Hazen swimmers narrowly miss podium

March 5, 2014

Highlanders earn fifth, Liberty gets three medals at 3A state swim meet

A certain sense of uncertainty surrounded the Hazen High School boys swim team at the beginning of the season.

Without a coach until nearly the last minute, when current coach Jon Graybill agreed to step in, Hazen senior Malcolm Mitchell said he wasn’t sure what to expect of this year’s Highlanders.

By Greg Farrar Connor Biehl, Liberty High School senior, swims to fifth place with a time of 1 minute, 56.72 seconds in the 200-yard individual medley 3A state championship final.

By Greg Farrar
Connor Biehl, Liberty High School senior, swims to fifth place with a time of 1 minute, 56.72 seconds in the 200-yard individual medley 3A state championship final.

“It got off to a bumpy start, just because he was hired just a few days before the season,” Mitchell said. “He handled it well, though, and the season was successful.”

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Freshman phenoms take center stage

January 2, 2014

By Greg Farrar Freshmen varsity athletes (from left), swimmer Sydney Hartford, cross country runners and twin sisters Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi and football player Noah Pritchett, stand by a poster in the Liberty High School commons proclaiming the motto of Patriot athletes and their student body fans, ‘We Are One.’

By Greg Farrar
Freshmen varsity athletes (from left), swimmer Sydney Hartford, cross country runners and twin sisters Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi and football player Noah Pritchett, stand by a poster in the Liberty High School commons proclaiming the motto of Patriot athletes and their student body fans, ‘We Are One.’

Less than a year ago, Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi, Sydney Hartford and Noah Pritchett roamed the halls at Maywood Middle School.

Fast forward to their first year at Liberty High School. Three of them have competed among the top athletes in the state, while the fourth has found a place on a varsity squad that rarely makes room for freshmen.

Liberty sports teams found a lot of success this fall, due in no small part to these budding stars.

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Pool boys

January 2, 2014

 New Northwest Water Polo Club features Newcastle residents

The temperature couldn’t have been higher than 32 degrees.

Puddles of water turned to ice outside the Newport Hills Swim and Tennis Club, and signs warned visitors to watch their step.

By Christina Corrales-Toy Water polo buddies (from left) Blair Voorhees, Peyton Thomas and Jacob Hepp brave freezing Nov. 21 temperatures to get a workout in at the Newport Hills Swim and Tennis Club’s outdoor pool.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Water polo buddies (from left) Blair Voorhees, Peyton Thomas and Jacob Hepp brave freezing Nov. 21 temperatures to get a workout in at the Newport Hills Swim and Tennis Club’s outdoor pool.

And yet there they were, a group of water polo enthusiasts practicing in the facility’s outdoor pool as steam emanated from the water.

“It’s worth it because the game is really fun,” said Newcastle resident Jacob Hepp, 14, a member of the newly founded Northwest Water Polo Club.

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State swimming roundup

December 4, 2013

Liberty’s Mackenna Briggs wins title in butterfly

The Liberty girls swim team notched its highest finish ever at the Nov. 15-16 3A state championships held at Federal Way’s King County Aquatic Center.

The team finished fifth, just missing the chance at a team trophy, but several swimmers came home with individual medals.

Leading the way for the Patriots was junior Mackenna Briggs, who captured her second individual crown in three seasons, winning the 100 butterfly in 55.02 seconds. Her time was the fourth fastest in state history.

Briggs, who won the 100 backstroke title as a freshman, also finished second this season in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:04.71.

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Liberty, Hazen swimmers leave their mark at state

February 28, 2013

By Greg Farrar Raymond Ha, Liberty High School senior, cuts through the pool, en route to repeating as 3A state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke Feb. 16 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

By Greg Farrar
Raymond Ha, Liberty High School senior, cuts through the pool, en route to repeating as 3A state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke Feb. 16 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

As Liberty High School senior Raymond Ha approached the starting block to swim in the final 100 breaststroke race of his high school career, the sounds of Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” blasted from the King County Aquatic Center’s speakers.

The participant with the top-qualifying time in each event gets to choose which song is played as the swimmers walk onto the pool deck to compete in the final race. Surprisingly, Bieber was Ha’s artist of choice.

“I like to do it to psych people out, to get them off their serious edge, so I get an advantage,” he said of the song selection.

