CASHMERE — The usual suspects, as well as one team that’s usually suspect, could all fight it out for a league championship this season. Cashmere is fresh off its first-ever state tournament appearance — the Bulldogs went in just their second year in existence last season — but lost a number of key players, including goaltender Hernan Hernandez.
LEAVENWORTH — Over the last four seasons, the Cascade softball team lost just three league games. But Cascade coach Todd Gilbert doesn’t expect that type of domination from his team — or from any other, for that matter — this season.
CASHMERE — They’re the defending state and league champs, and any hope the other teams in the Caribou Trail League had of knocking them off this season may have been extinquished thanks to a couple of timely transfers. Luke Dilly, Spencer Lee and Jacob Andruss played key roles for the Cashmere Bulldogs last season, and replacing them was going to be a challenge for coach Jeff Carlson. But not anymore.
TACOMA — Eighteen NCW wrestlers, including a pair of defending champions, are still in the hunt for state titles after the first day of action at Mat Classic XXIII in the Tacoma Dome. Only one of the remaining champs will defend his title, as Cashmere’s Roman Velazquez and Tonasket’s Keegan McCormick are semifinalists in the 171-pound bracket.
PASCO — The Eastmont wrestling team qualified two wrestlers for next weekend’s Mat Classic state meet during Saturday’s Region IV 3A tournament. Fabian Wickham and Johnny Martinez will represent the Wildcats in next weekend’s state meet.
Eastmont High School takes seven wrestlers to Pasco on Friday — five already qualified for regionals, and one more that need to win qualifying matches to get in. Out of the group, sophomore 103-pound district champion Fabian Wickham holds the best chance at qualifying for state.
OMAK — Tonasket’s long wait for a Caribou Trail League boys basketball victory nearly came to an end Thursday. Instead the Omak Pioneers were able to hold off the Tigers at crunch time for a 58-56 victory.
CASHMERE — A pair of impressive streaks continued Tuesday night for the Chelan Goats. The Goats beat Cashmere 65-54 to clinch their fourth-straight Caribou Trail League championship. The Goats have also won 33 consecutive league games, dating back to December 2008.
BREWSTER — Friday’s contest between the Pateros and Brewster boys basketball teams had a playoff-type atmosphere, according to Bears coach Dwight Plugrath. That’s not surprising, considering the Billygoats entered the game in second place in the Central Washington League North, and the Bears were in third.
OMAK — Omak’s Jordan Velasco was named the Seattle Times WIAA male athlete of the week for the week of Jan. 9-15. Velasco wrestles in the 215-pound class for the Pioneers, where he is unbeaten so far this season.
CASHMERE — The Cashmere boys basketball team lost two of its first three Caribou Trail League games. But that’s in the distant past now. On Tuesday night, the Bulldogs continued on their late-season surge, claiming their fourth straight league victory with a 53-51 overtime win over archrival Cascade.
Last season, Tonasket’s Keegan McCormick beat Cashmere’s Roman Velazquez twice before both went on to win state titles, McCormick at 171 and Velazquez at 160. This season, it’s been a different story. Velazquez edged McCormick 4-2 earlier this year, and when the two met in league competition Tuesday in Chelan, Velazquez again had the upper hand, taking McCormick down twice before pinning him.
The big guns are gone, several leagues are dominated by one or two teams, and even the number of ranked teams has dwinded to a couple. High school basketball in North Central Washington is lacking in firepower this season.
LEAVENWORTH — After one turn through the league rotation, the Chelan boys basketball team is back in a familiar spot. The Goats bumped off Cascade 47-31 on Tuesday in a battle of Caribou Trail League unbeatens to take over sole possession of first place halfway through the league season.
OKANOGAN — The Chelan boys basketball team remains undefeated in Caribou Trail League play, but the Goats’ win over Okanogan on Friday didn’t come easy. Michael Amsel Jr. scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead Chelan to a 57-56 victory. Chelan is now 4-0 in league, a half-game ahead of Cascade (3-0). The Kodiaks were idle Friday.
WENATCHEE — Four CTL teams posted top-four tournament finishes over the weekend. Chelan was second and Cashmere was fourth at the Sky Valley Invitational in Sultan, while Omak was also a runner-up, at the Ranger New Year Classic at Naches. Tonasket was fourth at the Jeremiah Schmunk Invitational in Warden, with Cascade taking 10th in that tournament.