Joel Willits

Lucky 13: Players to Watch in KingCo 3A/2A | Reporter Football Preview

QB Jeff Lindquist, Jr., Mercer IslandWhen you're a solid 6-foot-3 quarterback who can bomb the long ball or run over a defender, the Tim Tebow… Continue reading

New day at Newport: The Knights will install a new offense this fall. Leading the way will be (from left) running back Louie Jachim

Newport to debut new offense this fall | Reporter Football Preview

Though he was just a freshman, Isaac Dotson spent the season preparing on the Newport sideline, just in case. Then, near the end of the season, injuries began to take their toll on the Knights backfield. A kid with talent like Dotson? Looked like the perfect match. Except Dotson played quarterback, and the Knights had a solid, two-year starter in captain Ross Quarre manning that position. Except Quarre had other plans. “Ross just raised his hand and said ‘Coach, I’ll play back,’” said Newport coach Mike Miller. “That opened it up for Isaac and he stepped in there and played great.”

New day at Newport: The Knights will install a new offense this fall. Leading the way will be (from left) running back Louie Jachim
Quarterback Andrew Engles (left) and linebacker Taylor Ragan are the undisputed offensive and defensive leaders for the Totems.

Totems hope to keep momentum rolling | Reporter Football Preview

Andrew Engles thinks he sprained his thumb in Sammamish’s game against Bellevue last October. He’s not sure. The junior believes he sprained it then, but knows for sure he broke and partially fractured it in the Totems second-to-last game of the year against Foster three weeks later. Instead of taking himself out, Engles played through the injury without alerting trainers, coaches or even his mom. The Totems finished the year beating Foster and Bishop Blanchet, all with Engles and his injured thumb leading the way.

Quarterback Andrew Engles (left) and linebacker Taylor Ragan are the undisputed offensive and defensive leaders for the Totems.
Bellevue's captains hope to lead young Wolverines to third-straight state title. From left to right

At Bellevue, toughness drives the Wing-T offense | Reporter Football Preview

As the Bellevue football team and head coach Butch Goncharoff enter the season seeking the school’s eighth Class 3A state title since 2001, a lot of things have changed from years past. The players, of course. And some coaches. Even the field and the school around it have been altered. But the success of the program has always been constant. So has the offense. But not just any football player can thrive in Bellevue’s Wing-T offense. It takes a certain kind of player - with a certain mentality - to be a part of an offense that requires so much from each position on the field for even one play to work correctly. But it starts with one trait, said senior quarterback Kendrick Van Ackeren. “It’s pretty simple,” Van Ackeren said. “If you’re not tough, you should just go home.”

Bellevue's captains hope to lead young Wolverines to third-straight state title. From left to right
New regime means big changes at Interlake. Captains (from left) Scotty Gehlhausen

New regime, big changes for Interlake | Reporter Football Preview

First-year Interlake coach Jason Rimkus can pin down the exact moment senior quarterback Matt Malos bought into his new offensive scheme. The Saints were playing in a scrimmage at the University of Puget Sound football camp, and their opponent had stacked the box with nine defenders. Receivers were clamoring to throw the ball, to take advantage of the man defense and stretch the field. Rimkus asked Malos what he wanted to do.

New regime means big changes at Interlake. Captains (from left) Scotty Gehlhausen

Reporter Newspapers Preseason Football roundtable

Several of the Reporter Newspapers Eastside sports writers will talk about the upcoming football season and answer questions from readers.… Continue reading

Big hit downs local host team in Junior Softball World Series game

All it takes is one big hit to break a game wide open. The all-star team of Bellevue and Mercer Island Little Leaguers serving as the Host squad for the Junior League Softball World Series learned that the hard way Tuesday, as one big hit by the Southeast's Nikki Lopez made a small lead seem insurmountable in a 7-1 pool play loss at Everest Park in Kirkland.

Laurie Carver competes during the CrossFit Games. The Bellevue native won the gold medal in the master's division.

