South Whidbey 2013 sports review

Clockwise, from top left: Nick Bennett runs to his teammates after catching a go-ahead two-point pass from Parker Collins against Archbishop Murphy. The late Henry Pope speaks with the Falcon boys basketball team during the 2012-13 season. Alexa Hess, Katie Haugen, Haley Viers and Morgan Davis listen to coach Mandy Jones at the state 1A volleyball tournament.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Clockwise, from top left: Nick Bennett runs to his teammates after catching a go-ahead two-point pass from Parker Collins against Archbishop Murphy. The late Henry Pope speaks with the Falcon boys basketball team during the 2012-13 season. Alexa Hess, Katie Haugen, Haley Viers and Morgan Davis listen to coach Mandy Jones at the state 1A volleyball tournament.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

The past 12 months brought a host of ecstatic moments for sports on South Whidbey, and one major tragedy.

This is the year in review in the sporting world, with 13 sports moments of 2013.

1. Henry Pope, South Whidbey Falcon basketball coach, died Thursday, July 25 from heart complications. He coached the girls basketball team for several years before taking over the boys team in 2010. Pope, 57, is survived by his wife, Teresa, daughters, Samantha and Taylor, and son, Lewis.

2. “Best flopping duck to win a game.” That’s how Falcon junior Parker Collins described his two-point pass to senior Nick Bennett that defeated Archbishop Murphy for the first time in South Whidbey football history on Oct. 11. With seven seconds left and trailing Archbishop Murphy 21-20, South Whidbey’s football team had a shot to tie the game with the extra-point kick. Instead, South Whidbey’s coaches called for a fake kick and a two-point try, and Collins took the snap, rolled to his right and threw a wobbling ball high in the end zone where Bennett caught it, giving South Whidbey a 22-21 lead.

3. Angelina Berger, 1A girls discus champion. Former Falcon Angelina Berger set the South Whidbey High School record for girls discus throw and won the state 1A discus title on May 20. Her best throw measured 128 feet, 5 inches — more than eight feet farther than her previous best mark, which was also a school record. Berger also placed third in the shot put with 38 feet, 8 inches.

4. Thandeka Brigham, a 15-year-old girl from Langley, won a national title in O-Mok-See, a type of horse race that specializes in agility and speed. Her win was secured in the 12 to 15-year-old girls division. The O-Mok-See National Championship was in Blackfoot, Idaho, in July. The title was accompanied by a trophy saddle.

5. It’s all in the Newman family. Hayley Newman, a Falcon girls tennis player who graduated in 2013, finished in second place in the state 1A girls tennis tournament. She was swept in the championship match, 6-0, 6-0, by Forest Ridge’s Michele Lui. Newman defeated St. George’s Darby Pierce 6-2, 6-3, Chelan’s Megan Robinson 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, and Annie Wright Academy’s Samantha Weeks 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 to advance to the championship match.

6. A bad break for Falcon girls golf. Former senior golfer Hannah Cotton qualified for the state 1A girls golf tournament in May, but she was scratched after spraining her ankle in a hotel parking lot the night before the tournament. Her teammates Jenna Kaik and Rosie Portillo carried on, with Kaik finishing in 12th place and Portillo taking 21st. The girls golf team won the Cascade Conference championship, the District 1 championship and the tri-district tournament championship.

7. Fast Falcons. South Whidbey High School’s boys and girls cross country teams qualified for the state 1A meet on Nov. 9 in Pasco. The girls team, led by freshman Anna Leski, placed ninth. The boys team was led by senior Gavin Imes who finished in 12th place. Top boys runner Cole Zink battled an illness that dropped his time nearly three minutes, bumping the team’s standing down. But both teams saw a combined 10 personal best times at the final meet of the 2013 season.

8. Mighty Monell. Pat Monell fought through a nagging shoulder injury and an illness to place sixth at the 25th Mat Classic, the state wrestling tournament held annually at the Tacoma Dome, in February. The former Falcon — he graduated in spring — won three matches and lost three matches at the state tournament, but was never pinned in the 1A 220-pound division. It is worth noting that Monell weighed closer to 200 pounds than 220 pounds. Two of his wins were on 3-2 decisions against Kettle Falls’ Tyler Vining and Eatonville’s Wyatt Gustason. He also pinned Zillah’s Alex Diaz in 1:42. He lost in the quarterfinals to Forks’ Joel Ward and fell 5-3 to Mount Baker’s Sterling Honeycutt in the fifth-place match.

9. Volleyball falls short at state. Cruising through the regular season, with a couple of hiccups, the Falcon volleyball team worked its way through the District 1 and tri-district tournaments to qualify for the state 1A tournament in Yakima on Nov. 15. South Whidbey lost 3-0 in the first match against Chelan and lost 3-1 against Annie Wright in the second match, ousting the Falcons from the tournament on Day 1. It was the first time in a decade that the Falcon volleyball team made a state tournament.

10. Shootout blocks Falcon boys soccer from state. South Whidbey’s boys soccer team was a force in the Cascade Conference and in the District 1 tournament. In the state-qualifying match of the tri-district tournament, the Falcons fell to the Cascade Christian Cougars 2-1 in a shootout. South Whidbey scored the first goal in the 46th minute on a Sam Turpin kick assisted by Oliver Saunsaucie. But the Cougars answered with a quick goal of their own and kept South Whidbey scoreless the rest of the match. Also, two five-minute extra periods forced the shootout, which Cascade Christian won.

11. South Whidbey High School hires new athletic director. Former Falcon athletic director Scott Mauk took a principal position in the Edmonds School District, leaving the high school without a sports leader. They found Kelly Kirk in the Federal Way School District, an area known for high-powered sports programs at Federal Way and Decatur high schools. He’s sought to increase participation in sports and extracurriculars and find ways to reduce travel costs for the school. One of his long-range goals is to drum up support for a new sports field and track at the high school.

12. A farewell to Fulton — but he didn’t go too far. Longtime Falcon track and field head coach Doug Fulton stepped down from the top spot in February. He stayed on, however, as the distance assistant coach. He coached the Falcon track and field team for 13 years and was replaced by Mark Eager, a history and civics teacher at the high school.

13. Falcon basketball teams beat rivals in playoffs. Both the Falcon boys and girls basketball teams got one of the best playoff victories they could by beating the Coupeville Wolves in the District 1 tournament in February. South Whidbey’s boys team won 56-45, and the girls team won 43-36.


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