Joel Willits

Big night by Gellatly helps No.10 Issaquah down Newport 35-14 | Slideshow

Issaquah freshman Jack Gellatly doesn't mind when people say that he reminds them of his older brother. Considering his brother Grant, now playing at Cornell, is one of the most-regarded running backs in Issaquah football history, the younger Gellatly gladly accepts the comparison. "I like that compliment, a lot," he said. "My brother is one of my heroes, I really look up to him. It's fun to strive to compete like him." Gellatly rolled up a career-high 114 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries, helping to ease the Eagles' pain of losing their starting quarterback, as No.10 Issaquah beat Newport 35-14.

 

On goodbyes, endings and beginnings | Sports Editor Joel Willits says goodbye

I can't exactly remember my first byline with the Bellevue Reporter. When I took over this job as a 22-year-old kid, I had no clue what was in store for me. As I remember, it was summer, so it may have been a story about outdoor recreation; In fact, I think it was about kayaking. Now, three-and-a-half years later, I sit as a slightly older kid, typing what will be the last byline for me in the Bellevue Reporter, as I say goodbye and look onward to my next great adventure. One thing is certain. I won't ever forget my experiences here. The bylines on the top of a story, the words on a page were one thing, but the people behind those words, the people and events that I tried to recreate, those are the things I will always remember about my time here.

 

Interlake takes 2nd, Newport 4th in swim championships | Swim and Dive

The Interlake swim team started off with a bang at the Class 2A boys swim and dive championships, but came up just short to Sehome, finishing second and coming up short by just eight points. "It is definitely deserved," said Interlake coach Christina Hunsberger. "They've worked really hard to get not only where they are individually, but where the team has come. All the pieces kind of fell in piece this weekend."

 

Newport gymnasts claim state title

When Melissa Baker walked into her first practice after taking over as Newport's gymnastics coach, she had no idea what to expect. She didn't know if she was looking at one of the worst teams in the league or the best. Turns out she was looking at the best team in the state. Newport rallied from an early deficit to win its 11th state gymnastics championship with a 174.0 point performance at the Class 4A state meet on Friday at the Tacoma Dome, beating out Todd Beamer of Federal Way, which scored 173.45. "That first day, first practice, I didn't see it; I had no idea," said Baker, who took over from former coach and alum Farrah Griffin this season after moving from her native Minnesota. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that I'd be coaching the best team in the state. I was shocked. What a season."

Quiet Riot: Bellevue Christian girls rolling under the radar

The area's best team may also be its least publicized. The Bellevue Christian girls basketball team has quietly been racking up wins and dominating opponents. The small school in Clyde Hill has already clinched a state tournament berth and looks like a contender for the Class 1A title.

Newport gymnasts end Woodinville reign, aim for state title | Gymnastics

Kristine Wong, Candace Ho and Malie Fujii all finished in the top-6 in the all-around at last weekend's Sea-King District gymnastic meet, giving Newport the team title and qualifying the Knights for state. The win also ended Woodinville's four-year streak as 4A state champions.

Dotson’s free throws propel Newport past Redmond | KingCo 4A Basketball

Isaac Dotson could hear the jeers. The sophomore couldn't help but hear the Redmond student section yelling, screaming and chanting 'choke, choke, choke' as he stood on the free throw line, his team trailing 41-40 with just 5.8 seconds to play. But Dotson pushed the taunts aside, calmly swished both free throws and Redmond missed a lay-in at the buzzer, giving Newport a 42-41 victory over the Mustangs in the loser-out Sea-King 4A District tournament game. "I just did my best to clear my mind of everything and focus on those two free throws," said Dotson, who scored Newport's final eight points. "I just did my best to block everything out and pictured myself in practice, shooting free throws like I do every day." Newport (15-8) forced Redmond into a shot-clock violation with just 22.7 seconds left, giving the Knights one final possession to take back the lead in the back-and-forth affair. Senior Cole Wiper's jumper banged off the rim, but Dotson grabbed the rebound and was fouled going back up. After the sophomore made both free throws, Redmond's Andrew Squiers drove down the court and dished to 6-foot-6 junior Conner Floan, who couldn't convert the lay-in as the buzzer sounded. "It's been quite the ride," said first-year Knights coach Steve Haizlip, a Newport graduate. "I'm glad it could keep going." The Knights came out firing in the game. Newport, which split the season series with Redmond, took a quick 9-2 lead and led 17-8 after one quarter of play. Both teams struggled to score in the second quarter, an ugly eight minutes that featured more turnovers (10) than total points (eight).

