Tim Watanabe

The Bear Creek School girls’ tennis team puts fun at a premium at the team’s picture day earlier this week. The squad is led by Susie Imam

AT A GLANCE: Redmond prep girls’ tennis

REDMOND HIGH SCHOOL • Head coach: Stephen Thornsberry, 1st year • Last year: 4-6 4A Kingco League • 2012 turnout: 32 KEY RETURNERS • Sr. Sarah Du: No. 1 singles player and team co-captain looks to get out of Kingco this year and nail down her first state berth. • Sr. Sophia Xu: Fellow talented singles player will push Du to excel and retain her top spot. • Sr. Marissa Craig: Team co-captain will be at No. 1 doubles and is the squad’s vocal cheerleader.

 

Goodbye Redmond, it’s been a fun ride | Tim Watanabe

Working in the community newspaper industry for nearly four years, I’ve always been one to embrace change. While my duties as a sports writer for the Redmond and Bothell-Kenmore Reporter Newspapers have changed slightly over the years, one thing has never changed: My commitment to covering the local high school sports scene to the best of my ability.

 

Redmond High team captain Keira O'Hearn works on her short game with fellow Mustangs Melissa Marquez and Sam Saleba at a recent golf practice at Bear Creek Country Club. O'Hearn

Mustang girls’ golf reloads, ready to fire away

The perennially strong Redmond High School girls’ golf team, which hasn’t lost a league match since 2003, had every reason to begin their 2012 season with lessened expectations. The team graduated seven seniors last year, including most of their state tournament finalists, and head coach Jake Crowley just wasn’t sure if the Mustangs’ winning tradition would last.

 

Louise Chouinard throws across the diamond during a recent softball practice at Redmond High

Mustang fastpitch: Shorthanded, but talented | Redmond High softball preview

The 2012 Redmond High fastpitch season will be a test of quality over quantity. For reasons unknown to third-year head coach Parris Mamon, only 11 girls tried out for the team this year, but nearly all of them are returners with previous varsity experience.

Louise Chouinard throws across the diamond during a recent softball practice at Redmond High
Redmond High senior Katie Lord has her sights set on gold this spring after finishing second last year in the 4A state high jump competition.

AT A GLANCE: Redmond prep track and field

Previews for Redmond's three track and field teams: The Redmond High boys and girls' squads and The Bear Creek School.

Redmond High senior Katie Lord has her sights set on gold this spring after finishing second last year in the 4A state high jump competition.
Redmond senior Patrick McGrath (right) plays long-toss with fellow senior Cody Beliel. McGrath and Beliel

Redmond baseball reloads, ready to surprise this spring

What a difference a year can make. For the Redmond High baseball program and head coach Dan Pudwill, this season’s team represents an entirely different group of players from his 2011 squad that placed fourth at the state tournament, but he has the same goal in mind - a Kingco championship.

Redmond senior Patrick McGrath (right) plays long-toss with fellow senior Cody Beliel. McGrath and Beliel

AT A GLANCE: Overlake-Bear Creek baseball

Head coach: Mike Davidson, 11th season • Last year: 8-4, 3rd place 1A Emerald City League, 12-8 overall • 2012 turnout: 28

Bear Creek senior Kendall Engelstone races up the floor during the Grizzlies' 45-35 loss to Riverside Christian at the 2B state tournament in Spokane last Friday. In her final game for the Grizzlies

No state wins, but great memories for Lady Grizzlies: Team’s senior quad-captains leaving a legacy | Photo Slideshow

The Bear Creek girls' basketball team had a rough time at the 2B state tournament last weekend, losing twice to get eliminated before Saturday's trophy round. The Grizzlies, making their first state appearance since 2007, opened up the tournament at Spokane Arena on Friday against powerhouse Reardan, ranked No. 1 in the state, and were held to their lowest point total of the season in a 49-24 rout.

Bear Creek senior Kendall Engelstone races up the floor during the Grizzlies' 45-35 loss to Riverside Christian at the 2B state tournament in Spokane last Friday. In her final game for the Grizzlies
A group of Mustang Junior Football players scrimmage against Eastlake's team last fall at Redmond High School. The Redmond High football program will be holding its inaugural youth camp this summer in an effort to increase depth and turnout for future years.

Registration open for Mustangs youth football camps: Redmond looking to build into a powerhouse

In a tough football league like Kingco 4A, success for a certain program over another often comes down to a numbers game. The Redmond High School team, which has not had a winning season since 2007, had only slightly more than half the turnout as powerhouse Bothell High, which has won the league title five times in the last 10 years. The numbers don't lie – the Cougars turned out 164 players last fall in grades 9-12, the Mustangs just 85.

A group of Mustang Junior Football players scrimmage against Eastlake's team last fall at Redmond High School. The Redmond High football program will be holding its inaugural youth camp this summer in an effort to increase depth and turnout for future years.
Mustang senior Leslie Ellis drives to the hoop and draws contact while fellow senior Jason Harrington (left) watches. Ellis and Harrington both had older brothers (Will and Chris) that started for Redmond’s 5th-place state team in 2009

Heartbreaking overtime loss stuns Stangs: Team’s 11 seniors play final Redmond game | Slideshow

After being ranked in the top 10 for much of the season and having visions of a state-tournament run, the Redmond High boys' basketball season ended far too soon on Tuesday night after a stunning 45-42 overtime loss to Roosevelt in the consolation semifinals of the 4A Kingco Tournament at Juanita High School.

