Postseason action awaits WR athletes

Cross country, volleyball, and soccer athletes are all heading to state.

White River sophomore Elle Thomas prepares to serve during a Hornet home match. File photo by Kevin Hanson

White River sophomore Elle Thomas prepares to serve during a Hornet home match. File photo by Kevin Hanson

CROSS COUNTRY

The White River girls captured a Westside Classic 2A championship, earning a team berth into this weekend’s state meet in Pasco.

Saturday’s state championships will be staged at the traditional site, Sun Willows Golf Course.

At the district meet, the Hornet boys placed sixth, just one spot away from a team berth.

Running at state for the girls team (with their district placing) will be Makayla Melcher, sixth; Kelcie Melcher, 14th; Tori Goodrich, 16th; Maria Hawthorne, 20th; Soleil Bianchi, 23rd; Jessica Taylor, 29th; and Lucy Starkel, 32nd. There were 115 runners in the 2A girls field.

Coach Dameon Marlow also will take two alternates with the girls team, Kajsa Holland-Goon and Emmaline Lenz.

Qualifying for White River in the boys race were Nathan Chaussee, 25th in the district race, and Tanner Holmes, 30th.

VOLLEYBALL

The West Central District tournament awaits the White River volleyball team, which is coming off a second-place finish in league play and a victory in the South Puget Sound League 2A tourney.

The league tournament, staged Nov. 2 at Franklin Pierce High School, brought together eight teams and determined seeding into this week’s WCD tourney. All eight will compete in the 12-team district tournament, where the top six will earn entry into the Class 2A state field. The state championships will be contested Nov. 15-16, at a site that was being decided early this week.

In the league tourney, White River defeated the Orting Cardinals 25-6, 25-16, 25-14 to claim the No. 5 berth into district play. The squad was sparked by Kaitlyn Nelson and Elle Thomas, who had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Kelli Kaelin registered 31 digs and Amanda Mahlstedt had 60 assists.

White River opens district play at 5 p.m. Thursday against River Ridge High. A victory over the Hawks will bring a second game on Thursday (7 p.m. against North Kitsap) while an opening-round loss would mean waiting until Saturday for a loser-out contest at noon.

The Hornets are no strangers to postseason success. They moved through the district tournament the past two years and advanced to state play, where they found success on the St. Martin’s University courts. A year ago, White River won two of four state matches and placed eighth; in 2017, the Hornets returned home with a fourth-place state trophy.

Coach Caitlin Carr was on the Hornet bench as an assistant the past two seasons and took over the head job this year.

SOCCER

The White River High soccer team captured a division title, won a third straight South Puget Sound League 2A tournament championship and is now in the midst of district competition.

Heading into District 3 games of this week, the Hornets found themselves just one victory shy of a trip to the Class 2A state tournament.

Having received a first-round bye into district play, White River’s first test came last night (Tuesday) against Eatonville. The Cruisers had advanced by knocking off North Mason Nov. 2 in the WCD opening round.

The results of last night’s contest at Franklin Pierce Stadium came too late to be reported here.

If the Hornets were victorious they will play at Saturday for the district title, having already locked up a slot in the state tournament. Saturday’s game begins at 7 p.m., again at Franklin Pierce Stadium. If White River lost Tuesday, they play Thursday (7 p.m. at Franklin Pierce) in a game that carries winner-to-state, loser-out implications.

The top six squads from district play will join the 16-team state field.

TENNIS

Jared Zaugg is headed, again, to the Class 2A state tennis championships.

The Hornets’ No. 1 player all season, Zaugg won two matches during the West Central District tournament to earn his repeat state trip. The WCD tourney was staged last week at the Kitsap Tennis and Athletic Center in Bremerton.

Zaugg advanced in impressive fashion. In the district semifinals, he took a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Kyle Hebbeler, who won the league championship a week ago. In the finals, Zaugg knocked off Abe Rios 6-1, 6-2. Rios was the district champ a season ago.

Zaugg’s march is now on hold for six months. The state tournament is played during the spring athletic season, slated for May 29-30 at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle.

White River also had a double team qualifying for the district tournament. The pairing of Charlie Pratt and Tanner Jewell dropped their first two matches and were ousted from WCD play.

FOOTBALL

White River’s season came to an end on the chilly evening of Nov. 1 when the Hornets fell in overtime 40-34 to the Washington Patriots.

In the win-or-go-home scenario, the teams deadlocked at 14 at halftime. Washington took a 34-14 lead by the end of the third quarter, but the Hornets stormed back to tie the game and send things into overtime. Washington took possession first in OT and scored a touchdown; White River was moving the ball but lost a fumble and the game was over.

In the season finale, White River received three touchdowns from Payne Plaster, the first when he returned a punt that had been blocked by Devin Zweifel and the others on rushing attempts. The Hornets’ other -points came on TD passes from TJ Stroschein to Mason Donovan and four extra-point kicks by Ryan Firle.

In his final game, Stroschein set a school record for career passing, winding up with 3,388 yards.

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