WIAA says leave your drones at home

Not sure if this became an issue or not, but the WIAA says no drones at state events. Here’s the release:

WIAA Implements Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) Policy

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has determined the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAV”), also known as drones, will be prohibited for any purpose by any persons at WIAA tournament venues.

“The policy addresses the safety of the student-participants, coaches and spectators and to maintain a fair and level playing field” WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said.

WIAA Tournament management will deny admission or entry to anyone attempting to use a UAV; and if necessary, tournament management shall remove anyone attempting to use a UAV and/or confiscate the UAV until the event has been completed.

For purposes of this policy, a UAV is any aircraft without a human pilot aboard the device.

An exception to this policy may be made in specific cases for WIAA broadcast partners, provided the management of the tournament facility permits the presence of UAVs for broadcast purposes under the control of the WIAA.

Texas could adopt heart testing for high school athletes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Cody Stephens was trying to shed some of the 290 pounds from his 6-foot-9 frame before graduating high school and attending his first college football training camp three summers ago when he took a nap and didn’t wake up. The autopsy showed he had an enlarged heart, which gave out.

Spurred by the deaths of teenagers like Cody who die each year by sudden cardiac arrest, Texas lawmakers are pushing to make their state the first to require public high school athletes to undergo electrocardiogram testing. Those pushing for the change, including some of the parents of children who have died, say testing is relatively cheap and simple, and that it could save lives.

“Kids are dying. Why not screen everybody?” said Cody’s father, Scott Stephens, who runs a foundation with his wife that awards grants to pay for heart screening.

But opponents of mandatory screening, including the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, question its effectiveness, saying it would lead to thousands of false-positives each year, which would lead to further, more expensive testing that isn’t necessary.

Furthermore, they point out that relatively few children die of sudden cardiac arrest. According to Texas officials, only nine of the more than 13.6 million public middle school and high school students who played sports from 2005 through 2014 died of cardiac arrest during a game or practice. That figure doesn’t reflect Cody Stephens’ death, because he died at home.

“Indeed, the major cause of death in young athletes, by a factor of 10-fold, is accidents,” said Dr. Benjamin Levine, a Dallas-based cardiologist and former vice president of the American College of Sports Medicine, who opposes the mandatory testing proposal.

The debate over mandatory electrocardiograms, also known as ECG or EKG tests, has been swirling for years and is rekindled with each death of a young athlete. Despite the resistance of the medical establishment, groups like the Stephens’ have been sprouting up throughout the country.

Testing advocates notched a partial victory in April, when the Texas House voted to require public high school athletes to get tested before their first and third years of competition.

Although the state Senate has yet to decide on the measure, the state House’s vote was significant because Texas has more high school athletes than any other state, said Martha Lopez-Anderson, who founded the Florida-based Saving Young Hearts foundation after her 10-year-old son Sean collapsed and died while rollerblading.

“All eyes on are Texas. If it passes in Texas, other states will follow,” she said.

Texas has tried the lead-the-country model in youth sports health policy before, setting up a massive high school steroids testing program in 2007. State lawmakers are poised to scrap it this year after spending more than $10 million and catching only a handful of cheaters.

Unlike the steroid testing program, the state wouldn’t fund the heart screening proposal, meaning athletes and schools would shoulder the costs.

Non-profits offer schools free or low-cost ECGs in 26 states — some as cheap as $15 — according to the advocacy group Screen Across America. Some, like the Go Big or Go Home Cody Stephens Foundation, offer grants to pay for ECGS. Others, meanwhile, bring the machines and trained personnel to the schools to conduct the tests.

Pat Shuff of The Cypress ECG Project near Houston told state lawmakers his organization has screened about 23,000 students over the past two years, deeming more than 40 as “high risk” who needed follow-up tests. He said statewide testing would identify hundreds of others who need medical intervention.

Cardiology experts are concerned about the tests’ reliability and the expertise of those conducting and reviewing them. The Texas measure would require about 400,000 tests per year, and the state only has 225 pediatric cardiology specialists.

And while an ECG can detect some conditions, such as an enlarged heart, it can’t detect others, such as a coronary artery defect, said Dr. Silvana Molossi, co-chair of the American College of Cardiology Sports and Exercise Council.

ECG testing also have a false-positive rate of anywhere from 2 to 8 percent, Molossi said.

At the high end, the Texas plan could sideline 32,000 students with false positives that send them for more expensive follow-up procedures such as echocardiograms and magnetic resonance imaging scans that could cost thousands of dollars.

Texas already requires student-athletes to pass a physical, which includes a checklist of warning signs for heart trouble that could prompt further testing such as an ECG.

Screening advocates say it’s not enough, noting that the European Society of Cardiology and International Olympic Committee recommend that young athletes undergo ECG screening, and that some other countries, including Italy and Israel, mandate screenings.

Cody Stephens had two ECGs before he died — one in the seventh grade and one in ninth grade, when he was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. Neither showed heart problems, but he was still growing, and put on 140 pounds in the three years before he died, his father said.

Scott Stephens said an ECG before his senior year might have saved his son.

“I don’t know that,” Stephens said. “But this is bigger than would it have helped my son. … What I can do is keep parents from knowing the pain my wife and I know.”

Boys Soccer: Playoff picture is shaping up

With a week left in the regular season, here’s how the playoffs races are stacking up for boys soccer:

Narrows League 4A

Playoff spots available into Class 4A West Central District tournament: 3

The skinny: South Kitsap (3-4-3, 2-3-3, 9 points) entered Friday’s game against Timberline in fifth place, well behind Gig Harbor (25 points), Bellarmine (20 points) and Olympia (17 points). The Wolves likely need to win out to have any shot at the playoffs. More likely SK is going to miss the postseason for the second consecutive year.

