From the hardwood to the gridiron, from the track and field to fairways and soccer pitches, Sequim athletes and coaches were busy setting records and making their mark in 2017.
Here are some of the top stories that made headlines in Sequim sports in the past year:
Sequim High’s wrestling squad started the year off strong, winning the Jan. 12 Battle for the Axe tournament in Port Angeles. Sequim went on to send six grapplers to the MatClassic state tournament where Alma Mendoza placed second in her weight class, and siblings Kiara and Grant Pierson pulled off a rare feat after each places in their weight division (Kiara third, Grant fifth). Adrian Klarich placed seventh. In postseason accolades, Grant Pierson was named Olympic League boys MVP and Mendoza the league’s girls co-MVP.
SHS junior Mathew Craig splashed to a fourth-place finish at the state 2A diving championships in mid-February.
Lesae Pfeffer and Emily Sweet of Sequim each qualified for the class 1A/2A/3A state gymnastics meet, where they both set personal bests in the floor exercise.
Sequim High’s girls basketball squad earned a spot at districts, falling two wins short of a state tournament berth. Adrienne Haggerty, who averaged 13 points per game, was named the Olympic League MVP.
SHS junior Destiny Staus racked up an impressive series at districts to earn a spot at the state 1A/2A prep bowling tournament, where she placed 36th overall.
Peninsula College’s men’s head soccer coach Cale Rodriguez announced he’s departing to take a job at Cal-State Irvine. In March, peninsula transplant Jake Hughes is hired to lead the Pirate men (see fall).
Tony Beam of Hansville won the 2017 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby in February. It’s the first fish he’s caught in 10 years of participating in the derby, earning him $10,000.
Longtime Sequim High coach Linda Moats stepped down from her boys’ swimming coach. She led the Wolves’ boys swimmers from their inaugural year in 2000 to 2017, and the SHS girls’ program from 1998-2009. She was 3A Coach of the Year in 2004.
Peninsula College’s basketball squads took the No. 2 seed to the NWAC tourney where they each go 1-1, getting knocked out in the quarterfinals.
Sequim High School graduate Elise Beuke and her University of Washington rowing teammates had a banner spring, winning the PAC-12 rowing title in mid-May and the NCAA rowing championship later that month.
Longtime Sequim youth sports advocate Dan Perry died in March; the Sequim Little League honored him during their Opening Day ceremonies on April 15.
Sequim High golfers enjoyed a big year. Led by league champ/MVP Blake Wiker and league coach of the year Bill Shea, Sequim’s boys went 9-0 in league play and put four players (Wiker, Paul Jacobsen, Andrew Vanderberg and Josiah Carter) on the all-Olympic League first team.
SHS’s girls golf matched their teammates shot-for-shot as four-time league MVP Alex McMenamin and all-league first teamer Sarah Shea led the Wolves to an 8-1 record and fifth place at the state 2A tournament.
Under new head coach Tim Lusk, Sequim High’s fastpitch team went 8-4 in league play and earned a spot at the class 2A state tournament, where the Wolves dropped a pair of close games.
Sequim High sent a pair of tennis doubles teams — Justin Porter and Stephen Prorok on the boys’ side, Jessica Dietzman and Hannah D’Amico for the girls — where they both went 1-2 and barely missed the medal stand.
The Wolves’ prep baseball squad went 14-7 and earned a district playoff spot, but an ace from Olympic High ended their season one win from the state 2A tourney.
SHS’s boys soccer squad beat Port Angeles but missed out on a chance for a district playoff game after dropping a tiebreaker to Bremerton; they finished 7-8-2. Forward Liam Harris is named an all-league first-teamer, finishing with a team-high 13 goals.
A young Sequim High track and field team saw nine athletes qualify for — and five athletes place in the top 12 in their respective events at — the class 2A meet in Tacoma in late May.
Bainbridge duo Ryan Cox and Jenine Adam swept full marathon titles at the 2017 North Olympic Discovery Marathon in early June. Peter Butler of Port Angeles and Nicole Lerner of Keyport earned half-marathon championships.
Sequim High graduate Nick Johnston joined the Port Angeles Lefties, a new collegiate-level wood-bat summer baseball team that kicked off their inaugural season on June 1. Fans flocked to Civic Field to enjoy the inaugural season of the Lefties, a team that fielded players from universities such as Harvard, UCLA and Washington State, and played nearly 30 home games through early August.
Sequim High grad Erin Vig signed on to play for Peninsula College’s women’s soccer squad, the nationally-ranked and most dominant two-year program in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
Sequim father-son duo Chuck and Phillip Milliman both took first place in the pole vault at the Birmingham 2017 National Senior Games in mid-June.