Bellevue home to ‘Fittest Woman Over 50’

Bellevue is now home to the "Fittest Woman Over 50." Laurie Carver, a soon-to-be 51-year-old Bellevue woman recently captured that title with a gold medal at the 2010 CrossFit Games in California. Carver, a coach at Northwest CrossFit in Bellevue, came in first after finishing well in three separate workouts. Carver explained the CrossFit Games as a "ramped-up version" of each different CrossFit gym. "It's an awesome energy with great people," she said. "It's super difficult stuff."

Laurie Carver competes during the CrossFit Games. The Bellevue native won the gold medal in the master's division.
Bellevue amateur Tom Brandes rebounded from a poor round Thursday to finish up his experience at the U.S. Senior Open on a high note. Brandes shot a 6-over-par 76 Friday.

Bellevue’s Tom Brandes relishes U.S. Senior Open experience

After a rough first day at the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club, Bellevue's Tom Brandes went into Friday's second round with nothing to lose. At the conclusion of Thursday's first round, the amateur from Bellevue had posted a 12-over-par 82 round, one of 41 golfers in the field of 156 who couldn't crack 80 at the Sammamish course. With the cut following the second round, Brandes simply relaxed and played golf. "I had nothing to lose," said Brandes, 53. "I had already shot myself out of the thing. It was kind of like 'hey, let's just play." Brandes ended up shooting a 6-over-par 76, a much improved score. He credited his performance to the smaller crowd (he teed off early Friday morning, instead of in the afternoon like Thursday) and a little momentum - momentum that had to endure a lengthy fog delay.

Bellevue amateur Tom Brandes rebounded from a poor round Thursday to finish up his experience at the U.S. Senior Open on a high note. Brandes shot a 6-over-par 76 Friday.
Jennifer Cromwell

Sammamish grad Jennifer Cromwell ends summer with NCAA, world championships in rowing

To call Jennifer Cromwell's summer a whirlwind would be an understatement. Cromwell, a 2006 Sammamish graduate, kicked off her summer by helping the University of Virginia women's rowing team capture their first NCAA Championship on May 30 in Gold River, Calif. Rather than let the achievement sink in, Cromwell was off just two days later to try out for the United States Under 23 National Team, a process that culminated Sunday when her women's Varsity Eight boat won gold at the Under 23 World Rowing Championships in Brest, Belarus. Combine the rush of graduation with the thrill of a national title and the pride of a world championship and it's understandable why Cromwell just wants to take a few days for herself now that she's back home.

Jennifer Cromwell
Tom Brandes plays his tee shot on 14 during the First Round at the 2010 U.S. Senior Open Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish

Bellevue’s Tom Brandes doesn’t dwell on rough opening day at U.S. Senior Open

Tom Brandes took a minute to reflect Thursday afternoon following his first round at the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club. Standing outside the large Sahalee clubhouse, Brandes had just finished a 12-over-par 82 round, one of 41 golfers in the field of 156 who couldn't crack 80. The amateur from Bellevue talked about his expectations in the event, his second straight Senior Open appearance. "Trying to break 80, getting a 75, 77, something like that, that's pretty realistic to me," said Brandes, 53. "I didn't get it done today."

Tom Brandes plays his tee shot on 14 during the First Round at the 2010 U.S. Senior Open Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish
Jimmy Trull earned All-American honors with a seventh-place finish at the USAW Cadet Freestyle National Championships.

Bellevue’s Jimmy Trull earns All-American wrestling honors

Bellevue's Jimmy Trull placed seventh in the nation in at the USAW Cadet Freestyle National Championships last week in Fargo, N.D. Trull's top-eight finish at 215-pounds earns him All-American honors as well as a "stop sign" - the trophies named for their resemblance to the road signs. Trull also finished 10th at the USAW Cadet Greco-Roman National Championships.

