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Five BIG questions facing preps for winter season | Prep sports feature
The football state championship games put a bow on the fall season last weekend and the prep scene now shifts to winter. A host of returning state competitors and 2013 hopefuls are already back in action in boys swim and dive, wrestling, basketball and gymnastics and the Reporter has your first look at the biggest questions squads in Bellevue face.
Is Newport's Experience, size and athleticism enough to make state?
Newport's boys basketball team had a promising regular season in 2011-12, but a 1-2 mark at the conference tournament sent the Knights packing without a state playoff berth for the tenth consecutive season. Senior Isaac Dotson, a first-team all league selection in football and commit to the University of Nevada as a quarterback, and t
The inside presence of Calvin Throckmorton, Miles Fowler and Drew Sample gives coach Steve Haizlip a group that boasts size, experience, athleticism and a determination to rewrite program history.
"With our size, I think we have the ability to go inside and create mismatches," Haizlip said. "It's just going to allow us to be really physical and dictate the way the game is played."
The head man for the Knights is also an alum and was on the team the last time the school made a 4A state tourney appearance in 1994. After coaching the nucleus of this team, including Dotson, Fowler, James Ferris and Riley Hering since seventh grade, Haizlip said there would be no greater satisfaction than sending them out in the Tacoma Dome.
"It would be really special," he said. "There would be nothing better."
Which local contender shaves the most time?
Bellevue and Newport finished in the top six at their respective state swim and dive meets last year and Sammamish could be ready to climb the ladder in its first season in Class 2A.
Newport junior Allen Benton, who was fourth at state in 2011 in the 200 free and third in the 500 free, will try to fill the shoes of the departed Sebastian Bury and Dehlan Gwo. Nicholas Weiss returns for his senior season after swimming on a fifth place relay team in 2012 and Andrew Pana will be back after a freshman season that saw him in the pool at state.
Bellevue's Michael Stanchi, Casey Lee, Jamie Doucette and Matt Williams will help ease the loss of last year's leader Carl Andrews. Stanchi was third in the 100 backstroke for Bellevue at state in 2012. Jacob Tower and Tyler Spencer return for Sammamish, which will swim in 2A for the first time this season.
Interlake returns a handful of swimmers that made the 2A state meet last year, including Joe Lorr, Alex Lorenz, Tsukasa Ito, Albert Furlong and Jake Beauchamp.
How does Bellevue bounce back after 2012 playoff run?
Coach Leah Krauter's Wolverines made an unexpected run to the 2A/3A KingCo tournament title last year before bowing out one spot shy of the fifth and final berth to state from District 2.
Katie Savard, a force on both ends of the floor, is gone to graduation. Bellevue does not have a single senior on the varsity roster for this season and will suit four freshman.
Head coach Leah Krautter said after the sustained success the group had during their time together in AAU ball, they don't know to expect anything other than winning.
"I think they are so young, they don't know any better," Krautter said. "I had a chance to work with them over the summer and they are just really confident."
While Bellevue looks to better its 2012 finish, Bellevue Christian will be after a 1A state tourney berth for the eighth straight season as they join the Nisqually League.
Which wrestlers break through at Mat Classic?
Bellevue and coach Tom Ovens lost both of their state qualifiers to graduation. Jimmy Trull, who made the title match at 220 pounds, and fellow state qualifier Andy Ewing are both gone and leave sizable roles to be filled.
Interlake faces a similar challenge, as the departures of state competitors Jake Wilson, Jacob Marks, Alex Giseburt and Chad Peterson leave coach Dave Unwin and the Saints looking for a new cast of contributors this year in Class 3A. Newport's David Yingling made the field as a sophomore last year before suffering a first round defeat in the 4A tournament.
Do the Knights get back on top of the podium?
Newport finished fourth in the team scoring at the 4A gymnastics state championships last year, behind Mount Rainier, KingCo rival Woodinville and state champion Mead.
Candace Ho, who returns for her junior year after helping the Knights to a 4A team title in 2011, will be the leader after winning the state title in floor last year. Coach Melissa Baker said the leadership has been the best she has seen during her three seasons at Newport and a strong point of the team thus far.
"We have a very young team," Baker said. "It's been really exciting because they are picking up on things really quickly."
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