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Wednesday November 27, 2013

FUTURE NOW Issaquah club uses robots to jumpstart career paths, competitive juices

By Neil Pierson npierson@ Robotics will likely be a growing field for today’s high-school graduates to pursue, and the Issaquah Robotics Society is trying to create a competitive buzz around their highly technical interests. The robotics society, marking its 10th year this year, will begin its next season of competition in January. Like other student-led teams in the state — which compete under the rules of FIRST, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — they’ll have six weeks to build a robot for entrance in various regional competitions. Last year, Issaquah High School’s team traveled to Portland, Ore., where they finished 5-4 in qualification matches and was among the eight finalists. Two weeks later, at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, they went 11-1 to earn the top qualifying seed, although they were upset in the semifinals. “To go down like that is disappointing, but we were still very proud of them,” said Brett Wortzman, an Issaquah High computer science teacher and the club’s adviser. “It was a great showing, and we learned a little bit from that, which is what enabled us to do so well at Girls Generation.” Girls Generation is technically an off-season competition, but the 15 girls who comprised the Issaquah team at the Oct. 19 event were plenty hungry to win. They defeated 30 other all-female teams at

Tahoma High School in Covington. “It was great, because usually, when you go to normal competitions, you look around and it’s mostly guys there,” said sophomore Sarah Powazek, who drove the robot. “So, the fact that it was only girls, it really changed the atmosphere of it as well.” The team’s robot Gigabot is an 88-pound contraption inspired by the “Back to the Future” movies. It’s designed to scoop up Frisbees and spit them out in rapid fashion, using a complex system of computer-animated design, electronics and pneumatics, or air pressure. The teams try to score points by shooting their Frisbees into a goal, and at Girls Generation, they PHOTOS BY NEIL PIERSON accumulated points by Issaquah High School students Sarah Powazek and Spencer Tickman lift Gigabot, the robot they created for the 2013 compeGigabot climbing a large tition season. pyramid in the middle of the playing field. Caroline Moore, a junior and one of the team’s captains, said she began experimenting with robotics in the fourth grade. Younger students can compete in FIRST events by building Lego robots, and many of the Issaquah School District’s elementary and middle schools now have their own robotics teams. Moore is consider“Usually, when you go to normal coming a career in computer science, and has been inpetitions, you look around and it’s spired through the robotics mostly guys there. So, the fact that it society. “Doing something like was only girls, it really changed the this, you just learn so atmosphere of it as well.” much, and you also get an application for all the stuff See ROBOTS,

— Sarah Powazek

Above, students in the Issaquah Robotics Society gather around mentor Jim Troy as he explains a pneumatics system. At right, students use a ‘robot in a box’ Page B3 that can test various systems before they’re installed in a full-sized robot.

Issaquah Robotics Society robot driver

College-bound graduate seeks help for buying an assistance van By Peter Clark


Jae Kim (center) hopes to have transportation for her power wheelchair and communication device as she starts taking classes at Bellevue College. Her mother Ji Yang (left), and friends Jody Mull and Lisa Gaan are working to make that a reality by raising money from the community.

Local volunteers hope to make a college transition easy for one student. Jae Kim graduated from Issaquah High School this year and is excited about starting Bellevue College in January. She has cerebral palsy, and while Issaquah High School provided assistance in transportation, she will need to find her own way to future education. In response, a group of local residents have started a campaign to raise $50,000 to buy Kim and her family a gently used van, complete with lift assistance. They hope to find help from the community to take this large worry off Kim’s entry into college. “Yeah, I’m pretty excited to

OPENING THE ARCHIVES The Issaquah History Museums take requests regarding what people would like to see in the Digital Collection at If there is a particular name, place or item you’d like to see more images of on the website, email Erica Maniez at erica. maniez@issaquahhistory. org. Send your history photos to editor@isspress. com. 94.010.011

Tibbetts-Goode families about to go to Florida Issaquah’s first car was shipped by rail and assembled in 1911. In this 1916 photograph, the Tibbetts and Goode families prepare for a car trip to Florida, more than 3,000 miles away. Pictured from left to right are Gertrude (Goode) McKinnon, George W. Tibbetts, Ida Maude (Goode) Walimaki, William Goode, Cora Bea (Goode) Lassen, Rebecca (Wilson) Tibbetts, Ida Mae (Tibbetts) Goode, John Maurice Goode and Edward John Goode. The cars are 1915 (left) and 1916 (right) model Fords.