Interlake’s Ironman balances life in and outside the water | Boys Swimming

Victor Hsiao doesn't have a lot of free time. Take the average day for the Interlake swimmer. He rises around 4:30 a.m. and packs a few snacks for the day. Fifteen minutes later, he's left the house and on his way to the Pro Sports Club in Bellevue, where he's in the pool by 5 a.m. At 6:30 a.m. he leaps out of the pool, showers and heads to Interlake, where he starts at 7:45 a.m. because of his enrollment in the school's gifted program. At 12:15 p.m. he's on the road to Seattle, where he interns until 2:45 p.m. Then it's back to the Pro Sports Club for more swimming practice. Six p.m. marks the start of practice for Interlake's swim team, where Hsiao is until about 9:30 p.m. After that comes homework and sleep. "Usually I don't spend a lot of time dilly-dallying," Hsiao said. "I kind of go, go, go."

Five from area sign letters-of-intent | National Signing Day

With Wednesday serving as national signing day, a day celebrated as a holiday to some hardcore recruiting followers, five area athletes inked national letters-of-intent to… Continue reading

Tavener takes over as Interlake girls coach | Soccer

Kirk Tavener, a former Interlake girls junior varsity and boys C team coach, has accepted the head coaching position for the Saints girls soccer team. Tavener spent the last two seasons as head coach of the Lindbergh girls soccer team in Renton, leading the squad to two state tournament berths. Tavener is still the coach of the boys soccer team at Lindbergh.

Rusty Haehl adds another title to his collection – this one a national championship

He may not have had the biggest impact on the field - that honor will undoubtably go to his quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell - but Bellevue native Rusty Haehl was able to play a big part in Eastern Washington University's Football Championship Subdivision national championship win over Delaware. Haehl, a redshirt sophomore linebacker for the Eagles, was one of the players who snuck his way up behind Beau Baldwin, raised a cooler high and doused the Eastern head coach in the traditional gatorade bath as the final seconds ticked off the clock in EWU's improbable comeback win. "That was a pretty special moment, one that I'll always remember," Haehl said. "We got three coaches at almost the same time. So much fun in the moment." Haehl, a special teams regular, had a front-row seat to the Eagles' title-winning rally, which saw Eastern trailing 19-0 with little over two minutes left in the third quarter.

New coach, trio of talented stars have Newport rolling | Gymnastics

It's easy to understand why Newport first-year coach Melissa Baker knocks on wood when talking about her gymnasts remaining healthy throughout the regular season. Because of the format to reach the state tournament for teams from the loaded KingCo 4A conference - a winner-takes-all district meet - it's important for a team to stay injury-free until the big meet. It's especially important when a team has a trio of big stars like Baker's squad sports. Freshman Candace Ho and juniors Kristine Wong and Malie Fujii have helped the Knights remain undefeated in meets thus far this season - and have the team looking like it could be a legitimate contender to upset conference power (and four-time defending state champion) Woodinville to represent KingCo at the Tacoma Dome.

Bellevue grapplers capture Shoreline Invitational title

Bellevue High School won the Shoreline Invitational wrestling tournament for the second time in three years on Saturday, with five Wolverines winning their respective weight classes.

