Final 400 free decides Liberty, Hazen swim meet

October 9, 2011

Kourtney Brunings, of Hazen, swims the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay Sept. 22 against Liberty. Brunings, with Kayla DiMicco, Amy LeBar and Taylor Gale, used the decisive win to break the point tie and give the Highlanders’ their team victory. By Greg Farrar

After 11 events between the Liberty High School Patriots and the Hazen Highlanders at Sept. 22’s dual swim meet, the teams were tied going into the final 400-yard freestyle relay.

With a final time of 3 minutes, 57.71 seconds, Hazen’s relay team grabbed eight critical points to narrowly clinch a final score of 95-88 in favor of the Highlanders.

Liberty coach Kris Daughters said she opted out of bringing the Liberty diving team —which cost the Patriots 13 critical points — due to safety concerns related to the depth of the Hazen pool. The pool Liberty practices in is 10 feet deep, while Hazen’s is only 8 feet deep.

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Liberty hires new baseball coach

September 27, 2011

NEW 2:35 — Sept. 27, 2011

Liberty High School athletic director Stark Porter announced Sept. 26 John Martin has been hired to be the Patriots’ new baseball coach.

Martin was a pitching coach at Liberty for several seasons and was on the staff when Liberty won the 3A state title in 2003.

Among his prized pitchers that season was future Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants.

Martin has spent the last several years as an assistant coach at Auburn Mountainview. He has also coached summer select baseball teams.

Martin replaces Steve Darnell, who directed Liberty to a 6-8 record last season, when the Patriots were knocked out in the first round of the KingCo Conference 3A tournament.

Hazen football coach selected as Seahawks Coach of the Week

September 12, 2011

Hazen High School football coach Drew Oliver was selected Sept 3. for the Seattle Seahawks’ High School Coach of the Week award for its week 1 winners after Hazen defeated Blaine 35-32 in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic.

Senior running back Cody Taylor was also selected as the Seattle Times’ 3A Player of the Week award for the same game.

Each week during the high school football season, the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington State Football Coaches Association select two high school football coaches for the award.

John Peterson of Willapa Valley High School was also awarded week 1 honors.

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Liberty falls to Issaquah, Hazen gets second win in week two action

September 9, 2011

Liberty High School has opened the season with a 0-2 start, losing to the Issaquah Eagles 23-13 in a non-league game Friday night at Issaquah in Gary Moore Stadium.

Starting wide receiver Jake Bakamus sealed the win for the Eagles with an interception from Liberty quarterback Jordan West with 5:54 left in the fourth quarter.

Liberty opened the game with a rushing touchdown from senior running back Hamilton Noel, taking a 7-0 lead on their first offensive drive with 5:11 left in the first quarter.

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Hazen sets sights on clearing stubborn post-season hurdle

September 2, 2011

Senior leaders ready to mentor the team’s large underclass

Marten Hiemstra (right), Hazen High School senior center, snaps the ball to junior quarterback Tony Nipert as the offense runs a play from scrimmage during practice Aug. 17. By Scott E. Coburn

The Hazen High School Highlanders recognize they have one major hurdle to clear this year — a post-season win.

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Patriots gear up for here and now

September 2, 2011

Liberty team looks to continue success of past seasons

Today, not tomorrow.

Those are the words the Liberty High School football team will live and die by to maintain the past several years’ momentum heading into the 2011 season.

Josh Gordon, right, Liberty senior running back, is at the head of a row of teammates in a dexterity running exercise during a Patriot preseason drill. By Greg Farrar

That phrase, or TNT, is something the team’s leadership said they’ve set in their sights to keep them explosive during every play of every practice.

“What’s nice about our school is that we’re not really known for having the top athletes or players, but we work really hard,” said Kevin Ahrens, a junior returning offensive and defensive lineman. “We bust our butt to get it done in the off-season, and we play as a team. That’s been our calling card.”

After losing in the quarterfinals of the post-season to Bellevue last year, Ahrens said the team is focusing on building on each successful play and picking up the pace on the defensive end of the ball.

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5K fun run is now a big Newcastle Days draw

September 2, 2011

People participating in the Newcastle Days 5K Run/Walk can benefit from the event twofold, according to organizer Lee Strom.

It’s a healthy activity to connect with the community, and all proceeds from this year’s 5K go toward providing scholarships to college-bound students from Newcastle, he said.

The third annual run, sponsored by Valley Medical Center, will be Sept. 11 and begin and finish at Lake Boren Park in Newcastle. This year is the first year the run will be combined with the annual Newcastle Days festival.

The 3.1-mile scenic run/walk will be held on Newcastle trails and byways on a course with a mix of flat terrain and rolling hills.

Sign-ups for the event are available at, at The Balanced Athlete at the Renton Landing and the FootZone stores in Bellevue and Issaquah. Mail-in registration is available at

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Team includes Newcastle Baseball Club members

September 2, 2011

The Raptors, a select baseball team from the Eastside, earned the title of 2011 Triple Crown World Series 2-Div Champions winning the final, 11-6, against the Salt Lake City Blast on July 30 in Park City, Utah.

Led by Raptor coach Ron Hay and assistant coach Sean Lincecum, the team includes five alumnus of the Newcastle Baseball Club; Rory Brown, Trevor Curl, Michael Morgan, Alex Pritchard and Lucas Senatore.

Raptors team members celebrate after winning their division championship at the Triple Crown World Series July 30. Contributed

The road to the Raptors’ Triple Crown World Series title started in April with a second-place finish in the Wenatchee Triple Crown tournament, earning the team a chance to play in the World Series.

The Raptors went on to win three other Washington tournaments, including the Bothell Triple Crown Memorial Weekend tournament.

The 10u World Series included 26 teams from California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Washington. All teams were finalists in regional Triple Crown tournaments.

The World Series tournament ran July 25-30.

Playing seven games in four days to reach the championship, the Raptors went into the championship game having earned a string of four dramatic come-from-behind victories, including two extra inning or overtime wins.

Learn more about the team at

Hazen boys cross country ranked No. 9 in coaches poll

August 29, 2011

NEW — 4:50 p.m., Aug. 29, 2011

The Hazen High School cross country boys team will start out its season ranked in the top 10 in the state for the 3A Class.

The team was selected for the No. 9 spot in the 2011 Washington State Cross Country Coaches poll that was released Aug. 28.

North Central was selected for the top spot across the state for the 3A class, followed by Bellevue in the No. 2 slot and Kamiakin in third.

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A family legacy fullfilled

August 5, 2011

Liberty graduate Devin Bennett follows family tradition to attend Cal Poly, play college athletics

Devin Bennett (right) hauls in a pass for 34 yards Sept. 3 against Skyline High School, helping to secure a Patriots’ 39-34 victory over the Spartans. By Greg Farrar

In the quiet farmland of Pasco, where the scorching summer sun routinely drives temperatures into the triple digits, Devin Bennett wakes up before 5 a.m. to get to work.

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