The Eastmont football team turned itself around this season, going from a perennial middle-of-the-pack finisher to one win away from a league title and a state tournament berth.
As a result, two of the biggest reasons for the turnaround have some hardware to show for it.
Eastmont head football coach Doug McGill was named as the Columbia Basin Big Nine 3A League’s co-coach of the year, an honor he shared with Kamiakin’s Scott Biglin. And Ryan Pierce, a senior defensive back, was named the league’s co-defensive player of the year along with the Braves’ Jon Allen.
Pierce recorded four interceptions and returned two for touchdowns despite missing the final three games of the season due to injury.
“Ryan Pierce’s play was fantastic,” McGill said of the senior at the conclusion of the season. “He really exploded on the scene. We knew Ryan would be tough this year, and he took it to the next level.”
The Wenatchee football team garnered a pair of first-team nods, as Air Force-bound offensive lineman Alec Martin and placekicker Angel Guerra were both selected.
Martin anchored an offensive line that produced a 1,000-yard rusher (Nolan Johnston) and Guerra was a unanimous pick despite missing three games in the middle of the season.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find 10 better linemen in the state than Alec,” Wenatchee coach Scott Devereaux said.
The Wenatchee volleyball team made its first state tournament appearance since 1991, and setter Kirsten Clemans and outside hitter Audrey Ketcham were rewarded with All-Big Nine 4A first-team selections.
Senior defender Jenny Johnson and senior midfielder Korynn Blanksma (bound for Washington State) got first-team nods off the Panther girls soccer team despite Wenatchee missing the postseason.
Chelan was perfect in league play in both football and volleyball, and that success was acknowledged in a big way in end-of-the-year voting.
Chelan sophomore Michael Amsel Jr. was named the Caribou Trail League’s offensive player of the year in football, and Goats senior Jaicee Harris was named the league’s volleyball player of the year. Harris, who led the Goats to a state championship and is headed to Pullman to play volleyball at Washington State University, also won the award last year. Amsel became the second underclassman in a row to win the award after Cashmere quarterback Tyler McNair was honored last year as a junior.
Those teams’ coaches — Darren Talley in football and Donene Hendricks in volleyball — were also named the coach of the year in their respective sports.
Omak junior linebacker Dylan Green was the league’s defensive player of the year after leading the Pioneers to the state semifinals.
A pair of seniors took top honors in CTL cross country. Cashmere’s Roman Velazquez and Omak’s Megan Thornton were the male and female cross country athletes of the year this season, when both ran to victory in the CTL championships. Velazquez went on to win the District 6/7 meet, where Thornton was fifth. Both qualified for the state meet.
Cashmere coach John Durheim was named the league’s coach of the year.
Okanogan’s Jameka Townsend as named as the Caribou Trail League’s soccer player of the year, and her coach, Dean Klepec, was chosen as the coach of the year. Townsend was the goalie on a Bulldogs team that went 9-3 and finished second in the league.
Brewster’s outstanding football season was rewarded with three main honors. Senior running back Cory Squires shared the offensive player of the year honor, while senior linebacker Manny Rubio was named as the league’s defensive player of the year. Coach Ed Ashworth was named as the North Central Washington 2B League North Division coach of the year. The Bears won the league championship and earned a state tournament spot in their first year in the 2B ranks.