by Jack Kintner
�These kids have always worked
The Borderites closed out their second season in a row without a win in losing at home to the Sultan Turks last Friday night 66-0. The loss gives them an 0-9 record for the second straight year.
After showing some poise in the first quarter, Blaine’s defense gave up the first of six first half touchdowns to Sultan’s sophomore running back Pat Clune who ran in from the 21. A pattern began to emerge where Blaine would go three-and-out and then Sultan would score on their first play from scrimmage. That happened three times, and after a field goal the half finally closed with senior linebacker Brett Cofer picking off a Bryan Galbraith pass and returning it 55 yards for a touchdown.
When the smoke cleared Blaine was on the short side of a 45-0 halftime score, and in the second half it didn’t get much better for our guys. For the evening, Blaine gave up 454 yards on the ground and 57 in the air while gaining 43 and 38 respectively. Sophomore quarterback Nick Jordan completed three of 13 passes with no picks, and Bryan Galbraith tossed four, completing one.
As they have done, especially in the last half of the season, Blaine impressed the opposing coach Tim McDicken, who said “They do things right, they played hard, they’re going to be good in the future.”
So what? They still lost, right?
Well, here’s what: this season and this team that played it has been all about character, probably even more than the players themselves know right now.
Yes, they will improve. The C team’s 7-1 record this year speaks to that. Yes, the tide will turn, and they’ll win games by the same lopsided scores that they lost them this year. But some of them, the smart ones who learn from their experiences, will also carry the self-assured confidence that has come from knowing how to get up and get going after getting pasted by players sometimes twice their size, and that’s character.
“These kids have always worked to win all season, not just to get by. They’re going to get there, too,” said head coach Dave Fakkema.
He’s right. The whole team has worked hard all season, including the coaches. The reward they’ve earned is internal and far more permanent than numbers on a page, and will stick with most of them long after football has been forgotten.
Girls lose in double overtime, but advance in state tourney
In a match that saw all-league keeper Shela Robertson save 21 shots on goal, Blaine played undefeated South Whidbey to a double-overtime 3-3 draw in the district finals last Saturday, ultimately losing the match 4-3 in the subsequent shootout.
�Shootouts are like rolling the dice,� said coach Dan Steelquist. �But I�m happy. This is one of the best teams in the state but we played them goal-for-goal.�
Blaine, now 13-6, opened the scoring at 24:40 of the first period when second-team all-state Kristina Francis headed in Andrea Harmening�s corner kick. South Whidbey retaliated when freshmen mid Casey Kimmel, one of South Whidbey�s three Olympic Development Players, scored nine minutes later.
Second half scoring began with a Blaine clearing attempt that was deflected back into the goal for a 2-1 South Whidbey lead, but minutes later Blaine came back on another set play. Andrea Harmening kicked short to Alyssa Hendrickson who volleyed the kick with her back to the goal, then flicked it past keeper Allyson Riggs to tie the score 2-2.
Both teams could smell victory, and the play was getting passionate when South Whidbey�s Jena Wild poked one past Robertson from the top of the penalty area for a 3-2 South Whidbey lead. Play went on for another 20 minutes until sweeper Lori Robertson thundered in a shot that bent like a slider into the upper near corner of the goal from 32 yards out, sending the match into two scoreless overtimes.
South Whidbey�s undefeated season - so far - is mostly the work of their phenomenal senior forward whose dad played professionally, Claudia Gill-Osorio. Her coach Paul Arend frankly says this is the best team he�s ever coached.
Steelquist said they know she�ll shoot, and shoot often, but planned a defense that would �make her shoot from where we wanted her to, not from where she wanted to.�
One way he accomplished that was similar to how he beat last year�s state champ, Sultan, in a game played in Blaine last month. Then, he pulled Francis back from her normal mid-fielder�s position to help out more defensively. This time he put forwards Ainsley Nix and Kimberly Harmening on a mid-field line with Jenna Makalai.
The match in Mount Vernon decided the conference championship, but both teams along with third place Nooksack Valley advanced to the state tournament, to be played at various venues around Washington. Blaine�s next opponent was Tenino, in a game played in Camas Tuesday afternoon.
The Borderites moved into the final eight in the state soccer tournament Tuesday night by defeating Tenino 2-1. All the goals came in the second half. Ainsley Nix�s came first in the 20th minute off a Kristina Francis corner kick, and then when Jenna Makalai got a free kick in the 25th minute from 16 yards out she tapped it backwards to Kimberly Harmening. She then kicked what coach Steelquist called a �frozen rope� into the goal for the win.
Blaine next plays in their bracket�s quarter final Saturday against either Eatonville or Castle Rock.
Climbing wall breaks away from PE norm
Blaine primary school�s athletic director Dan Persse wants your kids to be healthy and active during their physical education classes. But, he isn�t interested in doing traditional competitive activities like dodge ball or climbing rope to the ceiling. Instead, he wants the kids to experience �new PE.�
So what�s new PE? Today�s children are experiencing less physical activity, and are therefore becoming increasingly overweight and less fit. To combat this, PE classes are revamping their curriculums to focus more on lifelong fitness.
To do this, he has created a tri-colored, 48-foot rock climbing wall, complete with the image of several mountains in order of highest elevation � many of them from throughout the state, including nearby Mt. Baker � with Mt. St. Helens starting at 8,364 feet and Mt. Everest ending at 29,035 feet.
�It�s like a geography lesson too,� he said of the wall. �Something like rock wall climbing is real natural for kids. There really aren�t many upper body and strength activities that aren�t competitive.�
Persse said he believes that new PE is responsible for ensuring that all students acquire the knowledge, combined with social and physical skills, that enable them to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
�We�re kind of haunted by the old PE program,� he said. �We want to provide new ways of teaching physical education, and get away from picking captains and making lines. PE is all geared to the individual.�
Persse came up with idea of implementing a climbing wall after hearing about it from other schools, and he even visited Bellingham elementary to view their 20-foot wall. His idea quickly became a project, involving both parents and local businesses, and the full support of the Blaine administration.
�I asked Nature�s Path if they would be interested � and they agreed to be a sponsor,� he said, noting the company paid $2,100 for the wall�s mats. �And Pacific Building Center gave us a discount on the wood.�
Persse also performed some online research as well to see how inexpensively he could pull the project off. So how did he do? There are 12 panels on the rock wall, and each of them � complete with rocks � would usually cost around $450 to make. He did it at a cost of $150 per panel.
�The kids are going crazy over this. They�re just going gah-gah,� he said. �The Blaine school district, including elementary principal Deb Cummings, has been extremely supportive of my program over the last seven years.I feel very fortunate to be a part of our district, and work with the people that I do,� Persse said.�
Slivers from the Bench
Muriel Ridnour�s second season of coaching volleyball ended at the district tournament level when the Borderites fell to Mt. Baker last Saturday at South Whidbey in a close match, 25-21, 25-21, 23-25, 25-16.
Subway Hoop Classic
The Blaine AAU sixth annual Subway Hoop Classic for seventh and eighth grade will be held on November 15 and 16 at the new Ken Waters gym. Games start at 10 a.m. on Saturday and the last game at 5:15 p.m. Sunday�s games will start at 9 a.m. with two championship games starting at 5:15 p.m.
Admission is $1 per person, per day. For more information, call Wayne Schouten at 371-5371.