PREPS COLUMN: Sequim’s stellar senior class aimed high and achieved

AT THE CONCLUSION of every college sports season, an NCAA Division Directors’ Cup champion is announced, the award based on each institution’s finish in NCAA Championships during the preceding school year.

The 2018-19 prep season was a banner one, literally for championship-winning area teams, and graduation ceremonies begin today for two of the North Olympic Peninsula’s nine WIAA-member high schools.

What better time than now to bestow some additional praise on the athletic exploits of Sequim High School and the members of its stellar senior class which will receive their diplomas tonight.

With two state championship teams, another state runner-up and five other squads making state tournament appearances, the Wolves would be winners of a North Olympic Peninsula version of the Directors Cup.

All school-year long, Wolves coaches praised the inclusiveness shown by their senior athletes — a group willing to work together with their younger counterparts in order to acheive more.

The super season started last fall as Sequim football flipped the script by rallying in the rain for a 20-16 win at home over Forks.

The Wolves then served notice that they were a legitimate Olympic League title contender with a 16-14 win over No. 9 North Kitsap, the first Sequim win over the Vikings since 2010.

After wrapping up an undefeated Olympic League season, the Wolves, led by record-setting senior QB Riley Cowan and All-Olympic League lineman/linebacker Johnnie Young won a district playoff game and reached the 16-team state tournament for the first time since 2011.

At 0-6 halfway through the Olympic League schedule, the Wolves girls soccer team ripped off a string of nine wins in 10 games to qualify for district play, win the first district championship in Sequim girls soccer history and make the school’s first-ever state appearance in girls soccer. Seniors playing big roles for the Wolves on the pitch included Yana Hoesel, Claire Payne and Nathalie Torres.

Comeback for the ages

Winter sports saw the Sequim girls compete for an Olympic League championship, survive and advance through a weather-condensed district tournament and reach the state regional round.

At regionals, with a state tournament berth on the line, the Wolves went on a 28-0 run over the games’ final 12 minutes (a full quarter and a half of play) to stun the Foster Bulldogs in a 54-44 win.

The Wolves were a sophomore and junior-dominated team in 2019, but lone senior Bobbi Sparks stepped up down the stretch, playing smothering defense and scoring the go-ahead bucket late in that hard-to-comprehend comeback.

Spring champions

Spring saw Sequim win two team state titles, with the boys track team led by 800-meter state champion Murray Bingham, winning the first state track and field championship in school history.

Kalli Wiker and Jessica Dietzman’s won the girls doubles state tennis championship, earning enough points to also capture the team title for the Wolves. Sequim also completed a 16-0 Olympic League regular season.

Sequim’s boys golf team placed second at state for the second straight season — with senior Blake Wiker ending up sixth overall in his fourth straight state trip.

Wiker and teammate Liam Payne are two of Sequim’s seven valedictorians at tonight’s graduation.

Wolves coach Bill Shea said the squad compiled a team GPA of 3.75.

Seniors also earned two boys tennis doubles places as Blake Wiker and Thomas Hughes were seventh and Damon Little and Liam Payne finished eighth.

The Wolves boys soccer team put together one of the finest seasons in school history with an undefeated run through Olympic League play ending up with an eventual repeat trip to the state tournament and a 15-2-2 overall record.

Sparks and her fellow seniors Isabelle Dennis, Latisha Robideau, Raelyn Opdyke and Ashleigh Cate on the Sequim softball team make it back to state after a year’s absence.

The Wolves’ baseball team finished a solid third in a tough Olympic League race and made the district playoffs. Seniors Johnnie Young and Joey Oliver were vital to the team’s success.

Nice work, Wolves!

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