Sequim athletes and fans had plenty to cheer for in 2018, with “the beautiful game” leading the way.
Soccer fans in particular were in for a treat in both spring and fall seasons in Sequim, with a Sequim High’s boys team setting records at a furious pace as they advanced past the first round of the state tourney for the first time.
Not to be out-done, SHS’s girls resurrected their season after an 0-6 start to not only advance to the postseason but win the program’s first district title, and come within a goal of a win in their first state tourney game.
Peninsula College’s women added an NWAC-record fourth championship later that fall.
Here’s a recap of the year that was in Sequim-area sports and recreation:
A trio of Sequim High senior wrestlers grappled their way to the MatClassic state tournament in February, led by four-time state competitor Kiara Pierson. The West Point appointee went 31-3 on the season, earning three pins at state on her way to the 135-pound weight class finals at MatClassic and taking second — her fourth top-eight finish in four years. For her efforts, Pierson was named co-MVP of the Olympic League.
At state, Pierson was joined by two first-timers: 132-pounder Jamie Schroepfer, who went 21-13 on the season, and Ben Newell, who earned a win at state at 145 pounds and went 23-12 for the season. In all, eight SHS wrestlers qualified for regionals — including soph Madison Uranga, who was named to the all-Olympic League team along with Pierson and Schroepfer.
Sequim High’s boys swim team swam their way into the record books, as the Wolves’ quartet of Kaleb Needoba, Deven Biehler, Alex Berikoff and Jax Thaxton broke the SHS 400 free relay school record set in 2013 with a 3:49.34 mark. They went on to break their own mark later in the year at the state 2A meet, placing 21st. Mathew Craig capped a solid prep career in diving with a fifth-place finish at state. The Wolves, who sent 12 athletes to districts, added a league meet win over Port Angeles — their first against the Roughriders since the 2003-2004 season and only the second time ever.
Led by senior Payton Glasser, Sequim High’s boys basketball squad hit double digits in wins (10) and qualified for the team’s first district tournament berth since 2014-2015. Glasser, who led the team with 19.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, earned a spot on the All-Washington State 2A team, and both he and teammate Nate Despain, a junior, were named to the all-Olympic League first team.
Glasser’s sister Hope shone brightly for the Wolves’ girls basketball team, who missed the postseason by one spot in the league standings. Glasser was named to the all-Olympic League second team, leading the Wolves with 10.1 points per game and placing second in rebounding (12.6 per) and assists (2.3).
Competing with a Port Angeles gymnastics team during the regular season, Sequim’s Lesea Pfeffer qualified for state 1A/2A/3A meet, finishing 8th on the balance beam and an 83rd in the vault.
Two Sequim High bowlers — juniors Quinn Danielson and Porter Funston — advanced to the West Central District tourney after earning top-20 marks at the Olympic League tournament.
At the collegiate level, Peninsula College’s men’s basketball squad made a big run in the NWAC tourney — all the way to the finals — before falling in overtime to North Idaho College. Their counterparts on the women’s side overcame a rough start to the season to qualify for the NWAC tourney as well, getting bounced by top-ranked Umpqua in the opener.
On the local recreation scene, Sequim golfer Scott Aughtry placed fifth overall with a best drive of 321 yards at the 2018 The ParaLong Drive Cup, held in Mesquite, Nev., in March.
With players from across the North Olympic Peninsula, Storm King U-17 boys soccer team made a postseason run that carried them all the way to a second place finish at the 2018 Washington State Founders Cup.
Sequim middle-schooler Alex Schmadeke competed with some of the top young gymnasts in the region. Making the jump from Level 6 to Level 7 after last year’s state meet, she scored consecutive first place finishes in all-around scoring in four meets.
Five local riders from on the Lincoln Park BMX circuit took home state championships, including Finn Thompson (11 Intermediate), Zach Pinell (12 Intermediate), Andy Goldsbary (13 intermediate), Joseph Pinell (14 Intermediate) and Taylor Coleman (14 girl). Nearly 700 riders from all around the state competed in Washington state championships on Sept. 8-9 at the Port Angeles track.
JB Parker, a significant figure in regional baseball circles, died in his Sequim home at age 100. Parker did scouting work for the New York Yankees and Seattle Pilots in the 1960s. He and Garfield High coach Robert “Woody” Woodard, assembled a team that won the 1960 Connie Mack League National Championship in then-segregated St. Joseph, Mo.
