White River ready for East Division foes

The Hornets return a handful of volleyball players from last year’s team that went undefeated during the regular season and placed fourth at the Class 2A state tournament.

Kaitlyn Nelson prepares to serve during one of White River’s many 2017 victories. File image

Kaitlyn Nelson prepares to serve during one of White River’s many 2017 victories. File image

BOYS GOLF

The Hornet boys golf team suffered a huge loss to graduation, but the cupboard is far from empty.

Gone is Cooper Franklin, last year’s SPSL 2A Player of the year who went on to place third in the 2A state tournament. Also departing due to graduation was Trevor Budinich, an all-league second team player.

But Terry Vallala, the reigning league coach of the year, has plenty of returning, experienced talent. Joe Flanigan is back for his final season, coming off a junior campaign that earned him first-team honors and a berth in the state tourney. Also back and boasting varsity experience are seniors Drew Thompson and freshman Jackson Flanigan.

The Hornet boys begin their season Thursday, September 6, by taking on Foss High at the Meadow Park course in Tacoma.

GIRLS GOLF

A bit of rebuilding might be in order for girls golf coach Anna Rose. Last year’s squad was highly successful, sending six players to the state Class 2A tourney and bringing home a seventh-place team trophy. But five of those golfers were lost to graduation.

The lone returnee from the state squad is Emma McGregor. That’s a good starting point, as the Hornet junior was a first team all-league pick a season ago, qualified for the 2A state tournament and wound up playing both days, eventually placing 39th in the state field.

The Hornet girls begin their season Thursday, September 6, by taking on Foss High at the Meadow Park course in Tacoma.

SOCCER

Last year’s Hornet soccer team set the bar pretty high when it comes to on-field performance. That squad went a perfect 15-0 during the regular season, added a pair of district victories and then won three of four games in the state Class 2A tournament. The result was a third-place state trophy for the school’s display case.

To repeat that type of success, this year’s team will have to replace Annabelle Hall, the league’s offensive Player of the year in 2017. Also lost to graduation were a handful of all-league forwards, midfielders and defenders, plus first-team goalkeeper Ally Glebe.

But coach Joe Birklid, the reigning SPSL 2A coach of the year, has a solid core to built upon. Back are forwards Chloe Narolski, a senior, and Emma Robbins, a junior, plus sophomore midfielder Hanna Saylor. Narolski and Robbins were first team all-leaguers last season and Saylor landed on the second team.

CROSS COUNTRY

Veteran cross country coach Dameon Marlow will be looking to replace most of his girls team that captured division and league championships a season ago before placing 13th at the Class 2A state meet.

But, while graduation took top performers like Hannah Swettenam and Camryn Berryhill, the Hornets’ No. 1 runner returns. Back for a junior campaign is Makayla Melcher, who placed 40th in the state field last fall. Also back from the state team is senior Kelsee Gould.

Melcher was a first team all-league pick at the end of last season while Gould was a second team selection. Jessica Taylor, a junior, also returns with varsity experience.

The White River boys team is headed by veteran runner Joel Slominski. Last season, as a junior, he was a first team all-league choice after qualifying for the state meet.

Other returning runners include seniors Will Stern and Ted Stern and juniors Tanner Holmes and Grant Swettenam.

Marlow’s squad will kick off the 2018 season tomorrow, Thursday, hosting the Fife Trojans. The girls will run at 4:30 and the boys at 5 p.m. on the campus course.

VOLLEYBALL

The Hornets return a handful of players from last year’s team that went undefeated during the regular season and placed fourth at the Class 2A state tournament.

Leading the way is junior Morgan Budinich, a second team all-league selection last year. Other returnees from last season’s varsity roster include senior Noelle Mills, juniors Kaitlyn Nelson and Sam Fiedler and sophomores Tori Schmidtke and Lacee Lisherness.

They will have to fill the void created by the graduation of standouts like Hope Baldyga and Megan Vandegrift, last year’s league co-MVPs. Also lost were first team picks Keegan Strobeck and Hanna Nelson.

Lina Randall, the reigning SPSL 2A coach of the year, will see her squad in action for the first time tomorrow, Thursday, when White River hosts River Ridge. The match begins at 7:15 p.m. in the Hornet gymnasium.

TENNIS

The Hornet boys tennis team has a stellar sophomore leading the way. Jared Zaugg earned a trip to the Class 2A state tournament a season ago and netted first team all-league honors.

Among the other varsity players returning for coach Brandon Walker are seniors Jacob Lange, Dalton Taylor and Wyatt Robertson.

The 2018 squad made its season debut Sept. 4 against neighboring Enumclaw High and stays busy with a match tomorrow, Thursday at Foster.

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