ON THE WEB Learn more about Jae Kim and how to help at www.facebook. com/VanForJaeKim.

start my new life at Bellevue College, even though it’s a little bit scary,” Kim said with the help of her communicator. She uses a joystick with her left hand in order to meticulously enter words into a monitor, which then speaks for her. “It is scary, because at high school, people helped me a lot,” she said. “During my high school years, my teachers and aids supported me with my personal care or schoolwork. They also helped deciding what classes I should take, although now my favorite

part of college is controlling my schedule.” Without the use of a van, Kim has had to leave behind her independently operated wheelchair and rely on others. “I used a stroller that someone needed to push me,” Kim said. “It wasn’t really fun for me, since I couldn’t go anywhere that I wanted to go and had to wait for somebody to push my stroller. I couldn’t use my communication device, which was attached to my power wheelchair.” The lack of mobility impacted her social life until the school district stepped in with assistance. “I lost time with my friends, since I couldn’t go to any school activity, like prom or dances,” See VAN, Page B3

Newcastle crowns its geography bee champ By Christina Corrales-Toy As a fourth-grader competing against fifth-graders, one might call Newcastle Elementary School student Pravir Chugh an underdog in the school’s annual geography bee. If you knew how long he prepared for the competition, though, you wouldn’t be surprised that he took first place in the Nov. 22 contest. “I studied a long time, at least two to three years,” the charismatic fourth-grader said after his big victory. Pravir bested nine of his classmates to win the school’s 2013 geography bee, answering a series of questions taken directly from the National Geographic Society. He and fifth-grader Allison Constantini survived the first rounds, pitting the two


Pravir Chugh, a Newcastle Elementary School fourth-grader, reacts after he is named the school’s 2013 geography bee champion.

See GEOBEE, Page B3




Wednesday November 27, 2013

Drew Lunde signs to play WSU baseball By Neil Pierson npierson@


The Liberty High School girls soccer team hugs and screams for joy after the 2-1 state 3A championship victory against Kamiakin on Nov. 23 in Puyallup.

THE THRILL OF VICTORY Patriots capture first girls state soccer title

By Christina Corrales-Toy As time wound down and the Liberty High School girls soccer team secured a 2-1 victory over Kamiakin in the Nov. 23 3A state championship game, two things were certain. First, the Patriots would capture their first state title in girls soccer. Second, the team, which had sworn off fast food this season, would feast on McDonald’s that night. “If I was really on it, I would have had Happy Meals delivered,” Liberty coach Tami Nguyen joked. A trip to Ronald’s was undoubtedly deserved for a group that made school history, riding a wave of momentum that began with the team’s Nov. 13 upset of top-ranked Columbia River. The 2013 Patriots didn’t even win their own league championship, which went

to Bellevue, but they won the only trophy that mattered. “People always talk about peaking at the right time, and I don’t think you could’ve scripted it any better than this,” Nguyen said. The sizable contingent of Liberty fans didn’t have a chance to get settled in at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup before the Patriots scored their first goal against Kamiakin. Just seconds into the game, Liberty sophomore Sydney Abel put the Patriots on the board, netting the ball inside the right post, with an assist from junior Sami Harrell. “She played me a good ball, and I just had to be there to finish it, and our momentum went up right as we got it,” Abel said. Kamiakin tied it up in the game’s 16th minute, thanks to Alicia Nguyen’s penalty kick, sending the teams into halftime with a


Sydney Abel (right), Liberty High School sophomore forward, reaches out with joy to sophomore midfielder Amanda Hemmen after scoring in the first 30 seconds against the Kamiakin Braves in the state 3A soccer championship Nov. 23 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. 1-1 score. Abel and Harrell would connect again in the second half, only this time Harrell had the score, while Abel had the assist. The goal was all the Patriots would need to net the state title. When the referee blew the whistle, officially ending the game, the Patriots jumped and screamed with excitement, while echoes of the chant “Patriot power” emanated through the stands. “We didn’t think we

were going to win it this year, and we did it,” Harrell said. The win against Columbia River was a momentous turning point in the Patriots’ season, Nguyen said. It instilled confidence and a belief that Liberty really could make it to the top, after coming so close the past few years. In 2012, the Patriots placed fourth at state; a year earlier, they finished second. “It’s unbelievable for the

seniors, for our school,” Abel said. “We came back and won it.” Liberty reached the title game after a close victory against Seattle Prep in the semifinals. That Nov. 22 game went to a shootout. The continuity in coaching played a big factor this year, Harrell said, as the Patriots had the same coach for consecutive years for the first time in a while. “It’s nice understanding how she coaches, and she knows us, and we were able to just put it all together,” Harrell said of Nguyen, Liberty’s secondyear coach. Ten seniors will graduate from this year’s Liberty squad, a special group that was defined by their close relationships, Nguyen said. “Their leadership of getting the underclassmen on board and teaching the tradition of our program has been important,” she said. “They’ve really taken those guys under their wing, which really instilled a good team atmosphere for us.”

