When I joined the Woodinville Weekly last April, I arrived as a newcomer to the Northshore’s sporting scene.
Now after 8 months, I can say that I love the vibe of the community, as well as the variety of events to cover.
As we’ve now reached the end of 2013, let’s take a moment to look back and reflect on some of the most interesting stories that occurred this year.
1. Madi Schreyer’s No-Hitter vs. Issaquah (softball)
May 13th was a day of wild weather in Woodinville. It started with thunderstorms and ended with evening sunshine, and Woodinville’s Madi Schreyer herself was a force of nature.
In a performance reminiscent of Randy Johnson in his prime, the senior pitching star threw a no-hitter as the Falcons dispatched Issaquah 6-0 in KingCo Tournament action.
The game was over from the outset.
Before each pitch, as Schreyer enacted her trademark move of spinning the ball on her right hip before unleashing a laser beam to the plate, the Issaquah hitters stood in looking ill at ease.
As Schreyer shredded through the lineup, fanning the first seven batters, and 10 of the first 11, it became clear Woodinville would easily win.
"I’m just really excited," Schreyer said. "We have an awesome team and I love all the girls. We work really well together and we’re excited to make another run at state this year."
Woodinville would go on to finish 3rd in State, with a 24-3 record. Schreyer is now a freshman at Stanford.
2. Woodinville’s stunning comeback against Redmond (football)
In theory I am supposed to be an impartial observer reporting on the events as they occur.
But I had a big grin on my face for several minutes after the Falcons pulled off a dramatic drive to beat Redmond with a last-second touchdown.
Woodinville quarterback Will Jack rolled out and threw a beautiful touchdown pass to Micah Hamilton in the game’s closing seconds to lead the Falcons to a 23-20 win over Redmond.
The victory, televised regionally by Root Sports, boosted the Falcons record to 5-2, while handing the Mustangs their second defeat of the season.
Wildly happy Woodinville players charged the field and celebrated around head coach Wayne Maxwell.
"We were enjoying the moment," Maxwell said. "You’d better! To win the game like that, such a great team effort. The guys up front, led by Andre Dillard, did a great job. But it wasn’t just one thing. It was somebody different stepping up on each play. That was the most exciting part of the game. I told them they deserved every ounce of what they got tonight."
3. Chandler Olson’s Dominating Victory in the 1600 meter run.
On the afternoon of May 15th, I drove up to Lake Stevens High School to witness Woodinville’s Chandler Olson perform in the Bi-District Championships for track and field.
From the moment the starter pistol popped, Olson exploded into the lead with a running motion that was graceful, powerful and commanding.
The separation from her competitors quickly widened into a startling chasm and remained so for all four laps.
Four minutes and fifty-seven seconds later, the diminutive senior cruised across the finish line, with Lynnwood’s Mikayla Pivec arriving nine seconds later, followed by the rest of the pack en masse.
To that point, she had won six district titles, 1 state championship, 1 state silver medal, 2 state bronze medals and 8 KingCo championships.
Moments after this race, she beamed with happiness but still labored to catch her breath.
"I just kind of wanted to get out fast and get a lead," she said. "I definitely slowed down after my first lap. I was fairly aware that I had a big lead, but I’m always afraid that someone’s going to surge or start catching back up."
Chandler is now a freshman at Yale University.
4. Falcons Finish Season on a High Note (Boys’ soccer)
On April 30th at Woodinville High School, Michael Aldridge stepped onto the field for the final time. The senior captain and his fellow teammates lined up and prepared to face off against Newport to close out the 2013 season.
It had been a season to forget. With a dreadful 2-11 record, the Falcons were an afterthought in terms of playoffs. But on this night, there was one last chance to play together.
Over the next couple hours, Newport blew several scoring chances, drawing oohs and ahhs each time from the crowd. The game remained a 0-0 squeaker until only 90 seconds remained in regulation.
That’s when Woodinville’s Ionatan Kuperwajs got into prime position and booted the ball into the net for the game’s only goal.
Time ran out and Falcon players and coaches exalted. Woodinville coach Nathan Davis hugged five players at once, shouting that he loved them and was proud of them.
