by Jack Kintner
Sports review: Teams advanced, players awarded in 2003
The Blaine sports highlights for 2003 begin on the basketball floor, with a girls� team that went 25-1 for a third-place finish at the state tournament, lead by perennial all-state first team center Jessica �Stretch� Summers. Shela Robertson was an honorable mention for the all-tourney team, and both girls played in the June all-state contest held in Spokane, starting for the west team that was coached by Blaine�s head coach Patrick Green.
The Blaine boys basketball team under coach Dan Rucker went 17-6 on the year, good enough for a second place tie in the NCCC. Two players, senior Grant Sanders and junior Jake Gilmore, were named to the all-league first team and Sanders was all-state. But the Borderites stumbled in a crucial play-off game with Meridian and were denied a trip to the state tournament, won by Nooksack Valley as the Pioneers enjoyed the kind of season Blaine had two and three years ago.
Football was also a big story, as another winless season put Blaine�s character to the test. No one was more frustrated than the team, dominated by under-classmen, but a combination of fan and parent support and a perspective expertly set by head coach Dave Fakkema kept the Borderite pride burning bright, evidenced by good fan attendance and participation throughout the season.
For the wrestlers, it was a building year following the departure of Tyler Glahn in 2002. Richie Tewes at 130 pounds and heavyweight Anthony Terris were both alternates for the state tournament, and Mongolian exchange student Bayartsengel Khishigdorj at 152 pounds made it into the state tournament. He won his first match before bowing out in the second, one win away from placing. Tewes is now an assistant coach.
In soccer, the boys finished sixth in league play and lost to South Whidbey in a post-season loser-out playoff game. The girls finished with the same record 14-7 and at the same place as the preceding year, tying for fifth place after losing to Tenino in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. Keeper Shela Robertson was named all-league defensive player of the year and midfielder Kristina Francis was named to the all-league first team, and both senior girls also were named to the all-state second team. Juniors Lacey Taylor and Andrea Harmening were named to the all league second team.
Blaine�s volleyball team finished fifth in the league at 4-6 (6-10) in coach Muriel Ridnour�s second season. They brought home their first trophy (from the Mariner Invitational in September).
The boys� baseball team, behind first team all-state pitcher Grant Sanders, qualified for post-season district play at the end of the season. They beat Elma in a game in which Sanders struck out 14 but were eliminated in the next round by Chimacum.
The girl�s fastpitch team had the first winning record (12-11) they�ve ever had since converting from slow-pitch seven years ago. Krista Walter was named to the all-state team as a pitcher and shortstop Alyson Burk was an all-league shortstop. Shela Robertson was second team all-league and honorable mention all-state, and Kristina Francis was named to the all-district team as a catcher.
Blaine athletes who qualified for state tournaments in other spring sports included Kit Schumann, Danny Le, Geoff Faulkner, Brian McCall, Rhyan Lopez, Jessica Summers, Kimberly Harmening and Erin Lippie in track, Grant Sanders, Peter Mokovits and Scott Bianchi in tennis, and Kevin Farmer in golf.