From the Sidelines
Observations on Vashon Island sports, mostly the Pirates, from the sidelines.
The Fall sports season starts at 7 p.m. today when the Goats travel through the mountains to challenge our Pirates on the football field.
This is a fairly new cross-state rivalry that so far extends to football, basketball and baseball. Last year Vashon went to Chelan for the football opener and this year it is Chelan’s turn to come west. Let’s hope budget considerations and gas prices don’t squash the rivalry after two years.
The basketball rivalry has been developing at the State Tournament as both schools have been regular visitors to the Winter championships.
The Pirates have only four home games this year and, because our field doesn’t meet playoff standards, will have to play any post-season games off-island. So get out your green and gold fill the stadium tonight.
The other sports have practicing hard and start their competitions next week or the week after.
Girls soccer opens at home Sept. 13 against arch-rival Charles Wright. The Pirates have lots of returnees from last year’s fourth-place state team and a good group of freshmen. Could this be the year the Pirate girls go all the way to the top?
Cross country opens at Fort Steilacoom Thursday, Sept. 8, and hosts the only home meet the following Thursday, Sept. 15. The girls should be strong with three top runners and some promising freshmen and supporting runners. The boys are a question mark this year. With hard work they could come together for some good team points but didn’t appear to have any top individual runners early on.
A highlight of the season is the annual Ferry to Ferry Run Oct. 1. In this fund-raiser for the program the team members will take pledges for total miles run of the 13.6 mile distance, starting at Talequah with the departure of the 8 a.m. ferry. Community members and supporters are invited to join the team for the whole distance or one or more legs.
I’m far from an authority on volleyball, but I saw some good veteran players and a lot of girls who looked like they were ready to play some serious volleyball at an early practice. They open at Highline Sept. 7 and host their first home match Monday, Sept. 19.
Boys tennis opens at Cascade Christian the day after Labor Day, Sept. 6, then hosts three home matches Sept. 9, 13 and 16. Don’t miss those first home contests because there is only one more home date on the schedule, Sept. 30.
Starting tonight let’s make this The Year of the Pirate!
With less than two weeks until the Bill Burby Race during Strawberry Festival Islanders may be looking for more ways to keep active this summer.
If you haven’t yet registered for the Burby event go to www.billburbyrace.org before it’s too late. I’ll be there to defend my M70+ 5K title.
A new event this year is for bicyclists on July 31. Sustainable Vashon is putting on the Park to Park Ride, a choice of 23+ or 33+ mile rides starting from the North End ferry or Paradise Ridge. See www.parktopark.org for information and registration. I’ll have to miss that one because I’ll be on vacation.
The Heart of the Sound Triathlon is Aug. 7, starting and finishing at Jensen Point. Swim, bike and run or get together with a couple friends for a relay team. I’ll run or bike, both slowly, if a swimmer and another individual wants to put together a for-fun relay team. See www.hotstriathlon.org.
High school cross country coach Kevin Ross has invited the public to train with the team a few times this summer. First is tomorrow, July 6, at Island Center Forest. Look for information on Vashon Running Club’s Facebook page.
This Sunday, July 10, the movie “Running on the Sun” is showing at 1 p.m. at the Vashon Theatre. Admission is free; be prepared to buy snacks and goodies at the concession stand. The Vashon Ultra group is sponsoring the movie and a relaxed 5K run at noon. They plan to have groups for all paces.
The Island has something for almost anyone who wants to get out and be active during the summer. Check with the Park District, any of the above organizations, or ask your friends.
If the timing seemed a bit off for the traditional vintage hydroplane run around the Island yesterday it was because the lone boat to make it started an hour later than usual.
Four boats were in the water shortly after 5 a.m. waiting for enough light to start the circuit, but by sunup around 5:20 all four had returned to the beach at Jensen Point. Karl Olsen, last year’s winner, Paul Hoffman, Evan Mattingly and Ty Christopherson all encountered problems keeping the 50-year-old outboard racing engines running smoothly.
Mattingly’s boat, bearing the number 32 in memory of his VHS football and wrestling teammate Robert Bennedsen, eventually became a donor boat for parts for other three boats. In the spirit of the sport, Mattingly, after determining his boat wasn’t going to run, loaned engine parts to the other drivers to try to get the boats going.
