MATT SCHUBERT’S PREP NOTES: Great coaches, great performances

THIS FALL TURNED out to be quite a season for North Olympic Peninsula coaches.

Throw a football around these parts and you just might hit a coach of the year.

A total of five area coaches were honored by their league peers at the end of the fall prep sports season.

That’s an unusually high number, and an indication of just how well so many Peninsula teams did this fall.

As any coach knows, you don’t win such awards unless your team wins . . . a lot.

Here’s a quick look at each:

• Colin Foden, Port Townsend girls soccer — The Redskins are the small fries of the Olympic League as its lone Class 1A team.

Yet Foden was able to have them in the hunt for one of the league’s the top three spots until the final day of the regular season.

Port Townsend posted nine shutouts and eventually took fourth on their way to the 1A Tri-District.

Much like their Sequim football counterparts, however, the Redskins were severely hobbled by injuries in the postseason.

Even so, the Redskins played the eventual 1A champions (Bush of Seattle) tough in a 3-0 loss that ended their season.

• Tom Wahl, Port Angeles football — This was surely the biggest no-brainer of them all.

Port Angeles, after all, didn’t win a single game in 2009 (0-10) under Dick Abrams.

Then Wahl took over and the Roughriders started the season 8-0 for the first time since 1967, took second in the Olympic League and reached the state playoffs for the time in 18 years.

Unless another coach had administered life-saving CPR sometime during the season, there’s no way anyone else could have gotten that award.

• Shawn Meacham, Chimacum football — The Cowboys backed themselves into a corner in the 1A Nisqually League.

They needed to win each of their last four games and get some help after a 1-4 start, and that’s exactly what they did.

The Cowboys won four straight, ended up third in league and came within one win of state.

Not bad for a season on the brink.

• Christine Halberg, Port Angeles volleyball — After her Riders lost to Sequim for the umpteenth straight time in mid October, she was shedding as many tears as her players.

It was a striking thing to see; Halberg being so hurt because her players — many of whom were seniors — didn’t get the chance to finally experience victory against their most bitter rivals.

After she led the Riders to a third-place Olympic League finish they got another shot at the Wolves at sub-districts and won 3-1.

A couple of weeks later, they made their first trip to state in 21 years.

• Sharon Kanichy, Neah Bay volleyball — Obviously, there has to be someone from the Peninsula who wins North Olympic League coach of the year honors.

That doesn’t make Kanichy any less notable.

The first-year coach ran with the successes of outgoing coach Chon Clayton, guiding the Red Devils to their second straight NOL crown.

Considering the Crescent Loggers had won the previous seven before that, that was hardly a cinch.

League MVPs

In keeping with the theme, a number of area players were also honored as league MVPs, many of who I’ve mentioned in previous columns.

One of whom I failed to note earlier this week, however, was Port Townsend’s Irina Lyons.

The Redskins striker was the Olympic League leader in scoring with 17 goals, 12 of which came during league play.

Considering she’s just a sophomore, this might be the first of many accolades to come.

________

Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column regularly appears on Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at matt.schubert@peninsuladailynews.com.

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