High School Sports

Lacey schools climb cross-country rankings

As the high school football season reaches the midpoint, other prep sports are in full swing as well. Here are some highlights and updates:

CROSS COUNTRY

Lacey is Washington’s capital when it comes to small-school running.

Both Northwest Christian and Pope John Paul II are ranked in the top three in both boys and girls cross country in this week’s Washington Cross Country Coaches Poll.

On the boys’ side, Northwest Christian is ranked No. 1 in 1B/2B behind a trio of runners, Noah Phillips, Cameron Nielsen and Garrett McSheffery, among the top 10 individuals in the state to this point in the season. John Paul II is ranked No. 2 as a team and has the state’s second-fastest runner in Kobe Deutscher, who has turned in a 15:49.7 for 5,000 meters.

Three local girls have broken 21 minutes to help their teams into the 1B/2B top 10. Sophomore Clare Kondrat of second-ranked John Paul II has run a 20:13.1 while freshman Jodie Ryder of the third-ranked Navigators best is 20:44.8. Rainier is ranked ninth behind Selena Niemi, who has run a 20:30.2

In 3A girls, Capital is ranked fourth as a team with Aubrey Harrington leading the way. Yelm earned votes in the boys 3A poll as their top runner, Bryce Cerkowniak is third statewide with a 15:22.3 best.

Olympia, which boasts two top 10 individuals, is ranked sixth in the boys 4A poll. Connor Griffiths of the Bears is sixth in the state at 15:28.6 and Ethan Coleman is tenth at 15:32.6.

Tumwater earned votes in both the 2A boys and girls polls. Oliva Bailon is third among individual girls at 19:04.0 while senior Josh Newman is the Thunderbirds’ top boys runner.

GIRLS SOCCER

Tenino’s Brianne Dell can score.

In eight games, the returning Olympian all-area forward has helped the Beavers stay unbeaten in 1A at 7-0-1 by scoring 25 goals. Teammate Megan Minor has tallied four goals and passed off for 11 assists.

Tied for first in the 1A Evergreen Conference, Tenino hosted last place Forks on Tuesday.

In 2A, as so often happens, Tumwater, led by high scoring all-area midfielder Hallie Bergford, and Black Hills, which boasts all-area midfielder Anna Zeldenrust, are leading the way in the EvCo at 2-0, pending each of their games Tuesday.

Tumwater was 6-1-1 overall and Black Hills 5-2.

North Thurston is the top local team in the 3A South Sound Conference with a 4-2 league mark, placing the Rams third behind Gig Harbor and Central Kitsap. Led by all-area defender Madison Vu, North Thurston played a late game with Timberline on Tuesday.

The Rams were 6-2 overall.

Olympia, which earned a 4A state tournament berth last fall, was 3-2-2 going into Tuesday night’s SPSL opener at South Kitsap. The Bears have both last season’s all-area MVP Landry McCann and all-area forward Lauren Forster back in the lineup.

VOLLEYBALL

Capital, which has some time off from 3A South Sound Conference play before meeting Timberline next week, remains perfect in five-set matches at 7-0.

Junior Devyn Oestreich leads the Cougars with a .439 hitting percentage on offense and in digs defensively with 2.9 per set. Capital returned a talented corps this season with former state player of the year, Arizona State-bound Maia Nichols back along with all-area picks Oestreich, setter Maddie Matthews and second-teamer Madison Nichols, an all-around rotation player.

Varsity newcomer Olivia Huff leads Capital in blocks.

Olympia, 5-2 overall and coming in off a sixth-place finish in the 2018 state tournament, is 1-0 in 4A SPSL play heading into a showdown with league-leading Puyallup (7-1, 2-0) at Chick Rockey Gym on Wednesday night.

Just as in soccer, Tumwater and Black Hills share the lead in 2A EvCo at 2-0 heading into Tuesday night’s action. Second team all-area choice Ellie Boksch returns in the middle for Tumwater.

In the 1A EvCo, Elma was 6-2, 2-0 in league before hosting archrival Montesano (6-1, 1-0) on Tuesday night. First team all-area returnee Jaylyn Sackrider leads the Eagles in hitting percentage so far. Quin Mikel, who paces Elma in kills and digs, and Kali Rambo earned second team all-area last year.

In 1B SeaTac play, second-place Pope John Paul II played an important road match at Crosspoint on Tuesday night. The Eagles took a 6-2 overall record and 3-1 league mark into the game.

GIRLS HOOP COACHING CHANGES

At least three local girls basketball sidelines will have a different look when the season gets underway next month.

Former Evergreen State men’s player Jackie Robinson, a vital role player on the Geoducks’ 2001-2002 Cascade Collegiate Conference championship team, leaves Olympia to return to his alma mater to coach the women’s basketball team. He had been at Olympia after stints as head coach at River Ridge and as an assistant at Timberline.

Longtime successful journeyman coach Tom Kelly – who won 2A state championships at both River Ridge and W.F. West – is on the move again. Kelly parted ways with the Bearcats and will now coach Timberline. He has been the head coach at White Pass and Centralia as well as Ridge and W.F. West.

Kyle Karnofski takes over the Bearcats program.

Tanya Greenfield, the long-time coach at Black Hills who guided the Wolves to nearly annual 2A state tournament appearances, moved to the Phoenix area and will be replaced on the bench by former assistant Herb Guscott.

SALANOA EARNS ANOTHER WEEKLY WAC HONOR

Timberline alum Julianna Salanoa, the 2016 Olympian all-area volleyball MVP, earned her second Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week honor of the season after averaging 2.33 blocks per set in New Mexico State’s sweep of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

She also won the award once last season. The 6-foot junior was a pre-season first-team all-WAC selection and has helped the Aggies to a 13-3 start.

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