Sour grapes aside, Seahawks deserve tomorrow’s playoff game | From the Sidelines

There are apparently lots of sour grapes around the National Football League that the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks will be hosting a playoff game this weekend. Well, the beef doesn't reside just with the fact that the Seahawks are hosting a game - although there are pundits who have issue with that - the discord is more directed towards the fact that Seattle is even in the playoffs at all.

Local teams find success at holiday tournaments

It wasn't much of a relaxing holiday for some local basketball teams. Two squads - the Bellevue boys and Newport girls - traveled out of state to prestigious tournaments while another, the Sammamish boys, stayed in town to play in the Bellevue College Holiday Tournament. The Newport girls returned from the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz., with a fifth-place finish, not bad for a squad that had an 0-6 record prior to leaving the state. "I was extremely proud of our approach down there, as we didn't enter a tournament of that caliber with the ideal flow and circumstance to our season at that point," said Newport coach Travis Whitaker, "but the girls had a mindset that we were going to try and get better and made sure we competed at a high level in all four games."

Young Knights looking to rebound | Girls Basketball

On the surface, it’s easy to wonder just what is going on out at Newport High School. After all, its girls basketball team, which had made two consecutive trips to the Class 4A basketball tournament, started the season a rough 0-5. But a cursory glance doesn’t do the Knights justice. Newport, which picked up its first win of the season Saturday at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz., graduated 75 percent of its minutes played last year and 80 percent of its scoring. A core group of seniors graduated, a class that had gone 65-34 in its four years at the school. One of those seniors - Betsy Kingma - was arguably the best player to ever come out of Newport. The freshman at Seattle Pacific University finished her career as the Knights all-time leading scorer with 1,570 points as well as the school’s all-time single season steals leader, with 81. “You look at film last year and there were definitely times when we didn’t run great stuff and [Kingma] would bail us out at the end of it,” said Newport coach Travis Whitaker. “I don’t think we’ve found that kid with this group yet.”

Boys Basketball Team Capsules

Sammamish Totems Coach: Wes Newton, 5th season League: KingCo 3A/2A Last year: 16-11, lost in Sea-King District Tournament Key losses: PG Daniel Wruble (Everett CC), G Anthony Do, F Brady Anderson, F Duncan Dickerson Key returners: SG John Steinberg, Jr.; G George Valle, Jr.; G Sami Jarjour, Jr.; F Jacob West, Jr. Impact new players: F Taylor Berg, Sr.; G Dakota Olsen, Soph.; G Steve Perkins, Jr. Player to watch: SG John Steinberg, Jr. Bursting with passion for the game, Steinberg leapt onto the KingCo scene last season. With the graduation of guards Wruble and Do, more will be asked of the junior this season. Outlook: Totems lost a lot with graduation of big group of seniors, but return a strong quartet of juniors with big-time experience. Steinberg, Valle, Jarjour and West all played big minutes last season.

Sammamish basketball aims for KingCo respect

Sammamish coach Wes Newton saw a lot of himself in John Steinberg early on. He saw a kid who was a hard-worker, so much so that he had to be talked out of going to the weight room or the gym. He saw a kid with talent. He saw a kid so passionate about the game of basketball, it sometimes hurt him on the court. For all the work in the weight room or on the court, the toughest skill for the 6-foot-4 junior to master wasn’t fixed by an extra rep or additional shots. It was controlling his emotions.

Reporter Newspapers Basketball Poll | Week 2

Boys Class 4A1. Garfield (3-0)2. Kentwood (6-0)3. Kentridge (4-0)4. Curtis (3-0)5. Jackson (5-1)6. Union (3-0)7. Gonzaga Prep (1-1)8. Olympia (4-0)9. Auburn (4-1)10. Davis (3-1)Others receiving… Continue reading

Bellevue beats Kamiakin 38-0 for third straight title | with slideshow

The horn sounded, hands were shook, the season was over and at the end of the day, the Class 3A trophy ended up right where it started this season. With Bellevue. The Wolverines, winners of the past two state titles, won their third straight and eighth in ten seasons with a commanding 38-0 win over Kamiakin Friday at the Tacoma Dome