Category Archives: Uncategorized

MVPs Kluge (Umpqua), Dixon (Peninsula) will play in NWAACC

Bremerton’s two Olympic League basketball MVPs — Sawyer Kluge and Deonte Dixon — have made their decisions on where they will play basketball in college.

Kluge’s heading to Roseburg, Oregon, where she will play for Umpqua CC. Former Olympic High athlete Ashli Payne, who scored 51 points in one game for Umpqua this season, will be a teammate. Kluge averaged 22.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game her senior year.

Dixon, a smooth 6-foot-2 guard who averaged close to 18.9 points and 3.1 steals  a game, is headed to Peninsula College in Port Angeles.

Quick hits

Working on a story on Mac McCarty, the South Kitsap junior. He’s 10-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 64 innings. He’s struck out 88, walked 28 and allowed just 30 hits. Pretty impressive. Oh, he’s also hitting .388. The Wolves play Wenatchee in the Class 4A state semifinals Friday in Pasco. McCarty’s getting lots of looks from colleges and told me the expects to sign in the fall. … At least five SK seniors will also play college baseball: Logan Knowles (Naval Academy), Tyler Ludlow (Jamestown), Tyler Pinkerton (Everett CC), Tanner Paulson (Treasure Valley CC in Ontario, Oregon) and Conner Sharp (still undecided, but Jamestown, Treasure Valley and other see-cees in the region are possibilities, said coach Marcus Logue). … Drew Vettleson, a two-time Washington State Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year (2007-08 and 2008-09) from Central Kitsap is rehabbing in Florida from a broken bone in his hand that put him on the DL in mid-April. Vettleson’s an outfielder with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was hit by a pitch and broke the pisiform bone, a small rounded carpal bone situated where the palm of the hand meets the outer edge of the wrist. … Kaitlyn Oberg, a middle infielder who helped Lehi High win the Class 5A state softball title in Utah, will play softball at Olympic College next year. .. The annual senior high school all-star baseball and softball games will be played Monday, June 9, at the baseball field at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds & Events Center. The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable sponsors the events. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, students and military and free for kids 12 and under.

Some linkage

“Hubris. Arrogance. Complacency. Inattention. Sloth. All more formidable than the San Francisco 49ers.” Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com writes about the Seahawks as they return to the practice field for their OTAs (organized training activities). He also writes about OG James Carpenter and how the Seahawks are excited that the former first-round pick, a bust to date, could be on track for a break-through season.

Joe Posnanski takes a look at baseball’s batting average. He takes you back to when it was established (and why) and he examines how it has changed over the years. It’s a fun and informative read, for those who like to analyze statistics and for those who don’t.

If you don’t watch HBO’s Game of Thrones, then skip this link. But if you do, you might be interested in NFL.com’s All-Game of Thrones football team.

CJ Allen Pac-12 champ, Seahawks’ links, Villopoto, recommended reading & quick hits

CJ Allen, a freshman from North Mason, didn’t take long to make a name for himself at the college level. The Washington State hurdler won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the Pac-12 meet on Sunday in Pullman. He won it in a lifetime-best 51.14 seconds. Ruby Roberts, a senior from Kingston, was seventh in the 1,500 and 21st in the 5,000. Here’s a story on the meet, courtesy Washington State athletics

Seahawks stuff

A couple videos from NFL.com about two of the elite players from 2013. And yes, they are Seattle Seahawks. Check out the best of Richard Sherman and the best of Russell Wilson. And did you know that Marshawn Lynch is making a movie … about himself growing up in Oakland? It’s called “Family First,” and is scheduled for release at the end of the year. Coach Pete Carroll likes what he sees from this year’s rookie class. Here’s his analysis of some, courtesy ESPN.com. Finally, some insight on Sherman’s contract, according to Peter King of SI.com (scroll to the bottom of the page; it’s the 10th item).

Villopoto out for outdoor season

Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto, 25, will not defend his outdoor AMA motocross season, opting for surgery to repair a lingering injury on his left knee. Villopoto won his fourth straight Supercross championship this season. Jeremy McGrath is the only other rider to win four straight supercross titles. Villopoto had surgery last week. Motocross is off-road motorcycle racing; the stadium version of motocross is supercross. Villopoto won seven supercross races this season, including the last four. He led the last 80 laps of the season, only fueling the feeling that he’s already one of the greatest riders in motorcycle history.

Recommended reading

“Sometimes the New Breed Stat Guys aren’t so good about accepting the vagaries of a very complex game.” That’s a pretty good line from Bob Ryan, the veteran Boston Globe scribe. He wonders if baseball fans care about the new breed of stats, and I’m right there with him on this one.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes about Washinton State football coach Mike Leach, who writes about Geronimo. Legendary hoops coach Don Meyer dies. Meyer spent his career working at small colleges.

California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid could come up short by a nose. The burning question: Nasal strip or no nasal strip? Will New York horse-racing officials allow one?