THE AGONY OF DEFEAT Issaquah girls lose second straight finale heartbreaker By Christina Corrales-Toy This was supposed to be their year. After a painful loss to rival Skyline in last year’s state championship, the Issaquah High School girls soccer team was not about to let the sting of second place plague them again. The Eagles were off to a great start in 2013, finally defeating the Spartans in a thrilling shootout victory in the state quarterfinals Nov. 16. They ran past Olympia with ease, notching a 3-0 win in the state semifinals Nov. 22. Yet, for the second straight year, the Eagles came up short in the 4A state title game after a heartbreaking 3-2 penaltykick shootout loss to Central Valley at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium Nov. 23. “It’s disappointing, but we

gave it a really hard fight,” Issaquah junior Devan Talley said. “They’re a really good team, and we’re just going to have to come out next year and play harder.” Talley gave Issaquah an early lead, scoring in the 16th minute, off a pass from Issaquah forward Rachel Wheeler. Issaquah held the 1-0 lead until the 49th minute, when Central Valley’s Savannah Hoekstra scored. “After the first 30 minutes of the game, it was like wow, we we’re just on fire, we’re in their head, and then the last 10 minutes of the half, Central Valley kind of gave a run at us,” Issaquah coach Tom Bunnell said. The Eagles recaptured the lead after senior Juliana da Cruz came up with an unassisted goal in the game’s 71st minute. Central Valley’s Hailey Spooner tied it up in the


Anna Miller, Issaquah High School sophomore goalkeeper, and her tearful teammates congratulate the Central Valley Bears after coming in second in the state 4A girls soccer championship final Nov. 23 in Puyallup. 79th minute, ultimately sending the teams to overtime. The score remained tied after two overtime periods, forcing the penalty kick shootout. Issaquah missed two of its first three penalty kicks, a hole they were unable to overcome, as Central Valley kicked its way to the state title. “I’m disappointed by the whole thing and I’m sure the girls are crushed, but it was a great run, great

season, great kids and good story for us all to tell,” Bunnell said. It was an especially bittersweet moment for Talley, who battled back from two knee injuries to get the chance to play alongside her teammates. “The team’s amazing,” she said. “I’m so thankful and blessed to be here with these girls and to get to play with them finally.” Despite the heartbreak of yet another second-place finish, Talley said the team

succeeded in its goal of making it back to Puyallup to compete for the title. “We came together as a team, and our goal was to get here and we did,” she said. Issaquah will have nine seniors graduate from the 2013 team, a group Bunnell described as relentless. “We had a weird little run there at the end, where we dropped some games, but they just bounced back and showed a lot of heart,” he said.

If KingCo Conference baseball fans are looking for a player that resembles Los Angeles Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw, they might find their match in Skyline High School southpaw Drew Lunde. Last season, Lunde was the staff ace for Skyline, which won the KingCo Crown Division title and finished with a 17-7 record. His stat line was impressive — a 1.73 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings, and an opponents’ batting average of .138. It may come as no surprise that Lunde’s big-league role model is Kershaw, a three-time allstar and two-time National League Cy Young Award winner. Collegiate programs have been taking notice of Lunde’s gifts for a while, and the Skyline senior had competing scholarship offers from programs like Gonzaga, Washington and Oregon State. But Lunde turned down those offers and signed with Washington State on Nov. 13, the first day of the NCAA’s early signing period for athletes in the class of 2014. “Wazzu was my first choice,” Lunde said last week while sporting a crimson shirt with a white Cougar head logo, “and when they offered me, I just needed to get to know the coaches and stuff to make sure I was getting myself in a good situation. “When they offered me (a scholarship), I went over two weeks after, met with the coaches and had dinner with them … and I was hooked,” he added. “It was awesome.” “Drew is a complete bulldog on the mound,” WSU pitching coach Gregg Swenson said in a news release. “He is a two-sport star who brings his football mentality to the diamond. He pitches with a great feel for the game and has led all his teams to great heights during his prep career.” While Lunde has turned in some spectacular performances in a Skyline uniform — a completegame one-hitter with 14 strikeouts against Garfield among them — much of his success is rooted in his work with the Lakeside Recovery American Legion program. Lunde said he’s been able to work with numerous minor-league players through Lakeside, and he plans to continue workouts over the winter to stay in shape. Playing linebacker for the Spartans football team also has helped. “I need to get lower body strength and core strength, which is probably what I’d say is one of my weaknesses right now,” he said. He may have a chance to play immediately for WSU. “Most of the guys they have right now are supposed to be draft picks,” Lunde said, “so most of the pitching jobs are going to be wide open for people to compete.” More so than Kershaw, Lunde looks up to his older brother Matt, a sophomore pitcher at Pac-12 Conference rival Washington. “We’ll see if we can get some playing time in against each other,” Drew said.

The Issaquah Press

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 •