Prep versus Academy soccer, background on features and a WIAA ruling comes down | From the SidelinesApril 26th, 2012 at 5:22 pm by Josh Suman
Lots to catch up on in the blog, so without further adieu…
The lone crossover story that dealt with Bellevue and Issaquah-Sammamish was our look at the U.S. Soccer ruling that has removed preps who play for a development academy team from the field this year. As expected, coaches had some strong thoughts on the subject. Two of the coaches I spoke with for the story hail from the UK, where a different educational system and differing avenues to preparing youngsters for the professional and international game make it difficult to compare to what we have in the United States.
“It’s comparing apples to oranges. In England we leave school at 16 and at that age you can sign as a “trainee” with a YTS program. You would train everyday with the team and not go to school at all. If you’re good enough at the end of that program, they will sign you on professional terms or release you.” - David Smith, Bellevue High School head coach and Crossfire Premier coach
“I know how the system works in England, it won’t work the same way here. High school is different here. People coming in trying to change the system, I don’t think they get what high school means to be these kids.”- Adam Gervis, Eastlake head coach
I ran a feature on the Issaquah pitching staff and its leaders Brandon Mahovlich, Ethan Kalin and Andrew Kemmerer. The Eagles have not been able to get things rolling the way they would have liked and currently sit in the bottom half of the Crest, but the pitching staff as a whole and Mahovlich especially have been pretty outstanding.
In the story I get some thoughts from Kalin, who had an older brother that won a state title in the program in 2007 but that squad, like this one, also had a Kemmerer and Gellatly. It remains to be seen if the class of 2012 can fulfill it’s goal of leaving a legacy on the program the same way that one did, but they certainly have the pedigree.
In a couple of news related items, the WIAA Representative Assembly voted against a proposed amendment that would have prohibited shoulders pads and helmets (at least school-owned ones) during the off-season, which comes as no big surprise to anyone who was following the developments.
I spoke with five or so coaches and not a single one was in favor of the amendment, including one coach in the district that initiated it, Everett. By and large, the response seems to be that concussion awareness, protocol and when possible prevention are all good things, but removing a vital piece of equipment that actually protects the head is not a well-reasoned solution to the problem of head injuries in youth sports, a topic we covered in-depth in a story last year.
It will be interesting to see if the spurned administrators from the ESD try and redraft the amendment to make it more appealing to other voters while still achieving their goals of increased safety in the off-season or abandon it completely. The former option would reinforce the idea that the end-game was indeed player safety and reducing practice time in the offseason while the latter would suggest perhaps the rumblings about trying to punish successful programs and cut financial corners could be valid.
I’ve had a couple other feature stories that have run as well, with one profiling Issaquah sophomore Robbie Johnson’s first bodybuilding show after three years of preparation and another that looked at the friendship and rivalry between Eastlake golfer Spencer Weiss and Skyline’s Brian Mogg, who met on the course during a WJGA event during middle school and have since become two of the top golfers in KingCo and remained great friends despite attending rival Sammamish schools.
Having only covered the Issaquah-Sammamish area for the past few months and having moved away from game coverage, I’m not as well-versed in the rivalry as my predecessor. But I do know things like Eastlake’s first-ever win over eventual 4A state champ Skyline in football stoke the fire. Whether or not it can ever get to the level of Eastlake-Redmond remains to be seen…
In Bellevue, I was able to work my story about Jubilee Reach’s partnership with the Bellevue School District for its sports programming in middle schools onto the front page for only the second time in the year I’ve been here. The issue stories are becoming more regular on our sites in the sports section and that is something I will try to continue.
Check back on the blog soon for more feature story background items, extra photo clips and quotes that didn’t make the final cut!
This week, both in print an online, I dropped a story on two families in the Skyline wrestling program, their fights with cancer and the foundation and scholarship that have emerged Out of Tragedy.
Let me preface my next thought by first saying I do not mean this to in any way to minimize the impact the stories of Jeff Hansen and Joseph Raineri had or the inspiration I got from them. But this story and the characters involved were the most inspirational I have met in a long time.
Lots going on lately on the community sports and recreation scene, but I want to get started with a couple of extra prep notes that didn’t make it into last week’s “Five questions heading into spring” in Bellevue.
