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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Recognize Greater Seattle

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Boys' Cross Country - Mead



Winners of 14 state titles since 1976, including the 2007 championship, the Mead boys' cross country team should've entered the postseason as the odds-on favorites to repeat this year, right? Wrong. A loss to eventual Greater Spokane League champ North Central and a poor outing at regionals in November made the Panthers seem less dangerous this fall. But behind a solid core of veterans, Mead rebounded to claim the Class 4A championship, holding off Jackson by eight points. "We went in being the underdog for the first time in a while," says head coach Steve Kiesel. The Panthers' repeat bid appeared in serious jeopardy after the graduation of last year's top runner, Kelly Lynch. While Mead failed to field a runner of Lynch's caliber in the fall, the Panthers featured a myriad of consistent harriers. At state, the two-headed attack of seniors Jordan Curnutt and Jordan Baker finished 11th and 12th, respectively, and both earned All-GSL honors. Senior Steven Kutsch, an All-GSL second teamer, classmate Eric Foss, an honorable mention selection, and junior Corey Foss helped Mead to a 9-1 regular season mark. The group struggled at regionals, finishing just 12 points from missing state in third place, but the program's championship pedigree re-emerged when it mattered most. "There's a tradition in Spokane that a Spokane school has won the last 21 state titles," says Kiesel. "They had a lot to live up to."



Girls' Swimming - Jackson



On the strength of sophomore Amber McDermott's record-breaking performance, the Timberwolves won the Class 4A state title in November. McDermott was named Swimmer of the Meet after registering a 4:41.98 in the 500 freestyle, demolishing a 12-year-old record in the process. Junior Alana Pazevic successfully defended her title in the 50 free. Both the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay teams earned wins for Jackson, which tallied 190 points to capture its first state title.



Boys' Basketball - Decatur



Decatur's starting five will be bolstered by the return of 6-foot-1 guard Marcus Tibbs, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility in a decision by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. Last season, Tibbs led the Gators in scoring, pouring in 18.3 points per game and notched a dozen 20-plus-point contests. He earned All-SPSL first team honors and led Decatur to the state semifinals. He rejoins a squad that also features sophomore guard Jerron Smith and junior forward Jordan McCloud.



Girls' Basketball - Seattle Christian



The reigning Nisqually League co-champs already featured a pair of stars in senior twins Megan and Melissa Collier, but Seattle Christian could benefit from the play of the duo's freshman sister Katie. The younger Collier turned heads during the AAU season and is surfacing as a hot recruit in the Class of 2012. She will join her older sisters as well as junior guard Lexi Peterson, who led the team in assists last year. Melissa Collier earned league MVP and led the team in scoring and rebounding in 2007-08.



BREAK OUT TEAMS



BOYS' BASKETBALL  NEWPORT
Guard Richard Woodworth led Newport with 15 points a contest as a junior.

GYMNASTICS  EMERALD RIDGE
Senior Brianna Howe captured three individual titles at the Class 4A championships last year.

BOYS' WRESTLING  ENUMCLAW
As a junior, Sam Bauer was one of three state champs for the Hornets and recorded a perfect season.

GIRLS' BASKETBALL  MERCER ISLAND
The Islanders feature a top-notch scorer in junior Hannah Lilly, who averaged 13.8 points a game last year.