Sparts hope to make some memories

(From top) The track team heads to Star Track in Pasco for the last time, while the fastpitch team is in Tacoma for the second straight year and Grace Porter makes her way to the Tri-Cities for the first time in tennis.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photos
(From top) The track team heads to Star Track in Pasco for the last time, while the fastpitch team is in Tacoma for the second straight year and Grace Porter makes her way to the Tri-Cities for the first time in tennis.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photos

The fastpitch and track teams do battle for some individual and team gold, while Grace Porter looks to make a statement for tennis.

Cheyne Clark has done his best to become one of the top pole vaulters in the state this season.

But it hasn’t come without a price.

At the Metro League Championship meet two weeks ago, Clark broke his vaulting pole in four places as he was making an attempt.

Assistant coach Mike Shiach said it was so loud it sounded as if Clark broke the pole right next to him.

“I was really confused because I wasn’t going up and I was upside down,” Clark said at practice this week. “I ended up doing a backflip, landing on my feet and walking off the mat.”

The senior came back with a new pole and cleared the height without any problem.

“It kinda got the adrenaline going,” he said. “My eyes were popping out of my head. I think it helped me run a little bit faster.”

He’ll be part of a group of more than 1,200 athletes from numerous schools hoping for a spark – albeit one of a less dangerous kind – to propel them to a state title at Star Track this weekend.

The 3A state track championships are being held at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco for the last time.

Next year, the 4A and 3A tournaments move to Mount Tahoma High school, which pleases head coach Andy Grimm.

“(The) hotels (situation) is always a nightmare over there (in Pasco) because they’re (over)booked (this time of year) because there are so many schools that are going,” he said. “I think it’s better to be at home. You can have a normal routine, you can spend time with your family.”

“But our kids have adapted well. We’ve always competed well when we’ve gone to state,” Grimm continued.

With another big group going, the excitement is there for several kids to place.

Clark is right in the running for one of the top spots, as he is only a foot away from the top mark of 14 feet, 6 inches set by three different boys.

“Districts was my worst height of the year,” Clark said of his performance at last week’s meet. “But nobody had a great district.

“It really doesn’t matter what seed I am at state,” he continued. “The goal was to get to state and it was accomplished.”

The girls’ 4x400 relay team of Maddy Sheldon, Lizzy Brackett, Sylvia Stellmacher and Courtney O’Dell are among the favorites as they have consistently posted some of the best times in the state this season.

Lauren Fleming and Annie Taylor are traveling as alternates.

The foursome roll in with a seed time of 4:03.12, achieved at last week’s district meet.

Only Issaquah’s foursome of Emma Ogilvie, Bonnie Young, Haida Ikeda and Kaley Allison have a faster time of 4:02.75, also achieved at last week’s district meet.

Eastmont and Bishop Blanchet’s team are right on their heels.

The boys’ 4x400 team of Anthony Carter, Stephen Vassiliadis, Ian Shiach, and Austin Hallett are in the middle of the pack with their time of 3:27.46.

Griffin Dunn and Ryan Vogel are traveling as alternates.

Everett and Bonney Lake have the two top times in the event at 3:22.86 and 3:22.95.

Theresa Johansen will have her work cut out for her as she is near the bottom of the seeding of the discus event with her mark of 103-1 set at last week’s district meet.

Everett’s Kirsten Smith is the leader with 134 feet.

Emily Farrar is seeded fifth in the 1600 meter run and third in the 3200.

Squalicum’s Sophie Curl is first in the 1600 while Bronwyn Crossman has the top mark in the 3200.

Though she came ever so close to a district title last week, the senior and future Coug said she’s focused on “bigger and better things.”

“I definitely want to be up there,” she said. “I’m confident that I can run with anybody in the state.”

She also feels she’s got an advantage in that she doesn’t get nervous – the bigger the race, the better she runs, according to Grimm.

“I enjoy the competition and the intensity,” she said. “I think that comes from basketball. I feed off that kind of stuff.”

Grimm said that he expects the kids to come out and perform well.

“We definitely had to earn it to get out (of districts),” he said. “There are some good teams to get through at districts.

“The big thing is to get over there and do the best you can.”

Lofty expectations

It’ll be a much different experience for the Bainbridge fastpitch team this time around at state.

The Spartans are heading into this year’s tournament with bigger expectations than last year’s team as they tangle with the top schools in the state at the South End Recreation Area fields in Tacoma.

Head coach Liz McCloskey felt the team would be back for another go-round.

“We discussed with the younger kids to have confidence in themselves and to know that they’re here for a reason and that we’re going to state for a reason,” she said. “It’s not a fluke thing that we’re in state for the second year in a row. We deserve to be there and they’ve worked hard to get it.”

They’ve made a statement as a mix of veterans and younger players have posted a 24-3 record on the strength of a lineup that has scored 273 runs on the season.

Many of the team’s games have gone five innings or less as the Spartans won the Metro League Mountain Division, took second in the league tournament, third at districts and are the only team from Metro heading to state.

“I knew at the beginning of the year that we were good and this group had a lot of talent in it,” McCloskey said. “It’s one of the best records in Bainbridge history as far as the high school goes.

“They’ve worked hard and they deserve it.”

The Bainbridge fastpitch team never got on track versus Timberline pitcher Annaleisha Parsley, losing 4-2 in its opening round game.

The Blazers had a chance to push a run across in the second inning, but Chelsie Kakela threw out Ashley Raben at home.

Timberline scored all of its runs in the next inning, when a dropped ball on a double play led to two unearned runs scored on a double by Gatalina Schuster.

Raben drove in two more with a base hit.

The Spartans scored in the fifth when Kaitlin Gaspich doubled, then advanced to third on a Lauren Reichert single.

Clara Dunn drove her in on a infield single when the first baseman fielded a grounder, but no one came to cover the bag.

Bainbridge got another run across when Lindsay Willmann drove in Cara Thompson on a base hit in the sixth, but that’s all they could muster against Parsley, who struck out 12, including the side in the seventh.

Willmann struck out six in a losing effort.

Bainbridge played the Kelso-Mt. Vernon loser last night in a loser out game.

Army of one

Even though she’s a freshman and she’s making her first appearance at state, Bainbridge tennis player Grace Porter isn’t backing down either.

Porter enters today’s tournament at the Tri-Cities Court Club in Kennewick with a 23-3 record and has been the most consistent player for the Spartans all season.

In her first match against Christina Le from Union, she lost 4-6, 2-6.

She rebounded to defeat Sandy Schmidt of Bremerton 6-2, 6-4.

Porter played Nele Zorn of Kennewick yesterday.

If she wins, she moves on to face either Sandy Dennett of Auburn or Rachel Storz of Holy Names Saturday at 8:30 p.m., with the winner playing at 11 a.m. for fourth place.

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