Triumphs, sadness marked ’13

mwochnick@theolympian.comDecember 31, 2013 

The year 2013 saw everything from surprises to state records, first-place finishes and several “firsts.” There were also several moments of on-field celebration, plus a celebration of the life of a beloved teacher and coach who touched countless people in South Sound.

Here’s a look back at the area’s top sports stories of 2013:

10. Eight in a row for Northwest Christian XC

No matter the year, or how many runners it loses to graduation, Northwest Christian High School continues its small-school dominance in distance running. Despite graduating five of their six top runners from state title team No. 7 a year earlier, the Navigators girls captured their eighth consecutive Class 2B/1B cross country state title in Pasco in November, headlined by freshman Kiersten Kimminau and junior Anna Brooks, who finished third and fourth, respectively. No

other girls cross country team in the state’s six classifications has won as many consecutive state titles.

“No one has ever come back and won a title after losing that many runners,” coach Larry Weber said in November.

9. Stevick ties another Capital City legend

No one has owned the Capital City Marathon in recent years like Jesse Stevick, and during May’s 32nd running of the 26.2-mile event, he won the men’s race for the seventh time in eight years, clocking in at 2 hours, 32 minutes, 5 seconds. A year earlier, he surpassed Phil Jasperson’s record for number of wins for a male runner (five). May’s win tied him with Olympia resident Karen Steen for overall number of wins at Capital City (seven). Steen won the women’s race seven times between 1996 and 2005; Stevick won his first race in 2006 and has won every year since 2010.

8. Surprising league champs

Since 1986, coaches and players have come and gone through Tenino High School, and in between, the Beavers’ football program had seen more downs than ups. On Nov. 1, the Beavers did what no Tenino football team had done in 27 years: win a league title — and in dramatic fashion, too, defeating south Thurston County rival Rochester, 37-27, in the teams’ regular-season finale at Beavers Stadium.

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” sophomore Thomas Pier said after the game.

In a season that started off 0-3, the Beavers won six of their next seven games to advance to the Class 1A state playoffs for the first time since 2007, behind the play of 1A Southwest Washington Evergreen Division MVP Zack Chamberlain. After a 28-14 loss to King’s in the first round, Tenino finished 6-5.

7. Seahawks QB surprises young cancer patient from Timberline

Through the power of social media site Twitter, Lacey resident and Timberline High student David Padilla received one of the best gifts of his young life: meeting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in January at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Padilla, then a senior, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in his leg.

His sister Hannah helped spearhead a campaign on Twitter for the quarterback to visit her brother at the hospital, starting with a tweet that included the hashtag #PadillaNeedsTheDanger. The tweet reached thousands on Twitter with folks tweeting from as far away as Alabama and Pennsylvania. Even pro golfer Andrew Gonzales, a Capital High graduate, got in on the campaign.

Wilson, less than 48 hours removed from a 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in last January’s NFC divisional playoff game, spent almost an hour with Padilla, a two-time all-3A Narrows League baseball player for the Blazers.

“He walked in,” Padilla said, “and it was so surprising.”

6. Saint Martin’s softball goes to NCAAs

Two years ago, the Saint Martin’s University softball program had nine victories and a first-year coach with plenty of NCAA postseason experience on his résumé.

That experience translated to a spring to remember for the Saints, who in 2013 had a season of firsts, which included a conference title, a conference tournament title, and a spot in the NCAA tournament behind the play of GNAC pitcher of the year Sam Munger and player of the year second baseman Lacey McGladrey. They became the third SMU program to qualify for the NCAA postseason, joining women’s basketball (2004-’05 and ’07-’08) and men’s golf (most recently in 2012).

The Saints, ranked as high as No. 17 nationally, finished 41-16. They defeated Grand Canyon, 8-5, but dropped a 5-3 game to Humboldt State at the NCAA West Region tournament.

5. Monda bypasses Phillies’ offer

The Philadelphia Phillies came calling for Jason Monda, a 2010 Capital High graduate who wrapped up his junior season at Washington State, selecting him in the sixth round (181st pick overall) at June’s Major League Baseball first-year player draft. Monda, who hit .294 with seven home runs and 40 RBI and was 2-2 on the mound in 16 appearances, elected to turn down the Phillies’ $200,000 offer. Insead, he will return to WSU for his senior season. For Monda, it wasn’t about the money.

“This is where I want to be,” Monda said.

This summer, he talked about his decision: He likes being a student-athlete in Pullman, he wants his college degree in a major (zoology) that prepares him for a field he aspires to be in (medicine), and he has “unfinished business” at WSU.

If he stays healthy for his senior season, Monda could see his draft stock rise in 2014, said WSU coach Donnie Marbut.

4. Tumwater’s state title run

For the third time in four years, the Tumwater Thunderbirds were among the elite in Class 2A football, playing for a state title when they stepped onto the Tacoma Dome turf on Dec. 7 against the Lynden Lions. While the outcome wasn’t what the T-Birds hoped for (a 38-28 loss), their 13-1 season was one for the record books. The 13 wins ties the program’s 1989 and ’90 teams for most victories in a season. And the senior class leaves as one of the school’s most successful. In four years, members of the Class of 2014 were a part of three state title games, including a championship in 2010, and went 44-6.

3. Feldmeier wins 3

Brooke Feldmeier’s name already is splashed all over the Tumwater High track and field record board, and one of the area’s most decorated track and field athletes in years added to her legacy during May’s Star Track XXXI at Mount Tahoma Stadium.

The junior won three individual state titles at the Class 2A meet: the 200 (24.80), 400 (meet-record time of 54.37) and 100 hurdles (14.88).

“(This weekend) couldn’t have gone any better,” Feldmeier said in May.

Her 400 time ranked her 12th nationally for 2013, according to times entered on the national track and field database,

Feldmeier is one of the top-recruited track and field athletes on the West Coast and has taken multiple recruiting trips in recent months, including visits to Pac-12 schools Oregon and Arizona State.

2. Dorsey commits to UW

Thurston County hasn’t seen a boys basketball player with the skill set and talent like Timberline High’s Donaven Dorsey in quite some time. In July, he orally committed to the University of Washington, then signed a letter of intent in November, becoming the first player from the county to sign with a Pac-12 Conference school since Capital’s Michael Fey in 2000.

“I’m excited to become a Dawg,” Dorsey said.

At 6-foot-7 and 195 pounds, Dorsey is a “prototypical Husky wing,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar, who Dorsey said built a strong relationship with him and his family during the recruiting process.

Dorsey averaged 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 2012-’13, leading the Blazers to the state tournament for the first time since 2004.

1. A sad farewell to a beloved teacher and coach

Todd McDougall’s impact on the Olympia community stretched beyond the sports he coached and the classroom he taught in at Olympia High School.

McDougall, who died in July at 43 after a seven-month battle with brain cancer, was remembered for his passion, enthusiasm, hard work and dedication. The outreach and support for the McDougall family — which included a “Miles for McDougall” fun run, light blue fundraising T-shirts, and more than 5,300 “likes” on the “Friends for Todd McDougall” Facebook page — moved Todd’s wife, Julie.

“It’s been really wonderful for my kids (daughter Marlee and sons Andrew and Dylan) to see how many people Todd touched,” she said.

McDougall taught English and was the head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Olympia for 20 years. His Bears baseball teams won nine 4A Narrows League titles since 2001 and posted a 160-49 record during that stretch.

More than 800 people packed Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion for an August service.

“He cared a great deal for his students and players,” family friend and Capital High principal Chris Woods said at the service. “He was an amazing man.”

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473

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