Finally, some quick hits

Central Kitsap grad and Tacoma resident Troy Kelly will get 14 starts to make $563,133 or earn 354 FedExCup points to retain his PGA Tour card. Kelly had surgery on his right knee almost a year ago, and played in five Web.com Tour events earlier. He’s been working with nationally-recognized coach Brian Mogg, who was born in Bremerton and grew up in Lakewood. Dick Mogg, Brian’s dad, played basketball and baseball at Bremerton High and went on to captain the Seattle Pacific College basketball team.

Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson, Washington Natoinals outfield prospect from Central Kitsap, remains on the disabled list. Vettleson started the season at Double-A Harrisburg Senators. Vettleson, who was acquired from Tampa Bay, suffered a broken hand on April 13 when he was hit by a pitch.

Aaron Cunningham will be at Cheney Stadium this week, playing for the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A club. The Aces play a four-game series against the Tacoma Rainiers. Game times Monday and Tuesday are 6:05 p.m. with an 11:35 a.m. start Wednesday and a 7:05 p.m. start on Thursday. The South Kitsap grad hit .195 in April but has got his average up to .269. The 28-year-old outfielder had a walk-off game-winning walk in the 10th inning on Saturday and has collected at least one hit in eight of his last nine games.

Erynne Lee and the UCLA Bruins will compete in the NCAA Women’s golf Championship, May 20-23, at the Tulsa Country Club in Oklahoma. Lee’s a junior and three-time first-team all-Pac-12 golfer from Central Kitsap. Central Washington’s Kasey Bielec, a junior from North Mason, was named to the Daktronics NCAA Division II West Region second team. Bielec, a third baseman-designated hitter, batted .339 with team-leading totals of seven homers and 39 RBI.

Daniel Jewett, a junior from North Kitsap, helped Omaha win the Summit League regular-season championship, but the Mavericks (30-20 overall, 14-9 league) are not eligible for the 2014 Summit League Tournament due to its status as a reclassifying Division I program. Jewett, an outfielder who played for the Kitsap BlueJackets last season, was second in hitting (.333) and fourth in RBI (29) for Omaha. He played at Truman State (an NCAA Division II program) for two years before transferring to Omaha.

Cheyenne Barger, a sophomore softball player at Treasure Valley (Ontario, Ore.) is worth mentioning. She put up some amazing numbers this season. The big right-fielder/first baseman hit .600 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI heading into the NWAACC tournament. She struck out just twice. Boise State’s among the schools recruiting her. The Chukars were one of four teams left in the tournament, which was rained on Sunday. The top three seeds — Mt. Hood, Clackamas and Wenatchee Valley, in that order — were also alive going into Monday’s action. Olympic College lost 6-3 to Wenatchee Valley and 8-6 to Douglas, B.C., the fourth seed. They mixed in a wild 17-11 victory over Pierce between those losses.

Catching up with some Kitsapers in college: Box MVP; Jonson, Lee earn 1st-team honors

SOFTBALL

Western Oregon’s Bridjet Box (sr., South Kitsap/Olympic College) was 3-for-3 with three home runs and five RBI in a 20-9 win over Central Washington in the GNAC Championship game on Saturday. Box was named the MVP of the tournament after  hitting .750. For the season, she hit .379 with seven homers and 41 RBI for the Wolves (33-21), who advance to the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Western Washington’s Haylee Baker (sr., Bainbridge/Bellevue CC) hit .354 with eight HRs and 46 RBI for the Vikings (30-14), who finished second to Western Oregon in the GNAC regular season.

Erin Kinney (fr., Bainbridge) is hitting .405 for Linfield (33-7), which won the Northwest Conference and opens play in the NCAA D3 regional playoffs next. Kinney, who has been used at designated hitter most of the time, has four homers and 21 RBI in 29 starts. She’s played in 39 games.

GOLF

UNLV’s Carl Jonson (jr., Bainbridge) was named to the first-team All-Mountain West Men’s Golf Team. Jonson is second on the Rebels in scoring (72.64) and 10th in the conference. He has three top-10 finishes in 10 events this season with a fourth-place showing at the Jackrabbit Invitational. He has shot in 60s three times with a low of 67. The Rebels will compete in the NCAA regionals on May 15-17 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.

UCLA’s Erynne Lee (jr., Central Kitsap) was named to the first-team All-Pac-12 Women’s Golf Team for the third straight year. Lee posted her third college win in September at the Mason Rudolph Classic and has seven top-10 finishes this season with an average score of 71.7. Lee and teammate, Alison Lee, the consensus No. 1 player in women’s college golf, were named to the 2014 U.S. Curtis Cup team in march.