After a team meeting at midfield, the players dispersed and Michael Aldridge was intercepted by this reporter.
"It’s nice to get the win," Aldridge said. "We came together as a team. We played simple. I feel like it’s one of the games where we worked for each other.
"Even though we didn’t make the playoffs, it’s a good note to go out on."
Aldridge was also asked to reflect on his senior season.
"This is definitely one of the highest moments," he said gesturing toward the field. "It’s just nice, winning this last game. I feel like this is the only year that we’ve had a team that is bonded."
5. Woodinville Captures KingCo Tourney Title (baseball)
Coming down the stretch of his senior season, Falcon pitcher Stephen White took his game to a whole new level. It all came together for him and his teammates on May 9th. That’s when White tossed a complete game 3-hitter as the Falcons knocked off Bothell 3-1, to win the 2013 KingCo 4A title.
In the game’s aftermath, White hoisted the KingCo championship trophy aloft along with his teammates and coaches as they celebrated on their home field.
Woodinville proved to be the big surprise of this year’s KingCo Tournament, having only posted an 8-6 conference record during the regular season.
"No one thought we could do it at the beginning of the year," White said. "We were probably written off because we weren’t as talented as last year’s team. But it’s the best team I’ve ever been on. I love these guys. We’re family here."
Woodinville went on to the District tourney and beat Emerald Ridge before losing to South Kitsap. The Falcons finished with a 16-8 record. White will play next spring at Tacoma Community College while shortstop Caleb Hamilton will play for Oregon State.
6. Woodinville Wins West Coast Showcase (lacrosse)
When the Woodinville 7/8s lacrosse team boarded a plane bound for California, there was little reason to expect success. After all, their opponents were all-star teams from various schools around the Bay Area. Woodinville was but a one school program. But after competing July 13-14 in the West Coast Showcase in Morgan Hill, Calif., Woodinville swept six games in the Under-15 Gold Division and won the championship.
"I don’t think anybody knew who we were," Woodinville coach Andy Farrington said. "Typically these types of tournaments are made up of all star teams, regionally. But you could tell from our name, ‘Woodinville,’ that we were from a town."
The way the Bay Area teams had it figured, this Woodinville squad venturing forth from the mossy backwaters of the Pacific Northwest should’ve been an easy mark.
Woodinville harbored similar doubts about themselves, traveling into the unknown.
"We went down there with low expectations," booster Gary Bamesberger said. "We were thinking, ‘man, this will be a tough tournament to win.’ I think people looked at us the same way."
7. Stunning comeback signals watershed moment for Woodinville basketball
At the Woodinville gymnasium on December 20th the game was getting out of hand. At one point in the second quarter, Bothell was destroying Woodinville 30-13.
But suddenly the Falcons strengthened their resolve and mounted a stirring comeback. And when Tony Miller hit a free throw with 0.4 seconds left in the game, Woodinville celebrated the 71-70 win. The victory lifted the Falcons to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in KingCo play.
"This game was a big turning point for us," Woodinville coach Mark Folsom said
Moments after the game was over, jubilant fans stormed the court and swarmed around Miller and the other Falcon players.
"This group of kids is extremely focused," Folsom said. "I know at times it hasn’t shown on the floor. But they have worked harder than any group I’ve seen or been a part of this off season ... My hope is that this game gives us the confidence that we need. This is a group of kids that can compete with anybody in the state."
5 Players to watch in 2014
1. Tony Miller (WHS Basketball)
2. Ryan Christensen (WHS Wrestling)
3. Keagan Bolibol (WHS Girls’ Soccer)
4.Dylan Axelson (WHS Football)
5. Yuri Machida (WHS Girls’ Golf)
1) Photo by Chris Parker. Woodinville’s Keagan Bolibol is a player to watch in 2014.
2) Photo by Deb Stemmerman. Woodinville’s Drew Accimus (#24) runs toward teammate Micah Hamilton (unseen in the foreground) as the Falcons celebrate Hamilton’s touchdown catch in the closing seconds against Redmond on October 17th.
3) Photo by Derek Johnson. Woodinville prepares for its final game of the season vs. Newport on April 30th. The Falcons won 1-0.