After about an hour Christopherson’s Sexy One was ready and he headed out past Jensen Point at 6:28 a.m. while Olsen and Hoffman tinkered for another 10 minutes or so before deciding to wait until next year.
Christopherson completed the run, south out of Quartermaster Harbor, up the east side, back down the west side and back to Jensen Point in 45 minutes and 24 seconds to claim the perpetual trophy for a year. The one-handed Mickey Mouse alarm clock, the official clock maintained for many years by the late Paul Stoddard, was retired after the 2010 run and timing is now by electronic stop watch.
As drivers and crews trailered the boats for another year speculation began about who would run next year and who would come up with another boat. At least two people mentioned the possibility of running inboard hydros next time.
. . . come again another day; little Pirates want to play.
The old nursery rhyme every Northwesterner learns as soon as they are old enough to play outdoors is especially relevant this year.
The Pirate baseball team has been able to play only five scheduled games so far, including today, and they had to travel to Eastern Washington to find dry fields for two of those games. Nine games have been rained out so far.
The team is doing well when they get a chance to play, losing to 1A powerhouse Cashmere in extra innings after a late-game injury to a key player, then coming back to 10-run Chelan the next day.
The fastpitch team is struggling when they can get outside on the field. They had a reported three outdoor practices before the first game and have been rained out five times while playing three.
Girls tennis has been rained out of about half of their schedule, but took advantage of yesterday’s sunshine to sweep Cascade Christian 5-0. Several of the JV players got matches and did well against their Cougar opponents.
The Pirate golf team has been rained out at least once.
A little rain and mud doesn’t bother soccer players and the Pirate boys are developing as one of the teams to beat in the Nisqually League. Yesterday at Chimacum the Vashon boys won 2-0 with goals by Tylor Heit and Nick Fox-Edele. Freshman keeper Phillip Vandevanter and the Pirate defense kept the ball out of the Pirate net.
The track team has to travel off-Island to compete on all-weather tracks and still manages to turn in top performances every week. The team should be close to full strength for tomorrow’s meet at Charles Wright. Look for more team points as both boys and girls team send more athletes into competition.
Signs of Spring on Vashon Island: mud slides, flooded yards and pastures, canceled baseball and softball games and tennis matches, and the track team heading for the ferry on the way to meets.
The baseball team has managed to play a few games and beat Charles Wright. Not so well against Chimacum, but that was expected.
Girls tennis had three outdoor practice days before their first match. In the first two and a half weeks of the season they have been able to play two matches that I know of.
Still working up to full strength, the track team is turning in some top individual performances and could have several state qualifiers by mid-May, despite not having a home track. It’s probably not coincidence that the two schools that have tracks suitable for hosting meets have large turnouts and seem to win all the meets.
Rain doesn’t stop soccer and the Pirate boys are still undefeated in Nisqually League play after last night’s 1-1 tie with Cascade Christian. A 1-0 defeat of Charles Wright on the Tarriers’ home pitch is good any time. Seattle Christian joins the league for boys soccer this year. Mark April 14 on your calendar when the Pirates host the Warriors for the first time. The Warriors are strong and that game could go a long way toward deciding the league title.
Pick your favorite sport, or choose them all, and get out to cheer on the Pirates. Bring an umbrella.
This morning I and about 150 others ran a 2-mile race on the synthetic-surface track at Nathan Hale High School in North Seattle.
Along with probably at least another 100 non-running friends and family, plus race officials and support personnel, we traveled from various parts of the Olympic Peninsula, Vashon Island, Federal Way, Redmond, Ballard and other hotbeds of running.
This was for less than 10 minutes of running for the top runners and no more than 30 minutes for the more mature and/or recreational runners.
Probably two/thirds of the crowd stopped for a hearty meal on the way home.
With a decent track and facility on Vashon Island, we could stage such an event a few times a year. Think what 166 hungry runners would mean to our local restaurants on a Saturday. (Or maybe we shouldn’t try to attract the dreaded off-islanders to take up valuable tables in our limited commercial space.)