 

TRACK & FIELD

Ruby Roberts (jr., Kingston) wasn’t supposed to run the 3,000 meters, but she did and her third-place finish was the difference as she helped Washington State beat Washington 82-81 in a Pac-12 dual in Pullman on Saturday. Roberts ran 9:35.38. She was also second in the 1500 (4:30.13). Cameron Brink (so., Bainbridge) won the discus (154-11) and CJ Allen (fr., North Mason) was second with a PR in the 400 hurdles (48.14) for the WSU men, who lost 84-79 to the Huskies.

Western Washington’s John Hoskin (so., Bainbridge) won the javelin (181-2) at the St. Martin’s Invitational on Saturday. WWU competes in the GNAC Championships on May 9-10 at Monmouth, Ore.

BASEBALL

Tyler Baumgartner (sr., Central Kitsap/Bellevue CC) is hitting .309 for the Oregon Ducks (34-13, 13-8 Pac-12). Baumgartner has started all 47 games in the outfield and has one home run and a team-high 37 RBI.

Kasey Bielec (jr., North Mason) is hitting .340 with seven homers and 38 RBI for Central Washington (28-18, 17-14 GNAC). Pitcher Kurtis Pitcher (sr., Klahowya/Western Oregon/Olympic) is 2-2 with a 4.07 ERA for Central. The lefty has started nine games and pitched 42.1 innings. Central opens GNAC tournament play on May 8 against St. Martin’s at Western Oregon.

Outfielder Daniel Jewett (jr., North Kitsap/Truman State (Mo.)/Omaha University) is hitting .324 for the Mavericks (23-19, 8-8 Summit Conference) with a home run and 22 RBI.

Josh Sontag (so., Central Kitsap) helped St. Martin’s (18-28, 14-17 GNAC), reach the conference tournament as the No. 3 seed. Sontag, who is hitting .122 with a home run in 29 at bats, developed into a starting pitcher and was 2-5 with a 5.52 ERA in 60.1 inning. The 6-foot-2 right-hander got a no decision, but pitched 5.2 strong innings in an 11-6 win over beating Central Washington in a key game on Saturday. Sontag’s started 10 games.

Linfield’s Joe Stevick (jr., Olympic) has appeared in 13 games, pitching 20.2 innings of relief for the Wildcats (33-7), who won the Northwest Conference and will play in the NCAA D3 playoffs. Stevick a 6-6 right-hander, is 0-2 with a 3.48 ERA. He has struck out 11, walked two and allowed 17 hits.

A.J. Milyard (fr., North Kitsap) appeared in two games as a relief pitcher for Whitworth (13-22).

Two former Olympic College Rangers and Kitsap BlueJackets — pitchers Devin Smith (jr., West Seattle) and catcher Dustin Dhanani (jr., Blaine) — are playing at NCAA Division I Alabama A&M (20-29, 12-9) of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Smith is 4-6 with a 4.31 ERA, and is the workhorse of the staff with 79.1 innings pitched in 15 appearances (11 starts). Dhanani is hitting .234 and has started 30 games.

Daniel Orr (jr., Kingston/Everett CC) led Corban University (29-26) in virtually ever major hitting statistic. The first baseman batted .374 with 23 doubles, four triples, three HRs and drove in 48 runs.

Catcher Curtis Wildung (jr., North Kitsap) is hitting .224 for Pacific Lutheran (25-14, 16-8 Northwest Conference) with four home runs and 14 RBI. He has started 33 games.

NWAACC Baseball

Everett CC: Ben Tamm (fr., North Kitsap) is 2-1 with a save and 0.54 ERA in 33.1 innings in 10 relief appearances. He has 30 strikeouts, 15 walks and allowed just 15 hits. … Michael Wood (fr., South Kitsap) is 3-5 with a 1.57 ERA in eight starts. He’s pitched 57 innings, allowed 47 hits, fanned 41 and walk d21.

Tacoma CC: Quinn Eldridge (so., Chimacum) is 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA for the Titans, who are 32-2 and ranked No. 1 in the NWAACC poll. Eldrige has appeared in nine games, four as a starter. He’s pitched 32 innings, struckout 24, walked nine and allowed 24 hits and five runs. … Cory Main (fr., South Kitsap) is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA as a reliever. He’s pitched  18.2 innings and has allowed 11 hits, fanned 12 and walked three.

Here’s Olympic College’s hitting statistics.

Here’s Olympic College’s pitching statistics.

NWAACC Softball

Here’s Olympic College’s hitting statistics. 

Here’s Olympic College’s pitching statistics.

Go to nwaacc.org for complete NWAACC stats. Note: Cheyenne Barger of Treasure Valley is on pace to win the triple crown. She’s hitting .603 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI.

 

 

We’re gonna miss ya, Westy

NOTE: I wrote this column for The Sun’s Monday, April 7 editions. Information for Pat Westhoff’s funeral and service will be announced later this week. Look for Pat’s obit in The Sun. Wanna know what others are saying on this sad day? Go to Facebook and search Patrick Westhoff. Here’s a story Eric D. Williams wrote when Westy retired from the city in 2002.

