Bellevue players celebrate their 1-0 victory in a penalty kick shootout over Lakeside on Nov. 22 in the 3A state semifinals at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ault Justus

Bellevue players celebrate their 1-0 victory in a penalty kick shootout over Lakeside on Nov. 22 in the 3A state semifinals at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ault Justus

2019: The year in sports for the Bellevue area

Athletic success is a staple of the local community.

  • Wednesday, December 18, 2019 3:16pm
  • Sports


Newport’s girls basketball team put a damper on the Mount Si Wildcats senior night celebration, courtesy of a 43-37 victory on Jan. 16 in Snoqualmie. Newport senior guard Nicole Chan had a team-high 16 points and hit four 3-pointers in the win.

Celebrating the life of a coaching legend. Former Bellevue School District track/cross country coach Cliff Nixon passed away on Jan. 22.

Nixon, who began his coaching career with the Bellevue Wolverines track/cross country programs in 1959, was inducted into the Washington State Track and Field and Cross Country Hall of Fame in 1999. Nixon coached at Tyee Junior High School, Interlake High School, Bellevue High School, Newport High School and Mercer Island High School spanning six decades during his coaching tenure.


Newport’s boys swim and dive team splashed its way to third place in the team standings at the 4A state swim and dive championships on Feb. 16.

Powered by three second-place finishes in the 200 medley relay (Kevin Kyi, Dylan Ling, Nathan Lee and Benjamin Liu), 200 individual medley (Lee) and 100 backstroke (Kyi) and a host of other top-eight finishes, Newport stood strong at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.

Bellevue’s boys basketball team earned a 49-35 win against the Bishop Blanchet Braves in a loser-out, 3A Sea-King playoff game on Feb. 14 at Bellevue High School. Bellevue senior Hunter Hansen scored a team-high 17 points in the win.


• When the pressure was on, the Bellevue Christian girls basketball team simply delivered in the Class 1A state tournament with a fourth-place finish. The Vikings, who finished with a 3-1 record at the tournament, registered a 41-35 win against Elma in the Class 1A fourth/sixth-place game on March 2 at the Yakima SunDome.

• The Bellevue Christian boys basketball team earned sixth place at the Class 1A state tournament on March 2 at the Yakima SunDome. Bellevue went 2-2 at the state tourney, capturing victories against Okanagon and Connell while suffering losses against Zillah and Lynden Christian.

“It was an awesome tournament for us. The amount of pride I felt in our guys this last week and a half was an unbelievable feeling to see them play to their full potential,” head coach Brandon Kats said of his team.


• A perfect senior day for the Newport Knights girls softball team saw the Knights cruise to a 9-0 victory against the Issaquah Eagles in the final home contest of the regular season on April 24. Newport junior pitcher Hanako Hirai was unstoppable in the pitching circle, tossing a no-hitter in front of the hometown fans on a picture-perfect 63-degree afternoon.

“Hanako is legit. She doesn’t get all the votes from all the other (opposing) coaches but she’s pretty darn special. I’m glad she is on my team instead of somebody else’s,” Newport head coach Parris Mamon said with pride.


Bellevue’s boys soccer team conquered Interlake 2-0 in the state 3A soccer semifinals on May 24 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. It was the fourth time the Wolverines had defeated the Saints during the 2019 season.

Antoinette Stubbfield, a Sammamish sophomore, clocked a time of 12.21 to earn first place in the 100 at the 2A state track meet on May 25 at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

• Interlake’s girls tennis won the 3A state tennis championship on May 24 at the Tri-City Court Club in Kamiakin. The Interlake doubles team of Sylvia Eklund/Charlize Yeh captured first place in the doubles tourney. Abby Nash/Angel Le registered a fourth-place finish in the doubles tourney as well. Addie Eklund collected a third-place finish in the singles tourney and Olivia Sun finished in fifth place in the singles tournament.

• The Wolverines boys golf team won the 3A state championship for the first time in school history on May 22 in Lacey. Bellevue golfer Ian Siebers earned second place individually in the 3A tournament, compiling 145 total strokes. Wolverines golfer Thomas Huang finished in third place with 147 strokes. Wolverines golfer Saum Sabetian finished in 10th place individually and Dylan Bear earned 14th place.

• The Sammamish girls golf team earned its second consecutive Class 2A state golf title at the state tournament on May 22 in Liberty Lake. The Totems compiled 107.5 team points to win the title at MeadowWood Golf Course.

“I told them three months ago at the start of the season when we talked about goals that they should set their goals high. They were completely capable of winning state again. I think they kind of doubted me at first, but I think after a couple of matches, they settled in. It was awesome to see what they accomplished,” head coach Annette LaBissoniere said.


Sammamish middle linebacker Hikaru Aoyagi runs the show on the defensive side of the ball for the Totems football team. “It is all about just gritting it out through the entire game. Being a backer, you have to stop the run and you’ve got to cover guys. We’ve got to do everything and are the core of the defense,” he said.


• Bellevue’s Thunderbird Little League intermediate team captured a state crown. Comprised of 12- and 13-year-olds, the Bellevue-based team won the Washington state tournament on July 6 in Vancouver, Washington. The locals defeated a team from the Greater Richland area, 8-1, in the state title game, and the squad had an overall record of 4-0 at the tournament.

