Any compilation of a year’s top stories begins with state championships.
That’s certainly the case here, as teams from White River, Bonney Lake and Enumclaw hoisted state hardware during the three seasons that made up the 2018 calendar year. In no particular order, here’s a look at five top sports stories that garnered headlines this year.
White River wrestlers take 2A title, Panthers place second in 3A ranks
The White River Hornets steamrolled their way to a Class 2A state wrestling title, racing past neighboring Orting and defending champion Toppenish on Day 2 of Mat Classic.
The state wrestling championships played out Feb. 16-17 at the Tacoma Dome.
The Hornets knew they were in the driver’s seat, having qualified a dozen wrestlers for the state meet. Once there, four Hornets claimed individual championships: sophomore Gabe Hawthorne at 132 pounds, junior Nate Moore at 152, and seniors Mason Sabin at 182 and Ryan Redford at 195.
The Plateau nearly had a double dose of state titles, as the Bonney Lake Panthers finished second in the Class 3A ranks.
Bonney Lake was strong in the lower weights, getting state championships from freshman Yusief Lillie at 106 pounds; junior Brenden Chaowanapibool at 113; and senior Brandon Kaylor at 120. Kaylor joined an elite club of four-time state champions.
Panthers dominate postseason play on way to softball championship
A dream season came to an exciting close on a Saturday afternoon in May, when the Bonney Lake Panthers walked off the diamond as state Class 3A softball champions.
The title trek involved four victories in two days, all at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey. In the end, the Panthers were hoisting the championship trophy and boasting a season record of 26-2 that included a perfect eight-game sweep in the district and state tournaments.
Brooke Nelson, a junior who will play at the University of Washington following her Panther career, was again a dominating, two-way force. She went the distance in the finale as a pitcher and, during the tourney, crushed three home runs.
Throwers from Bonney Lake, Enumclaw earn Star Track honors
No team titles here, but a Plateau pair captured individual state championships.
A big Star Track story was written by Dreakeanna Adair, who not only won her third consecutive discus title, but did so in convincing fashion. The Bonney Lake High senior, bouncing back from a winter injury, won the 3A event with a toss of 141 feet, 10 inches; her nearest rival trailed by seven feet.
In the boys’ competition, Enumclaw High’s Connery McLaughlin topped the 4A field with a throw of 199-11, handily winning the javelin.
Third year in a row: EHS equestrian program is tops among largest schools
Their sport might not get the same attention as others, but that hasn’t stopped the Enumclaw High equestrians. The EHS team, for the third year in a row, earned the title as the No. 1 “large school” in Washington.
EHS riders took top honors at the state meet, staged May 17-20 at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake. The team brought home an impressive trophy to mark the accomplishment.
White River girls nreak school record with 60 league wins in a row
A state title has eluded the Hornets, but an astounding level of continued success is nothing new to coach Chris Gibson and his White River High girls’ basketball program. The Hornets have missed out on the state tournament just once in the past two decades, but it was a late-in-the-year accomplishment that deserved extra notice.
On the evening of Dec. 11, the Hornets handily knocked off the Eatonville Cruisers, giving the team 60 consecutive league victories. That’s more than four seasons without a league loss.
The previous record of 59 straight wins concluded in 2004, also with Gibson at the coaching helm.
Since shattering the record, the Hornets have added two more league victories.