High School Sports

Huge sports weekend: 18 events you need to know about and why

Hope you’re rested up, because it’s going to be one busy sports weekend.

High school, college, professional sports. We got ’em all these next four days.

In fact, I don’t have space to waste on a prelude. So here we go. Here are 18 things you need to know about in sports this weekend:

1. EWU women’s soccer. Why?

The Eagles are in the Big Sky Conference tournament semifinals at 11 a.m. Friday against Sacramento State. Should they win, they’ll play Sunday in the title game for an NCAA tournament berth.

Why should you care? Pasco High grad Chad Bodnar is the Eagles coach. He was just named Big Sky Conference coach of the year. And he has a number of Mid-Columbia athletes on his squad.

Forward Taylor Matheny (Hanford) was the co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Sky Conference. Forward McKaley Goffard (Southridge) was named second-team All-Big Sky Conference.

Forward Maddie Morgan (Kamiakin) scored two goals in the Eagles’ 3-0 quarterfinal win over Portland State on Wednesday. Kendall Pope (Southridge) has provided quality minutes for the team, and Kelsee Winston (Hanford) has been the team’s only keeper this season, earning four shutouts.

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2. Mead at Chiawana football.

Former Prosser coach Benjie Sonnichsen brings his Mead Panthers into Edgar Brown Stadium at 6 p.m. Friday (note the kickoff time difference) for a 4A regional playoff game.

Ryan Blair has tossed 33 touchdown passes this season, against just 1 interception. That’s Russell Wilson-like.

But Blair and the Panthers are going up against one of the toughest defensive units in the state in Chiawana. The Riverhawks do a great job of disguising where the blitz is coming from, and they’ll have to put the pressure on Blair.

Winner qualifies for the state 4A playoffs.

3. Shadle Park at Kennewick football.

The Lions host the Highlanders at 7 p.m. Friday at Lampson Stadium.

Expect them to use their swarming defense and sophomore running back Myles Mayovsky’s legs — he has rushed for 1,093 yards this season — to grab what’s up for stakes here: a state 3A playoff berth.

Kennewick has had just one slip-up on its schedule this season, in a loss to Chiawana.

Other than that, head coach Randy Affholter has his team playing lights out.

4. Kamiakin at Mt. Spokane football.

Kickoff for this 3A regional game is 6 p.m. Friday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane.

The Braves boast the No. 1 rusher in the Mid-Columbia Conference in Tuna Altahir (1,331 yards), the No. 2 passer in Henry Mercado (1,972 yards, 22 TDs), and the Nos. 3 and 4 receivers in Woodley Downard (39 catches for 686 yards) and Kelen Rutz (33-613), respectively.

Kannon Katzer averages over 10 yards of rushing every time he touches the ball for the host Wildcats.

Up for grabs is a state 3A playoff berth.

5. Hanford at Gonzaga Prep football.

Brett Jay’s Falcons get a chance to exorcise the demons from last year’s regional playoff loss.

Kickoff is at 6 p.m. Friday, at Gonzaga Prep.

The Falcons’ Easton Wise-Hyde is the MCC’s top QB with 2,399 passing yards and a 25-to-7 TD pass-to-interception ratio. He spreads the ball out to sometimes as many as nine different receivers.

Kamari Durmas has been outstanding at running back, rushing 109 times for 865. The Hanford defense must figure out a way to stop Prep QB Ryan McKenna.

Winner of this game heads to the Class 4A state playoffs.

6. SCAC football playoffs.

Four games, all set to start at 7 p.m. Friday, with a Class 1A state berth on the line in each contest.

They are: Goldendale at Royal, Naches Valley at Connell, River View at La Salle, and Warden at Zillah.

7. 2B regional football playoffs.

Three Tri-Cities teams are involved in Friday’s 2B regional playoffs (all games kickoff at 7 p.m.).

Liberty Christian travels to Lake Roosevelt; Mabton visits Columbia-Burbank; and Manson plays Tri-Cities Prep at Chiawana High School.

At stake are state 2B football berths.

8. Other football games.

Pullman visits Othello at 7 p.m. Friday in a 2A glue crossover playoff. Winner qualifies for the state 2A playoffs, while the loser is done.

Some other non-playoff teams have scheduled Friday contests too.

Hermiston hosts North Central at 5 p.m.; Walla Walla visits Central Valley at 6 p.m.; College Place is at Granger at 6 p.m.; and Wahluke visits Grandview at 7 p.m.

