The Hawkeye

Mountlake Terrace vs Meadowdale- district rivals show amazing compassion in wake of tragedy

Steve Willits – the voice of the Hawks and Sound Live Sports Network.

Steve Willits – the voice of the Hawks and Sound Live Sports Network.

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A high school girls soccer game is the last place that I expected to be brought to tears. I suppose that I should be somewhat embarrassed to admit this in an article for everyone to read, but after witnessing the generosity and thoughtfulness displayed by the students of Mountlake Terrace and Meadowdale High Schools last night at Edmonds Stadium, I’m not embarrassed at all. I will make an emotional exception in this case, last night was special!!

The game itself became secondary but in case you are wondering, Mountlake Terrace Hawks defeated Meadowdale 2-1 in overtime thanks to goals by Maddie Powers and Lily Hart. It was a huge victory for the Hawks, a “statement win” if you will. The Hawks only won four games out of 16 in 2012, they appear to be vastly improved in 2013 as they have started off their season with three straight victories and beating Meadowdale was no easy task. Meadowdale is the defending WesCo 3A Champs and won their first two games this season by a combined score of 11-1. This story isn’t about the outcome of the game though, it is about the actions of two rival high schools and the bond that has been forged this week.  A “statement win” of a different sort.

Rivalries in high school sports can often be nasty. We sometimes pull words and phrases out of our sports lexicon to describe certain rivalries in a way that conjure up images of dislike: bitter enemies, hatred, hostility, etc. Rivalries can be very unpleasant. This is a story about two rival high schools that have shown us this week that it doesn’t have to be that way. Mountlake Terrace and Meadowdale are rival high schools that have reminded us that when tragedy strikes one school, the other will be there to provide support. We might battle one another in sports, but we’ve got each other’s backs where it matters the most, in the real world.

A very tragic thing happened at Meadowdale High School on Friday morning. A student by the name of Matthew Truax died unexpectedly while participating in his PE class, he was only 16 years old. Dealing and coping with the death of someone we love and care about is never an easy thing. It is much more difficult when it is unexpected and it is a young man that should have just been entering the prime of his life. The Meadowdale High School community is grieving this week and it isn’t easy. “Some (students) are doing fine, others are struggling right now, it’s hard” said Meadowdale Activities and Athletic Director Beth Marriott when I asked her how the students are coping.

Paying your respects and showing support can come in many forms. Members of the MTHS ASB and Leadership group stood in front of Meadowdale on Monday morning, holding up encouraging banners for the Meadowdale students to see as they arrived at school. “We are extremely grateful for their kind gesture, everyone appreciates the support” said Meadowdale ASB Vice President Harrison Baxter when asked what Meadowdale thought of the actions of the MTHS students.

The Mountlake Terrace girls soccer team also wanted to pay their respects. They honored Matthew by painting a blue heart (Meadowdale school color) on their faces both on Saturday for their game against West Seattle High School and again last night for the Meadowdale game.  According to Hawks Captain Maddy Kristjanson, the idea came about on Saturday morning. A couple of the girls on the team, Christina Salsbury and Nikki Froehlich, made a trip to a party store to buy the necessary products for the entire squad and the team showed up at the stadium 15 minutes earlier than normal to paint their faces. The team also decided to paint their faces again last night. I asked Maddy Kristjanson if any of the Meadowdale players made any comments about the blue hearts during the game. “They thanked us, they thought it was a really cool idea” said Kristjanson.

Hearing about the blue hearts and knowing that Terrace was playing Meadowdale last night, I decided that it would be a fitting subject to write about this week. I showed up to the stadium expecting to see face paint but not much else other than the game itself. What I didn’t expect was a group of Meadowdale students to create a moment that will forever be etched in my mind.

Throughout the first half of the soccer game, the Meadowdale students attending the game were enthusiastic. They weren’t doing anything wrong or being disrespectful, they were just loud and boisterous.  The kind of enthusiasm you expect from a group of teenagers at a sporting event.   After the first half of play the Meadowdale crowd became quiet as the Public Address Announcer read a statement “Meadowdale players would like to thank Mountlake Terrace for their friendship gesture”. As soon as that was done I noticed that about 20 of the loud Meadowdale students teamed up and started to make their way toward the Terrace student section.

I broadcasted Meadowdale’s football game last Friday night against Inglemoor and recognized a few of the students as members of the football team. I asked myself “why is this vocal group heading toward the Terrace student section?  Could they possibly be looking for trouble?” I watched the group as they stopped right in front of the Terrace students and then I noticed that they were holding a banner. They held up the banner so that the Terrace students could read it.

The banner had a heart painted on it, half of the heart was red (Terrace colors) and half of the heart was blue (Meadowdale colors). The blue side of the heart had a red hand print in the middle of it and the red side of the heart has a blue hand print, a symbol no doubt of unity and solidarity between the two schools.  The banner also had 3 simple words painted on it “Thank You Hawks”.  One of the Meadowdale students loudly explained to the crowd that they appreciated the support that Mountlake Terrace had given them all week and that they wanted to present the banner to them. The banner was handed over to the Mountlake Terrace students as many of the Terrace supporters applauded and the Meadowdale students then returned to their section.  The banner might have only had 3 words but the gesture spoke so much more.

After the game I had a brief conversation with MTHS Principal Greg Schwab to see what his thoughts were regarding the events of this past week. “It shows what a great school and community we are” said Schwab.  He also pointed out that other schools in the District have been supportive of MTHS in the past through hard times and that it was nice to be able to do the same. “It reminds me again about what great kids we have throughout the District, we go to different high schools but we really are connected” said Schwab.

Years from now, many people that were at Edmonds Stadium last night will forget who won the game and what the final score was.  What they won’t forget is the sportsmanship and respect that were displayed by both schools toward on another. Edmonds School District and the communities that they service have a lot to be proud of regarding the events that transpired not only yesterday, but since Matthew Truax’ passing.   It does not take away the sadness of a life gone far too soon.

It does however help to know that we are a village and that we all care about one another, no matter what school name is on our uniforms.

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The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.
Mountlake Terrace vs Meadowdale- district rivals show amazing compassion in wake of tragedy