By Ian Ferguson
Blaine High School athletes did big things in 2014, with some teams making successful forays into the postseason and one team going the distance.
The highlight of the year was the wrestling team’s state-title winning performance at the Mat Classic XXVI in February. Nine wrestlers medaled, and Mike Antczak won the heavyweight championship to seal the team victory in the last match of the tournament. It was the team’s first state title since 1990.
In the same season, the girls basketball team made it to the semifinals of the 1A state tournament where they finished in fifth place after a 47–35 loss to Cashmere. With a season average of 15.5 points per game, Taylor V’Dovec was named Most Valuable Player for the entire Northwest Conference.
The boys basketball team made it to the district tournament, but was eliminated after losses to Friday Harbor and Mount Baker.
In the spring, the boys soccer team put together its best season yet with an 8-4-10 record overall. The Borderites advanced to the semifinal round of the district tournament, but a 1–0 loss to Kings High School ended their postseason run.
The softball team advanced to the postseason and looked strong in the first game of the Tri-District Tournament, routing Vashon Island 32–4. However they were knocked out after dropping games to Nooksack Valley and Coupeville.
The baseball team had a rebuilding year with a lot of young players adapting to a new system. Still, the Borderites were able to win five of their regular season games and advance to the postseason. Losses to South Whidbey and Nooksack Valley sent them home early.
In track and field, Olivia Adams and V’Dovec reached new heights. Adams earned her second straight state championship in the pole vault, clearing 11 feet 6 inches for the win. V’Dovec won the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 6 inches. Hillary Kiele placed seventh in the 800m, Kieya Villars placed fifth in the 300m hurdles and Elle Moore placed 14th in the shot put, helping the girls team place sixth overall in the 1A state meet.
For the boys track and field team, Steven Crafts earned second place in the long jump while Josiah Westbrook placed eighth in the 100m, Gage Lott placed eighth in the pole vault, Adam McShane placed ninth in the shot put and Jon Fakkema placed 10th in the discus. The boys team ended up in 25th place at the state meet.
Girls tennis singles Alex Henderson and Saskia Dolk made it to the second round of the Tri-District Tournament, but both players lost before moving on to the state tournament.
Devan Boucher drove, chipped and putted his way to an 18th place finish in the state golf tournament, shooting an 81and a 79 for a combined score of 160.
Coming back to school in the fall, Blaine athletes were a class bigger, moving up from 1A with an enrollment number just big enough to make it the smallest school in 2A. The switch means an uphill battle for most teams, but the Borderites have proven themselves up to the task so far.
The girls soccer team had a limited turnout, but proved it can compete with bigger schools by earning two wins and two ties over the regular season. Junior Ashley Quesada stood out on the pitch, and will be a likely leader for next year’s team. Keeper Tessa Kelly was a key player as well.
Cross-country runners Parker Morris and Hillary Kiele represented Blaine in the state championship 5k races for boys and girls respectively. Kiele placed 58th with a time of 20:30.89, and Morris placed 59th. Morris’ time of 17:04.93 was his personal record.
Many girls turned out for volleyball this year, and the team showed steady improvement throughout the season. Although they didn’t qualify for districts, the Borderites went 4–10 overall.
Coming off a successful run to the postseason as a 1A team in 2013, the football team didn’t advance to districts in 2014. Two of their four rivals in the Northwest Conference went on to play in the championship game: Lynden and Sedro-Woolley. The Borderites held their own against stiff competition this year. They went 2–5 in conference play and 4–5 overall.
In October, wrestling coach Craig Foster was inducted into the Washington State Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The honor came on the heels of the Borderites’ championship performance at state, where Foster was named Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his 23 years coaching at Blaine.
Coming full circle, the wrestling teams and the basketball teams are back in the throes of competition, no doubt hoping for big things to happen in 2015.