The year that was in North Kitsap sports

A look back at 2001.

Vikings send seven to state.

The North Kitsap boys’ swimming and diving team was well-represented at state in 2001, after sending only one swimmer to Federal Way in 2000.

This year, the 200 relay team of Russ Tamm, Ed Robé, Kyle Hoover, and Josh Corneil earned the state trip for North Kitsap, along with divers Pat White and P.J. Tesi. Jake Leeper joined three of the 200 relay members to compete in the 400 relay. And Corneil competed in the 100 freestyle,

Of the athletes, it was White who shone the brightest, taking fourth in the state’s diving competition.

The 200 relay team also performed well, taking 17th place.

The 400 team took 23rd.

“The kids did really well,” said head coach Greg Braun.

Gymnasts climb in the standings.

In 2000, the North Kitsap gymnastics team finished last in districts.

But in 2001, things were looking up.

Fueled by the performances of Annie Atkinson, Lydia Moore, Brianna White, Katlin Giles, and Monica Anderson, the Vikings placed 12th out of 18 teams in districts.

“We had quite a spectacular year,” head coach Kris Goodfellow said.

She was looking forward to even bigger things in the future, saying, “I think they’ll do even better next year.”

Basketball team makes it a purple reign.

The North Kitsap 2000-2001 boys basketball team had an inauspicious beginning, dropping their first three games.

After that, it was all purple.

The Vikings blasted their way through the next 15 games, winning them all. Sequim. Bremerton. Port Angeles. They all fell before the march of the Vikings, who were led in scoring by senior guard Marc McNall and junior center Bryan Haupt.

That one-two punch, along with plenty of other key players, was enough to propel the Vikings into the playoffs.

Their record was less spectacular there, as the Vikings fell twice, first to Kentwood, then to Federal Way.

But for one basketball team that went almost two months without a loss, it was still a season to remember.

North baseball reaches new heights.

The North Kitsap High School baseball team began the season by winning a 1-0 thriller over Bainbridge Island. The rest of the season had its ups and downs, but was equally thrilling. Behind the fastballs of UW-bound ace Will Fenton, and a balanced, experienced lineup, the Vikings compiled a record of 14-6 regular-season record (12-3 in league), and often did so in exciting fashion, such as when Kyle Peterson cracked a pair of game-winning hits to defeat Port Angeles at both ends of a doubleheader.

The Vikings proved equally adept in the playoffs, earning a pair of wins over Auburn-Riverside and Olympia to move on to state.

That’s where the Vikings run ended, at the hands of Port Angeles, of all teams.

Fenton struck out 10, and the Vikings scored four runs, but it wasn’t enough to stop NK’s Olympic League rivals, who prevailed 5-4.

“It was a good year,” head coach Steve Frease said. “They battled all the way through.”

Parrish has a hand in Seahawks draft.

When the Seattle Seahawks are on the clock, it’s Kirk Parrish’s time to shine.

Parrish, a 1987 graduate of NKHS and son of Vikings football coach Jerry Parrish, is the Seahawks Scouting Administrator. He helps oversee the Seahawks scouting organization, and helps the Hawks decide which players to select in the college draft.

Preparing for the draft is a full-time, year-round job, especially when it’s a business as big as NFL football. But Parrish thrives on it.

“It’s a crazy atmosphere,” he said of the combine, where potential draft picks gather and meet with representatives from teams. “Everyone’s trying to grab these guys, and you get 15 minutes to talk to them, just to get an idea of who they are as a person.”

The picks Parrish has helped with have had an impact this year, with Shaun Alexander at the top of NFL rushers and Steve Hutchinson proving himself as one of the top rookie offensive linemen in the league.

Little league field named for Phillips.

There’s not much that can happen on a Little League field that would surprise Marian Phillips.

But somehow, North Kitsap Little League managed to keep a secret from her — a good secret.

Phillips, a longtime volunteer, parent, and umpire at North Kitsap’s Snyder Field, will always be a part of the field after the “A” field was named for her in April.

“She’s very dedicated, and this ballpark is her whole life,” said league board member Jim Heins at the dedication ceremony (which was sprung on Phillips by surprise).

Phillips said, “My kids came through this league. And I stayed.”

Fastpitch pitches way to solid season.

It was a nice first year for NKHS fastpitch coach Dan Kolda. Kolda’s Vikings used power, speed, and pitching to take third place in the Olympic League. The Vikings had a tough test to get themselves into districts: they had to beat Olympic then beat Port Angeles twice in order to move on.

It didn’t happen. The Vikings lost a 5-4 heartbreaker to Olympic — coming within a hit, walk or error of tying the Trojans — and began looking forward to next year.

Two earn Shandera award.

The Shandera award is named for former North Kitsap football coach Joe Shandera, who died of a heart attack at age 32, but left several lifetimes’ worth of memories for the North Kitsap community.

This year, a pair of deserving athletes picked up the award named after the coach, as Nate Carter and Alice Wood earned the award.

Carter, a wrestling and track standout, and Wood, a gutsy performer in several sports, including basketball and volleyball, were both honored to earn the award.

Wood said she was happy just to stand next to the nominees from other sports.