PAT WESTHOFF WAS ONE OF A KIND

I’ve been staring at the birthday card I bought for Pat Westhoff a few months ago.

I never got a chance to give it to him. Pat would have turned 68 on Friday, but he died early Sunday morning after a brave fight against cancer. He was surrounded by his family at the home he grew up in on the corner of Fifth and Veneta, across the street from Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Bremerton.

I’d share the words on the card, but the language is a bit too much, if you know what I mean. I’m pretty sure Westy would have gotten a kick out of it.

There was always laughter when you hung with Westy. This little guy might have been 5-foot-4 in his cowboy boots, but he was larger than life. He could make an ordinary day hilarious.

Nobody was safe from Pat’s biting one-liners. Nothing was off limits. He made us laugh at ourselves. Sometimes all it took was a look, a sideways glance or roll of his eyes followed by “jeeezzzz….”

I found myself listening to a lot of Roy Orbison on Sunday. Every time I hear an Orbison song I think of Pat. Along with family, friends and fishing, Pat was definitely into his music.

There was a time when softball, and golf consumed him. I met him through softball, as a fastpitch teammate — he was a shortstop and catcher and later my manager.  He was as competitive as they come on the field and later became the face of softball in our area.

He was a protégé of Andy Pendergast, the late Bremerton Parks and Rec superintendent. Westhoff was the recreation coordinator, the guy who operated all of the softball and basketball leagues in town. He was the district Amateur Softball Association commissioner for years, and represented the area and the state at national meetings.

When he was named rec coordinator in 1969, Bremerton had 20 men’s softball teams. By 1980, he’d turned the program into one of the state’s biggest with 400 registered teams, counting women and youth leagues. Westhoff ruled those leagues with an iron fist.

When the city got more heavily into the golf business, adding the championship Olympic Course to the existing Cascade Course at Gold Mountain, Westhoff was in the middle of it. He was park and rec’s liaison to the project manager and design team during the building of the Olympic Course that opened in 1996 as well as the $3.5 million clubhouse that opened six years later.

Westy had the ear and trust of his bosses — all the way to the mayor’s office. He was a voice of the people, a voice of reason that sometimes cut through the politics and red tape. He also had a golfer’s perspective on what made a golf course challenging and interesting, and his ideas always carried a lot of weight. They named a creek after him on the back nine of the Olympic Course.

Pat’s honesty was refreshing, and it earned him a lot of respect in the community. If he didn’t like something, he shared his opinions. Sugarcoating wasn’t part of his DNA, and he might drop an expletive or two to make his point.

Was Pat Westhoff feisty? Well, is the pope Catholic?

After arguing a call with an umpire, he sailed his bat from the softball diamond in the right-field corner of old Roosevelt Field (now an Olympic College parking lot) over the fence and against the toll-booth on the Warren Avenue Bridge. That’s not an urban tale.

And an angry Westhoff once flung his bat on top of the old wooden grandstands at Roosevelt after striking out. That’s an impressive physical feat for a guy that weighed maybe 130 pounds, but it doesn’t surprise me at all.

Westy never got cheated, whether he was swinging at a rise ball, coming out of his shoes on his tee shots or going chin-to-chest with an umpire.

He was the feistiest, funniest, ballsiest guy a lot of us ever knew, but he was more than a character. He was passionate about life, what he believed in and the people he loved.

Roy Orbison’s still playing, and I’m sneaking peaks at the birthday card I was going to give Pat. Man, he’d have loved that card.

I’m tempted to drink a Coke, his favorite beverage, and light up a cigar in his memory.

Taco Tuesdays, among other days, will never be the same.

We’re going to miss his spirit, his stories, his sense of humor.

Lord, you don’t make ‘em like Pat Westhoff anymore.

 

 

Kitsapers in college

GOLF

UNLV’s Carl Jonson (jr., Bainbridge) earned the first Mountain West Golfer of the Week award of his career. Jonson recorded two top-six finishes last week, tying for sixth at the National Invitational Tournament in Tucson, and he finished a career-best fourth at the Jackrabbit Invitational in Primm, Nev. He was five shots off the lead in Tucson, and three back in Primm. Jonson shot 71-69-70—210 on the par-72 Omni Tucson National Course. He carded rounds of 71-67-75 on the Desert Course in Primm. UNLV was fourth at the NIT, and won the Jackrabbit Invitational.

UCLA’s Erynne Lee (jr., Central Kitsap), recently named to the U.S. Curtis Cup team, is tied for 17th after two rounds (69-77—146, +2) at the San Diego State University Farms Invitational. No. 2 UCLA led the tournament. UPDATE: Lee shot -1 71 on Wednesday and wound up tied for fifth. UCLA tied for second.

TRACK AND FIELD

Shane Moskowitz (jr., Central Kitsap) placed second in the mile (4:16.51) at the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships earlier this month in Ames, Iowa.

