The postseason honors continue to roll in for Sequim High athletes.
A pack of Wolves earned spots on the Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula teams for fall sports — including a pair of Most Valuable Player kudos.
Timing is a large part of what makes Sequim junior striker Taryn Johnson shine on the soccer field.
Johnson has made a habit of scoring goals in bunches in her high school career — numerous hat tricks and braces and that pair of five-score games against Olympic and North Mason this season as she became the Wolves’ all-time goal-scoring leader, passing Brittany Gates, who put the ball in net 41 times for Sequim.
Now at 52 goals in three seasons (one of those a condensed season because of COVID) after scoring an Olympic Peninsula-high 26 goals this fall (with six assists, to earn first-team All-Olympic League nod), Johnson is the choice as the Peninsula Daily News All-Peninsula Girls Soccer MVP as selected by the newspaper’s sports staff.
“She just raises the level of play, not just in games but in training,” Sequim coach Ken Garling said. “Her presence is such a huge factor for all of us, coaches and players. She makes us all want to do better.”
“I appreciate her attitude and hard work as much as her skill set. Taryn is a natural leader.”
Also named to the 2022 All-Peninsula Girls Soccer Team were Sequim freshman forward Raimey Brewer (five goals, a team-high seven assists), junior midfielder Jennyfer Gomez (nine goals and four assists, second-team All-Olympic League pick), and junior defender Kaia Lestage and sophomore defender Ivy Barrett, who helped the Wolves rack up seven shutouts this fall.
Johnson said part of her play-making ability comes from how she positions herself for an incoming pass and scoring run.
“Most of it is curving my runs and not making them straight,” Johnson said. “If I can curve the run, I can meet the last defender at the right time. I’ve had my fair share of offsides, but I think curving my runs and not making a straight run is very important. It adds that little bit of time when you see the pass incoming.”
Johnson and Brewer, her teammate/cousin, teamed up on a number of corner-kick goals in 2022, with Brewer curving the ball into the box and Johnson finding a way to get the ball in net amid a flurry of legs and torsos.
She thanked her uncle Kevin, Raimey’s dad, for his assistance in building up their games.
“We work on corners and juggling and first touch and our shots,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I’d be where I am without him. He’s so passionate about helping Raimey and I. I still need to work on hitting corners with my head, and he’s helping.”
Johnson also was quick to point out her success was tied to her teammates.
“Jennyfer Gomez was a really big factor, our defensive line, Kaia [Lestage] and Libby [Turella]. I could honestly give everybody on the team a shout out. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Garling said she attracts so much attention from the opposition that it can lead to opportunities for her teammates.
“She is a multi-dimensional player,” he said. “Dangerous on the ball, in close, outside the box from distance. As a defender, teams are defending her in groups in twos and threes. In the playoffs, there were four around here, just because of her presence as a scoring threat.”
Her one-touch volley goal with a degree of difficulty nearing 10 against Kingston remains her favorite moment from the season.
“Against Kingston, the ball was in the air when I was right outside the 18 and I one-time kicked it in. Followed through with my shot and I put it in off the keeper. I was proud of that moment.”
Johnson also plays for the undefeated Wolves basketball team after a childhood where Johnson said her parents “threw me into nearly every sport” — including gymnastics, swimming and golf.
“It’s important for me to pursue different sports, not just soccer. If you stick on one sport throughout high school, you might only reach a certain level. But if you build up different skills in different sports, you can add them all together.”
With nearly the entire roster set to return next season, Johnson has a goal in mind.
“I’m so looking forward to next season. I know we can make it to state next year, we just need that extra push. I really want to get to state,” Johnson said.
“To do it, we need to practice, practice, practice so hard. Harder than any other team. I don’t think we pushed ourselves as hard as we needed to this season, and that’s what it takes.”
Garling also is looking forward to the fall.
“To set the record in her junior year was such an impressive feat,” Garling said. “With another season to go, she will be rewriting the record book with every game.”