“I felt really honored to win after standing next to those other people, after what everyone said about them,” she said.

Soccer players kick up their heels in Viking Cup.

It’s North Kitsap’s signature sports event: a soccer tournament that draws hundreds of teams from all directions for a weekend filled with penalty kicks, headers, and goals.

This year was no exception. Games were played at North Kitsap High School, Poulsbo and Kingston Junior High, Wolfle Elementary, Vinland Elementary, and Strawberry field.

For several days in late May, you could hardly find a cleatless foot.

“This is our hometown,” said North Kitsap’s Brian Smith, the coach of FC Kitsap Red. “We like to support it as much as we can.”

More than 150 teams participated in the tournament.

North moves to Narrows League.

North Kitsap athletes are used to facing tough competition. But it got tougher this year, as the Vikings moved from the Olympia League into the Narrows League. While the league contains many familiar opponents (Central Kitsap and Bremerton among them), the Vikings now had to suit up against South Kitsap, Gig Harbor, and Olympia.

Only football, which had already joined the league, was used to it.

“If you thought our league was tough, I’ll tell you what; it just got tougher,” said Vikings girls’ basketball coach Dan Weedin.

Athletic coordinator Scott McKay thought the move would help NK earn respect.

“They’re going to see better competition. They’re going to be challenged,” he said of the athletes.

Carlsen’s a Cub.

Jeff Carlsen, one of the best-decorated athletes in North Kitsap history, earned a chance to make his mark on a professional team in June, when he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs.

Carlsen had been drafted before, by the Pirates and Athletics. But after a career at the University of Washington that saw him become the Husky all-time leader in starts, Carlsen was ready to put on another uniform.

“I was overjoyed,” said Carlsen, who was drafted in the 22nd round by the team from the Windy City.

Carlsen reported to Arizona and impressed Chicago. He hopes to move up the ladder to the bigs. North Kitsap — and Jeff’s father Clary — will be watching carefully.

They will also be searching for accessories.

The day after Jeff was drafted, Clary had his.

“I’ve got my Cubs hat,” he said proudly.

Babe Ruth teams earn honors.

The baseball team at NKHS was not the only team of hardballers to earn recognition this year.

The 15-year-old Babe Ruth team, behind the stellar pitching and hitting of Jared Prince, claimed the state title by whipping Issaquah 15-4.

But it was the 14-year-old team that captured the community’s attention by earning a spot in the Babe Ruth World series.

The team lost only one game in the regional tournament on its way to earning a spot in the world series, which didn’t require a great deal of travel: it was held in Longview.

Coach Jerry Johnson said it all when he said, “It’s wonderful for everyone: kids, parents, and hopefully the community. We’re on some pretty rare ground.”

The team manages to finish third in the community, with parents, siblings and fans making the trip south to watch the team compile a 2-2 record before it was cut down by Hazel Dell Metro in the last game of the season.

Player Sean Carlson had one eye on the future just minutes after the loss.

“This was fun,” he said. “I hope we can do it again.”

Two Vikings run their way to state.

Jim Robson and Michael Chuol pushed each other all year long on the NKHS cross country team. Robson and Chuol, the team’s two top runners, dueled back and forth throughout the season, and in the end they both reached the same goal: a trip to state.

Robson finished 13th in the district meet, while Chuol finished 30th; both earned a trip to the top meet in the state.

“I get to say I ran in state,” Robson said before he left. “So any place I get is good.”

Soccer team makes a run.

The NKHS girls’ soccer team made a run in the playoffs, using their speed and quickness to dart their way into the postseason.

The Vikings were 6-6 this season, but fell in a shootout to Tacoma’s Capital High School team.

“I was pleased by the way they played,” said head coach Teri Ishihara. “They’re a young team, but this was a good experience for them.”

Salwei earns state trip.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way for Jacklene Salwei … but she’ll take it anyway.

Salwei, who was expected to be a top performer on the NKHS girls’ swimming team, found herself hampered by rheumatoid arthritis, swimming in only a few meets.

She is normally a distance swimmer, but Salwei could swim only shorter events because of her injury.

So what did she do?

She qualified for state in two shorter events, the 50 and the 100.

Head coach Greg Braun could barely believe it.

“You think that Jackie’s going to have to salvage the season,” he said. “And she goes out in her first meet back and qualifies for state in the 50 and 100.”

So Salwei, who is only a sophomore, got to travel to Federal Way and wear the Viking purple as their only state representative.

She earned a pair of top-20 finishes at state, She took ninth in the 50 and 17th in the 100.

Volleyball team nets a great season.

The NKHS volleyball team, led by center Sheena Brundage and setter Amber Markwick, used a deep, experienced team to make a run in the district tournament.

The Vikings used a league-topping win over Capital to make it to Bethel’s West Central District Tournament.

There, the luck of the draw was hardly lucky for the Vikings, who drew tough team after tough team, losing to Bellarmine Prep, Kentridge, and eventual champion Kentlake.

But Vikings first-year coach Clay Blackwood was pleased by the performance and optimistic for the future.

“We just didn’t have our game,” he said after districts ended.