2019: The year in sports for the Snoqualmie area

Athletic success is a staple of the local community.


• The Mount Si Wildcats boys basketball team was peaking at the right time.

The Wildcats captured their 11th win in a row courtesy of a 74-49 win against the Issaquah Eagles on Jan. 25 in Issaquah. Mount Si improved its overall record to 17-2 with the win while Issaquah dropped to 8-11 overall. Mount Si Wildcats head coach Jason Griffith, who is in his third season leading the Wildcats boys basketball program, coached at Issaquah for several seasons before landing the head coaching position at Mount Si in May of 2016.

“I had a lot of great memories here (Issaquah High School gymnasium). I have a lot of great friends in the community. For me, it was just another game to be honest. I think our team was a little more pumped to play Issaquah than I was,” Griffith said.


• Mount Si Wildcats sophomore Tryon Kaess never forgot what happened to him at the Mat Classic Class 4A state wrestling meet in 2018.

Kaess, who went 0-2 in the Class 4A 106-pound tournament last season, was determined to improve his performance this year on the mat.

Kaess simply rose to the occasion with everything on the line.

Kaess cruised to a 7-3 victory against Davis grappler Jaden Sanchez in the Class 4A 106-pound title match on Feb. 16 at the Tacoma Dome. Kaess dominated the entire championship showdown. He led 2-0 after the first round and had a sizable 5-0 advantage after the second round.


• Not even a loss in the state championship game could dampen the spirits of the gritty Mount Si Wildcats boys basketball squad.

The Wildcats, who lost 69-43 to the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups in the 4A state matchup on March 2 at the Tacoma Dome, proved the naysayers wrong throughout the 2018-19 season. Mount Si third-year head coach Jason Griffith couldn’t have been prouder of his team following the game. The Wildcats finished with an overall record of 26-3.

“We showed in this tournament that we belonged in this game. We beat a lot of good teams along the way to get here. We just ran into a buzzsaw tonight,” Griffith said.


• Mount Si participated in the 2019 High School Baseball Classic on April 7 at T-Mobile Park. Edmonds Woodway notched a 4-3 win over the Wildcats, who held a 3-0 lead into the third inning on RBI singles from Cole Bostwick and Trace Halvorson and an RBI sacrifice fly from Jack Mardon.


• As he hit the finish line after winning a grueling 3,200 race at the 4A state meet, Mount Si senior Joe Waskom shook his hands and stuck out his tongue.

The victory was surely sweet, but so were the thoughts of what the Wildcat wanted on his dinner plate that night.

“I’m gonna go get Buffalo hot wings,” he said with a laugh minutes after the race on May 25 at Mount Tahoma High in Tacoma. “I told myself at the beginning of the season, after this race I had to go get ‘em ‘cause I haven’t had ‘em since the summer and I’ve been craving them all season.”

Mount Si’s Drew Warford won his second straight 4A state golf title at The Creek at Qualchan Golf Course in Spokane. Here, Warford prepares to tee off at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge this fall. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo

Mount Si’s Drew Warford won his second straight 4A state golf title at The Creek at Qualchan Golf Course in Spokane. Here, Warford prepares to tee off at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge this fall. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo

• Mount Si’s Drew Warford won his second consecutive 4A state golf title on May 21-22 at The Creek at Qualchan Golf Course in Spokane.

The Wildcat junior shot a 71-71-142 and the Mount Si squad took fourth overall.

Gonzaga Prep’s Nate Plaster and Eastlake’s Costas Panay led the pack with 69s on the first day and Kamiak’s Daniel Kim notched a 70, but Warford won out in the end.

• The Mount Si Wildcats girls golf team finished a memorable 2019 season with an eighth-place finish at the 4A state golf tourney on May 22 at the Hangman Valley Golf Course in Spokane. Kasey Maralack earned a 12th place individually, tallying 159 total strokes during the two-day tournament. Tori Berger finished in 22nd place, compiling a total of 165 strokes.

• A loss in the state championship game couldn’t erase the immense feeling of pride Mount Si Wildcats boys soccer head coach Darren Brown felt with regard to his team in his final game as head coach of the program.

Brown, who has coached the Wildcats boys soccer team for the past 17 seasons, was reflective on the journey just minutes following his team’s 2-1 loss to the Puyallup Vikings in the 4A state soccer championship game on May 25 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.


• The Snoqualmie Valley North Cubs beat the Falls Cubs, 5-4, in eight innings of the Little League majors Snoqualmie Valley championship game on June 8 at Big Rock Field in Duvall. Both teams are pictured after receiving their medals: first place SVN Cubs in red and second place Falls Cubs in blue. The three Snoqualmie Valley leagues — Falls, Snoqualmie Valley and Snoqualmie Valley North — play against each other in the end-of-the-season playoffs that resulted in the championship game.


• For the 16th consecutive year, athletes from the Mount Si Wildcats community pushed themselves through a rigorous speed camp under the glare of the bright sunshine of July.

