools throughout the state earn points for academics, athletics and sportsmanship. This year's Scholastic Cup points are based on points scored during the fall and winter seasons only, due to COVID-19 canceling the spring sports season.

Woodinville earned 840 total points. Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley took top honors with 1,015 points. 

Lance Gatter named District Two Athletic Director of the Year

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick

W LanceGatterBOTHELL — Inglemoor High School  Athletic Director Lance Gatter has been named Athletic Director of the Year for District Two. 

“This is very humbling for me as there are so many really good athletic directors in District Two and the KingCo Conference,” Gatter said in a May 20 press release. “It is even more special that my colleagues are recognizing me with this honor.”

District Two is made up of Metro, KingCo, SeaTac and Emerald City leagues. Athletic Directors are nominated by their league and voted on by their peers for their service to the league. The nominees then move to the district level and are voted on by the district board. 

“From day one, Lance has been a selfless colleague and mentor who not only is available but actively reaches out to make sure things are going well and offer help where needed,” said Juanita High School Athletic Director Jason Thurston. “As a wrestling coach by trade, it has been a pleasure to work with Lance on furthering Women’s Wrestling throughout the state. 

“Women’s wrestling in Washington is better because Lance has chosen to help out in any way possible. In our profession it often isn’t the big thing that makes the greatest impact, it is a consistent stream of little things that work to make athletics better through the area. Lance is an athletic director that works hard on the little things and working with him has been a great benefit to me in my career.” 

The District Two AD of the Year designation automatically qualifies Gatter as a finalist at the state level. 

“The most important thing about being an athletic director is the ability to support kids and coaches as best you can to help them have the greatest high school experience possible both as an athlete and a coach,” Gatter said. “This means you have to be good at systems, as there are many aspects of the job that rely on systems and having them all work together.”  

Senior athletes face a myriad of uncertainty over COVID-19

  • Written by Bob Kirkpatrick
Senior Spencer fouls one off in the batting cage. Connor Beatty is on deck. Photo by Bob Kirkpatrick

 

The ball fields at Woodinville High School were abuzz with excitement as the baseball and softball teams had high expectations for the 2020 season.

The Lady Falcons had one goal in mind: return to the State Tournament. Woodinville was last there in 2017, bringing home championship hardware.

The Falcons' baseball team was returning a veteran squad and looking to get back in the playoffs after not making it the past couple of years.

But the plans for both teams came to a screeching halt before either was able to play a regular-season game after word came down to indefinitely postpone state-wide competition due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

The news sent shock waves through players and coaches alike.

“I think our kids are dealing with this as well as can be expected,” Coach Alan Dillman said. “Most of the guys on the team are baseball-only guys so to have your season postponed before you have a chance to play a game is tough. Like everyone the uncertainty of not knowing when things will be back to normal is hard.”

Fast-pitch Coach Dani Weir echoed Dillman’s thoughts. 

Charlotte Grover shags a pop-up. Jada Alcantara backs her up.

 

“The kids were certainly devastated but are hopeful for a return late April,” Weir said. “It all happened so fast that I know we're all still processing it. We're not able to meet or practice so we are focusing on what we can do individually to make sure we are prepared to get right into games.”

The announcement of the postponement placed players on both squads in limbo but was especially unnerving to senior athletes who must process the thoughts of not being able to dawn their school uniform one last time while contemplating what the immediate future may hold for them.

“It was a shot to the heart, for sure,” senior Trent Boyd said. “It hasn’t turned into something that eats at me all the time, but it’s still in the back of my head. Fortunately, I have 14 other guys to talk to about it. When we get together, it’s always abundant with goofy antics that can distract you from anything that would usually make you feel down or upset.”

“It has been really tough not being able to play with the guys that I grew up with and pretty heartbreaking to have to stop so abruptly in our senior year”— Senior Justice Dillman

Senior Charlotte Grover took the new especially hard.

“I was really upset finding out that our season was postponed,” Grover said. “I don’t think I could find the right words to say how much this team means to me and how much softball means to me.” 

Teammate Jada Alcantara said the emotions she felt when she heard the season would be postponed have been, "all over the place.” 

“It was tough to get through a team scrimmage without having to stop and shed some tears when we seniors would make a play or hit a ball over the fence,” Alcantara said. “Overall, it’s been pure sadness and frustration for me and my other seniors and the entire team as well.” 

First-year senior Hannah Jensen didn’t take the news well at all.

“It took a lot of convincing from Jada (Alcantara), but I decided to try out this year. I was having fun my first couple weeks of practice and was excited and nervous for games, but now I may not even be able to play a game which sucks to think about,” Jensen said. “I was just getting to know all the girls on the team and wishing I could have the whole season to get to know all of them better.”

