Five Terrace teams continue to thrive this fall

Five Terrace teams continue to thrive this fall

By Steve Willits

The first week of the playoffs are just about over and five MTHS teams are still competing!! What an incredible week it has been on the sports front for Mountlake Terrace High School and the athletes of the fall aren’t finished yet. Back when I was a student at MTHS over 20 years ago, other schools in WesC0 thought our fall sports teams were a joke. This is 2013 and no one is laughing now, this is a new era and playoff sports are going strong at Terrace. All five playoff teams have been impressive in their own way and deserve some attention. I will start off by looking at a team that I’ve been fortunate enough to cover the closest, the football team.

The Hawks football teams started out the season losing four of their first six games and they were outscored 132-22 in those four defeats. The prospect of making the playoffs at that time were bleak however the Hawks found a way to turn things around. Over the last three games, the Hawks have been the one’s dominating on the gridiron as they crushed Shorecrest and Shorewood in back to back games before exacting revenge on Stanwood last Friday night, the same team that defeated the Hawks rather easily back on September 6th. The defense is playing well and the offense’s running game is operating like a very well-oiled machine. You will be hard pressed to find another running back in the state of Washington that can match the stats of Chance Ragsdale over the past three weeks as he has rushed for 819 yards and 10 touchdowns over the course of the Hawks three game winning streak. During the on-line broadcast of the Terrace-Stanwood game last Friday, we were joined up in the booth by Seattle Times Sportswriter Adam Jude, a class of 1999 Terrace alum and former Editor of The Hawkeye. At various times during the broadcast, I mentioned that Hawks players Austin Bates, James Poellinger and Malcolm Johnson all transferred to Terrace after starting out as high school students at other places. Jude then commented how unusual it is to have people transferring to Terrace when conversely players were always trying to transfer out of Terrace when he was a student in the late 1990s. I remember those days as well and I must say, there is a lot truth to that. Times have changed for the better.

The Hawks football team qualified for the playoffs for only the third time in the school’s history and all three occasions have happened within the last 5 seasons. Not bad for a football program that had 20 consecutive losing seasons from 1986-2005 and only won nine varsity games total in the entire decade of the 1990s.  Those are not typos, Terrace football used to be pathetic. I should know as I played on a few of those teams.  Kudos to Terrace football coach Tony Umayam (MTHS class of 1990 graduate) for really turning the program around in the past decade. I can’t wait for the playoff football game this Friday night against Mountain View, a game that I will be broadcasting along with the Hawk Broadcasting Network crew on

Another Terrace team that historically has not been able to make the playoffs is the Girls volleyball team. Talk about an impressive turnaround, last year the Hawks record in WESCO play was 1-7. This year they flipped that record and were the WESCO Champions, something that Terrace volleyball hadn’t previously accomplished since 1982. Their next major goal is qualifying for the state tournament which will happen if they can beat Ferndale Thursday night at MTHS and possibly a District Championship if they can win on Thursday and again on Saturday. Much like the football team, this year’s volleyball team did not get off to an auspicious start as the Hawks opened up the 2013 season by getting swept in straight sets against Meadowdale and Marysville Pilchuck.  At that point it was looking like the 2013 team was going to follow the same path as the 2012 team but they decided to take the Terrace volleyball road less traveled and headed in the other direction.  Since those two losses, the Hawks have won 12 of their last 13 games and they are winning in rather convincing fashion.  Seven of their victories have been three set sweeps and the Hawks have only lost a total of seven sets during those 12 wins. Marietta Synder has been coaching this team for 10 years now and you can tell just by talking to her for a few minutes that having a chance to coach a successful team at Terrace means a lot to her.  She and her team have had an outstanding season and I hope they can continue to keep it going all the way to the state tournament down in Lacey next week.

The Terrace girls’ soccer team kept their state tournament dreams alive with a 3-0 victory over Stanwood on Tuesday night. The win was the 11th of the season for first year head coach Evan Hatch and his young team. Not bad for a team that only won four out of 16 games in 2012. Hatch has a nice combination of senior leaders and extremely talented underclassmen. I attended a game recently in which they defeated Oak Harbor 6-0 and all six goals were scored by Juniors. The Hawks have their backs against the walls right now and another loss will end their season but they will qualify for the state playoffs if they can beat Shorewood Thursday night and then beat another opponent yet to be determined on Saturday. Win or lose this week, the turnaround from last season has been very impressive and the team is to be commended for their success.

Not to be outdone by the aforementioned MTHS teams are the Boys and Girls Cross Country squads, both of which qualified for state last weekend.  I was especially happy for the boys’ team knowing the disappointment they faced after last season. They were the 2012 Wesco Champions and were one of the favorites going into the 2012 Districts, needing to finish in the Top three to qualify for state. Unfortunately the Hawks finished 4th and just missed out on the accomplishing that goal.  This year the outcome was different as the boys finished in 3rd place at Districts last week and qualified for state thanks in large part to their top runners, Jack Pearce, Peter Kidane and Wyatt Allemann. They will be heading over to Pasco for the State Championships on Saturday.

The Girls Cross Country team not only qualified for state this year, they did it convincingly and let everyone know that they might be one of the state’s elite programs for the next few years.  The Hawks finished in 2nd place at Districts and almost beat the powerhouse team of the region, the Glacier Peak Grizzlies, a team that is the favorite to win the state championship this year.   The Hawks didn’t win the team championship however one of our young stars did win the individual title and a couple of her teammates weren’t far behind. Freshman Katherine Gustafson is the 2013 individual District Champion while sophomore Ella Schroth and freshman Sophia Nelson finished in 3rd and 4th place.  Think about that for a moment, three of the top four finishers were all from Terrace, two freshmen and one sophomore. These girls should be very competitive next week at the State Championships in Pasco and more than likely will be one of the elite teams in Washington over the next two or three years. Congratulations to Todd Weber who coaches both teams.

Five varsity teams still competing into the second week of the post season!!  Early November 2013 has possibly been one of the most successful accumulative fall sports weeks that Terrace has ever experienced.  Let’s hope that there are even more playoff successes to come over the next week. Either way, I’m proud of what all of these teams have been able to do this year. Go Hawks!