A sports season unlike any other in recent memory – an abbreviated campaign in response to a COVID-dominated world – is rapidly winding to a close.
The current Season 1, consisting primarily of traditional fall sports, will end this weekend for many prep athletes. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has mandated there will be no regional competition, and certainly no state tournaments, so the state’s many individual leagues are free to choose how they put the final touches on Season 1.
For the 10 teams making up the South Puget Sound League 2A, including Enumclaw High and White River, that is taking different forms. For some, there will be final pairings to determine league standings; others will participate in all-league gatherings; and in one case (football) everything ends with the final play of the final regular-season game.
Because a full school calendar of sports is being crammed into four-plus months, there is bound to be some overlap. For example, the books won’t officially close on Season 1 until the final football games are played April 2. But for many, attention will turn to Season 2 a few days earlier.
In an effort to push the high-risk sports of wrestling and basketball as far as possible into the school year, Season 2 is made up of sports typically played in the spring. Turnouts began Monday, March 29, for boys and girls track and field, baseball, fastpitch, girls’ tennis and boys’ soccer.
Season 2 is slated to wrap up May 8, just in time for a crowded Season 3 that will include boys’ tennis, gymnastics, bowling and boys’ swimming, as well as basketball, wrestling and lacrosse. Those last three sports field separate programs for both boys and girls.
Season 3 will begin with turnouts on May 3 and will continue through June 12.
FINAL EVENTS FOR SEASON 1
Here’s a look at where things stand for Season 1 athletes and teams from both Enumclaw and White River high schools.
The season finale for both Plateau teams will be the annual Battle of the Bridge, where the winning squad proudly takes possession of a traveling trophy.
This year’s contest kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Enumclaw Expo Center.
White River enters the battle on a high note, having picked the first victory of the season last week. The Hornets hosted Washington High and sent the Patriots packing, winning 42-21.
The night provided a Payne Plaster showcase as the junior rushed for four touchdowns, carried for three two-point conversions and added a 49-yard TD pass to Jayden Clausnitzer.
Plaster finished the night with 125 rushing yards on 21 carries. Josh Poulin added 89 yards on 19 carries, including a 12-yard touchdown. A spark was provided by Jay Selander who dropped back to punt, saw an opening on the left side and took off on a 37-yard gallop, taking the ball to the Patriot 7-yard line and setting up another Hornet score.
The Enumclaw crew enters with a winning record of 3-2 but is coming off a 33-21 loss to the Eatonville Cruisers. It was a rare Saturday afternoon game, played at Bethel High School.
The Hornets found themselves trailing 7-0 early, were down 20-14 at halftime and 26-14 by the close of the third quarter.
“It was a tough, physical game,” coach Mark Gunderson reported. “Just the way we like it.”
The EHS scoring came largely from quarterback Cameron Brauer, who rushed for two touchdowns and tossed a 38-yard TD pass to Dylan Watterson.
The season-ending soccer showdown was an all-Plateau affair, as Enumclaw High traveled to White River Saturday night to determine the South Puget Sound League 2A title.
When the final whistle sounded, it was the Enumclaw crew doing the celebrating, courtesy of a 2-0 victory.
“The ladies played well,” coach Shawn Tobius said. “They did exactly what I wanted them to do and more.”
Both of Enumclaw’s goals came in the first half. In the 11th minute, Nicole Huff knocked home a goal and, in the 33rd minute, Bella Hoyer sent a corner kick that Olivia Quinnett headed home from a dozen yards out.
The EHS defense stood strong during the second 40 minutes and, despite White River getting some shots off, Emilee Blakemore earned the shutout in goal.
Both teams had excelled during the regular season. Enumclaw had posted an 8-2 record and was 8-1 in league play; the only SPSL 2A loss was at the hands of White River. During that span, EHS had allowed just six goals while finding the net 65 times.
White River had finished 6-1 in league play, with two games canceled and the only loss coming at Fife. White River also had been statistically dominant, outscoring league foes by a 47-1 margin.
To earn a berth in the March 25 season finale, Enumclaw first had to get past the Fife Trojans. The Hornets accomplished that task in 4-1 fashion, winning the March 25 contest under sunny skies at the Enumclaw Expo Center.