Complicating matters is the uncertainty of when the season may resume.

“It is hard not knowing what is going to happen with the season because it has not been canceled so I have this hope that it will continue but this fear that it won’t,” Grover said. “I’m scared that everything I did last year will be the last time I was able to do those things. I’m scared I won’t have the chance to take the field again and do all the things I thought I was going to be able to do this year.”

If play were to resume, it wouldn’t happen until after the state-mandated school closure date of Friday, April 24. If school is back in session the following Monday, Washington Interscholastic Athletic Activity Executive Director Mick Hoffman said in a video posted on the WIAA website March 17, the possibility of holding the State Tournament still exists.

That would give little time for teams to prepare for as the regular baseball season was scheduled to end May 1. The District Tournament is scheduled for May 7-17. The State Tournament is to take place on May 23-30. The softball regular season was scheduled to end on May 11. The District Tournament is May 15-22. State play is scheduled for May 29 and 30.

“I have seen the video and have heard talk about the state tournament, and it makes me very excited. Although we haven’t been together as a team, we’ve all been going out and working hard to stay in the game during this hard time,” Alcantara said. “It would definitely be a tough adjustment coming right back into the swing of things, but I know my girls are ready and prepared for whatever is thrown our way. Our coaches have been very supportive and encouraged us to keep working hard and that for me has been a big motivator.”

Glover wasn’t as optimistic but would relish the chance to compete in postseason play.

“I think if we had the opportunity to play in a tournament when we came back it would be difficult having been away from each other for so long and having to come back and start playing,” Grover said. “It is hard because we will have lost our momentum and we haven’t had a chance to play together so we don’t really know how we will work together. But it is definitely something that we are ready for and hoping for. Everyone is doing their best to stay in shape and to keep we all have the hope that the season will start when we come back.”

If the season does not resume, all say it would be difficult knowing they weren’t able to play in a Falcon uniform their senior season.

“It would be absolutely is hard — I have many great memories wearing green and blue —I’ve been feeling very thankful for what I’ve already experienced.” — Trent Boyd.

“I’ve played with some of my teammates for a long time and it’s been difficult thinking that I could not have the chance to play with them again and that we wouldn’t have gotten the whole season together that we have worked so hard for.” — Charlotte Grover.

Another unsettling issue to deal with for the senior athletes is aspirations of playing at the next level, as their final high school season is one of the last times many can showcase their talents.

“Hopefully they still have the opportunity to play this summer,” Weir said. “Their select teams and summer tournaments are where they will get the most exposure to college coaches.”

Fortunately for Grover, Boyd, Dillman and Jensen, they have already inked with collegiate programs. 

Grover has signed a Letter of Intent to play D1 Softball for Robert Morris University. Boyd received a scholarship to play ball for three years at Bard College in New York and then will transfer to Columbia University to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Dillman has been going through workouts with Big Bend College in Moses Lake. Jensen will be playing soccer at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont.

Former Falcon posts double-double in Smith College victory

NORTHHAMPTON, Mass. — Former Woodinville High School Lady Falcon Elle Jo Whalen recorded a double-double 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead Smith College to a hard-fought 70-56 victory over two-time defending champion MIT, on Sunday March 1. 

“It’s a great feeling,” Coach Lynne Hersey told the Daily Hampshire Gazette. “I’m just so proud of our team, our players, they really dedicated themselves throughout the last five months trying to be the best version of Smith basketball we could be.

“LJ has been our leader from day one and I’m really excited for her that she was able to have such a monstrous game. Her leadership is what has helped this group get to this point.”

WIAA postpones Drama Festival, State Dance/Drill

  • Written by Casey Johnson|Sports and Activities Information Director

RENTON — In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Thursday that it will postpone the upcoming State Drama Festival and State Dance/Drill Championships until further notice.

The State Drama Festival was scheduled to take place March 19-21 at Western Washington University, while the State Dance/Drill Championships were to be held at the Yakima SunDome, March 27-28.

Following the March 12 announcement from Gov. Inslee to close numerous schools around the state until the end of April, and with the safety of student-participants and their families in mind, the WIAA and the Washington Music Educators Association have also made the decision to postpone the State Solo and Ensemble Contests until further notice.

The event was scheduled to be held April 24-25 at Central Washington University.

The WIAA and WMEA are looking at potential rescheduling options for a later date and will keep the membership apprised of information as it becomes available.

The WIAA spring sports season officially began on March 2. Any regular-season contests or practices are held at the discretion of each member school and school district.

WIAA spring sports championships (May 23-30) are to remain as scheduled, however, staff will continue to work with the Department of Health over the coming months to determine if any changes are necessary.