High five: a Northshore year to remember / Sports Scene

Now that the curtain has closed on another exciting year of high-school sports, I offer a look back on the top five most memorable, noteworthy or otherwise intriguing moments in Northshore prep sports for the 2009-10 school year.

1. Gonzalez Cuervo and Singh team up, earn first Viking state tennis title in a decade:

They tore up the competition in 4A Kingco all year as singles superstars, but when Vikings Maria Gonzalez Cuervo and Jasmine Singh decided to join forces as doubles partners after the Kingco Tournament, they created a duo that simply outmatched everyone. Heading east to the Tri-City Court Club in Kennewick, Gonzalez Cuervo and Singh mowed down the field, giving up only five games in three matches en route to the finals, where they routed Ali Welch and Demie Warner in straight sets 6-3, 5-2 (injury forfeit).

2. Inglemoor fastpitch third at rain-shortened state tourney:

The Vikings’ fastpitch squad, a perennial power, had it all this year, at least on offense. With a number of outstanding hitters up and down the lineup, the Vikings knew they were going to score runs, but the big question was pitching, as beyond staff ace Rosie Matsumoto, the Vikings weren’t that deep. Head coach Jeff Skelly noted at the beginning of the year that Matsumoto needed to stay healthy, and she did just that, mowing down opposing lineups as the Vikings went 22-5 this year and swept the field at the 4A Kingco tournament to earn a state berth.

And what a difference in weather from last year — when I covered the 4A fastpitch tournament in May 2009 it was sunny and 80-85 degrees, and this year the entire first day was washed out by a torrential rainstorm.

3. Cougars’ perfect football season derailed in state semis:

Unlike their 2008 campaign when uncharacteristic mistakes and a poor work ethic, according to head coach Tom Bainter, caused an 0-2 start, the 2009 Bothell Cougars seemed to have it from the get-go, remaining unbeaten up until the state semifinals. Bothell eventually fell in a 31-26 heartbreaker to Skyline, who the Cougars beat dramatically, 25-20, in the 4A Kingco championship game in front of an estimated 8,000 screaming fans at Pop Keeney Stadium.

In addition, one of the top recruiting classes in recent history, including 6-foot-6 tight end Michael Hartvigson and 6-foot-4 lineman Colin Porter, listed at 313 pounds, both signed their letters of intent with the University of Washington and will play under Steve Sarkisian next year.

Bothell, which has now gone two seasons since its last appearance in the 4A title game, will have to wait until fall to get another crack at finally winning their first state championship after back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2006-07. But if the team’s outstanding depth and top-tier coaching staff have anything to say, 2010 may just be the year of the Cougar.

4. Viking boys make waves, place third at state:

In one of the more tightly-contested 4A state swim meets in recent memory, the Viking boys peaked at the right time to place third last winter with 173 team points, trailing only Gig Harbor (179) and champion Shorewood (193).

The Viks, led by longtime coach Monica Mayes, put together six podium finishes at the meet, highlighted by the relay team of Craig Olynyk, Jonas Friedrick, Kyle Komlodi and Michael Postetter taking a surprising third, in 1 minute, 40.43 seconds, in the 200 medley relay after barely sneaking in the final heat with the eighth and final spot in prelims. Diving sensation Spencer Moore placed fifth with 335.15 points, his best finish ever, and Olynyk and Komlodi placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 backstroke.

The team, which bettered their fifth-place finish last year at state, had to overcome the loss of their home pools, Carole Ann Wald at St. Edward Park, as well as the Northshore Pool, with some swimmers gathering as early as 5 a.m. to practice at Juanita High instead.

5. Twenty-two Northshore athletes make state track meet:

It was a banner year for Inglemoor and Bothell at the 4A state track meet at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma, as 15 Vikings and seven Cougars converged at Star Track in late May.

Jumping standout Tess Parent nailed a personal best in the triple jump (38 feet, 10 inches) for second place and earned a third in the long jump (17-1.25). In total, the teams combined for 13 podium finishes at state, with Inglemoor earning 11 of them. The Viking girls’ 4x100 relay placed second in 48.61 seconds and the team finished fourth overall.

For Bothell, Alex Neil placed sixth in the girls’ 800 (2:18.83) and distance specialist Ashkon Nima was also sixth in the boys’ 800 (1:57.77) to tie for the Cougars’ high individual finish at state.

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