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Liberty swimmers dunked by Issaquah, 118-68

January 31, 2013

Coaches are notorious planners, especially in individual sports, such as golf, tennis, wrestling and swimming.

These amazing aquatic mentors can usually anticipate what may or may not transpire down to the tenth of a digit.

At the annual swim meet between the Issaquah Eagles and the Liberty Patriots held at Julius Boehm Pool on Jan. 24, what unfolded in front of the unsuspecting audience was not only in the realm of the uncharted, but was entirely unexpected with the element of surprise and was outrageously humorous.

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Hazen dominates boys conference swim meet

January 2, 2013

The Hazen High School boys swim team may have won 11 of 12 events at its Dec. 20 swim meet against Lindbergh. The team may have soundly defeated its conference foe, 128-57. None of that mattered to Hazen coach Rick Wertman.

“Part of what I ask the boys to measure themselves against is how supportive are we? Are we being good sports? Good sportsmanship means caring enough to give your best,” he said.

The team did give its best, Wertman said, with several swimmers dropping seconds off of their times on the way to a dominant victory.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Nolan Hoover, of Hazen High School, swims his way to victory, in the 100 backstroke with a time of 58.85 seconds.

Leading the pack was junior Malcolm Mitchell, who earned two state-qualifying times, capturing the 200 freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 49.36 seconds and the 500 freestyle in 4:59.32

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Liberty, Hazen swimmers compete at state

December 6, 2012

Liberty takes eighth

After coming into the 3A state championship ranked 12th, the Liberty High School girls swim team racked up four top-eight finishes to take eighth place overall with 98 team points.

With all of those points having been earned by underclassmen, coach Kris Daughters is already excited for next year.

Photos by Greg Farrar
Mackenna Briggs, Liberty High School sophomore, swims in the 50-yard freestyle final Nov. 10 in 24.2 seconds, good enough for third at the 3A state swimming championships.

“We are looking forward to the next couple of years. We should have strong teams,” she said after the meet. “The main state team is going to stay intact for the next two years.”

Daughters attributes a lot of the Liberty Patriots’ rise from their 12th-place ranking to an eighth-place finish to two freshmen: Ellie Hohensinner and Lauryn Hepp. Hohensinner finished the 500 freestyle with a time of 5 minutes, 18.88 seconds.

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Hazen, Liberty athletes selected for all-league teams

November 8, 2012

UPDATED — 3:25 p.m. Nov. 16, 2012

As the fall sports season comes to a close, athletes from Hazen and Liberty high schools are being honored for their athletic achievements as all-league teams are announced. Players and coaches select all-league teams annually. Email additional all-league honors to newcastle@isspress.com.

Hazen boys tennis

The following Hazen High School tennis players were named to the Seamount League all-league team:

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Hazen swimmers top Liberty

October 4, 2012

After 12 events at the Sept. 13 dual swim meet between the Liberty High School Patriots and the Hazen Highlanders, it was only 13 points that ultimately separated the winning team from the losing team.

The Highlanders beat the Patriots by a score of 99-86.

“It was a good meet with Hazen,” Liberty coach Kris Daughters said. “I think we’re pretty close in terms of our depth and talent. They got us by about 12 points, but that’s not very much for a swim meet.”

By Greg Farrar
Ellie Hohensinner, Liberty High School freshman, races to her victory in the 100-meter fly Sept. 13 against Hazen in a time of 1 minute, 6.02 seconds.

Hazen coach Rick Wertman said that the meet between the two schools is always competitive, especially since many of the swimmers are familiar with each other from competitions outside of school.

“It’s a natural rivalry because we’re in close proximity, but the kids know each other from club and summer league, so it’s always a fun meet. And Kris is an excellent coach, so it’s fun to put our teams together and see what happens,” he said.

Wertman said he was happy with his team’s meet and he highlighted the performances of Talisa Wibmer, Amy LeBar and Kourtney Brunings.

Wibmer, a junior, took first in the 100 backstroke with a state-qualifying time of 1 minute, 2.20 seconds. She also captured first in the 100 freestyle. Brunings, a sophomore, won the 100 breaststroke and LeBar, a senior, won the 50 freestyle. All three swimmers, along with freshman Clarissa Mitchell, were on the 200 medley relay team that captured first with a state-qualifying time of 1:57.91.

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