Jimmy Trull earned All-American honors with a seventh-place finish at the USAW Cadet Freestyle National Championships.
Bellevue's Tyler Allen is hoping for his big break on Richard Petty's Driver Search II

Revving to go: Bellevue’s Tyler Allen hopes for big break in racing career

Tyler Allen sat in the heat, robe on and hat affixed upon his head, taking in all that was his college graduation. The sun was shining on Husky Stadium at the University of Washington that Saturday. Allen, about to officially receive his mechanical engineering degree, allowed himself a moment to let it all soak in. Four years of hard work, four years of late nights, four years of taking on all that he could. All accomplished on this warm Saturday afternoon. Finally, the ceremony hit its conclusion. As per tradition, Allen and the new graduates tossed their hats high into the sky. Then he was gone, on a dead sprint to the family car. It was race day at the South Sound Speedway in Rochester, Wash., and the 22-year-old Interlake graduate wasn't about to miss it - even if it was commencement. "As soon as those caps were in the air," Allen said, "I was gone."

Bellevue's Tyler Allen is hoping for his big break on Richard Petty's Driver Search II
(From left to right) Alina Marshall

Bellevue fencers head to Summer Nationals

Four Bellevue youths will attempt to medal in the Fencing Summer Nationals, which begins Saturday in Atlanta, Ga. Austin Li, Jonathan Li, Alina Marshall and Conor Beckerman will be among the more than 6,000 fencers competing in the tournament that runs until July 13.

(From left to right) Alina Marshall
Kenechi Udeze

Kenechi Udeze beat cancer, but lost his NFL career; now hopes to help others

Kenechi Udeze couldn't shake the headaches. They'd started in Minnesota, where the former first-round NFL draft pick out of USC had just finished his fourth season with the Vikings. Killer headaches that morphed into migraines when the 6-foot-4, 281-pound defensive end went home to California for the offseason. Migraines that couldn't be stopped with Motrin, or anything else. He couldn't shake these headaches like he so often did the massive arms of a reaching offensive tackle. A few days later, Udeze woke up dizzy. The then-25-year-old NFL rising star checked himself into the hospital. On Feb. 6, 2008, doctors called Udeze while he was watching SportsCenter at his wife's parents home in Idaho. You have a highly-aggressive form of cancer, they said. We need to treat this right away. The diagnosis: acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Kenechi Udeze

Bellevue College golf wins NWAACC title | Bulldogs spring wrapup

The Bellevue College men's golf team took first place at the NWAACC Golf Championship tournament played at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton on May 23-24. Bellevue freshman KC Chang’s eight-under-par on Monday was the deciding factor, easing BC into the win over the Spokane team who was only one stroke behind the Bulldogs, having closed the gap after being seven strokes behind at the close of play Sunday.

Sammamish football to host annual Hawaiian Luau Saturday

The Sammamish High School Gridiron Club will host the second annual Hawaiian Luau football fundraiser to support the Sammamish football program.

Moyer, Tam Sing to play in All-State Series

Bellevue's Nick Moyer and Newport's Trace Tam Sing have been selected to play in the All-State Series this weekend in Yakima. The All-State series, a cross section of all classifications throughout the state, will feature selected players spread across four teams participating in a mini-round robin tournament.

Bellevue's Michael Williams

Bellevue Christian girls win team title; Wolverines pick up two individual titles | State Track and Field

The Bellevue Christian girls track and field team repeated as state champions at the 1A state championship meet at Eastern Washington University. Key to the Vikings win was the performance of junior Mackenzie Altig, who won the triple jump with a leap of 34-10.50. Altig also finished second in the 300 meter hurdles and long jump and took third in the 100 meter hurdles. Her 32 points scored on the day accounted for over half of Bellevue Christian's 63 team points.

Bellevue's Michael Williams

Bryant-Swift and Lum successfully defend doubles title | State tennis

Sammamish's Anissa Bryant-Swift and Malia Lum proved once again to be the state's top doubles pair by repeating as state champions last weekend in Vancouver, Wash., at the 3A state tournament.