What record didn’t the Wolves’ boys soccer team break in 2018? Led by Olympic League MVP Liam Harris, Sequim posted three wins in four district games to qualify for the state tournament. A 7-1 loss in the state 2A tourney opener to Toppeninsh looked to end Sequim’s season, but the Wolves got their first state win after Toppenish forfeited for using an ineligible player. Sequim battled Burlington-Edison in the state quarterfinals, falling 4-3.
Harris wound up with the school record for goals in a career after netting his 41st against Port Angeles on April 24 (Kai Antrim, 2005-2008, had 40) and finished with 44 scores by season’s end. Ryan Tolberd broke the school mark for single-season goals (19) with a hat trick against Orting in the district playoffs, breaking Casey Nagler’s mark of 18 set in 2005; Tolberd finished with 21 total. Hayuk Minano broke the school’s single-season assist mark of 13 set by Vann Brasher in 2004; Minano got the school record with his 14th assist on May 8 and added a 15th in a win over Kingston two days later. As a team, Sequim racked up 79 goals in 22 games — both school records. Harris, Tolberd and Minano were named all-Olympic League first team players while Mathew Craig and Sean Weber, both defenders, were named to the second team.
Sequim’s pep golf teams were nearly unbeatable on the links. Sequim’s boys, paced by league MVP Paul Jacobsen, went 9-0 while the SHS girls, led by league MVP Sarah Shea, did the same.
At the state 2A tourney, Jacobsen, Blake Wiker and Andrew Vanderberg each made the second-day cut as the Wolves placed second to Liberty of Issaquah — the best finish in school history. The trio and Josiah Carter were named to the all-league first team, and Liam Payne earned a spot on the second team.
Shea, who signed on to play at Western Washington University in 2019, capped a three-season run of state tournament finishes with a career-best tie for fifth place. Teammates Samantha Smith and Madison Uranga were named to the All-Olympic League first team; both qualified for the state 2A tourney, where Smith tied for 44th and Uranga was 54th.
On the track and in the field, the Wolves were a force. SHS’s Murray Bingham raced to a pair of West Central District titles, winning the 800 and 1,600 and helping the 4×400 relay team to a district title. At the state 2A meet Sequim earned seven medals (top-eight finishes), highlighted by Riley Martin’s third-place finish in the 110 high hurdles. On the boys’ side, Riley Cowan took fourth in the javelin, Fischer Jensen fifth in 300 hurdles, Alec Shingleton sixth in 400, Bingham seventh in the 800, and the 4×400 relay team also took seventh. Elizabeth Sweet, Sequim’s lone girls state entry, tied the school record in the pole vault (11 feet) and placed sixth.
Jessica Dietzman and Kalli Wiker, both underclassmen, routed nearly every opponent on the tennis court as they battled to league and district titles on their way to a second place finish at the state 2A tournament. On the year they went 18-1 while the girls team as a whole was 13-2. On the boys’ side, Thomas Hughes and Blake Wiker capped a strong 2017-2018 season with a win in three matches at state.
Sequim High’s fastpitch squad went 10-14 and earned a spot in the West Central District playoffs, where they went 2-2. Isabelle Dennis was named to the All-Olympic League first team while a trio of Wolves were selected for the second team: Bobbi Sparks, Bryanna Dominguez and Jayla Julmist.
SHS’s baseball team fell short of the postseason, but first baseman Johnnie Young and pitcher Ian Miller were named to the All-Olympic League second team. Young led the club with a .354 batting average while Miller paced the Sequim pitching staff with 41 strikeouts. In the summer, Miller tossed a no-hitter for the Wilder Senior summer club at the state tourney.
Sequim High soccer standout Claire Henninger inked a letter of intent to play for Western Washington University, one of the top-ranked Division II teams in the nation.
On the collegiate level, 2015 SHS grad Alex Barry placed fourth at NCAA Division II national meet in javelin; the Western Washington University standout threw 224 feet 4 inches.
Peninsula College celebrated the school’s third Pirate Hall of Fame induction ceremony on June 2 at The Cedars at Dungeness. The 2018 Induction Class included former coaches Mark Amaral, Curt Bagby and the late William Quenette, long-time score clock operator Kent Brauninger and the 1999-2000 men’s basketball team.
Also in early June, Keith Laverty of Bainbridge Island set a new North Olympic Discovery Marathon record in 2 hours, 34 minutes, 44 seconds. The women’s winner was Amy Young of Hawaii.
Mitch Freeman, who guided Peninsula College men’s basketball team to an NWAC title game appearance, took a coaching position at Corban University, a private NAIA Division II college in Oregon.
Sequim Middle School student Amelia Hermann, the Washington Junior High School Rodeo Association’s all-around state champion, earned a chance to compete with the Washington state National Junior High rodeo team and at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in South Dakota, in late June.