The Wildcats speed and agility camp, which began in 2004, had close to 85 athletes in attendance every Tuesday and Thursday morning throughout the summer at the Mount Si High School stadium. John Zanas (camp founder) and Charlie Kinnune (Mount Si Wildcats football coach) are the coaches of the camp. The camp features athletes ranging in age from 7-18, encompassing a wide array of different sports.


• After a handstand walk and pedaling on a stationary bike, Snoqualmie’s James Sprague was struggling to carry the 200-pound sandbag 90 feet across the finish line. The cheers from his friends gave him the energy he needed to finish.

“That was the most pain I’ve ever been in,” Sprague said.

Despite finishing second-to-last in this event, his worst of the competition, Sprague said it was his favorite memory from competing at the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin on Aug. 2-4.

Sprague, a senior at Mount Si High, finished fifth in the boys teenagers division at the games.

• Brandt Jobe emerged victorious at the Boeing Classic held Aug. 23-25 at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge. He finished 18-under overall during the three-day PGA Tour Champions’ event and earned $315,000.

Runner-up Tom Pernice Jr. finished 15-under overall and earned $184,000.


• Kasey Maralack’s putting saved the day.

Standing in second place overall and trailing by two points with the final round of the Drive Chip and Putt Regional Qualifier on the way, the 15-year-old Mount Si High sophomore dug down deep for a solid showing on the green.

She delivered and notched the victory.

“It was really critical for me to get those three good putts in play. Every putt counted for that one because I wasn’t in the lead there,” said Maralack, who amassed 60 of a possible 75 points on the putts from 6-, 20- and 30-feet out. Her 30-footer just missed the hole.

By finishing second in all three categories — three shots each — on Sept. 8 at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, she grabbed the most overall points, 148, to qualify for her fourth Drive Chip and Putt National Championship at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia on April 5, 2020, four days before the Masters Tournament. The second-place finisher at regionals had 140 points.


• Mount Si’s Drew Warford notched first-round 4A KingCo medalist honors and the Wildcats won the medalist tournament en route to earning a team state spot in May. At the 36-hole tournament on Oct. 15 at Snohomish Golf Course, Redmond beat Mount Si, 574-577, for the overall title and both teams qualify for state. Scores were: Drew Warford (68-73-141), Cooper Neil (72-69-141), Hogan Warford (71-75-146), Nate Harris (75-75-150), Buddy Dann (78-74-152) and Noah Lange (81-80-161). Drew Warford and Neil are first-team all-leaguers and Hogan Warford is an all-league second-teamer.


• Mount Si’s boys took seventh in the team standings at the 4A state cross-country meet on Nov. 9 at Willows Run Golf Course in Pasco.

Paul Talens took 17th (15:39.10), Austin Gappa took 19th (15:47.20), Tychon Preston took 57th (16:17.60), Jack Pratapas took 108th (16:46.20), Andrew Ross took 116th (16:51.40), Luke Harper took 142nd (17:12.70) and Will Connors took 147th (17:15.10).

• Players and fans were treated to a matchup of epic proportions when Mount Si and Issaquah invaded the volleyball court in the winner-to-state, loser-out contest.

The rallies were long, players jumped high, hit the floor to save balls and twisted and turned their way through the five-setter on Nov. 16 at Glacier Peak High.

Issaquah emerged victorious with a 25-13, 19-25, 25-20, 24-26, 15-12 triumph that sends the Eagles to the 4A state tournament at the Yakima SunDome on Nov. 22-23. Mount Si finished its season with a 15-6 record.

Mount Si quarterback Clay Millen throws a pass during the Wildcats’ 35-14 loss to Camas. Photo courtesy of Calder Productions

Mount Si quarterback Clay Millen throws a pass during the Wildcats’ 35-14 loss to Camas. Photo courtesy of Calder Productions

• The magic ran out for the Mount Si Wildcats (10-3) in a 35-14 loss to the Camas Papermakers (14-0) in a 4A state semifinal game on Nov. 30 in Vancouver. (Camas won the state title a week later by the same score against Bothell.)

Mount Si head coach Charlie Kinnune has been at the helm of the Wildcats football program since 1992, but he said this postseason run stands out.

“We just caught lightning in a bottle here at the end,” Kinnune said. “It was really, really awesome. This was the most improbable November that I’ve been a part of.”


• Look at most preseason 4A boys basketball polls and you’ll most likely see the Mount Si boys basketball team as the No. 1 team. With the Wildcats returning senior guards Jabe Mullins and Tyler Patterson from a team that finished second at the state tournament last year, outside expectations are high.

• With a handful of key players returning from injuries, the Mount Si girls basketball team is entering the new season with high expectations as they shoot for the postseason.

The Wildcats are returning six seniors from a team that made it to the district tournament last season. Head coach Jason Marr said he has hopes for his team this season thanks to a talented group of seniors and some new young players.