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2004 King's West Falll Sports preview
Last year, Kings Wests soccer, volleyball and cross country teams were battling an abnormally rainy preseason, but this year the challenges are different. A large graduating class of senior athletes has left many shoes to fill on every team, forcing coaches to call on sophomores and juniors to rise to the occasion and work as a team to make things work in the competitive Class B Sea-Tac League.
One of the biggest stories in Kings West sports this year is being written on the soccer field. After taking his team to a remarkable 9-0 league record but losing in a sudden death shootout to Charles Wright in the first round of the Class A/B State tournament, Rick Nohmi retired from coaching soccer.
The ninth-year coach will still retain his job as facilities director at the Chico school, as well as fastpitch coach in the spring, but his assistant from last year, Jen Troja has a whole new challenge in front her as the head coach.
Nohmi built a legacy of soccer excellence at the school. In fact, the year before, his team went 8-0-1 in league.
Just like the other sports at Kings West, the girls squad is in a rebuilding year after losing a host of starters.
We are short on numbers, Troja said. Were kind of starting over. For the first day of practice, only eight girls showed up. Troja said she is ready for the challenge of continuing to make the soccer squad competitive.
I get to make all the decisions, she said. Thats something Im not used to. Im looking forward to it. What Ive been telling the girls is everyone needs to go out there and fill the gaps.
Assisting Troja is Suzanna Heinze, Athletic Director Emil Heinzes daughter-in-law.
Even though Troja is focused on winning, one thing she wants to carry on from working with Nuhmi was his willingness to bring fun into the practices and games as well.
The girls really had fun. I think we are going to work hard but were also going to have fun, she said.
Kaylee Ross anchors the midfield and junior Merideth Johnson and senior Heather Fontenot will provide the attack up front.
Weve got a solid squad, junior Erin Ferderer said. Weve got a solid squad. A lot of my friends are on the team and we will probably have fun.
Last year was a breakthrough season for the Warriors volleyball team, ending above .500 in league. Although they have lost a few leaders, such as setter Gitta Rauen to graduation, seniors Katie Owens, Megan Smaaladen and Chelsey Ley are expected to step up and take the reins this season.
This is the nicest group Ive had, coach Don Pierce said. They do everything we ask them.
The team is kind of young this year, according to Pierce, with only three seniors on the team.
Defense is their strong suit, so the Warriors are really working in the weightroom to increase strength and vertical leaping ability.
We are trying to make the floor disappear beneath us, Pierce said. Our setters are a freshman and a sophomore. They are young and they will need experience.
Setters this year will be Laorraine Poe and Christen Lindgren.
Im very excited for the season. Were young but in some ways thats good, Pierce said.
As usual, Kentview Christian, Summit and Seattle Lutheran should provide the strongest competition for the Warriors this year. Kings West starts its season with six non-league games before hosting Northwest Yeshiva on Sept. 21.
The boys soccer team went a remarkable 7-1 last year, but with a whole new crop of starters, the Warriors are just looking for the best competitive combination this year.
We lost six starters last year to graduation, said Bob Meeder at practice last week. We got a lot of new players, many of them freshman and sophomores.
Look for Richard Summerville, the teams lone senior, and juniors Callum Heap and Tim Grey to anchor the attack this year, with sophomores David Skeels and Matt McGwire defending the backfield.
The Warriors are aching with the loss of Sea Tac B League MVP Ben Dyer to graduation.
We are going to have to work together, Summerville said. We have the lineup to take it but we lost quite a few people.
Summerville knows his time as a Warrior soccer player is winding down, but he wants to work hard this year for his teammates.
Basically I want to get it set up so the guys in the future have a team to play with.
This year, the Warriors biggest strength will be their depth. They had 24 players turn out for the team.
Its too many for varsity but not enough to get a varsity and junior varsity program going, Meeder said.
At practice last week, cross country coach Sue Sheline stood at the gate to the field behind Kings West school cheering on her athletes as they sprinted around a 150-meter circle of trees.
Before that, the team completed a 45-minute run to prepare them for the rigour of the upcoming season.
This year the cross country team has 18 on its roster, and Sheline is trying her best just to get a full girls varsity squad of five.
Last year both the boys and girls team went to districts, with the strongest showing by Ashley Dittmer, who got a 16th place in the Class B state race.
Dittmer, now a junior, and Rachel Jarrett, a sophomore, lead the girls side.
Look to Chris Anderson, a junior, and Rick Moseng, a senior, to provide the quickest legs on the boys side.
One thing that will work in the Warriors favor this year is that they all run in a clump together, with similar times. Last year, Sheline said some people ran a lot faster or slower than each other. And all that running together builds better comaraderie.
The team is scored on what place individual members get. A team score is based off of its top five athletes.
If you run league you qualify for district, Sheline said.
A great race should be Oct. 2, when the Warriors take on some non-league competition at their home course at Erlands Point Park.