Mustang senior Leslie Ellis drives to the hoop and draws contact while fellow senior Jason Harrington (left) watches. Ellis and Harrington both had older brothers (Will and Chris) that started for Redmond’s 5th-place state team in 2009

Mustangs’ Garcia battles injury at district meet, falls just short of state berth | Prep gymnastics report

The injury-riddled Redmond High gymnastics team performed well at the Sea-King District meet at Sammamish High School last Saturday, but failed to advance anyone to the 4A state meet this weekend. Team captain Ally Garcia, battling a foot injury she suffered last week during a vault, toughed it out to score a 9.025 in the floor, her best Districts performance in her prep career. Unfortunately, Garcia placed ninth, just 0.025 of a point shy of her first state berth.

Former longtime RHS tennis coach Marceil Whitney is now focused on starting up a new public indoor tennis facility in Kirkland

Whitney’s new match: Longtime Redmond coach to open new tennis facility on Saturday

It was a decision Marceil Whitney described as “bittersweet.” The 16-year boys’ and girls’ tennis coach at Redmond High School decided to step down from her position in December to realize her lifelong dream of opening up an indoor public tennis facility on the Eastside, with a focus on serving at-risk and low-income kids.

Former longtime RHS tennis coach Marceil Whitney is now focused on starting up a new public indoor tennis facility in Kirkland
Overlake senior guard Dean Poplawski poses with his family after scoring his 1

Owls, Poplawski come through late against U. Prep: Overlake senior joins elite 1,000-point club

With their season on the line, the Overlake boys' basketball team (5-7, 10-11) staged a remarkable comeback victory against University Prep in a loser-out, winner-to-districts game at Seattle Academy Wednesday night. After a slow start on offense, the Owls were down five at the half, and were still down heading into the fourth quarter, when senior Dean Poplawski took over.

Overlake senior guard Dean Poplawski poses with his family after scoring his 1

Mustangs’ comeback win punches ticket to Kingco semifinals

The Redmond High boys were down but not out on Tuesday night at home in their 4A Kingco Tournament opener against Ballard. After storming out to a 17-10 lead, the Mustangs' shooting turned ice-cold, but the Mustangs were able to right the ship in the fourth quarter to pull off a 55-51 comeback win, sending them to the tournament semifinals on Friday against Garfield at 6:30 p.m.

Redmond gymnasts battle injuries, advance to districts | Prep gymnastics report

The Redmond High gymnastics squad performed well at last Saturday's 4A Kingco Gymnastics Championships at Roosevelt High, placing eighth overall and qualifying a number of individuals for this weekend's District meet at Sammamish High. Starting out on the beam, Kaylee Borms (7.975) and Ally Garcia (7.475) both had a fall and major deduction, but both still qualified for districts, as did Rachel Lovitt with 7.25.

Redmond senior forward Jason Harrington goes up for two of his game-high 21 points on Wednesday night against Issaquah

Redmond boys bounce back, hold off Eagles: Team plays Garfield on Saturday

After Tuesday night’s brutal 60-56 loss to No. 3 Skyline, the Redmond High boys’ basketball needed a bounce-back win Wednesday against Issaquah on the Eagles’ home court. And they got it. Redmond held a 26-16 lead into halftime before the Eagles clawed their way back and eventually took the lead briefly in the fourth quarter, but the Mustangs were able to come up with clutch shots down the stretch to secure a key 58-52 Kingco 4A win.

Redmond senior forward Jason Harrington goes up for two of his game-high 21 points on Wednesday night against Issaquah
Redmond’s Zach Sweetser

Redmond teen flying high: Sweetser becomes youngest sport pilot in nation

It’s always said that records are made to be broken. But for Redmond teen Zach Sweetser, it’s safe to say his record will stand for good. The 17-year-old recently became the youngest to ever earn a certified sport pilot’s license, having taken the test on Dec. 23, his birthday, and passing with flying colors.

Redmond’s Zach Sweetser
Bear Creek guard Like Blankenbeckler goes up for a shot in traffic during the Grizzlies 68-32 win over Evergreen Lutheran on Tuesday night. Blankenbeckler led all scorers with 14 points

Grizzlies are playing up, bearing down for state run

Apparently, Bear Creek boys basketball head coach Scott Moe does not heed the old adage, "pick on someone your own size". In just the past couple weeks, the Grizzlies, who play in the Sea-Tac 2B League, made state history by being the first small-school 2B team to knock off a 4A squad in basketball when they beat South Kitsap, 75-60, in the opening round of the Bellevue College Tournament.

Bear Creek guard Like Blankenbeckler goes up for a shot in traffic during the Grizzlies 68-32 win over Evergreen Lutheran on Tuesday night. Blankenbeckler led all scorers with 14 points
Carson Cook

New Redmond gym offers youth sports training, free boot camps

From the middle or high school athlete looking to gain that competitive edge, to the busy Microsoft professional or the stay-at-home mom looking to shed a few pounds, Redmond's newest gym has something for everyone. Electro Fit, located inside the Sammamish Baseball Academy (SBA) facility at 18047 Northeast 68th Street, Suite B-130 in Redmond, has been open for a little more than one month and has already received many new clients.

Carson Cook
The Bear Creek School has four pairs of sisters playing sports together this year. Pictured from left (top to bottom): Gwen and Laurel Jones

Bear Creek School’s ‘Sister Act’: Four sets of Grizzly girls playing sports together

At a small school like Redmond's Bear Creek School, one will often find that the sports programs there are very close-knit, like a family. For four pairs of Grizzly sisters, however, they take that meaning quite literally. During the 2011-12 school year, the Jones, Isbell, Englestone and Fernandez families each have two girls that not only attend Bear Creek, but also get to spend time on the fields, courts and tracks together as teammates – and best friends.

The Bear Creek School has four pairs of sisters playing sports together this year. Pictured from left (top to bottom): Gwen and Laurel Jones