Narrows League 3A

Playoff spots available into Class 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament: 5

The skinny: Central Kitsap (10-2-1, 10-0-1, 31 points) leads the league and has a two-point lead over second-place Capital (29 points) with three games left. CK and Capital play on Tuesday at Ingersoll Stadium in Olympia in a game that likely determines the league title. A victory would pretty much sew up the title for CK, while a tie doesn’t really hurt them. If CK gets the No. 1 seed out of league, the Cougars would play in a winner-to-state game against the SPSL 3A champion May 14 at Stadium HS at 7 p.m.

Olympic League 2A

Playoff spots available into Class 2A West Central District tournament: 4

The skinny: The top four teams have pretty much been determined, it’s all down to placing at this point. First-place Kingston (10-3-0, 8-1-0, 24 points) has a one point lead on North Kitsap (10-2-1, 8-1-0, 23 points) since NK has one shootout victory (worth 2 points instead of 3). Third-place Port Angeles (9-5-0, 6-4, 19 points) has a one point lead on Sequim (7-5-2, 6-4-0, 18 points) since PA has a shootout loss (worth 1 point). Kingston and North Kitsap play Wednesday in Poulsbo at 6:45 p.m. Winner likely wins the league. No. 1 seed out of league plays the Seamount 2A champion May 14 in Silverdale in a winner-to-state game at  8 p.m.

Olympic League 1A

Playoff spots available into Class 1A West Central District tournament: 3

The skinny: Klahowya (9-1-2, 2-0-0, 6 points) is by far and away the top team in the league. Port Townsend (3-6-2, 2-1-0) and Coupeville (3-7-0, 2-2-0) will battle it out for second/third and face loser-out district games May 9. Klahowya will get a bye and open district play May 12 at home.


Behind every mistake is a reason to flush it

There’s something to be said about erasing mistakes. Especially in softball.

That happened more times than North Mason would care to admit, but the Bulldogs have a way to release some frustration without taking it out on each other.

Enter the plunger.

No, that’s not a nickname for a closer or a power-hitting pinch-hitter, although I’m sure NM coach Rachael Joye would gladly accept both. No, it really is a plunger. As in what you need to unclog a plugged-up toilet.

Thankfully the plunger was never used for its intended purpose. The plunger is painted Bulldog blue and the players keep it in the dugout every game. When a mistake, whether it’s a mental error or physical error that costs a run or more gray hairs for the coaching staff and parents, the plunger is there.

Players will plunge away in the dugout in a symbolic act of “flushing” the mistake and moving on to the next play or inning.

“We have this (plunger) thing and if we make a mistake we flush it,” freshman Corlissa Newman said. “No, it hasn’t been used. We made sure.”

Junior catcher Hannah Peek said the idea behind the plunger works.

“When we get mad we flush it,” she said. “After every mistake, you get all that (aggression) out and you’re ready for the next play.”

Who’s your Kitsap Sun athlete of the year?

Every year, the Kitsap Sun selects a boys athlete of the year, girls athlete of the year and coach of the year.

Last year, Kingston’s Bobby Reece (boys), Crosspoint’s Desere’e Doty (girls) and South Kitsap’s Marcus Logue (coach) took home honors.

Who should be the picks this year? Doty could be the pick again for girls after scoring 50 goals and leading Crosspoint’s girls soccer team to a state title. She was also Sea-Tac League girls basketball MVP.

What about boys? Guys like North Mason’s Daniel Burggraaf and North Kitsap’s Andrew Hecker are probably in the mix.

For coaches, who stands out above the rest? Let us know what you think.

Introductory meeting for Drive moves to Tuesday

This meeting for Drive, a basketball program in the North Kitsap area, was originally scheduled for Thursday. It’s been moved to Tuesday. You can read more about it in the email pasted below:

To Players, Parents, Community Members and Fans of all ages!

We are proud and excited to invite you to join us the evening of Tuesday April 21st at the North Kitsap High School Commons to launch an exciting new basketball program that will support our North Kitsap communities youth for years to come.

The first “DRIVE Basketball” informational event will be held immediately following the introduction of the new boys Head Basketball Coach for North Kitsap High School, Scott Orness. The e-mail announcing the coach “meet and greet” event is provided in the e-mail below for your information and is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Coach Scott Orness will also serve as the program director for DRIVE Basketball. The purpose of scheduling the informational presentation in conjunction with the coaches introduction is to create a dynamic and energetic evening of conversation that further supports the development of our area youth and communities overall. Coach Orness is a well-respected and successful coach and teacher of the game of basketball. He was instrumental in the establishment of the youth “Roots” basketball feeder program on Bainbridge. His extensive experience in developing high quality basketball programs will greatly enhance the ability of DRIVE Basketball to quickly become a well-respected and valued community program.

Even if you are running a little late, please join us on Tuesday evening! After the DRIVE Basketball presentation, we will remain in the Commons and be available to address any questions or to provide additional information.
The DRIVE Basketball presentation will consist of an overview of the mission, purpose and details on the-way-ahead to provide affordable and valuable training opportunities for girls and boys interested in developing their basketball skills. Community members, organizations and business leaders will also hear opportunities to provide start-up support for this new program.

We know this e-mail does not include many others who will be interested in this information so please forward this to anyone who you believe would want to know about this informational event.

We hope you will join the conversation on Tuesday at 5:30pm in the NKHS Commons and help to launch a new era of basketball for boys and girls within our North Kitsap communities.


Todd Benson