The Bellevue sports blog
The life of a pro cyclist, more prep questions and coming to America | From the SidelinesMarch 21st, 2012 at Wed, 21st, 2012 at 12:03 pm by Josh Suman
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.
Sammamish made the deepest run of any local prep team last year, reaching the quarterfinal round of the 3A state tournament after dominating the conference from start to finish. Gone is the 2011 senior class that anchored that run, including goalkeeper Stuart Ellsworth and forward Taylor Berg as well as conference player of the year Nick Rooney and Chris Lider and coach Daryl Gonyea will need to find a new cast of characters to shoulder the load in 2012.
Beau Blanchard, who played a large role for the team last season, is off to a strong start in 2012 and could be the lynch-pin for Gonyea.
Interlake also reached the playoffs last season before falling on the final penalty kick against Lynden in the first round of the 2A state tournament and will take on Lindbergh and Hazen before opening conference play with a 6-2 win over Bellevue on Tuesday.
Newport now has an Interlake connection in the soccer program, as Saints’ girls coach Kirk Tavener has taken his act across town for the spring season with the Knights’ boys program. Tavener took the Interlake girls to a 2A state title in his first season at the helm and will look to help Newport back to the state soccer tournament for the first time since 2007, when it made the trip as a 3A school.
Aside from the preps, we had a column on the relationship that has been forged between the Seattle University baseball program and Bellevue’s Bannerwood Park, which the Redhawks have called home since reinstating the program.
Coach Donny Harrel took a minute to chat about how Bannerwood has provided an ideal home park situation for his club and also mused on the topic of baseball talent coming out of our area, which he attributes partly to a strong youth system.
“There’s a lot of great talent up here in Seattle, Bellevue and the surrounding areas. We do a lot of stuff with Thunderbird and the other Bellevue little leagues and to see the number of kids out is great. That’s really grown over the past five years since I as about Washington and our youth groups do a great job of getting kids excited about baseball. The kids we get coming into a four-year environment really know how to play and it’s been tremendous.”
Obviously for Harrel, the next task is getting those players to choose his program over the likes of the Pac-12 schools in the neighborhood.
“Oregon State gets great guys out of here, obviously Washington does and WSU is along those same lines. As we get stronger, we will start to do more of that as well. Our program and the kids within it have developed and now that we’re more established and people know were out there we’ve had some more success in recruiting.”
On the Issaquah-Sammamish side of things here at the sports desk, I took a look at the growth of girls lacrosse in Issaquah and Sammamish during the past five years.
One of the groups I was not able to get in touch with before the story ran was the Eastside Eagles, who were sort of the originators of the game before it became popular around Washington and the Eastside. That program began in a similar fashion to those in the story, with only one team with a relatively small roster, before becoming one of the household names in girls youth lacrosse in the area. According to co-founder Jessanne Allen, who also laid the foundation for the Lake Sammamish Lacrosse Club, the program even sent a player to Syracuse that played for the Orange during its 2010 Final Four run. I wrote in the headline that with more and growing youth programs and sustained success on the prep level, girls lacrosse was “exploding” in Issaquah and Sammamish. After exchanging emails with Allen, I still believe that is an accurate portrayal, but there is no doubt the Eagles were the ones who lit the fuse.
Eastside Catholic’s Alex Foreman has also taken her talents to a major college program after prepping on the Eastside and is now at USC. There’s no doubt that with more youth and high school programs being added every season, a number of players continuing their careers in college and the sport on the verge of finding a deal to become sanctioned by the WIAA, girls lacrosse has a strong foothold in Washington and on the Eastside and isn’t going anywhere.
The main story in Bellevue was the profile of Adrian Hegyvary, a professional cyclist with local routes in Bellevue.
“The food is difficult sometimes because when we train we have a very specific routine and all of a sudden you’re siting on a plane being served mystery meat. In the international races, there’s a lot more fighting on the bikes because if someone does something no one knows what the pecking order is. We don’t know the roads, half the guys have food poisoning, those races are kind of like survival.”
Another item we ran online that will be in print this coming week is a Q and A with Ebrima “EJ” Jatta.
EJ is originally from The Gambia and came to the US originally to play for the Kitsap Pumas. But after arriving to Seattle behind schedule and finding the Pumas’ selection process no longer in play, he ended up at Bellevue College.
Jatta has since been drafted by the LA Blues of the USL and is involved in projects to help grow the game he loves in his home country. While he’s currently focused on growing his skills and helping the Blues, he leaves no doubt about how he feels about potentially making his way to MLS and Sounders FC.