Dominating most of their games, the Sequim-East Jefferson County softball all-stars went 4-1 to win the Washington State Little League Junior Division state championship in Monroe, knocking off North East 5-1 in the championship game on July 1. At the national tournament in Tucson, Ariz., in late July, the team — made up of players from Sequim, Quilcene and Chimacum — finished 2-2.
Beuke, the UW rowing star, earned All-American honors in June. In July, Beuke helped Team USA take second place (behind Canada) at the Under-23 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, held July 19-23.
In early July, local sprint boat competitors announced the closure of the Extreme Sports Park complex in Port Angeles after owners put the property up for sale, canceling all planned events for the 2017 season.
Logan Laxson, an eighth-grader at Sequim Middle School, earned three-top-25 finishes at the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Lawrence, Kan., in late July.
Sequim High’s football squad battled to a third-place finish in the Olympic League and a district playoff berth, where they fell to a mighty Fife squad to finish 6-4. Along the way, the Wolves won a wild game against Centralia — Jarrett Allen caught the winning touchdown on his back in the end zone on a fourth down play — and knocked off Port Angeles 29-14 in the Rainshadow Rumble.
Despite battling injuries, SHS’s Gavin Velarde capped a stellar prep career as the Wolves’ all-time leader in numerous offensive categories — 140 receptions for 2,361 yards and 28 touchdowns, plus seven kick returns for scores — and was named an all-Olympic League first team player in three categories: receiver, defensive back and kick returner. Teammate Johnnie Young earned all-league honors as a linebacker and offensive lineman while SHS quarterback Riley Cowan and kicker Byron Rice were selected for the first team as well.
Sequim’s girls swimming squad saw two individuals and two relays qualify for the state 2A final in November. Sonja Govertsen placed fourth in the 50 free and sixth in the 100 free. Teammates Jasmine Itti, Sydnee Linnane and Sydney Swanson swam to 11th place in the 200 medley relay at state.
The Sequim High boys’ cross country squad finished second in league at 6-2, took third at districts and earned a state 2A meet berth, where they placed 16th. Sequim’s girls battled through injuries to earn a spot at districts.
Led by all-Olympic League first team players Tayler Breckenridge and Brittany Gale, SHS’s volleyball team racked up a 10-9 mark and advanced to districts. A 1-2 mark there kept the young Wolves squad from advancing to their third consecutive state tourney.
The Wolves’ girls soccer squad had a strong season but is edged out of a district playoff berth in the final week. Goalkeeper Claire Henninger earned her third consecutive all-league first team honor as Sequim finished 9-7. Henninger posted six shutouts and was credited with 56 saves and saved three penalty kicks.
SHS’s Thomas Hughes and Blake Wiker took fifth place at the West Central District boys tennis tourney in late October to earn a state 2A tournament berth in May 2018.
Riley Pyeatt, a Sequim Middle School eighth-grader, continued her dominance in the pre-prep running ranks with nationally-ranked cross country times. She and fellow eighth-grader Kristian Mingoy helped Sequim sweep the North Olympic League cross country championship on Oct. 24, edging rival Stevens (Port Angeles) by a single point in both races.
Sequim’s own Taylor Coleman earned a pair of big wins on the BMX track in September. Coleman, a freshman at Sequim High, took first in the 13 Girls division and third in 13-14 Girls at the Washington State BMX Championship race in Richland. Later in the month, Coleman earned a Gold Cup No. 1 Plate in the 13 Girls classification at the Northwest DK Gold Cup Championship in Eugene, Ore.
Scooter Chapman, former Sequim Gazette columnist and longtime sports announcer for KONP as well as announcer for Port Angeles High School sports and various events on the Olympic Peninsula, was honored by locals when they named the booth at Port Angeles’ Civic Field after him on Sept. 29.
Sequim reclaimed the Super Cup title with a 2-1 victory decided by penalty kicks on Oct. 29. The community pitting Sequim’s squad against Port Angeles each year since 2015 added a women’s game in 2017. In the men’s final, Nick Camporini scored Sequim’s regulation goal, and got PK scores from Pablo Salazar, Ron Welches, Christian Benson and Nic Baird.
Peninsula College’s men’s soccer squad had another strong year, this time under first-year coach Jake Hughes. The Pirates tallied a 12-3-4 mark before getting knocked out of the NWAC playoffs in a 1-0 loss to Walla Walla on Nov. 1. Cesar Gervacio leads the NWAC in scores and Adrian Benitez in assists, but both missed PC’s playoff game with injuries.
After a record-shattering season that saw PC’s women’s soccer squad break conference records in goals (142) and consecutive wins (38) and earn a 20-0-0 regular season mark, the Pirate women fell 1-0 in the NWAC tournament final to Highline on Nov. 12. Peninsula earned a No. 4 national ranking, the highest in school history. Standout Sydney Warren was named NWAC Player of the Year and North Region MVP after scoring a single-season record 31 goals, while teammate Jordyn DiCintio had 28 assists, also a school record.