We asked five questions to start, but everyone knows there are many more that could have made the cut but for time and space considerations. At the top of that list is where the prep soccer teams in Bellevue stand in the KingCo pecking order in 2012.
I have a reason to blog again this week after dropped the story on proposed WIAA Amendment Six, which would eliminate helmets and shoulder pads from off-season football workouts. The coaches I spoke with had strong opinions on the matter and all were opposed to the idea of reducing pad use to try and protect kids during offseason work.
The most valid point I heard made was the idea that in 7-on-7 drills and passing tournaments, which are non-contact in nature and never involve tackling, helmets are a way to avoid unintended head-to-head contact. Full speed activities, whether it’s a scored prep passing league or a game of tag between a bunch of third graders, will involve unintentional physical contact. The best way to protect against those type of blows is to wear helmets.
Here’s what a few coaches had to say about the issue of limiting the contact period during summer rather than what can be worn within it.
A post-Goncharoff Bellevue, a blind marathon runner and a new perspective on toughness | From the SidelinesFebruary 23rd, 2012 at 5:47 pm by Josh Suman
The theme in the major sports market lately in Seattle has been change and I’ll have a column with some thoughts on that coming out Sunday. My hope is to develop a more regular schedule for releasing sports and recreation stories online and the blog and column are obviously one piece of that.
Thursday is my target day for an in-depth, weekly blog post that goes behind the scenes of the previous week’s work and this week, I try and provide an inside look at the Butch Goncharoff to Orange Lutheran madness and Joseph Raineri, a blind athlete living in Robinswood.
I’ve been inexcusably absent from the blog lately and it’s something that will change as of now. I hope you all enjoy this space as much as I do and I will be trying to do more in the coming weeks and months to make sure that is the case.
The biggest thing I’ve had going lately is the package on Anthony Sanelli and Dustin Cramer, a pair of 2005 Issaquah High grads who hiked thru the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mexican boarder to British Columbia.
If you still haven’t read the story, then you may think it sounds like some sort of epic journey/coming of age story.
It basically is.
Five months with only brief contact in sparsely populated mountain towns along the trail and three-fifths of the journey spent hiking two separate routes, the hike was a once-in-a-lifetime experience from both accounts.
Here are some thoughts from each that didn’t make it into the feature story or sidebar, first from Cramer:
On the most trying aspects of the trip:
“It was excruciating pain in your feet the first week. By the end of the day, it was like a full day of work times 1,000,000. the first few weeks, it just helped to put your feet up and take your shoes off.”
On what he learned about himself and the pull of the wilderness:
“We get in the habit of always trying to please other people when really, the one thing I realized, the most courteous thing you can do is be true to who you are. It was really cool. There’s a huge amount of forces on the world that you can notice if you take the time to realize who, where, when and what time you are at. From a condo 30 stories up, it’s hard to realize that. The communication that is indirect, there is a lot of indirect communicate throughout peoples lives and when you spend times alone, you are able to me more direct with yourself and others.”
And from Sanelli:
On the planning for the trip:
“Some people spend a lot of time planning every detail, but over that many miles, things change, things happen. I got poison oak about a month in and that threw us totally off course. I was literally stuck in the town of Mojave, Calif. for a week trying to scrub this stuff off. We just had to take it as it came and there was a lot of that, just adjusting to whatever happens. We kind of just did it as we went, kind of winged-it if you will and that made it even more exciting because we weren’t tied to any guidelines or timeframes. We were just free to do it however we wanted to do it.”
On the psychological challenges of the trail:
“You have all this time to think and come up with great stuff, but you’re still out there and you can execute the way you want to because you still have to wake up and hike all these miles and you can’t just quit and go home.”
Fewer people have hiked thru the PCT than have climbed Mount Everest (according to my hack internet research on a boarder line unverifiable though popular statistic) and it was purely dumb luck that I stumbled upon these two.
Which brings me to my next point…
Once upon a time, Yours Truly played on a summer baseball team with Sanelli and with the magic of social media, we connected again on facebook. After reading a note he posted in the midst of the hike, I knew there was a story there to be told when all was said and done. It isn’t the first time a lead on a story has come from a new media source and it surely won’t be the last.
The story on Sanelli and Cramer was the most in-depth piece I’ve filed in Issaquah-Sammamish since the two-part series on concussions last fall, which also ran in Bellevue. The tale of the pair’s excursion felt like a piece that would resonate with the sporting community in the area and hopefully it reached a readership we are trying especially hard to include more.