The Hornets jumped on top just four minutes into the game when Saydee Anderson scored off an assist by Quinnett. Enumclaw then took control with a pair of quick goals – Mia Ammons unassisted in the 19th minute and, just two minutes later, Anderson again, off another Quinnett assist.
Fife scored in the final minute of the first half and the teams played a mostly-scoreless final 40 minutes. The Hornets’ fourth goal came at the 72-minute mark when Hoyer cashed in courtesy of an Ellie DeGroot assist.
Going out on a high note, the Hornet girls defeated the visiting Orting Cardinals the evening of March 25.
Playing in Chuck Smith Gym in the season finale, the EHS crew won 26-24, 25-17, 25-15.
The match determined fifth and sixth place in the South Puget Sound League 2A. The Hornets finished 6-4 this season under longtime coach Jackie Carel.
On the final night, Carel highlighted the contributions of the four seniors on her roster: Emily Wessel finished with two kills, Karsyn Kranc had five and Keana Beals added three, while Hayle Kiblinger chipped in with three aces.
With an optimistic nod to the future, Carel pointed out that the Hornets’ junior varsity squad finished with a perfect 9-0 record. Not only did the JV crew win every match, they didn’t drop a single set along the way. “They were a force,” Carel shared in an email.
White River Volleyball
The White River girls defeated Fife in the season finale to place third in the South Puget Sound League 2A.
The March 25 victory, on the Hornets’ home court, gave the team a final record of 8-2.
After winning seven of nine league games, White River was paired for a second time against the Trojans. The rematch was to determine the third/fourth rung in the final standings.
The Hornets’ two losses were to Washington and Steilacoom. Those two finished atop the league standings and squared off in the season-ending showdown for first and second, with Washington taking the title.
White River’s March 25 victory was a 3-0 shutout of the Trojans. Leading the way were Elle Thomas who had 15 kills, Kelli Kaelin with 22 digs and Marissa Dahl with 31 assists.
With the regular season in the rear-view mirror, Hornets from Enumclaw and White River concluded their campaigns Saturday during an all-league championship meet. They joined runners from throughout the South Puget Sound League 2A who gathered at Fort Steilacoom Park for a final day of long-distance competition.
The top performance among local teams was turned in by the White River High girls who finished atop the championship ladder.
Leading the WR pack was Soleil Bianchi, who placed sixth with a time of 22:24. The rest of the squad included Kelcie Melcher, ninth, 22:53; Evelyn Holmes, 11th, 23:05; Lucy Starkel, 13th, 23:37; Madilyn Nash, 21st, 25:16; Grace Tyerman, 25th, 25:42; and Sydney Spooner, 31st, 26:52.
The Enumclaw High girls placed sixth, paced by Ava Sawyer who finished 14th with a time of 23:49. Also finishing for EHS were Nora Pack, 35th, 28:29; Tess Mitchell, 36th, 28:31; Ahna Lemeshko, 39th, 29:28; and Olivia Pack, 44th, 30:50.
In the boys’ race, Enumclaw placed fourth and White River was fifth in a nine-team field.
Enumclaw’s top finisher was McCoy Brooks, who finished fifth with a time of 16:58. Others in the EHS field were Trevor Storm, 13th, 17:47; Derek Sanders, 19th, 18:13; Liam Lenard, 28th, 18:36; Evan Cheney, 29th, 18:43; Seth Coons, 31st, 18:47; and Henry Tripp, 33rd, 18:53.
In the White River ranks, the top finisher was Colton Humphreys who clocked a time of 17:49 to place 12th. His teammates included Evan Slish, 15th, 18:04; Gavin Humphreys, 16th, 18:05; Cole Holmes, 25th, 18:30; Tate Ringel, 34th, 18:57; Drew Sprouse, 39th, 19:20; and Andrew Rogers, 48th, 20:13.
Golfers from throughout the SPSL 2A will gather for a season-ending, two-day tournament. They will travel March 31 and April 1 to challenge the Eagle’s Pride course in Lacey.
Enumclaw’s golfers played Monday of this week, hosting the Franklin Pierce Cardinals, putting an end to their regular season. White River finished on Friday, taking on Steilacoom.