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High school sports participation continues to grow

Here’s a release from the WIAA:

RENTON — According to the 2014-15 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the number of student-athletes in Washington state rose to 160,245, the WIAA announced Wednesday.

The Evergreen State’s student participation was 787 more than 2013-14 and kept Washington in 17th place out of the 51 State Associations in total participants.

“I commend our school coaches and administrators for providing a broad range of activities for a diverse student population,” WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. “The data and the trends that we see have a positive outlook for high school activities and athletics in this state.”

In boys athletics (92,160), Washington increased 600 participants with the largest difference coming from Track and Field (13,539), which saw 534 more participants than the previous year. Baseball also had a major influx in participation with 9,595, an increase of 348. Football (22,090) was next with 179, while Basketball (11,145) had 83.

On the girls side, the Association reported 68,085 participants, a gain of 187. Seven sports increased from last year’s numbers with Softball (7,416) leading the way with an increase of 566. Track and Field (10,163) had the next largest growth with 175 competitors, and Tennis (7,174) rounded out the top three with 145.

At the national level, girls participation set an all-time mark of 3,287,735, while the boys reported 4,519,312 student-athlete participants. Among the top 10 boys sports, Soccer registered the largest gain with an additional 15,150 participants, while Wrestling (11,306) and 11-player Football (9,617) had the largest declines in participation. Besides Soccer, other top 10 boys sports that had increases in the number of participants were Baseball (3,938) and Basketball (425).

Six of the top 10 girls sports registered national increases in participation this past year, led by Competitive Spirit Squads (5,170 additional participants) and Cross Country (3,495). While Track and Field remained the number one sport for girls with 478,726 participants, Volleyball (432,176) moved ahead of Basketball (429,504) to secure the second spot. Ten years ago, Basketball was ranked first for girls, followed by Track and Field, then Volleyball.

State roundup: SK baseball reaches title game

It could be the busiest prep sports day of the year with baseball, softball, boys soccer, track and field and tennis going on around the state on Friday.

Here’s a look at what’s happening today:

Baseball

4A semifinal: South Kitsap 5, Decatur 0 Final

3A semifinal: Mercer Island 11, Bainbridge 6 Final

3A semifinal: Shorewood 1, Central Kitsap 0 Final

Softball

Central Kitsap is still alive in the 3A tournament after going 2-1 on Friday, while Bainbridge is out after going 0-2. All three Olympic League teams — Olympic, PA, Sequim — went 0-2 in the 2A tournament.

Track and field

South Kitsap’s Nolan VanAmen won the 4A discus title with a throw of 165 feet, 0 inches.

Olympic’s Keshun McGee won the 2A triple jump (47-5.75) to go with his long jump title, and North Kitsap’s Zach Whittaker was right behind him 47-5.

Central Kitsap’s Hudson Keffer on the 3A javelin, and Cam Carroll had the top time in the 800 meter prelims today, 1:54.32. Finals are tomorrow.

Crosspoint’s Des Doty won the 1B long jump title with a jump of 16 feet, 8 3/4 inches.

Kingston’s Max English won the 2A high jump by clearing 6-feet 4-inches.

Boys Soccer

Klahowya lost 4-3 to Bellevue Christian in the state semifinals. Game went into the seventh round of penalty kicks.

 

 

Softball: Three to state, Olympic, Central Kitsap, Bainbridge

The Olympic Trojans are headed back to state for the second time in three years and with their lineup of hitters, they could make history.

The Trojans (17-6) face the Lynden Lions (23-1) in their first game Friday at 10 a.m. at the Class 2A state softball tourney at Carlon Park in Selah. Their second game has them playing either Woodland or Fife. Olympic has yet to win a game at state, and their draw isn’t the easiest but it is state. It’s never easy if you’re one of the last 16 teams still playing

The good news for Olympic is the return of freshman Kaira Cabato. Cabato missed the WCD tournament due to a concussion but has been cleared to play this weekend. Cabato batted .631 in 14 games to lead the Trojans and had a 1.289 slugging and .702 on-base percentage with 26 RBIs. Adia Roberts leads the team with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. She is batting .603 (1.245 slugging/.587 on-base) while sister Zoe has a .597 average and .758 slugging and .634 on-base and drove in 29 runs.

Over at the 3A tourney, the Central Kitsap and Bainbridge softball teams could see each other one more time before the season ends on Saturday.

It’s been a fun, friendly rivalry the last several seasons as the two non-league teams meet for what’s been a pretty good ballgame each time. It’s usually followed with players, coaches and parents getting together to enjoy some fellowship and food following the game.

Central Kitsap and Bainbridge are both in the bottom half of the bracket, which means if the two teams win twice on Friday CK and Bainbridge will play in Saturday’s semifinal at 9 a.m. at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. Central Kitsap (17-7) opens against Everett (23-1) at noon on Field 4 while Bainbridge (16-6) takes on Edmonds-Woodway (17-7) on Field 1, also at noon. Win or lose the Spartans face either North Thurston or Kamiakin. That’s not an easy draw. Kamiakin is the state favorite as the Braves are looking to win their fourth straight championship. Second games start at 2 p.m. in the losers bracket.