Ruby Roberts (sr., Kingston) was fourth in the Dempsey Indoor at Seattle in the 3,000 meters (9:16.30), and she won the 1,500 (4:26.25) and was second in the 800 (2:09.88) against UCLA in a Pac-12 outdoor meet in Los Angeles last week. … WSU’s CJ Allen (fr., North Mason) won the 400 hurdles (52.20) and ran a leg on the 4×400 relay that placed second to UCLA. … John Fullington (sr., North Mason), a starting offensive lineman on the football team, was fourth in the shot put (52-2) for the Cougars.

Reagan Colyer (fr., North Kitsap) won the 800-meter title (2:11.18) at the Big Sky Indoor Championships earlier this month for Montana. She was third in the 1,600 (4:57.94).

SOFTBALL

Haylee Baker (Sr., Bainbridge/Bellevue CC) is hitting .373 with 5 HRs and 6 doubles for Western Washington (13-8, 5-5 GNAC). The shortstop has 24 RBI, a .712 slugging percentage and .435 on-base percentage. She was recently named GNAC Player of the Week after homering in four straight games against Billings Montana.

BASKETBALL

Former all-state guard Jarell Flora (jr., Bremerton) wound up Seattle University’s third-leading scorer (9.5 points). He’s started 25 of 30 games for the Redhawks (13-17). He averaged 28.4 minutes per game, second-high on the team, and shot .387 from the field (99-256), .367 from 3-point range (55-150) and .705 from the foul line (31-44). Flora averaged 3.2 rebounds and figures to be a key player as a senior.

Forward Jalen Carpenter (so., Bremerton) averaged 8.7points and 5.7 rebounds for Weber State (7-22).  Carpenter started 17 games, averaging 22.2 minutes per game She led the Big Sky club in offensive rebounds (87) and shot .427 from the field (97-227) and .648 from the foul line (59-91).

Guard Krista Stabler (so., Central Kitsap) averaged 7.4 points for St. Martin’s (18-11, 11-7 Great Northwest Athletic Conference). She started five games and averaged 20.9 minutes per game. Stabler shot .335 from the field (60-179), .129 from 3-point range (4-31) and .798 from the foul line (91-114).

Kelsey Callaghan (jr., South Kitsap) averaged 2.6 points and 2.2 assists for Western Montana (10-24). She started eight games and averaged 20.2 minutes per game. … Breyenne Mosey (jr., Crosspoint Academey) averaged 4.6 minutes and 1.4 rebounds.

BASEBALL

Tyler Baumgartner (sr., Central Kitsap/Bellevue) continues to swing a hot bat for Oregon (17-6, 5-1 Pac-12). The right-fielder leads the Ducks with a .378 average. He has 10 doubles, 2 triples, 18 RBI and 5 stolen bases.

Two former Olympic College players — pitcher Devin Smith (jr., West Seattle) and catcher Dustin Dhanani (jr., Blaine) — are playing at NCAA Division I Alabama A&M (10-17, 4-5). Smith is 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA after seven appearances, six starts. He has pitched 43.1 innings and has 27 strikeouts, 9 walks. Dhanani has started 17 games and is hitting .203.

Daniel Orr (jr., Kingston, Everett CC) is hitting a team-high .405 for Corban University (16-13, 7-5 NAIA West). The IB/OF has 15 doubles, four triples, one homer and 34 RBI.

Catcher Curtis Wildung (jr., North Kitsap) is hitting .210 for Pacific Lutheran (13-7, 8-3 NWC). Wildung has two HRs, six RBI and has started 17 games.

Pitcher Joe Stevick (jr., Olympic) is 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA in seven relief appearances for Linfield (18-3, 11-1 Northwest Conference). Stevick has pitched 14.1 innings and has allowed 11 hits with seven strikeouts with just one walk.

Infielder Kasey Bielec (jr., North Mason) is hitting a team-high .391 Central Washington (12-11, 5-7 GNAC). He has four HRs, 19 RBI, 12 walks, a .638 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage. … CWU lefty pitcher Kurtis Pitcher (sr., Klahowya, Western Oregon, Olympic College) is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in five starts. He’s allowed 22 hits in 21.1 innings with 15 strikeouts and 12 walks.

Josh Sontag (so., Central Kitsap) is a pitcher/infielder for St. Martin’s (7-17, 2-11 GNAC). Sontag has started four games and relieved in two others. He’s 1-3 with a 7.09 ERA in 26.2 innings. He’s hitting .143.

Pitcher Eli Fultz (fr., Bremerton) is red-shirting at Lewis-Clark State.

If you’re aware of other local athletes competing at four-year schools this spring, please email chuckstark00@gmail.com.

Redemption for Ashley Wagner — the pride of Seabeck — in Sochi

Ashley Wagner wasn’t happy with her score (63.10), but it was good enough to put her in fourth place in the ladies’ part of the team figure skating competition at Sochi.

