The Olympian counts down the area’s top-10 high school sports moments from the 2015-16 school year.
Two state titles were won by schools in the greater Olympia area this year — Northwest Christian’s boys in cross country and the Black Hills boys in track and field.
Twelve athletes from the area won individual state titles: Olympia’s Makayla Waggoner (4A gymnastics — vault); Timberline’s Angela Schuster (4A girls tennis); Tumwater’s Ty Gentry (2A boys tennis); Olympia’s David Woodward (4A boys track and field — javelin); River Ridge’s Josh Braverman (2A boys track and field — 300 hurdles); Tumwater’s Devon Shedd-Kirkland (2A boys track and field — javelin); Tumwater’s Peyton Russell (2A girls track and field — triple jump); Northwest Christian’s Luke Schilter (2B boys track and field — 1,600); Northwest Christian’s Heidi Sowers (2B girls track and field — 300 hurdles); Rainier’s Alec Miller (2B boys track and field — javelin); Rainier’s Peyton Dungan (2B girls track and field — shot put); and Mary M. Knight’s Kaylee Sowlee (1B girls track and field — high jump).
1. Three-peat for Gentry
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Boys tennis, May 26 at Nordstrom Tennis Center, Seattle
Tumwater senior Ty Gentry, the favorite to win the Class 2A singles title, did exactly what he was supposed to do — sail through four opponents to his third consecutive state title. He hammered Sehome’s Max Shmotolokha, 6-0, 6-0, in his final match to cap a decorated high school career. Gentry brought home two state titles for Tumwater (2015, 2016) and one for Capital (2014). He became the first boys tennis player at Tumwater to win back-to-back state titles.
Gentry will enter the University of Oregon as the No. 2 recruit out of Washington. He rose as high as the 11th-ranked tennis prospect in the nation during high school.
2. Black Hills strikes gold
Boys track and field, May 28 at Mount Tahoma Stadium, Tacoma
Jason Underhill had one more runner to pass in one more race. On the final curve of the 4x400-meter relay, he squeaked by Lynden’s anchor to give Black Hills its second boys track and field championship. The Wolves collected 47.5 points, edging the Lions by 6.5 to capture their first title since 2010.
And they did it without any individual winners. Black Hills brought 11 athletes, and had state placers in seven individual events: Underhill (second, 400); Austen Daisa (second, shot put); Mark Melendres (fourth, 100); Gabe Adamson (tied fourth, pole vault); Kyler Nygren (fifth, long jump); Jordan Claridge (sixth, javelin); and Jewell Day (sixth, triple jump). The 4x100 and 4x400 relays each took third.
3. Braverman gets No. 50
Boys track and field, May 28 at Mount Tahoma Stadium
The piece of paper hung on the wall in River Ridge’s weight room all season long — “Who will it be?” Josh Braverman decided early on he would be River Ridge’s 50th track and field state champion. The heralded hurdler was atop the state rankings — in any classification — for the majority of the season in the 110- and 300-meter races.
Braverman, a junior, cut through the wind on the final day of the 2A state meet, setting a personal-best time of 37.98 seconds in the 300 for his first state championship and the school’s 50th. His win concluded coach Phil Lonborg’s storied career — 23 years at River Ridge and 50 track and field state champions.
4. Otton forces fumble
Football, Nov. 28 at the Tacoma Dome
Tumwater’s standout linebacker and tight end, Cade Otton — currently toting 12 college offers — forced a fumble with 1:42 to play. The T-Birds scored the go-ahead touchdown 27 seconds later on Noah Andrews’ 10-yard scamper to edge Archbishop Murphy, 24-21, in the 2A state semifinals. The win sent Tumwater to its eighth state championship appearance.
5. Navigators repeat
Boys cross country, Nov. 7 at Sun Willows Golf Course, Pasco
Luke Schilter collapsed as he exited the finishing chute in second place. Then Luke Bredeson, Corban Phillips, Colton Buster and Steven Epp came barreling in as Northwest Christian won its second straight 2B/1B state championship by a margin of 59 points over Northwest Christian of Colbert. Before the meet, the Navigators rose to No. 2 nationally in the National Coaches Association D-II Small School rankings.
6. Russell rallies from injury
Girls track and field, May 27 at Mount Tahoma Stadium
This wasn’t a record-setting year for Tumwater’s Peyton Russell. It was more about measuring grit. Following a winter riddled with injuries, she managed to qualify for the 2A state meet in the triple jump, seeking to defend her crown. Russell scratched on three attempts before popping off a jump of 37 feet, 3 3/4 inches on her final trip down the runway.
It was far from the best jump of her career (she holds the 2A state meet record at 40-08, set in 2015), but enough to win her a third consecutive state title before she ships off to the University of Miami to join its track and field program. Russell is Tumwater’s first female to three-peat in any event.
7. Schuster goes undefeated
Girls tennis, May 28 at Columbia Basin Racquet Club, Richland
An undefeated singles season for Timberline sophomore Angela Schuster crescendoed with a come-from-behind win in the 4A state title match. Schuster handily won most matches during the season before Hannah Gianan of Camas took an early lead in the final. Schuster rallied, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, for her first state title. She was the 4A Narrows and West Central District champion.
8. Killip sets Narrows record
Boys golf, May 11 at Lake Spanaway Golf Course, Spanaway
Olympia’s Riley Killip gave the 4A Narrows League golf championships a memorable sendoff when he shot a final-round 64 (8 under). His tournament total, a 12-under 132, shattered the tournament’s previous record to end its 31-year run. The lefty’s round was stamped by a pair of back-nine eagles, including a holeout from the fairway on No. 18. The Capital boys won the 3A tournament for the fourth consecutive season before taking second in the state tournament.
9. Rams send off Patchin with a win
Football, Nov. 5 at South Sound Stadium, Lacey
During the last game of its season, North Thurston fended off a late surge by Enumclaw to hand coach Rocky Patchin the final win of his career. He coached the Rams to a 151-89 record during 24 seasons with the program, and is the winningest coach in its history. The final win, which ended with Patchin standing alone at the 50-yard line long after fans and players had cleared the stadium, was the 227th of his coaching career.
10. Year of the javelin
Boys track and field, May 28 at Eastern Washington University in Cheney and Mount Tahoma Stadium
A trio of javelin throwers won titles at their respective state championship meets. Olympia’s David Woodward won the 4A title on his final throw, a blistering 188-01, for his first state title. Tumwater’s Devon Shedd-Kirkland launched a 173-03 to take the 2A crown. And Rainier’s Alec Miller tossed a 170-09 to win the 2B competition by a slim seven inches.