Issaquah and Sammamish are an exciting area to cover sports and recreation in and I think our changes our starting to come together in a nice way. The roundups and smaller notes on preps will turn into longer recaps come playoff time and we will be keeping tabs on teams and individuals throughout the year to have features that offer a deeper look behind the team you may otherwise only know by box scores.
Feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts, questions or concerns.
Former Wolverine David DeCastro recently announced he would forgo his final season of NCAA eligibility in favor of entering the 2012 NFL Draft and some prominent national sources believe that choice will pay off.
ESPN.com Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller notes that draft analysis originator Mel Kiper Jr. has DeCastro ranked 13th on his Big Board and his counterpart Todd McShay has him 15th. Miller also throws in some superlatives at the end, including saying DeCastro may be the best guard the Pac-12 has produced in a decade.
I’ve avoided posting updates everytime someone says David DeCastro is good at football, mostly because that happens 10,000 or so times every time he takes the field. But as a regular reader of the Pac-12 Blog, Miller’s regional ties as the former Husky beat guy for the Seattle PI and the input from the two go-to names in NFL Draft analysis, I thought it was worth mentioning.
As you know by now if you’ve read Kevin Endejan’s column, the sports sections at the Bellevue and Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter newspapers are getting an overhaul.
Kevin is joining the news side of things and also picking up some higher level editorial responsibilities and I will be splitting my time between Bellevue and Issaquah-Sammamish in sports. I don’t anticipate it will be easy and I can only promise I will do the best job I can to keep the coverage at the level Kevin has worked at.
But there will be some changes.
It’s down to the semi-finals and we’re just going with picks for the final two weeks of the playoffs. I’ll have a more in-depth look at Bellevue-Kamiakin later in the week and hopefully get a chance to talk with someone more familiar with the Braves, but until then cast your votes here and tell us who is moving on to the state finals.
Week 12 results
Year to date
We’re down to the last three weeks of football playoffs with a host of local teams still in action. The headliner is obviously Bellevue and Lakes, but I’m almost more excited to see if Interlake can get over the hump against Lynden and find their way to the 2A semi-finals. Onto the picks.
Lakes vs. Bellevue
Kevin – This is a matchup people have talked about since the start of the season (unfortunately it’s in the state quarterfinals). The question is, will it live up to the hype? On one side is the disciplined machine that is nationally-ranked Bellevue. The other side, Lakes, presents some of the best athletes in the state with running back Levonte Littlejohn, receiver Cedric Dozier and lineman Zach Banner. Historically, the the well-oiled machine has won this battle. I don’t see it going any differently this time. Bellevue might bend, but never breaks. The same can’t be said for Lakes.
Pick: Bellevue 31-21
Josh – There has been a lot of talk about how the Lakes defense, after experiencing Bellevue’s offense first hand last year in the semi-finals and facing consecutive Wing-T offenses the past two weeks, will be more prepared and better positioned to get some stops this time around. I don’t think that will make a difference. Simply put, Nathan Hale and Mountain View are not Bellevue. No one is. If the Wing-T’s major flaw was ineffectiveness against opponents the second and third times around, Bellevue would not still be winning conference titles, let alone building the program to the level it sits at currently. KingCo foes like Sammamish and Newport have vacillated between the Wing-T and other three-back, option based offenses for years. But stopping the Totems has never helped anyone stop the Wolverines. The simple fact is that Lakes, while as talented as any team in the state, is going to face the same adjustment period everyone else faces when matching up with the Bellevue offense. The first couple drives of the game will end only one of two ways: a Bellevue touchdown, or a Bellevue turnover. The most important unit in this game is the Bellevue secondary, a group that has not allowed a scoring play of over 20 yards all season. That includes wins over top college quarterback prospects Max Browne, Jeff Lindquist and Luke Falk. The safeties, Michael Carlson and Budda Baker, do a great job of keeping plays in front of them and never allowing a quarterback to take the top off their defense with a big play through the air. Without a deep threat, it’s tough to make any headway against a solid front and well-drilled linebacking corps. Lakes is going to score some points, but they are going to work for whatever they get. In the end, despite what national pundits believe, Bellevue heads back to the Dome.
Pick: Bellevue 38-24