9. State cross country is in town.

Over 1,000 runners will invade the Tri-Cities this weekend for the WIAA state cross country championships, being held again at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

A total of 12 races will be run, and here is the schedule:

Wheelchair race, 9:30 a.m.; 1B/2B girls, 10 a.m.; 1A girls, 10:30 a.m.; 2A girls, 11 a.m.; 1B/2B boys, 11:30 a.m.; 1A boys, noon; 2A boys, 12:30 p.m.; 3A girls, 1 p.m.; 4A girls, 1:30 p.m.; Ambulatory race, 2 p.m.; 3A boys, 2:30 p.m.; 4A boys, 3 p.m.

Tickets for the all-day event are $11 for adults, and $8 for senior citizens and students.

10. Top local runners.

Keep an eye on the Kamiakin boys, who’ve won the boys 3A state title two years running and hoping for a third Saturday.

Isaac Teeples, Grayson Wilcott and Stanford Smith are the leaders of the No. 8 ranked boys team in the entire nation (Dyestat.com) right now.

On the girls side, Richland sophomore Natalie Ruzauskas won the 4A District meet last Saturday in Spokane. Walla Walla’s Ella Nelson runs right with her.

And in 3A girls, Geraldin Correa of Kennewick will be among the leaders.

11. Top runners from around the state.

No less than five individual state champions return to the state meet on Saturday: Bellarmine Prep’s Ella Borsheim (4A girls), North Central’s Allie Janke (3A girls), Pullman’s Eliason Kabasenche (2A boys), Charles Wright Academy’s Adam Briejer (1A boys), and King’s Naomi Smith (1A girls).

In addition, the best boys runner in the state right now just might be Jonas Price of Eisenhower, who just barely missed winning the 4A state title last year.

12. Walla Walla CC women’s soccer.

The Warriors host Skagit Valley at noon Saturday on the campus in an NWAC quarterfinal match.

WWCC’s roster is filled up with plenty of Mid-Columbia talent: Estefania Cossio (Hanford grad), Blake Danna (Hanford), Lyndsey Ellingsen (Chiawana), Kirren Gay (Kennewick), Erin Leseberg (Kamiakin), Anabel Lin (Richland), Jessica Maher (Hanford), Lorena Ramirez (Walla Walla), Brielle Schneider (Kamiakin), Aubree Skone (Warden), Payton Thompson (Hanford), Sariah Valencia (Grandview), and JuliAnna Ventura (Chiawana).

13. CBC men’s soccer.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, it’s the Hawks’ turn. They play host to Everett Community College in an NWAC men’s quarterfinal match.

Like WWCC above, CBC has plenty of local talent on its roster: Ahmed Colakovic (Southridge grad), Leo Contreras (Pasco), Jason Cortes (Kennewick), Oscar Cortez (Pasco), Juan Cruz (Kennewick), Erick Enriquez (Chiawana), Eduardo Garcia (Pasco), Pablo Gil (Connell), Jose Gonzalez (Prescott), Jerardo Guerrero (Wahluke), Isaac Gutierrez (Touchet), Ricardo Herrera (Pasco), Francisco Lagunas (Sunnyside), Jonathan Larios (Chiawana), Brian Licona (Sunnyside), Jordan Martin (Southridge), Felix Mendoza (Chiawana), Kevin Meraz-Rodriguez (Pasco), Jose Moreno (Pasco), Mario Negrete (Sunnyside), Armando Nieblas (Pasco), Jhonny Nyabenda (Chiawana), Daniel Puga (Pasco), Ryan Ramos (Kennewick), Sebastian Ramos (Richland), Ismael Rodriguez (Pasco), Nick Steltenpohl (Chiawana), and Alejandro Vega (Pasco).

14. Richland volleyball.

The Bombers play host to University at 1 p.m. Saturday in a District 8 winners bracket semifinal. Winner advances to the championship next week and a chance for the state 4A berth.

15. Gonzaga men’s basketball.

Who isn’t a fan of Gonzaga hoops anymore? The Bulldogs play Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 5 p.m. Saturday, and it’s being televised on ROOT Sports.

16. State football draws released.

At around noon on Sunday, the state seeding committee meetings should have wrapped up, and the state football pairings released. So keep an eye out on Twitter to see where your team — assuming it qualified for state — plays and against which team.

17. MLS Cup.

Downtown Seattle should be nuts on Sunday morning, as 70,000 soccer-crazed fans will invade Century Link Field to watch Major League Soccer’s championship game between the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC. The game is being televised at noon Sunday on ABC.

18. Seahawks at Niners.

Let’s finish the weekend with an outstanding Monday Night Football game, as the Seattle Seahawks visit the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers. Kickoff is set for 5:15 p.m. Monday, and it’s on ESPN.

Jeff Morrow is former sports editor for the Tri-City Herald.
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