If CK and Bainbridge go 1-1, then they play in the 6 p.m. loser out games. If they both win that game, guess what? They play each other at 9 a.m. Saturday in a knock-out game.

Right now I’d give the edge to Central Kitsap. Admittedly I’ve seen more of CK than the Spartans this year and the Cougars have a potent lineup — Narrows League 3A MVP Marissa Adams is batting .563, Sam Wallace and Elise Freund, first-teamers are hitting .426 and .458, respectively — a strong defense and great pitching from Hope Lawrence.

Not to be outdone, Bainbridge has all the weapons a team needs to succeed in the final weekend, including one of the best coaches in 3A Liz McCloskey, and assistant Nicole Hebner. OF/SS Riley Gregoire, an Oregon State signee, is the Metro League MVP, batting .527 with 29 RBIs, six home runs and about 15 stolen bases, is a phenomenal defender, has killer speed on the base paths and the softball IQ to make it all work. But the Spartans aren’t a one-woman show. Pitcher Deahna King has been to state three years in a row and has a .404 batting average with 18 RBIs and two home runs. Megan Spray has driven in 22 runs while batting .373.

Bainbridge also has state experience. The Spartans are making their ninth straight appearance, a run that included winning it all in 2009 and finishing runner-up twice. Central is at state for the first time since 2012 when it was still a 4A school. And at this level, you can never overlook how important it is to have veterans who know what it means to play under pressure.

In their earlier meeting on March 26, Central Kitsap beat Bainbridge 11-10 in a thriller.

CK coach Courtney Lacock said the games against Bainbridge are fun because they are two great teams going head to head.

“You get a little more fire out of it because you’ve seen them before,” she said.

Oh, and the tie that binds them all together?

Former CK head coach and now Bainbridge Little League coach and island resident Bruce Welling who lives just a stones throw from the softball field at Bainbridge.

Your Saturday playoff update post

Baseball
Bainbridge makes state semifinals after beating Lynnwood 3-0. Spartans beat Ferndale 4-3 in 11 innings in the first round.
Central Kitsap is making it’s first trip to state baseball semifinals after beating O’Dea 13-0 in five innings. CK beat Eastside Catholic 6-4 in first round.
South Kitsap is going to state semifinals for third straight year after beating Skyline 7-3.
South Kitsap beat Skyview of Vancouver 10-6 in the first round.
North Kitsap lost in the state quarterfinals to Liberty 4-3 after giving up four runs in the bottom of the seventh. They beat Cedarcrest 2-1 in the first round on Joe Creason’s walk-off single.
Klahowya was eliminated by Hoquiam 4-3 in the first round.
Squalicum eliminated Sequim 5-0 in the first round.

Softball
Olympic clinches spot at state after beating River Ridge 3-1. The Trojans opened the day by eliminating Kingston 15-4. Olympic lost fellow state participant Port Angeles in 5th/6th-place game, 10-0.
Central Kitsap lost to Enumclaw 4-0 in 3A district semifinals and to Auburn Mountainview 3-2 in the third/fourth-place game. Cougs still headed to state.
South Kitsap’s season came to an end in the 4A district tourney with a 10-9 loss to Curtis.
Chimacum lost to Seattle Christian 12-2 in district title game. They bounced back to beat Bellevue Christian in loser-out, winner-to-state game 14-8.

Soccer
2A state quarterfinals: Shorecrest 2, Kingston 1

Track and field
South Kitsap boys were second in the Class 4A West Central District meet, losing to Tahoma 84-81. Here are the meet results.
Central Kitsap was second in the boys standings and the girls third in the Class 3A West Central/Southwest bi-district meet. Here are the results.
North Kitsap girls second in Class 2A West Central District meet. Here are the results. Here’s the 1A results.

Saturday playoff update

Spring playoffs are in full swing. We’ll have updates for you here all day.

Baseball:
No. 8 Central Kitsap upset No. 1 Auburn Mountainview 2-0 in the Class 3A WCD/SW title game.
No. 8 South Kitsap beats Puyallup 3-2 in the Class 4A WCD title game. It was a rematch of last year’s state title game.
No. 3 North Kitsap lost to No. 2 Fife in the 2A WCD title game 13-6.
You can state rankings here.

Soccer:
Klahowya beats Charles Wright 3-0 to clinch a trip to state.
North Kitsap also will go to state after beating Lindbergh 2-1.
Kingston beat White River in a shootout (1-1 after regional) and will move on to state as the district’s fifth seed. They will play Hockinson of Vancouver at Ridgefield on Tuesday.

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.”

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.

Signings, signings and more signings

It was a big day for South Kitsap’s baseball program Wednesday. The Wolves didn’t play a game, but four players — Mac McCarty (WSU), Cooper Canton (Central Washington), Davis Carlsen (Skagit Valley CC) and Will Gatlin (Pacific University, Ore.) — signed letters of intent with colleges, making sure they’ll continue their players careers for a few more years.

News of several more signings by local high school athletes broke recently. Bremerton athletic director Jeff Barton said Tuesday that baseball player Casey Windrel would be signing with the University of Jamestown, while Bainbridge boys basketball coach Scott Orness said Ben Beatie has committed to Trinity University in San Antonio.