2 South Whidbey teams qualify for state tournament / Special Olympics

Fresh off a gold medal at the regional tournament, South Whidbey Wind 2 heads to Wenatchee this weekend to defend its state title in the basketball skills division of the Washington Special Olympics Winter Games.

South Whidbey Wind 1 also won a gold medal at the regional games in Edmonds Feb. 9 and will join its local counterpart at state.

The games begin Friday, Feb. 28, and end Sunday, March 1, and include approximately 1,000 athletes from across the state in a variety of events.

The basketball skills regular season began in November for the Whidbey teams, whose rosters include athletes from all over the island.

The teams practice at the facility of its sponsor, Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland.

Wind 2, coached by Steve Thompson, is a two-time state champion. The squad did not lose a game in the district tournament Jan. 26 in Stanwood or at the regional competition, where it was the highest-scoring team.

The club includes Stacie Lanners, Michael Hawkins, Amira Jackson, Zoe Thompson, Dagney Shellenberg, Julietta Cedar and Lucas Etzell.

Wind 1, coached by Mike Etzell, won a sliver medal at the district tournament and then overcame a first-round loss at the regional meet and advanced through the losers bracket to secure gold.

The squad includes Dylan Matros, Nicole Nagle, Ryan Hagar, Nicky Whitehouse, Dave McBroom, Dave Cloud, Connor Weaver and Mateo Uhl.