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MAY 24, 2012

Wildcats’ softball team heads to state By Michele Mihalovich

By Michele Mihalovich


Ginger Judge shows off some of the honors she has won.

Mount Si Gymnastics Academy opens with competitive finishers By Ilona Idlis The Mount Si Gymnastics Academy is barely a month old. Most gyms would still be finding their footing. MSGA is not most gyms. Last month, it sent 13 girls to compete in the United States Association of Gymnastics Washington State Meet — a once-a-year, multiweekend spectacular with hundreds of girls competing at multiple levels of difficulty. Led by coach Penny Loan, MSGA’s gymnasts returned with fourth- to 12th-place ranks, finishing in the top 50 percent of their age group. Though the gym is brand new, the MSGA’s competitive team — and its determination to succeed — has been around for a while. Getting to the state meet this year wasn’t easy. The team’s former gym closed its doors and moved away a few months ago, leaving the girls displaced with

no place to practice and competition season upon them. Children who’d practiced together for years and prepared their 2012 routines for months were suddenly on the precipice of disbanding. “There was a sense of being wronged,” Loan recalled. “It was really hard on the girls.” Loan and her assistant coach, Kelly Loranger, chose to stick with the team. With the help of “a lot of very loyal parents,” Loan and Loranger kept the practices going, but every new location proved a new challenge. While other teams trained in fully equipped native gyms, these girls crowded into small rooms at Mount Si High School. There wasn’t enough gymnastics equipment for everyone to practice with at the same time, so Loan staggered the activities — half the girls would See GYMNASTS, Page 13

Freshman Paige Wetherbee, with the Mount Si High School softball team, lets go after a windup in the third inning against Lake Washington High School during the 2012 Sea-King District Softball Tournament on May 17 in Seattle.

The Mount Si High School softball team is heading to state this year, but the path getting there included two polar opposite days in the 2012 Sea-King District Softball Tournament. The Wildcats faced off against West Seattle at the Lower Woodland Park ballfields May 16 and came away with a 10-0 win. That win put the team up against Seattle Metro’s undefeated Bainbridge High School. The Wildcats delivered the Bainbridge Spartans’ first loss of the year, 6-3. The second day of tournament play on May 17 did not go so well for the Wildcats. Mount Si lost, 8-6, against Lake Washington, and then 8-2 against Liberty High School. The losses won’t prevent Mount Si from going to the State 3A Softball Championship beginning May 25 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey, but it will affect who they go up against. The draw, held May 20, pits Mount Si (17-6) against Kamiakin (22-0) in the first matchup at noon May 25. The last time these two played in March, the Kamiakin Braves won, 13-2.

Heartbreaking end to promising season By Michele Mihalovich The Mount Si High School baseball season came to an abrupt and shockingly premature end at the regional final in Centralia May 19. The team won a hard-fought battle during the opening game against Peninsula, 2-1, but then lost the next round against Kelso, 5-2. The first game was no easy win, coach Elliot Cribby said. “All year long we’ve had long, close games facing good defensive teams,” he said. “Peninsula was another good game against a good team.” Cribby said no one was too worried about the match up against Kelso. The team had an overall 18-7 season, verses the Wildcats’ 20-4 record. “We had Reece Karalus on the mound, who’s been doing good all season. And we figured, we’re good. We got this,” he said. But Kelso scored four runs in the first inning. “That definitely took us by surprise and we never really recovered,” Cribby said. Mount Si came into the sea-

“When you’re at the top of the totem pole, everybody wants to chop the top off.” — Elliot Cribby coach son with a target on its back. The Wildcats won the school’s first state baseball championship title last year, and opened the season with national attention for its “Trio of Arms.” All eyes were on senior pitchers Karalus, Trevor Lane and Trevor Taylor, who were credited, in part, for the state win last year. “They are taking Saturday’s loss pretty hard,” Cribby said. “And they should. They have been putting a lot of time and effort in.” He said the team was very quiet at the end of the Kelso game. “It was a tough time for everyone because nobody expected to lose that early,” he said. Cribby said he’s been telling the team that it’s really hard to

repeat a state championship the following year. “When you’re at the top of the totem pole, everybody wants to chop the top off,” he said. “Plus, all the media attention they got, that puts a lot of pressure on them. But I am so impressed with them, how they went out and played the games. There was luck involved, but we also had the talent. Twenty wins in a season is a very good season.” Cribby said the outlook for next year’s program is good. “We had a lot of sophomore and junior starters who will be returning,” Cribby said. “The caliber of senior pitchers we had this season was great, but we do have a crop of others who also have good arms. We’ll be just fine.” Cribby also said the culture of Mount Si baseball has changed in the past couple of years. “This is definitely a football community,” he said. “But baseball has been creeping up in their eyes. The support from this community has been terrific and we’ve really appreciated it.”