The sport known as “the fastest game on two feet” has gained a foothold on the White River High campus.
Last year’s team placed third in the state after going 13-5 in the 2A division. This spring marks the fourth year for a White River lacrosse program and the second season under coach Mark Funkhouser.
A big change this season is that it’s strictly a White River team. In years past, the squad also welcomed players from Enumclaw, but EHS has launched a program of its own.
Funkhouser is taking a realistic approach to the early part of the season, pointing out that last year’s successful team was decimated by the loss of 11 seniors to graduation. Included in that group was Matt Funkhouser, the state’s all-time leader in points scored during both a season (97) and a career (364).
Preseason state rankings have White River pegged at No. 5, but that “may be a stretch given the lack of upperclassman,” the coach said.
The squad will be lead by captains Parker Setterfield, the only senior on the roster, and Dakota Arledge, the top junior. Both play midfield.
The coach has welcomed a young team that includes eight freshmen, including Brock Arsanto. Funkhouser calls him one of the players to watch as an attack/midfielder.
White River opened the season Saturday by hosting Puyallup High School. The next contest, also in Buckley, is set for 7 p.m. March 19 against Olympia.
TRACK AND FIELD
Boasting a roster complete with proven veterans and untested newcomers, veteran coach Dameon Marlow is leading his Hornets into a new track and field season.
The squad kicks things off this Saturday by trekking to Thurston County for t he Rainier Icebreaker. The meet features mostly smaller schools like Elma, Montesano, Raymond, South Bend, Tenino and Concordia Christian Academy. Action gets under way at noon.
White River begins South Puget Sound League 2A competition Thursday, March 21, hosting the Washington Patriots.
The Hornets, under coach TJ Suek, will be looking for a bounce-back season.
That is, the squad will be looking to substantially upgrade from a year ago, when the team won its final two games but still finished with an overall record of 3-12-1.
Suek said his team captains, junior Austen Michell and senior Chris Dominguez “have had a great preseason and are being strong leaders on the field with their actions and tempo during practice.” He also singles out a trio of sophomores – Cristian Senestrari, Riley West and Kristian Latozke – as “guys we are counting on who have grown in confidence since playing most of their freshman year on varsity.”
Other returning players include Thomas Rogers and Tanner Penrose. Additionally, junior Angel Acosta is new to the program and “has played really well for us,” Suek said.
The Hornet defense saw the biggest turnover, but played well in the season opener against Enumclaw. Suek was highly complimentary of goalkeeper Isaac Morris, who earned the shutout against the Plateau rivals.
Freshman who will contribute to varsity, the coach said, include defender Josh Mackie, goalkeeper/forward Jonathan Corr and midfield/forward Holden Anderson.
“As a coaching staff, we are really proud of all the players in our program, JV and varsity, for all the work they did this off-season to prepare,” Suek said.
The Hornets’ run of home games continues this week against Olympic (7 p.m. Thursday) and the Washington Patriots (1 p.m. Saturday).
Graduation took a toll of the Hornet squad, which hosts its season opener today, Wednesday. The opponent is across-the-river rival Enumclaw High and the two will begin volleying at 3:30 p.m.
White River’s season continues Tuesday with another nonleague match, this one against Class 4A Graham-Kapowsin, before staring the South Puget Sound League 2A campaign March 19 against Franklin Pierce. That, too, will be on the White River campus.
Led by Coach of the Year Lee Wright, last season’s team dropped its first three matches but won 12 of the next 13. Back from that successful squad is senior Paige Proctor, who received all-league honorable mention.