2018 sports year in review, part 1

A rare league championship for the South Whidbey boys basketball team and a splendid spring filled with honors for the Falcons highlighted the local sports scene in 2018.

Here’s a look at some of the bright spots from January through May. We’ll take a look at the second half of the year later this week.


South Whidbey High School senior basketball player Lewis Pope was named 1A Male Athlete of the Week by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association for the first week of the year.

Pope scored 25 points and added seven rebounds and three steals in the Falcons’ road victory over Cedar Park Christian Jan. 2. He followed that with a 40-point performance against Granite Falls on Jan. 5. He also added six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

This was the first of many honors Pope garnered during the basketball season in 2018.

Pope and the Falcons, coached by Mike Washington, defeated state power King’s 65-50 Jan. 9. The Knights, state champions in 2014 and 2015, finished fourth in the state in 2017. King’s won the past four conference titles and 10 of the past 12.

Pope tallied 20 points in the game, pushing his career scoring total past 1,000.

Several weeks later, the boys basketball team made its final year in the Cascade Conference a memorable one. The Falcons clinched their first league championship since 1989 by defeating Granite Falls 73-34 Jan. 31.


Eight South Whidbey wrestlers finished in the top four at the district tournament Feb. 3 and qualified for the regional meet Feb. 10. Drew Aposhyan finished first, Clay O’Brien second, Soren Bratrude third, Caleb McArthur third, Alex Turner third, Kobe Balora third, Dylan Davis third and Magnus Nyberg fourth.

Aposhyan, O’Brien and Balora went on to qualify for the state tournament by placing in the top four at the regional.

Bratrude was named to the All-Cascade Conference first team, and Aposhyan and McArthur were second team selections.

South Whidbey’s Reign U-14 girls soccer team reached the semifinals of the Washington State Founders Cup where it lost 1-0.

South Whidbey’s (16-7) fairytale boys basketball season came to an end with a 62-41 loss to King’s in the district tournament Feb. 9.

Pope, who averaged 23.8 points per game, was named co-Most Valuable Player of the Cascade Conference. He also selected for the 1A All-State and Skagit Valley Herald All-Star teams and was named the Snohomish County Basketball Officials’ boys player of the year.

In addition, the Central Washington University signee was picked for the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association (WIBCA) All-State game.

Kody Newman joined Pope on the Cascade Conference first-team, and Carson Wrightson earned honorable mention.

Washington was named the league’s Coach of the Year.


Eight students of Tiger Martial Arts in Freeland — Olivia Livingstone, Magnus Christensen, Jack Cussen, Andrew Hilton, Matthew Midkiff, Emma Gossler, Waylan Parsell and Simon Uhl — earned their junior black belts March 18.


Sophomore Ethan Petty fired a no-hitter as the South Whidbey baseball team defeated King’s 14-0 in five innings April 27.


The South Whidbey girls golf team, coached by Garth Heggenes, captured the league title by defeating Archbishop Murphy 89-57 May 1. The Falcons also won the Cascade Conference Medalist tournament May 7 as senior Kolby Heggenes took medalist and league MVP honors. Emma Leggett earned a spot on the all-league first team, and Alyssa Ludtke was a second-team selection.

May 15, South Whidbey added the bi-district title behind medalist Heggenes. At state May 23, the Falcons placed fourth and Heggenes third.

In boys golf, coached by coached by Steve Jones, Ryan Wenzek received first-team honors, and Gabe Jacobson-Ross and Brent de Wolf were second team. The Falcons placed ninth at the state 1A tournament May 23, as Wenzek took 23rd in the individual standings.

The Falcon tennis team, coached by Jenny Gochanour and Bess Windecker-Nelson, finished first and unbeaten in conference play with a 4-1 in over King’s May 2. Doubles players Mary Zisette and Alison Papritz won the bi-district title May 18 and went on to place second in the state tournament May 28. South Whidbey finished third in team scoring at state, one point out of first.

The South Whidbey soccer team, coached by Emerson Robbins, won the district title and earned a state berth with a 1-0 win over King’s May 5. The Falcons opened state play with a shootout win over Klahowya May 15. South Whidbey then lost 2-1 in overtime to Seattle Academy May 19.

The Falcon softball team, coached by Heather Collins, qualified for state by taking third in the district tournament May 19.

Two South Whidbey High School graduates, Kiana Henny of the Whitman College Sweets and Will Simms of the University of Washington Sundodgers, qualified for the Division 1 Ultimate Frisbee College National Championship in Milwaukee.

The South Whidbey girls track team placed 10th and the boys 12th at the state 1A meet May 26. Sophia Nielsen collected four medals, including winning the long jump in a new school record of 18-01. She was also fifth in the triple jump (34-03.25), eighth in the 100 hurdles (16.76) and eighth in the 4×100 relay with Karyna Hezel, Alexandra Kurtz and Mikayla Hezel (52.19). The 4×200 team of Mattason Straub, Kurtz, Lila McCleary and Karyna Hezel finished fifth (1:48.17). Elizabeth Donnelly took seventh in the 800 (2:28.64), and Straub was eight in the 100 (13.38).

Kris Dixon led the Falcon boys by placing fourth in the 300 hurdles (40.98), seventh in the 110 hurdles (16.71) and sixth on the 4×100 team with Matthew Simmons, Carl Henri Chapman and John Bartel (44.79). Simmons also won three medals, taking sixth in the 100 (11.95) and eighth in the 200 (23.74). Romey Rohde took seventh in the pole vault (12-06), and Isaiah Gonzales was eighth in the triple jump (42-07.5).