From the race at Nathan Hale, or races at Magnuson Park, runners get together in small groups to meet at a restaurant on the way home, before getting on the ferry or hitting the freeway. On Vashon they would most likely stop to eat before getting in the ferry line; I know many do after weekend day time games now.
I visualize a useable track and field as not only a high school asset, but as a community resource as is the track at Nathan Hale or the old Shoreline High School.
Just considering running, Vashon has at least two overlapping groups who are known among the running community for putting on a first-class meet. Look at the Bill Burby Run, The Heart of the Sound Triathlon, the new-last-year Vashon Ultra and the high school cross country program.
And the possibilities for tournaments in other sports are huge.
I know from my own experience that people like to come to the Island for one-day events, games and tournaments. But many are appalled at the poor facilities, not only muddy fields, but lack of restrooms and concessions.
Back to running only, I visualize a couple of all-comers track meets and a high school invitational as well as district meets and middle school championships. Every one of these events would bring business to our restaurants and maybe even provide a small boost to WSF.
As you consider how to mark your ballot, think not only of our high school students but also the benefit to the community as a whole.
I voted a hearty “YES” as soon as I received my ballot. I hope you will too.
Vashon sports lost a true friend when Jim Martin died Sunday.
Jim was one of those people who made Vashon Youth Baseball work when my son began playing shortly after we moved to the Island. Not only a coach and an umpire, Jim was the moving force behind many of the field improvements.
Anyone who plays or watches baseball at Vashon High School can thank Jim for the beautiful field. While he obviously didn’t do it all himself, he was always working to upgrade the facilities.
As I got involved in Vashon sports and worked at The Beachcomber I got to know Jim as a friend, but it was sometimes hard to get him to talk about all he did for not only baseball, but all sports where he could. He insisted on giving credit for every individual and company that worked on an improvement, but I sometimes had to go to others to find out all he did himself.
Jim was sometimes known as “Blue” because of his umpiring. “Blue” is the proper way for a baseball coach or player to address the umpire with a question. And although Jim was an umpire himself, he didn’t hesitate to question the current “Blue” when he had on his coaching uniform.
A few years ago Jim publicly acknowledged that he was behind the Blue Scholarships presented each year through the Vashon Island Scholarship Foundation.
As a photographer, I often saw Jim at games or other public functions and he loved to have his picture taken. I remember taking a picture of Jim and University of Washington basketball coach Lorenzo Romar when Romar came to Vashon to scout Pirate player. Jim bought copies to show the grandchildren and later told me how much the kids liked the picture of grandpa with a celebrity.
Jim also proved to a great judge of dogs. While Jim and Anne were living at Vashon Community Care, he was one of the judges at a dog show for the residents. Out of all the dogs shown by staff and families, my black Lab mix, Bogey, was awarded Best of Show. I later was told it was Jim who swayed the rest of the judges in favor of Bogey.
Up until just a few days before his death Jim continued to attend Pirate basketball games.
Blue, Old Man, Jim, Coach, you will be missed.
Just got home from Orting where I watched Vashon’s wrestlers win both ends of a double dual. Vashon 42, Eatonville 28; Vashon 51, Washington 21.
Orting also beat both 2A schools handily.
Alex Sohl was a one man highlight reel at 171 pounds. He needed all of 23 seconds to pin Eatonville’s Skyler King in his first match. Then he won a fierce match with James Layman of Washington with a pin in 3:17.
Cheerleader turned wrestler Julie Wilson, featured in today’s Beachcomber, fought an aggressive match and pinned her Washington opponent. I didn’t get the Patriot girl’s name.
The wrestling meet was a pleasant change from last night’s basketball games. Boys: Cascade Christian 49, Vashon 20. Girls: Cascade Christian 61, Vashon 21. The scores pretty much tell the story. You can’t win basketball games if you can’t put the ball in the basket.
Vashon’s boys lost to Connell 48-41 in overtime at the Sundome Showdown yesterday.
The Vashon girls basketball team had a better game today but still lost to Colville 38-28 at the Sundome Showdown in Yakima.
As of 8:55 p.m. the Pirate boys 6 p.m. game score had not been posted on the Yakima Herald-Republic or the Sundome Showdown web sites.