Two Cedarcrest coaches receive league honors

Two Cedarcrest High School coaches learned last week that

they had been accorded high honors by their KingCo 3A peers.

On Monday, first year girls' soccer coach Kerrie Gould _ a PE

instructor at the school in Duvall _ learned she'd been named the league's

soccer coach of the year. Two days later, volleyball coach Christine

Stefani-Hillstead received similar notification in recognition of her leadership of

the Red Wolf volleyball program.

Gould _in her second year as head of the Red Wolf kickers - took a

team that had won a grand total of two league games in two years and

turned them into a tight-knit, explosive unit which won seven games in KingCo

3A play.

The team stumbled at the end, losing four consecutive games as well

as senior ace Sarah Young (broken fibula and tibia) and goalkeeper

Jennie Harder (dislocated shoulder, cracked vertebra in the neck) during

last month's clash with Sammamish. However, despite the adversity

Cedarcrest managed to qualify for their first-ever league playoff series and Gould

rates the squad's improvement as "incredible."

"I think the biggest improvement this year is that we learned to play

together," she stated Monday. "Last year we had a lot of skill but it was

through a lot of individual effort.

"They are a very positive group of girls; they are very supportive of

each other. It made for a very exciting time."

This year's Red Wolf soccer squad also placed two on the KingCo

3A second-team roster, senior Young and junior midfielder Dana Elwell.

Four others _ seniors Cassie Pepper and Heather Sherfey and juniors

Renee Remedios, Sarah Gustat - received honorable mention awards.

Concerning Young's recovery, Gould commented, "She's still

on crutches. She's had her surgery and is doing well, considering."

In volleyball, Coach Hillstead also took over a program that had

faced adversity and turned it into a powerhouse, ultimately qualifying for

the state championship series. The first-year varsity coach _ who

herself graduated from Cedarcrest in 1995 and had previously served as an

assistant _ stressed the laurels belong to her players.

"I think there was a combination of things that happened," she said.

"A lot of these girls have played for three head coaches. I was an assistant;

I coached them one time last year in a critical situation, so the transition

was easy.

"They're good players. Having a small community really helps

because they work hard, play hard and they do everything together. They all trust

each other and trust what I do, and they all know I won't tell them to do

something for no reason. It's made it easier for me as a coach."

Adding to the celebration, three Cedarcrest players were also

awarded all-league honors.

"Katie Power was named first team all-league, Erin Townsend

second team, and Julie Henry was given an honorable mention," Hillstead

said happily.

"In some ways coaching is hard for me, because I'm only four years

older than some of the girls. But they see me as a player too."

Cedarcrest athletic director Josh Garcia agreed the players helped

make the coaches in both sports.

"We have great coaches, but we also have great kids," he

commented. "The success of the coaches

definitely comes from the work of the kids. Being named coaches of the year

reflects well on their respective programs."

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