The figure skater with Seabeck ties is Kitsap’s closest connection to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Her parents Eric and Melissa Wagner were Central Kitsap graduates, and her grandfather, Mike James, was the park superintendent at Scenic Beach State Park in Seabeck for 35 years. Eric’s military career took the family around the globe and Ashley describes herself as a military brat, but she considers Seabeck her home. She spent most of her summers there.

“It’s the one place that we’ve always gone back to, no matter what,” she told Meri-Jo Borzilleri, a freelance writer who profiled Wagner for The Sun prior to the 2010 national championships in Spokane.  “I always knew it would be there, I knew people from there, I had friends from there, family. It was just one place that was always familiar. And that’s why I call it home.”

Her family and friends in Seabeck are, no doubt, proud as the can be.

Wagner’s making her first Olympic appearance and the two-time national champion got there after falling twice and finishing fourth at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Her selection caused quite an uproar. She might not have been happy with her score, but her performance was solid and proved that she deserved to be there.

Christine Brennan of USA Today wrote:

So, afterward, she naturally found herself being asked about redemption more than a few times, that having become the theme of the evening.

“To the people who doubted I belonged on this team, yes,” she said. “But really it was more about proving to myself that I could get beyond that competition and that I wasn’t a nervous wreck and that I was that strong, hard-headed competitor that I know that I am and that my mother has been dealing with for 22 years, so that was good for me.”

 

Quick Hits: Kelly, Seahawks, Hammel & more

QUICK HITS AND THOUGHTS

Wonder if the PGA tour will ever get around to correcting the info on Troy Kelly’s bio? It still says he’s a graduate of West Sound Academy in Poulsbo, where he was a first-team all-league guard. Kelly was a first-team all-league guard … at Central Kitsap. Kelly, coming off knee surgery after playing in just 10 PGA events a year ago, gets his 2014 season started next week at the Web.com Tour’s Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship in Bogota, Columbia. Kelly gets five Web.com Tour tuneups, and will have 14 more PGA Tour tournaments to earn $577,828 to keep his full-time playing privilege.

I’m looking forward to listening to Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf, who will be covering the skeleton competion at the Sochi Olympics for NBC. Follow her on Twitter @BreeSchaaf. Skeleton will be held over four days, Feb. 13-16. Schaaf was a bobsledder in the last Olympics, placing fifth at Vancouver.

In case you missed it, as I did while playing in Vegas last weekend, South Kitsap grad Jason Hammel several national media outlets reported that he had signed a one-year deal for a reported $6 million with the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander, who spent last season with the Baltimore Orioles, could earn an extra $1 million in incentives, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The Cubs have not confirmed the report, pending Hammel passing a physical. Hammel, 31, was 7-8 (4.97 ERA) in 23 starts and three relief appearances last season. He missed time with soreness in his right elbow.

I still can’t get that first play of the Super Bowl out of my head. Might have been the earliest turning point in the history of big sporting events. Denver’s mistimed snap ended up as a safety for the Seahawks. It was only 2-0, but you had a feeling, at least I did, that it was going to be Seattle’s day.

My buddy, Don Lay, and I chatted with one of Richard Sherman’s proud cousins at the Palace Station sports book on Super Bowl Sunday in Vegas. Yoseph (didn’t catch his last name) grew up in Compton and works for the schools in Las Vegas. He sported a braided pony tail (says long hair is a family trait) and was decked out in Seahawks’ gear. Asked if he thought Sherman would ever be a national figure, Yoseph shook his head. “I thought he might make the NFL, but as a wide receiver,” he said. “That’s what he played in high school.” Yoseph’s phone was full of photos Sherman was sending to family members and friends, some on the day of the game.

How amazing would it be if Hawks’ owner Paul Allen could become a two-time world champion this year? His Portland Trail Blazers have a legit shot.

Anybody looking forward to seeing what Percy Harvin can do for a full season if he’s healthy?

The first recruiting class of Husky football coach Chris Petersen wasn’t highly rated but the coach landed six in-state recruits, including the two best in Bellevue’s Budda Baker and 6-8, 285-pound lineman Kaleb McGary from Fife. That’s huge. Baker, a defensive back, will likely return punts and kickoffs and don’t be surprised to see him on offense, too. I’d envision the Huskies using him on fly sweeps and in other situations where they can take advantage of his electrifying talents.

Willie Bloomquist wore No. 16 the first time around with the Mariners. It wasn’t his choice. The South Kitsap grad was assigned the number when he was brought up at the end of the 2002 season. He wore No. 18 in Arizona, but that number was already taken by Hisashi Iwakuma, so he settled on No. 8 for his second tour of duty.