Kendall Hastings knew she would have to step up and be a more vocal leader for the Wolves’ volleyball team during her senior year.
Hastings not only led the team to a second-place finish in league with an 11-3 record behind perennial powerhouse North Kitsap, she led the Wolves to within a handful of points of qualifying for the state tournament.
And she did it while posting spectacular stats all season — stats in all phases of the game.
For her contributions on the court, Hastings, the Olympic 2A League Offensive Player of the Year, was an easy pick for the All-Peninsula volleyball MVP.
“With all the people who had graduated, I needed to step up,” Hastings said. “The whole team focused every practice. We improved so much. I gave my all.”
Coach Jennie Webber-Heilman spoke all year about Hastings’ leadership skills.
“Kendall has been an excellent team captain for our Sequim team the last two seasons, leading by example on and off the court,” Webber-Heilman said. “[She] genuinely cares for her teammates and wanted nothing more than everyone on the team to succeed together.”
Hastings said she didn’t need to be told to be a leader.
“It comes naturally to me. I have a really good relationship with all the girls. Being a senior, sometimes I took it upon myself,” Hastings said.
Hastings also plays tennis for Sequim and qualified as a singles’ player for the state 2A meet last year. She prefers volleyball because it’s a team sport and plans to play in college.
To improve her skills, Hastings does something not many girls on the Olympic Peninsula do — she plays club volleyball in Tacoma during the winter, commuting two hours each way for practice. Most of the North Kitsap players play club volleyball.
“It’s so worth it. It really takes to a different level of volleyball,” Hastings said.
Hastings said she plans to play volleyball in college and has been given a couple of offers so far, but she has not picked a school. She is particularly interested in Boise State because her older sister McKenna goes to school there.
For now, her focus is club volleyball and getting back to state in tennis.
Here are the stats Hastings collected during the year: She served 97 percent for the season (230 for 238), had 53 aces, 284 kills, 80 stuff blocks and 144 digs.
In 19 matches, that’s an average of 15 kills, 2.8 aces, 7.6 digs, 4.2 blocks and 0.95 serve errors per match. Those are glowing offensive and defensive stats, something not many volleyball players accomplish.
Hastings saved one of her best matches of the year for the end. Sequim had to face North Kitsap a fourth time at district in order to qualify for state. North Kitsap was upset early in the district tournament and surprisingly ended up in the consolation bracket, and in Sequim’s way, unfortunately.
Sequim had lost to North Kitsap three straight times, but had taken a game from the powerful Vikings twice. At district, the Wolves nearly pulled off an upset in a grueling, five-set (26-24, 25-21, 25-27, 21-25, 15-9) 218-point marathon.
In that match, Hastings came up with 28 kills.
Webber-Heilman and Hastings said the motto of the team going into that match was “no regrets.”
“I’m one of those people that’s rather lose by a couple of points knowing we played our best,” Hastings said. “In my mind, it was a win. We played the best we could. There were no regrets.”
Senior two-way player Aiden Gockerell was one of three Wolves selected to Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula Football Team for 2022.
Gockerell was consistent for Wolves all season as a running back and defensive back. He also ran for 204 yards and two TDs in Sequim’s Rainshadow Rumble rally past Port Angeles.
Also named to the team was junior Ayden Holland, a third-year starter who earned All-Olympic League first-team honors, and junior kicker Jack Henninger.
Junior Jason Hawes of Port Angeles was named the All-Peninsula Football Team MVP after starring at the middle linebacker position with 135 tackles and a first-team All-Olympic League selection.
Sequim’s Kaitlyn Bloomenrader earned postseason kudos after another strong cross country season, earning a spot on the Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula Cross Country team.
Bloomenrader had six top-10 league meet finishes, finishing in sixth at the Olympic League final and and sixth at districts a week later, helping the Wolves earn a team 2A state meet berth.
Port Angeles senior Jack Gladfelter was named the cross country team’s MVP.