Coming off an athletic season that started late and featured teams playing at odd times in the school calendar, it seems everyone is simply happy to be competing once again.
But the competitive juices will begin flowing once athletes square off against live competition. And all that has started, with first games for some teams already in the books. Last week’s Courier-Herald previewed the local football teams; this week, it’s a look at other fall programs.
Here’s how things stack up at Enumclaw High School.
Coach Jackie Carel has seen just about everything the world of prep volleyball has to offer during a career that spans more than three decades at Enumclaw High.
So, it’s noteworthy when she says this year’s group of Hornet girls “is one of the most competitive teams that I’ve had for a while.”
It’s an experienced and talented squad, Carel said, and they’re ready to get to work. It’s also pretty well balanced with five seniors, five juniors and two sophomores. “I am excited about our captains: Faith Miller, Kira Hiwaaboo and Rosie Penke,” Carel wrote in an emailed report. “They are experienced senior leaders on the court and off.”
Joining that trio are returning juniors Macy Furtwangler, Sam Darby, Lexie DeGroot and Brooke Osborne who “will be fun to watch,” Carel wrote. Rounding out the varsity roster are Sophia DeMarco, Isabelle Couch and Kennedy Pond, along with newcomers Bella Firnkoess and Hannah Penke.
Carel and Co. get rolling Thursday evening when they host the Orting Cardinals. Match time is 7:15 p.m. in Chuck Smith Gym.
“I am thankful for our large turnout this fall,” Carel concluded. “It’s exciting to see that EHS volleyball is alive and well!”
Boasting five returning seniors and some strong underclassmen, the girls of the Enumclaw High golf team appear primed for continued success.
Second-year coach Mara Rogen sees the potential in her squad, which will be defending last season’s Sough Puget Sound League 2A title.
“We have quite a bit of experience on our team and are hopeful that the senior leadership will lend itself to success on the course,” the coach wrote in an email.
Rogan counts 10 returning players on her roster, including six letter winners.
The list begins with the five seniors: Brookelyn Jewett, Hadley Breidenbach, Emma Nitsche, Anna Adsero and Nina Day. Jewett and Breidenbach have been tabbed as squad co-captains.
Raegan Chevalier, a returning letter winner, is the only junior on the varsity team. The squad is rounded out with sophomores Emily Alicea (letter winner), Danika Korpe, Kate Hartman and Kate Tinney.
Under the watchful eye of coach Will Stuenkel, the young men of the EHS tennis team have been putting in the work needed to make the 2021 season a successful one.
The coach has welcomed back several returning varsity players including senior Carter Eldridge and juniors Carter Williams, Greysun Harris, Nathan Leonard and Kyle Koehn. “These players will provide awesome experience and leadership out on the courts,” Stuenkel said in an emailed assessment of this year’s program.
He’s also happy to see returning sophomores Collin McCann and Caden Zudyhoek who earned some valuable varsity time last year. Likewise, Stuenkel said he is excited to see the development of incoming freshman Amos Hall and Noah Nuttle “who are looking to make the varsity squad and contribute to the team.”
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
There’s plenty of experience on the boys’ side of the 2021 Enumclaw High cross country program.
Coach Jeff Jacobson is looking forward to a successful year, but also looking at a schedule that will allow his troops to take to the road. The team has already competed at the Timberline 2-Mile Jamboree at Wonderwood Park in Lacey; the schedule also sees the squad heading to a pair of invitational, out-of-state meets (Woodbridge and the Nike Invitational in Portland) along with the Oct. 2 Leavenworth Invitational.
The first South Puget Sound League 2A meet comes Sept. 15 and will have the Hornet boys traveling to square off against the host Sentinels and the Fife Trojans. The regular season continue through an Oct. 23 league meet, district competition a week later and, for those who qualify, the state meet on Nov. 6.
Jacobson counts a full slate of returning runners including McCoy Brooks, Trevor Storm, Sayer Dodd, Evan Cheney, Liam Leonard, Michael Poleski, Jermey Dumbler and Jackson Clark. New to the roster are Jamey Brooks, Will Schalf, Ty Rainwater, Will Holtzclaw, Kane Thornsen, Luke Menzie and Quin Avolio.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Coach John Freeburg doesn’t have a ton of depth on the team yet, but that doesn’t damper his enthusiasm for the 2021 season.
His assessment prior to seeing his girls compete? “Very young group but lots of ability and enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to a great season.”
Freeburg is counting on top returnees like Ava Sawyer, Tess Mitchell and Ahna Lemeshko. But he can also see the future of the program in promising newcomers like Jasmine Dumontet and Lindsay Essex.
After slipping into the season with appearances at invitationals, the EHS girls’ first South Puget Sound League 2A meet comes Sept. 15 and will be on the road. The squad travels to Steilacoom to face the Sentinels and the Fife Trojans. The regular season continue through an Oct. 23 league meet, district competition a week later and, for those who qualify, the state meet on Nov. 6.
Veteran coach Shawn Tobius has high hopes for the season, expecting his 2021 crew to “maintain the standard that was set last year.”
Last year’s team set the bar pretty high, starting the season a perfect 7-0. After a two-game skid the Hornet girls finished strong and wound up with an impressive 10-2 mark.
Tobius again has some notable weapons at his disposal, primarily in the form of all-South Puget Sound League 2A performers Mia Ammons, Grace McCain and Heidi Sholseth.
Aside from the battle-tested veterans, “we have some new blood this season,” Tobius wrote in an emailed, preseason report. As part of that evolution, the coach said he’s “excited to see Bella Baird and Raegan Eilers do more this year as they both got a small taste” a season ago.
The Hornets played their first game last night (Tuesday) when they traveled to face the Franklin Pierce Cardinals. Contest No. 2 also is on the road, coming Thursday night when EHS heads to Tacoma to challenge the Foss Falcons. Both are SPSL 2A opponents.
BOYS WATER POLO
Last year’s pandemic-plagued sports calendar hit some programs harder than most. Among those taking a blow was the boys’ water polo team at Enumclaw High.
Overseeing a bounce-back campaign is coach Scott Usborne, who returns to the team after a year away. Last season, the girls’ and boys’ programs operated simultaneously, so Ken DeMan coached both teams.
With a return to normal, Usborne is rebuilding – apparently with success. “We lost players to other sports in the spring and recruiting was a challenge,” he wrote in a preseason report. “But, we were able to more than double our team size” and retain a number of starters.
Considering the lack of access to the sport of water polo prior to high school, “we consider ourselves lucky to have the team we have.”
With the launch of a new season, Usborne has four returning starters to count on, all members of the junior class. That group consists of Samuel Beal, Dean Paulson, Connor Strong and Gunnar Warren. The list of newcomers to the Hornet program is made up of Arick Beaird, Jackson Hoyne, David Lyver, Kyler Shaw and McCade Walker.
Coming off a COVID year and considering the lack a single senior on the roster “We expect this to be a learning/building year,” Usborne wrote.