White River athletes gearing up for fall success

The volleyball team is looking to improve it’s eighth-place state tournament placing from last year.

White River High senior Tori Schmidtke (8) and her Hornet teammates will be looking to continue a recent run of success. This photo is from last season’s Class 2A state tournament. File photo by Kevin Hanson

White River High senior Tori Schmidtke (8) and her Hornet teammates will be looking to continue a recent run of success. This photo is from last season’s Class 2A state tournament. File photo by Kevin Hanson


The White River High volleyball program will kick off the season tomorrow (Thursday) with some proven veterans in the lineup and a new coach on the bench.

Caitlin Carr isn’t exactly new to the program, having previously served two years as an assistant. She was elevated to the top job this season, taking over from Lina Randall.

Her top returnees include seniors Sam Fiedler, a right-side hitter, and Kaitlyn Nelson, middle hitter; junior Tori Schmidtke, outside hitter; and sophomore Elle Thomas, outside hitter. A season ago, both Fiedler and Schmidtke were first team, all-league selections. Thomas earned honorable mention.

The rest of Carr’s varsity roster includes Lacee Lisherness (second team all-league), Sarah Elmore (honorable mention all-league), Katie Hubbard, Kelli Kaelin, Alyssa MacPhail, Amanda Mahlstedt, Rylee Vance and Sammy Peltram.

The squad is coming off a successful 2018 campaign that saw the Hornets place second in the South Puget Sound League 2A, finish third in the league’s postseason tourney and take fourth in the district tournament, qualifying again for the state tournament. By winning two of four matches at St. Martin’s University in Lacey, White River claimed eighth-place honors at state. A year earlier, the Hornets had brought home a fourth-place state trophy.

This time around, “the girls are excited and ready to compete in this tough league,” Carr said. In keeping with recent tradition, her hope is to see the Hornets playing “deep into the post-season.”

Tomorrow’s regular-season opener has White River traveling to Thurston County to take on River Ridge High. Saturday brings a road trip to Lynden.


This year’s Hornets will be looking to build on last year’s success, aiming for a repeat trip to the Class 2A state tournament.

A year ago, coach Joe Birklid’s squad went undefeated in South Puget Sound League 2A play and won the league title. That was capped by three straight victories in the league tourney and two more wins in district games, earning a state trip in the process.

Birklid, now in his third season, says a strong core of five seniors will go a long way toward the Hornet hopes of a repeat title. Included in that group are goalkeeper Katelyn Kelly, along with Emma Robbins, Allison Koch, Madison Ryneski and Kinlee Hofstrom. Kelly was a first team, all-league selection a season ago and Ryneski was a second team pick.

Other key returnees include junior midfielder J’Kira Wolbrecht, a first team selection, and junior midfielder Hanna Saylor, also a first team pick. The rest of Birklid’s varsity roster includes juniors Samantha Gelmini and Madilyn Tessem; sophomores Madyson Dombrowski and Abbey Goetz; and freshmen Victoria Curtice, Morgan Greene, Ella Lidstrom, Nicole Poussier and Kate Robbins.

The Hornets kicked off the 2019 season Saturday afternoon by hosting the neighboring Bonney Lake Panthers and continued Tuesday at River Ridge High. Today, Wednesday, brings a short road trip to the Enumclaw Expo Center and the soccer version of the Hornet-Hornet battle.


Coach Terry Vallala figures his squad is in for an exciting year – it should be competitive but he has proven veterans to meet the challenge.

Top returning players who qualified for last season’s Class 2A state tournament include a pair of seniors, Tanner Penrose and Adam Wakefield, along with sophomores Lane Maras and AJ Mills.

“We also have some promising young athletes who will make a big impact this year,” Vallala said, noting players like Zach Miller, Tyson Campbell, Arthur Mijares and Alex Wakefield.

“We need to play with a lot of heart and make good decisions on every shot,” the coach said. He was able see how the team responded during a pair of home matches to start the season: against Foss High on Sept. 6 and against Clover Park on Sept. 10. A tough match is set for today (Wednesday) when White River takes on Fife at North Shore Golf Course in Tacoma.


The Hornet girls are coming off a rather remarkable season. And, the good news is that most of last season’s contributors are back for another round.

Last fall saw White River put together an undefeated regular season and qualify four golfers for the spring’s Class 2A state tournament. At state, the team took third-place honors in the final standings.

Leading the way this fall is sophomore Brooke Gelinas. She was the South Puget Sound League 2A’s Player of the Year a season ago, won the league medalist tournament and capped her freshman campaign by finishing fourth individually at state.

Two other returnees, senior Emma McGregor and sophomore Brooke Mahler, were first team, all-league selections last season. Both earned slots into the state tournament. Rose also is counting on contributions from players like Rylie Lund, a junior who competed at the varsity level last year, and Emily Moser, a sophomore who has made the jump from the junior varsity ranks.

This year’s squad, again under the direction of coach Anna Rose, was slated to open play Sept. 9. Next on the schedule is a Sept. 16 match against the Orting Cardinals at High Cedars Golf Course.


Leading the charge for the Hornet boys is junior Jared Zaugg. A season ago, he advanced to the Class 2A state tournament where he placed fifth in singles play. For his efforts all season, Zaugg was a first team, all-South Puget Sound League 2A selection.

Coach Brandon Walker also will be counting on seniors Charlie Pratt, Tanner Jewell, Joe Neighbors, Riley McElroy and Gaines Dodson.

“The team has been working hard in the off-season,” Walker said, with plans to compete among the top teams in the league.

The Hornets get their first taste of action tomorrow (Thursday) with a home match against the Foster Bulldogs. That is followed Monday when the team keeps its home-court advantage, taking on River Ridge High. Both matches begin at 3:30 p.m. on the White River High campus.


A year ago, the White River boys made a breakthrough, advancing the entire team to the Class 2A state meet for the first time since 2015. Now, some of those same runners will be looking for a return trip.

Coach Dameon Marlow lost his top competitor, Joel Slominski, to graduation, along with Will Stern and Ted Stern.

But returning to the Hornet program are four others who ran in Pasco during the 2018 state meet. That quartet consists of Tanner Holmes, Grant Swettenam, Nathan Chaussee and Ronnie Riggs. Following last season, both Holmes and Chaussee were honored as second team all-SPSL selections.

The Hornet season begins today (Wednesday) with a trip to Eatonville, where White River competes against the host Cruisers and the Fife Trojans. The varsity run is tentatively set for 5 p.m.


The task for the Hornet girls will be to continue an impressive streak of success. The entire Hornet team has advanced to the Class 2A state meet the past five seasons.

Gone from the 2018 state team is Kelsee Gould, but a worthy group of six are back. Coach Dameon Marlow is pleased to again welcome Makayla Melcher, Tori Goodrich, Maria Hawthorne, Rachel Franco, Jessica Taylor and Grace Tyerman. A year ago, both Melcher and Goodrich were first team, all-league selections, while Hawthorne was a second team pick.

The Hornet program, boy and girls, begin the 2019 season today (Wednesday) with a trip to Eatonville. The teams will square off against the host Cruisers and the Fife Trojans. The varsity run is tentatively set for 4:30 p.m.

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