By Theresa De Lay and Sarah Wehmann
Last year, the Sumner Spartans boys soccer team ended league play with a 15-4 record and advanced to state, losing in the quarterfinals. A large number of defenders were lost, though new faces bring new potential, it may take some time for the team to meet expectations, coach Peter Voiles said.
“Expectations are high but (it) may take a few games to find continuity with a new group. This team is hard working and will set the tempo of the game,” he said.
Senior Henry Leenstra, all league goalkeeper, brings his overall athleticism and knack for making a big save to the team again this year. His leadership will be instrumental for the young back line, Voiles said.
Junior Drew Wehmer returns this year after a back injury limited his play time as a sophomore. He adds a calm presence in the midfield that proves to be a key to the Spartan’s possession and organization, Voiles said.
Senior Zak Rawson is a three-year varsity player and two time all league selection, as the engine of the group. His unparalleled work ethic makes him the engine of the group, Voiles said.
The Panthers enter the season the defending 3A state champions.
“Bonney Lake looks again as the strongest in the SPSL 3A league and should once again be able to make a great showing through league and districts to state,” assistant coach Randy Jones said.
Coach Luke Helling-Christy returns this season to coach the Panthers after being named Coach of the Year last season.
Helling-Christy has been coaching for 12 years and has been with Bonney Lake since the school opened in 2005.
“Last season went as well as possible for Bonney Lake,” Helling-Christy said.
The Panthers went on a 16-0 run to finish the season after its only three losses came in the preseason.
This season, the Panthers lost three seniors and return eight starters.
Those spots have already been filled, he said. Bonney Lake added a better striker, forward and a different goalie, Helling-Christy said.
The team looks good after the first week and a half of training, he said.
“They are returning bigger, faster and stronger,” Helling-Christy said.
This years team consists of 12 seniors, four juniors and one sophomore.
Jones said players to watch this season are Dalton Ogdon, Tyler John, Joey Mack and Colton Tracy.
Aside from players to watch, a number of players have already signed letters of intent to continue playing soccer beyond high school.
Mack has committed to St. Martins University, John according to Helling-Christy has been in negotiations with Highline Community College, Ogdon has been offered a spot at Tacoma Community College but according to Helling-Christy he is still looking around and Brody Fitz will continue playing at Bellevue College next year.
Tracy will attend Brigham Young University next year, Helling-Christy said, but he will not continue playing soccer. And Brian Grob will attend Pacific Lutheran University next year but will also not be playing soccer, according to Helling-Christy.
This year is about evaluation, he said.
“We can’t do the same thing as last year and be successful,” Helling-Christy said.
The Panthers goal this year, he said, is to be more dominate.
“We are back to the basics, working on improving areas we struggled with last year,” he said.
Helling-Christy sees the potential for greatness and he is excited about the possibility to repeat.
“It is difficult to win once and harder to repeat,” he said. “We are up for the challenge.”
Sumner girls track coach Kristin Chapman said the biggest challenge for those coaching and competing in track is the weather. But whether it rains or shines, the Spartans are ready.
Last year, the girls track team won the 2A SPSL league title with a record of 7-0 and finished second overall in the West Central District meet, Chapman said. This year will hopefully bring more success.
“We have a lot of depth this year in most of our events, so we are hoping to continue our tradition of success,” she said.
Chapman said the following athletes performed particularly well last year and show promise this season.
Senior Abi Hensler placed 15th last year at state in the 1,600 meter.
Junior Alyssa Murray, 2012 state champion in the 1,600m, placed 10th at state last year.
Junior Alexandra Espinda placed 12th at state last year in the javelin throw.
Senior Kimi Nakayama, pole vaulter, earned 12th place at state last year.
Rachel Stowel junior sprinter/jumper, competed at state in 2013 as a first-year track athlete in both the 400 and 1,600 relay.
Junior Khenya Dean, thrower, took 10th place at state last year
Senior Madi Henken has state experience from 2012.
Sophomore Kristen Immel, javelin thrower, and sophomore Emma Bakke are both varsity eligible.
I love everything about track and field,” Chapman said. “It’s both an individual and team sport which adds a unique element. I enjoy seeing kids improve in various aspects of the sport. We are all looking forward to a great season.”
Judy Revell began competitive running when she was 6 years old and continued through her college years.
For the past 22 years she has been coaching but this will be her first year at Bonney Lake High School.
This season, the Panthers have a young team with a majority of the girls being freshmen and sophomores.
Revell has only spent two weeks with the team and said she is still getting to know them.
However, she said, “it looks like the Panthers have amazing potential.”
Revell is excited for the season ahead.
“It is going to be fun to watch them discover their strengths, accomplish goals and set personal records,” she said.
Andy Foster has been a head coach for 24 years and has been coaching track since 1988.
He has been at Bonney Lake High School coaching track since it opened.
Foster has been around track most of his life and competed himself when he was at Gonzaga University.
“I really love the sport and I like how it is a sport of individual performance as well as a team,” he said. “Everyone can have success in this sport.”
Last season, Foster said the Panthers “finished in the middle of the pack.” A few athletes made it to state, he said.
Foster said the Bonney Lake track team as more than 150 athletes on the team.
“I want everyone to have an enjoyable experience and show improvement throughout the season. We will be successful if this happens,” Foster said.
This year the Panthers track team is young with lots of new faces, he said.
Several of the athletes, Foster said, could continue running track after high school.
The Panthers started the season with a jamboree Saturday and continue with an invitational this coming Saturday, March 22.
“These are good meets to attend to get the edge off before we go against Lakes at home,” Foster said.
Girls Water Polo
Spartan water polo is gearing up for the season and this year, they’ll be swimming behind a new leader. Kevin Reese has coached water polo for six years but this will be his first at Sumner.
Alex Denzinger and Anna Hurd will anchor the defense as strong goalies, Reese said. Returning seniors include Tianna Munroe, Makayla Powell, Rhena Boone, Allison Denison and Brittay Tuffs.
“I know the team is hoping to go to the state tournament this year since it is the first year Sumner has been eligible for a while,” Reese predicted. “I think that is a goal we can accomplish as long as we work hard every single day of the season.”