Speaking of Iwakuma, let’s not go to sleep on this guy. Based on last year, you could make the argument that he could be Seattle’s best pitcher. Yes, even better than Felix Hernandez. Iwakuma was 14-6 in 219.2 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 1.01 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). Hernandez was 11-10 in 204.1 innings with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

The Alex Rodriguez circus won’t be doing business this year. A-Rod dropped his lawsuits against MLB and the players’ union. It’s pretty much an admittance of guilt. Now the only question is: Will he come back to play in 2015? He’s got to sit out 211 games, so he would be eligible to join the Yankees sometime in May of ’15. He’ll be 39, but there will be plenty of incentive. Rodriguez is scheduled to earn $61 million for the 2015-2017 seasons. 

Congratulations to the Bremerton Knights for winning a Class 2A state bowling title, and good luck to the rest of the local prep athletes and teams as they head into the postseason.

I jumped the gun on that last one. Bremerton leads the state bowling tournament after the first day. Good luck Knights! Same for the rest of our teams and athletes who will be starting the postseason in the near future.

 

 

Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman, Richard Sherman …

Everybody’s got an opinion about Richard Sherman, who has become the face, ah, make that the voice, of the Seattle Seahawks. The Internet is full of Sherman stories. Before we get to some of them, here’s my quick thought on what transpired at the end of Sunday’s game at CenturyLink:

It’s an emotional game, and Sherman clearly got caught up in the excitement and energy of making a game-saving play in the biggest game of his life, but he’s apologized for taking the attention away from his teammates. I didn’t mind the post-game rant, I rather enjoyed it and I’m a card-carrying AARP-member. I didn’t like the choke sign. That was bush-league. Can he tone it down? Sure, but this is a supremely confident athlete. He’s a smack-talker, but he’s not a thug. He wears his bravado on his sleeve like Muhammad Ali. He’s the mouth that roars, and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the bright lights of Super Bowl media week in New York. You’re not going to get a lot of boring, cliche-like answers from him, but I don’t think he’ll give Peyton Manning and the Broncos any bulletin board material either. Richard Sherman’s too smart for that, and I think he’ll learn from how he reacted following the Seahawks’ NFC Championship game.

The most disturbing part of the Richard Sherman saga? Reading some of the ignorant and racially-implied online comments directed toward Sherman on the Internet. That tells me more about their character than his.

He talks about that and more in this revealing interview with Rachel Nichols of CNN.com.

Love him or hate him, Peter King of mmqbSI.com says everybody is fascinated about the Seahawks’ cornerback.

“I think this story has really caught on because everyone loves a villain,’’ said Dr. Annemarie Farrell, a professor of sports management and media at Ithaca College. She is an expert in fan behavior. “There’s not a ton of villains on either of these teams that people can talk about. We can’t all talk about Peyton Manning every day all the time. That’s boring. Sherman, on the other hand, put himself out there, and America really latched on. That’s why it became a bigger story than the game.

“There’s a lot of different storylines with Richard and reasons for why this blew up, but I think a really important one here is race. This seethes into this narrative of race in America and race logic. Think about who Richard Sherman is. He’s a kid from Compton who graduated second in his class and went to Stanford to earn a degree in Communications. He’s at a critical point in his football career, makes a huge play, then a reporter sticks a mike in his face. What does he do? He not only speaks, he shouts. And now you have an angry, almost violent black man, in a very passionate moment, yelling on national television.’’

Stanford coach David Shaw was the defensive coordinator when Sherman played for the Cardinal. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News asked him about Sherman.

“Bill Walsh said you want guys with high character who are great players and great people,” Shaw said.  “But every once in a while, you have to line up and defend Jerry Rice. And the guy who does that has to be on the edge. That’s where Richard is.”

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes:

There is nothing wrong with not liking Sherman. As sure as he is free to act as he chooses, fans are free to judge him on that and react accordingly. That’s part of the deal. The only mistake is to assume that everyone in the NFL should act the same way – or more specifically act like you think you would act if it were you who was playing the game.

Jamie Fritz, who manages Sherman’s marketing deals, told ESPN.com: “We live in a world where so many are politically correct, so many are all about media training. There’s one thing that you can count on from Richard, and that is that he’s always going to speak his mind.”

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times defends Sherman. He writes:

“… he is the example of everything that is wrong with some modern professional football fans. A guy fights for three hours and winds up throwing the punch of his life in the most important professional moment of his life, and America expects him to immediately start blowing kisses?”

Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune is among those who finds Sherman refreshing:

“You want classy? Go to the opera. Sherman sounded like football. Good for him. Good for our entertainment.

“Admit it, you loved it, too. Stop lying to yourselves. It’s a bad habit, it’s patently phony, and people are already pointing at you and talking about you.

“Sherman was himself. He was a thing, and it was hysterical. He was funny, colorful, entertaining. This is not a G-8 meeting, people. It’s entertainment.

“It’s entertainment that includes a guy suffering a torn ACL for our pleasure.

“It’s entertainment that includes players welcoming the early stages of brain damage for our pleasure.