In July, Sequim basketball camp hoopsters got a surprise visit from former NBA star Kurt Rambis.
After a year hiatus, the Dungeness Cup soccer tourney returned to draw 40-plus youth soccer teams in early August.
In late July, 2015 Sequim High grad Elise Beuke and U.S. teammates won bronze at U23 world rowing championships in Poland.
As more Sequim High records fell, so did North Kitsap’s stranglehold on the top spot in the Olympic League football standings. Paced by senior Riley Cowan — the league MVP who broke Drew Rickerson’s school all-time passing yardage (4,731) and passing touchdown records (45), finishing his career with 6,845 yards and 64 TDs — the Wolves went 6-0 in league and earned a top seed to districts. There they survived an upset by Franklin Pierce before falling to Steilacoom in the state 2A tournament.
Along the way Sequim picked up a 46-6 rout of Port Angeles in the annual Rainshadow Rumble and SHS coach Erik Wiker earned his 100th victory. Teammates Taig Wiker and Johnnie Young were named to the all-league first team on both sides of the ball, as nine different Sequim players picked up all-league honors.
While Sequim’s football squad was returning to familiar postseason territory, Sequim High’s girls soccer squad was blazing a trail to state for the first time. After six league losses to start the season, the Wolves went on a tear with nine wins in their next 10 games. Sequim edged into the playoffs, then beat Highline, White River and rival North Kitsap for the school’s first district championship and first state tourney berth. There, Ellensburg edged Sequim on penalty kicks after two scoreless halves and two overtime periods.
Junior defenseman Gabby Happe was named to the All-Olympic League first team while goalkeeper Olivia Hare was picked for the second team.
On the tennis courts, Sequim High’s Thomas Hughes and Blake Wiker were back at it and went unbeaten in 14 matches, Combined with doubles teammates Damon Little and Liam Payne, Sequim won the district championship and look to make some noise at the 2A boys tennis state tourney in May 2019.
In the pool, freshman Mia Coffman impressed after she posted two top-five finishes to lead the SHS Wolves to state. Teammate Sonja Govertsen earned two finals swims and SHS’s relay teams racked up big points at the class 2A finals in November. Coffman set personal bests in both of her races, scoring a fourth-place finish in the 500 freestyle final and adding a fifth-place finish in the 200 free. Sequim’s 200 free relay team of Coffman, Govertsen, Jasmine Itti and Heidi Schmidt placed seventh at state.
Senior Murray Bingham and freshman Riley Pyeatt paced the Sequim High cross country teams. Bingham raced to an Olympic League title and placed 13th at state, while Pyeatt was fifth in league and 13th at state. Sequim’s Liam Byrne (78th) and Jazen Bartee (133rd) also earned spots at the state 2A final.
A senior-laden Sequim High volleyball squad with postseason hopes saw their dreams of a state 2A playoff berth fall short by one game after going 1-2 at the West Central District. The Wolves finished the season with a 13-7 mark, a three-win improvement over last year’s record. Leading the way was Tayler Breckenridge, who was named as an honorable mention to the 2A All-State Volleyball Team by the Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association, and was selected to the all-Olympic League first team. The senior outside hitter led the Wolves with 293 kills and 374 digs. Teammate Kalli Wiker was picked for the all-league second team.
Peninsula College’s women’s soccer squad capped another season full of superlatives with their NWAC-record fourth soccer title (in just seven years), topping Clark College 2-0 in the finals. Pirates goalkeeper Andrea Kenagy took home the top NWAC tournament player award while PC coach Kanyon Anderson was selected NWAC Coach of the Year. Sophomore center back Halle Watson was named NJCAA Division I All-American and fellow center back Samantha Guzman was named NJCAA Division I First Team All-West Region.
On the men’s side, Peninsula College sophomore midfielder Jose Serna is the men’s North Region Co-MVP, while coach Jake Hughes was named North Region Coach of the Year. Hughes guided the Pirates to an 11-6-2 overall mark, 10-3-2 in North Region play, and a berth in the NWAC Tournament in his second year as head coach.
Also on the pitch, Sequim’s men topped Port Angeles on penalty kicks in the annual Super Cup competition, while Port Angeles topped Sequim 4-2 in the first women’s Super Cup.
In the late fall Sequim High got a couple of coaching changes, as Rich Hay and Erik Wiker agreed to co-coach the SHS wrestling program while Linsay Rapelje, who coached the Wolves’ girls basketball squads in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, returned to her former position two games in the the Wolves’ hoops season.