POULSBO — It’s tough to top being inducted into your local sports hall of fame, but Camie (Yeik) Devitt managed to do just that this past weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, Devitt, a former standout wrestler at Olympic High School, was on stage at the Kiana Lodge accepting her place in the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame and joking about not being able to make weight at the moment due to her pregnancy.
What would have been the highlight of anyone’s day likely came in as runner-up for Devitt. During the ceremony, hosted by the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, she began to feel contractions and by 9 p.m. she had given birth to a daughter, Ryleigh.
Devitt was the last wrestler to compete in the boys division before the WIAA separated the activities, and she was among the best in her time. She qualified for state three times and finished sixth at 103 pounds in 2008, capping a 28-9 season.
Just 11 years removed from her senior season, the girls wrestling tournament at the Mat Classic is chock full of talented young women.
“It’s just so cool to see where women’s wrestling started at and where we are now,” Devitt said. “And it’s even more awesome to say I was part of that movement and here I am today being recognized for that. Thank you very much for that, it is so cool.”
Shifting from one end of the age spectrum to the other, the 1948 Bainbridge High School boys basketball team, which captured the Class B state championship that year, was one of two full squads inducted, along with the 1981 Olympic College softball team.
Five players — Sam Clarke, Ray Lowrie, Jim Nadeau, Bob Olsen and Bob Woodman — took the stage to reminisce about that magical season in which they defeated Harrington, St. John (the defending champs), Sequim and Kalama on the way to the title.
“I’m sorry not all of us are here, but we are here in spirit,” Lowrie said.
In those days, Bainbridge was a small school in the Olympic League with a tough schedule consisting of teams such as South Kitsap, Central Kitsap, Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles. Led by Olsen, Woodman, Bob Sigle and Bob Buchanan, Bainbridge went 8-4 in the regular season and knocked off Sequim, 57-40, in the district championship game at Hec Edmundson Pavillion.
Guided by the late, great Tom Paski, the Spartans showed a knack for winning close games at the state tournament. They won their four games by a combined 13 points. Olsen was an all-state selection that year while Buchanan, Sigle and Pete Uglesich were Honorable Mentions.
“They won more often than not in tight times, especially in the state tournament,” Lowrie said.
South Kitsap was well-represented in this year’s class of inductees. Football players Kevin Peterson, Derek Strey and Renard Williams were all honored, as was wrestler Conner Hartmann and former head boys basketball coach John Callaghan.
Peterson, Strey and Williams all continued their football careers at Eastern Washington and were part of some of the many successful teams South Kitsap has had over the years.
“The people you are looking at are a direct reflection of the right hands guiding, many hours invested and mentorships that last a lifetime,” Williams said.
The lessons learned during their formative years was a theme which ran throughout many of the inductees’ speeches.
Jared Prince, a former star in both football and baseball at North Kitsap, was able to point to a childhood activity that helped him make one of the biggest plays of his baseball career at Washington State.
He told the story of how his father would hit tennis balls while he and his brother, Jordan, would make diving catches landing in tide pools. It was the perfect preparation for a game-saving diving catch many years later against the University of Oklahoma.
“My neighbor teacher always says, ‘People need people,’ and there’s a lot of people that helped me along the way,” Prince said.
Also inducted were Craig Anderson, a mountaineer who was part of the first American expedition to the top of K2; Troy Kelly, a Central Kitsap golfer; Billy Landram, a basketball star at North Mason who now coaches the Gig Harbor boys basketball team; and Shane Moskowitz, a former CK cross country and track standout.
Barry Janusch, the athletic director at Olympic College, was given the Rex Brown Distinguished Service Award. Barney McCallum, one of the inventors of pickleball, was given the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. Craig Dean, a longtime soccer official, was given the Dick Todd Memorial Award.