“Wise up, folks. When you’re asking people to bring on early dementia and early death, yeah, there’s a chance they’ll be geeked up.

“And when a player makes the key play in a conference championship game and has a live mic stuck in front of him, then yeah, there’s a chance he’ll still be geeked up.”

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News writes that Sherman has made it all about himself.

“Richard Sherman may make you root against him, against his team, root even harder for Peyton Manning to come win the big game in Eli’s house. But Sherman’s face was as much the face of his sport as Peyton’s was on championship Sunday. His voice, like it or not, drowned out everything else, even all that noise in Seattle.

“He hits town in a week. It is more likely Richard Sherman runs out of saliva before he runs out of material. Peyton may light him up in the game, it’s happened to loudmouth defensive backs in Super Bowls before. Until then, Sherman will think all the bright lights of the big city are about him.”

ALSO: According to vegasinsider.com, the favorite is just 1-5 in the last six Super Bowls and 3-9 in the last 12 against the spread. Several Vegas bookies had the Seahawks as early favorites, but the line moved in Denver’s favor and the Broncos are now 2-point favorites. That line, of course, could move as we get closer to the game.

Pemberton celebration of life service set

A celebration of life for former West High, Olympic College and Central Washington athlete Dave Pemberton will be held on Sunday, Jan. 12, from noon to 2 p.m. at Silverdale Community Center (9729 Silverdale Way).

Pemberton, 63, died of cancer last month at his home in Port Townsend.

In case you missed it, here’s a column I wrote about Pemberton following his death.

I can’t tell you how many people I bumped into over the holidays who had Pembo stories to share. John Sitton, who played basketball with Pem at West High, and I talked about him the other day at the YMCA. Sitton remembers Pemberton’s first day at West High. The transfer from California showed up wearing loafers and no socks. “Everybody in school was talking about this guy from California,” Sitton said.

And they’ll continue to talk about him for a long, long time.

Kitna’s gift; Edgar for HOF? Tanaka a good fit for Mariners? Knights ranked No. 9

Coolest story of the week: Lincoln High football coach and match teacher Jon Kitna, 41, signing with the Dallas Cowboys to be a backup quarterback. Wait, it gets better. It’s been reported that the Tacoma native is donating the $53,000 he earns this week to Lincoln High, his old school. His generosity probably doesn’t surprise those who know him. Kitna’s goal when he accepted the football job at Lincoln was to build “R.E.A.L. Men” who (R)eject passivity, (E)mpathize with others, (A)ccept responsibility and (L)ead courageously.

The case for and against Edgar Martinez when it comes to deciding if he’s a Hall of Famer or not. Since the DH has been part of the game for 30 years, it seems silly to me for voters to punish a player because he was a DH. And you can make a pretty good argument that Edgar’s the best DH in the history of the sport. What do you think?

Scott Weber of Looking Landing has some good thoughts on Masahiro Tanaka and why the Mariners would be better off spending big bucks to land the Japanese pitcher than on an outfielder like Nelson Cruz. You have to admit, a starting rotation of Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Tanaka, Taijuan Walker and Erasmo Ramirez or James Paxton looks pretty good on paper.

And Fangraphs.com has come up with some projections for the 2014 Seattle Mariners.

Recommended reading: Michael Bramberger of Sports Illustrated wrote a  pretty thought-provoking column about Tiger Woods in November. It all revovled around former Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee writing a piece where he questioned Tiger for being “a little cavalier with the rules.”

Tickets for the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet on Jan. 25 are on sale. They cost $30, not $35 as I wrote in a previous post. Sorry about that.

Bremerton High has cracked the Seattle Times’ Class 2A boys basketball top-10 rankings. The Knights (6-0) are No. 9 this week. I watched the Knights beat Port Angeles before Christmas (look for my story on senior Deonti Dixon on Friday) and this could be a special season if they keep improving. Fundamentally, they’ve got a ways to go on defense, but their quickness makes up for a lot of that.  Keep your eye on these guys. The Associated Press state rankings should be out after the first of the year.

Steve Sarkisian talks about why he left Washington and about winning a national championship at USC.

Don’t know how I missed this one, but I’ve got to share it. You’re a mean one, Marshawn Lynch. This is Dave Ross’ musical tribute to the Seahawks’ running back.

Are you having a tough time getting excited about the Washington Huskies and the Fight Hunger Bowl? Me too.  With the coaching change and the Tosh Lupoi situation and the UW losing out on prize recruit Budda Baker, the bowl game itself seems pretty meaningless. It’ll be interesting to see how Marques Tuiasosopo does as an interim head coach — you can’t help but pull for that guy — and the possibility of a nine-win season, I guess, is a big deal. But the opponent, BYU, doesn’t do it for me. The UW and Cougars, now an independent,  have never met in a bowl game, but they’ve played eight times, six since 1996 (the series is tied 4-4) with BYU winning the last three, including a 23-17 victory the last time the met in 2010.