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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.

 

 

Texas abandoning steroid testing program

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When Texas officials launched a massive public high school steroids testing program over fears of rampant doping from the football fields to the tennis courts, they promised a model program for the rest of the country to follow.

But almost no one did. And after spending $10 million testing more than 63,000 students to catch just a handful of cheaters, Texas lawmakers appear likely to defund the program this summer. If they do, New Jersey and Illinois will have the only statewide high school steroids testing programs left.

Even those who pushed for the Texas program in 2007 now call it a colossal misfire, either a waste of money or too poorly designed to catch the drug users some insist are slipping through the cracks.

“I believe we made a huge mistake,” said Don Hooton, who started the Taylor Hooton Foundation for steroid abuse education after his 17-year-old son’s 2003 suicide was linked to the drug’s use, and was one of the key advocates in creating the Texas program.

Hooton believes the low number of positive tests doesn’t mean Texas athletes are clean, only that they’re not getting caught because of inadequate testing and loopholes that allow them to cheat the process.

“Coaches, schools, and politicians have used the abysmal number of positive tests to prove there’s no steroid problem,” Hooton said. “What did we do here? We just lulled the public to sleep.”

Texas wasn’t the first state to test high schoolers. New Jersey and Florida were first and Illinois started about the same time as Texas. But the Lone Star State employed its typical bigger-is-better swagger by pumping in millions to sweep the state for cheaters. At the time, Texas had more than 780,000 public high school athletes, by far the most in the nation. A positive test would kick the star quarterback or point guard out of the lineup for at least 30 days.

Schools across the country closely watched Texas, said Don Colgate, director of sports and sports medicine at the National Federation of State High School Associations.

“Texas was going out in front in a big way,” Colgate said. “(But) it’s not a cheap process and they knew there were not going to do it on the scale of what Texas did.”

New Jersey and Illinois each spends about $100,000 annually testing a few hundred athletes. Florida folded its $100,000 program in 2009.

There were questions from the start whether Texas should go so big.

The University Interscholastic League, the state’s governing body for high school sports, surveyed its member public schools in 2002 and the vast majority said testing should be a local decision. By 2007, headlines of performance-enhancing drug abuse in professional sports and a push from advocates like Hooton prodded lawmakers to forge ahead and they pumped in $6 million for the first two years.

Texas hired Drug Free Sport, which conducts testing for the NCAA, the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA, to randomly select students, pull them out of class and have them supply a urine sample. The first 19,000 tests produced just nine confirmed cases of steroid use, with another 60 “protocol violations” for skipping the test.

Few saw those numbers as good news of clean athletes or even as proof the program could be a successful deterrent. Most saw it as fodder for criticism that the state was wasting its money.

And national momentum was ebbing. The economic downturn pinched state budgets. Other health issues, including heat-related deaths and head safety, jumped to the forefront.

Anti-doping pioneer Don Catlin, who spent years conducting the NCAA’s laboratory tests at UCLA, said the Texas plan was well-intentioned but didn’t test for enough drugs in the early years and had gaps in protocols that cheaters could exploit. Texas tested for only about 10 drugs in the first wave, a fraction of the anabolic agents on the market, which Catlin warned would be easy to avoid detection.

Testers also can lose the element of surprise because they have to tell school officials when they’ll be on campus. While that is supposed to be confidential, the news can slip out and UIL has punished schools for violations.

Although students are required to empty their pockets and lift shirts above their waste band, testing officials also aren’t allowed to physically watch the person providing a urine sample. Privacy for under-age athletes is a potentially huge loophole for cheaters.

The testing protocols, including which drugs were tested for, were developed by the UIL and Drug Free Sport.

“The program they developed was bound to fail,” Catlin said. “I told them years ago to put the money into something else.”

State lawmakers have been scaling down the Texas program almost since it began.

It was trimmed to $2 million by 2010 and has continued to shrink to about $500,000 a year. That required testing fewer athletes and targeting specific sports such as football, wrestling and baseball.

UIL Athletic Director Mark Cousins said Texas now targets about 60 drugs but the number of positive tests still remains low. In the 2013-2014 school year, the UIL tested 2,633 students and caught two.

Hooton said those low figures don’t match anecdotal evidence of higher steroid use among teens. A 2014 study by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids found that 7 percent of high schoolers reported using steroids from 2009-2013.

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, which reviews state programs, recommended in 2014 that lawmakers drop the program. The commission’s report noted that unless the state wanted to pump up to $5 million a year into a program on par with elite college and pro leagues, it wouldn’t be effective either in catching cheaters or scaring them away from drugs.

Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that exposed performance-enhancing drug use by former cyclist Lance Armstrong, scoffed at Texas for moving to eliminate its program. He noted Texas cities have been willing to pay millions for state-of-the-art high school football facilities.

“They’re willing to spend ($60) million building one high school football stadium but can’t find a fraction of that to protect the health and safety of young athletes? Come on,” Tygart said. “It’s a joke.”

Signing day is Wednesday, here’s what we know

Here’s what we know for signing day on Wednesday. Let us know if you know of others.

Bainbridge: Celia Story, soccer (Brown); Katherine Pecora, soccer (St. Martin’s)
Central Kitsap: Brion Anduze, football (Arizona); Eric Ledesma, football (Central Washington)
Crosspoint: Desere’e Doty, soccer (Grand Canyon)
North Mason: Daniel Burggraaf, baseball (Army)
North Kitsap: Andrew Hecker, football (Washington State, invited walk-on)
Klahowya: McKenzie Cook, soccer (Grand Canyon); Izzy Severns (Central Washington)
South Kitsap: Hailey Parker, soccer (Westmont College); Drew Camacho, softball (Shoreline CC); Shelby Reyes, softball (Shoreline CC)

 

WIAA releases new proposed amendments

Here’s what’s up for possible rule changes this year.
To me, the two most interesting ones: A rule to make the classification changes every four years. This has been a near-annual rule change that keeps getting shot down by small schools whose enrollments can be impacted by a large family moving into town. This rule change allows for an appeal process after two years. Hope this is enough to get the rule passes. Doing the district/league shuffle every two years is tiresome.

The other amendment that interests me is a change to the transfer rule. This looks like it seeks to make it harder for players to switch schools.