The winter sports season is traditionally a busy one. It was different a year ago, when a global pandemic impacted the local sports scene with a shifting scenario that saw high-contact sports moving to late in the academic year.
Now, things are somewhat back to normal. That means a regular season, along with the anticipation of district, regional and state tournaments.
Last week, the Courier-Herald previewed the boys’ and girls’ basketball programs at both Enumclaw and White River high schools. Here’s a brief look at others who will be competing during this winter season.
ENUMCLAW: BOYS WRESTLING
Coming off a season in which his Enumclaw Hornets took the team title at the South Puget Sound League 2A end-of-season tournament, coach Adam Eilers faces a bit of a rebuilding project.
Many of those who took individual honors last season- which was staged in the spring due to COVID protocols – were lost to graduation.
“We are young team this season, but all of the wrestlers are working hard each and every day,” Eilers stated in a preseason report. He noted varsity returnees like Cade Carter and Tyler Ramirez (team captains), along with mat veterans Westin Triplett and Zeke Luchi.
During last season’s league meet, Triplett and Luchi were individual champions while Carter battled to the finals and claimed second place. Both Triplett and Luchi, now juniors, were named to the all-league first team.
“Our four returning wrestlers have a great shot at placing at the Dome this season,” Eilers said, referring to the Class 2A tournament (Mat Classic), which will return to the Tacoma Dome. “I would love to see them and the rest of our wrestlers on the podium somewhere.”
Aside from his core quartet, Eilers is high on grapplers like Kaden Gerber and Wyatt Gibson. Both have climbed into the varsity ranks after competing primarily at the junior varsity level a season ago.
The Enumclaw squad kicks off the SPSL 2A season tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 8) by hosting Washington and Fife high schools at Chuck Smith Gymnasium. The action is set to begin at 7 p.m.
WHITE RIVER: BOYS WRESTLING
The Hornets kicked off the season last Saturday, hosting a jamboree on the rural Buckley campus.
Again under the direction of coach Ruben Navajas, the squad begins the South Puget Sound League 2A season tonight, Dec. 8. The Hornets will travel to Steilacoom High School for a three-team meet that also will include the Foss Falcons.
Turning out this winter are seniors Cole Cashman, Brendan McBride, Cooper Reeves and Julian Sandoval; juniors Chris Bowen, Chase Campbell, Caleb Evanger and Ty Rogers; sophomores Jacob Balliet, Julien Coker and Noah Eller; and freshmen Asher Barrick, Colten Bogue, Logan Close, Caleb Dale, Micah Lynch, Tyson Moran, Hunter Oswald, Riley Simmons, Chester Slaughter and Thomas Stanhope.
ENUMCLAW: GIRLS WRESTLING
Coach Bobby Garcia and the EHS female grapplers open the 2021-22 season with a big meet this week that brings together all the schools in the South Puget Sound League 2A.
The league’s participants will gather at Fife High School for action that gets under way at 6 p.m.
It’s a small program at EHS, with just five girls on the early-season roster. Those athletes include Avianca Bauer, Makayla Garcia, Mariah Garcia, Madison Goss and Patricia Lopez Tapia.
WHITE RIVER: GIRLS WRESTLING
The White River girls have been among the state’s best and missed out on a chance to display their talents a season ago, with the state tournament scrapped due to COVID concerns.
There was an end-of-season league tournament, however, where White River put on quite a show. Seven Hornets battled their way to the championship round, eventually claiming four individual titles and three second-place finishes.
Some of the familiar names back for a full season of competition under coach Jason Jackson are juniors Shelby Moore and Nicole Poussier; both were tourney champs a season ago. Also back is Anna DiCugno, another junior, who placed second in the season finale.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Allaina Cox, Mackenzie Hale, Maria Hawthorne, Kirya Reither and Jalia Williams; juniors Kayla Brady and Ellie Reed; sophomore Adriah Blue; and freshmen Lilyana Lamothe and Nancy Woodard.
COMBINED: GIRLS GYMNASTICS
This program traditionally includes competitors from both Enumclaw and White River, since the Buckley school does not offer gymnastics.
The girls have been turning out under the tutelage of veteran coach Ben Skipworth, who has welcomed 13 gymnasts. The early roster consists of Samantha Anderson, Aislinn Binder, BrookLynn Binder, Mylee Bonthuis, Julia Carter, Emma Clayton, Taylor Cox, Ashley Dickerson, Brooke Faul, Eowyn Hardebeck, Kaylee Hehr, Haley Hetzel and Clotilde Pierrot. White River adds Lara Meyer to the list.
The group sees its first action Tuesday, Dec. 14, with a multi-team meet at the gymnastics center at the South Hill Mall.
ENUMCLAW: BOYS SWIMMING
Some familiar names have returned to an EHS program that placed third during last season’s culminating SPSL 2A meet.
Leading the way are veteran performers like seniors Tanner Harms and Josh Hughes-Kuruganti. Harms was a member of the EHS relay team that set league meet records in two relay events. Also, he posted the top times during the league meet in both the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard breaststroke.
The roster also includes senior Kevin Ibarra; juniors Samuel Beal, Dean Paulson, Connor Strong, McCade Walker and Gunnar Warren; sophomore David Lyver; and freshmen Jackson Hoyne, Liam Isbell, Noah Nuttle and David Prince.
This year’s team gets rolling with a Dec. 13 league meet against the Fife Trojans. Events begin at 3 p.m. at the Fife High Center.
WHITE RIVER: BOYS SWIMMING
Some seasoned performers are in the water this year, representing the White River swim and dive program.
Leading the effort are decorated athletes like Mason Arnold, a sophomore who was a first team all-league selection a season ago; senior Jordan Simon, a second team pick; and senior Evan Slish, also a second team honoree.
The roster also includes seniors Cole Holmes and Anthony Martin and freshman Kellen Tomyn.
The White River swimmers and divers turn out in tandem with their Enumclaw counterparts, since their school does not offer the sport. They score individually during meets, however.
That was the case during last season’s culminating event, which took place at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma. There, the White River group placed fourth.
At the end-of-season meet, Arnold placed second in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. Simon was fifth in the breaststroke and sixth in the 50-yard freestyle and Slish was fifth in the 100 freestyle and seventh in the 50 free. Additionally, the three returnees made up the bulk of the teams that placed in two relay events.
WHITE RIVER: GIRLS BOWLING
Bowlers typically get a jump on the rest of the winter sports, turning out first and beginning their season before everyone else.
That was the case again this year at White River, where the program is under the direction of first-year head coach Becky Tiller.
The small squad consists of seniors Zoe Durand and Genesis Meske; junior Elizabeth Fisher; and sophomores Lorelei Bonham and Harmony LaTurner.
The group is well into a season that continues this Thursday, Dec. 9, with a 3 p.m. home match against the Washington Patriots. White River’s home venue is Daffodil Bowl in Puyallup.