• Benjamin Druckman, an 11-year-old from Bellevue, won a national quarterback competition on July 12-13 in Tennessee.

Going into the final event at the National Football Academies’ Quarterback Duel competition, Druckman trailed the leader by only one point. In front of the large crowd, Druckman said he was able to tune out the pressure and focus on the competition.

The Bellevue resident flew through the final gauntlet with all eyes on him, hitting targets while being scored on accuracy and time to take over the lead and win the quarterback competition’s 11-12 year-old group


The Bellevue Wolverines football team begins the 2019 season ready to meet the program’s expectations. The players may change from year to year, but expectations for the Bellevue Wolverines football team remains the same — to win a championship.

“At a program like this, it’s state championship or bust,” head coach Michael Kneip said. “That’s always the standard you want in anything in life.”

• Aubrey Edwards, a Bellevue resident, became the first woman to ever referee in a men’s title fight when she officiated a match between Chris Jericho and Adam “Hangman” Page on Aug. 31 in Chicago. Edwards’ career path isn’t a common one. Edwards was a software developer who helped run a dance nonprofit, providing dance lessons to underprivileged kids. She did classical ballet for 20 years, eventually being forced to stop dancing due to the physical toll.


Ian Siebers, Bellevue High School senior, was selected to the Junior Presidents Cup team that will compete in Melbourne, Australia.

The competition will take place at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club from Dec. 8-9, leading up to the PGA Tour Presidents Cup. Siebers was one of 12 American golfers to be picked for the team.

• Bellevue’s defense made a key stop on a two-point conversion attempt to beat Garfield, 28-27, on Sept. 20 at Bellevue High School.

After the Bulldogs quarterback Javon Tade ran for a touchdown with seven seconds left to make it a one-score game, Garfield elected to attempt a two-point conversion for the win. On the ensuing conversion attempt, Tade tried to hit a receiver in the corner of the end zone, but the pass fell incomplete.


• Interlake’s cross country teams took home the 3A KingCo Championship trophy for both the boys and girls teams on Oct. 24 at Lake Sammamish State Park. The league championships cap off a perfect regular season for both teams, who went undefeated in league competition.

“They train really hard and they raced really hard today,” Interlake coach Brad Barquist said. “I’m super proud of them. I told them, ‘all you need to do today is give everything you’ve got.’ That’s what they did today and it was really fun to see.”


Bellevue girls soccer kicks into state title match with a 1-0 victory in a penalty kick shootout over Lakeside on Friday in the 3A state semifinals at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Bellevue goalkeeper Ashley Heinz made two saves in PKs and Audrey Miller tallied the deciding shot.

• Local swimmers dominate at the girls state swim and dive meet. Newport won the 4A championship and Bellevue won the 3A championship at the King County Aquatic Center for the girls state swim and dive championships on Nov. 16. It was the third-straight state title for both the Knights and the Wolverines.

Interlake’s volleyball team qualified for 3A state tournament after a 3-2 victory over Bishop Blanchet on Nov. 16.

The last two Interlake volleyball seasons ended with a first-round loss in the district tournament, but this year, the Saints were determined to change that.

After winning three of their four games at the district tournament, the Saints qualified for the 3A state tournament for the first time since they made it to the 2A state tournament in 2011.

“We always came up short in those two games at districts,” Interlake head coach Eddie Guerrero said. “Going into districts this year, we talked about that a lot.”

• The Bellevue Wolverines aired it out in a 31-14 victory over Lakes on Nov. 15 at Bellevue High School. Bellevue is well known for its rushing attack, but it was the passing game that led the No. 7 Wolverines past the No. 10 Lakes Lancers 31-14, in the first round of the 3A state football tournament on Nov. 15 at Bellevue High School.


• Newport’s gymnastics team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 170-160 win over Bothell on Dec. 12. Newport’s Anna Bencke finished first in the all-around with a 37.3 (9.75 on floor, 9.5 on beam and a 9.25 on vault). Another Newport gymnast, Bella Nilsen, finished second in the all-around with a 36.6, including a 9.3 on vault and a 9.6 on floor.

• Sammamish’s boys basketball team came out strong in the second half to pull away for a 58-41 victory over the Highline Pirates on Dec. 6. The Totems trailed 23-17 at halftime before outscoring the Pirates 41-18 in the second half.

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Bellevue tight end Joshua Goates catches a touchdown pass against the Lakes Lancers on Nov. 15. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ault Justus

Bellevue tight end Joshua Goates catches a touchdown pass against the Lakes Lancers on Nov. 15. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ault Justus

The Bellevue Christian Vikings girls basketball team earned fourth place at the Class 1A state basketball tournament on March 2 in Yakima. The Vikings defeated Elma, 41-35, in the fourth-place/sixth-place game on March 2. Photo courtesy of Mark DeJonge

The Bellevue Christian Vikings girls basketball team earned fourth place at the Class 1A state basketball tournament on March 2 in Yakima. The Vikings defeated Elma, 41-35, in the fourth-place/sixth-place game on March 2. Photo courtesy of Mark DeJonge

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