A football game for the ages. A school championship 40 years in the making.
A collegian races to All-American status.
A national cycling champion hits the international stage in a big way.
A state champion defending her title while a teammate, another state champ rehabbing from injury, returns to glory.
And a team erases an ugly losing streak with newfound winning ways.
Sequim and Olympic Peninsula athletes saw plenty of classic story-lines in the world of sports in 2010, and it was hard to top what for weeks locals called a gridiron match-up that may be the most important Sequim-Port Angeles high school football game in decades, perhaps ever.
Never mind that, in the end, the Oct. 29 game was hardly a classic. Sequim’s Wolves, on their way to a sixth league championship in seven years, clobbered the Roughriders 41-0. But the buildup — a league title on the line, Port Angeles’ remarkable winless-in-2009 to undefeated-in-2010 turnaround, the heated cross-peninsula rivalry — sparked something in both communities, as Civic Field saw fans packing the grandstands and lining the field.
Both teams went on to state tourney appearances while Sequim senior Isaac Yamamoto took home league MVP honors and Sequim junior Frank Catelli was named to the all-state squad.
If it’s big game dramatics one is looking for, look no further than Peninsula College’s men’s soccer team. Boasting players from across the globe, the Pirates were predicted by NWAACC coaches to be one of the top teams — and didn’t disappoint. The P.C. men earned their first No. 1 ranking in school history, earned a division title on the final day of the season and proceeded to win their two championship game-qualifying contests by a total of two goals. The championship was even better, as Peninsula and division rival Highline battled to a scoreless tie for 110 minutes and still couldn’t decide a winner after eight penalty kicks. A key save by tournament MVP Jared Wilson set up the game winner and gave Peninsula College its first NWAACC champion in 40 years.
The peninsula’s only college saw plenty of changes in 2010. Not long after seeing Peter Stewart leave the men’s basketball program in the spring, the college decided to nix its women’s softball program. What was a loss for softball players was all gain for the local soccer scene as the college added not only a women’s soccer team but also a new artificial turf field and major renovation to the school’s athletic field.
Peninsula’s women didn’t disappoint, either, qualifying for the NWAACC playoffs in their first season.
Back on the prep scene, the Sequim’s girls basketball squad seemed cursed by the end of their 2009-2010 campaign, losing one heartbreaker after another to the tune of back-to-back 0-20 campaigns. But by the close of 2010, they had started a new streak, racking up eight wins in a row.
Multi-talented Anna LaBeaume defended her state shot put championship and broke her own school record. Former cross country state champion Alli Cutting weathered injuries and sickness, then outraced the field in the 3,200-meter race for her first track state title. The pair helped Sequim tie for fourth place as a team.
Cutting’s former teammate Stephanie Marcy, a 2007 Sequim High grad now running for the Stanford Cardinal, kicked it into high gear — and a whole new level — when she placed eighth in the 10,000-meter race at the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 9, taking home NCAA All-American honors.
A veteran of prep coaching, Sequim’s own Leonard Gann was inducted into the San Diego County High School Coaching Legends in November for his prodigious softball coaching records.
Away from the school fields, local athletes were making names for themselves. Sequim’s Leigh Thompson pushed herself to a national Masters cycling championship in 2008, then took gold on the international stage at the world championships in Austria in September.
That same month, Sequim’s own Dillon Brown became a sprint boat champion at the ripe age of 18. Not long after that, local sprint boat enthusiasts confirmed that with permit approval a track would be built near Port Angeles in 2011.
The peninsula saw the growth of new sports clubs, including a women’s roller derby squad called Port Scandalous, the Olympic Mountaineers club lacrosse program based in Agnew, the Sequim Wrestling Club and more.
The Olympic Peninsula Eagles, a semi-pro adult football squad, returned to their nest back in Sequim this spring after a year in Port Townsend.
The North Olympic Discovery Marathon and Half-Marathon saw strong numbers once again, as full marathoners raced through Sequim’s downtown streets in the early going.
Sequim Little League hosted a district softball tournament for the first time, then saw two of its three softball all-star squads win districts and advance to state.
Later on in the summer, Bob Hanna — stage name Dusty Russell — brought his auto daredevil thrill show to the peninsula for the last time.
In August, the Seattle Mariners honored local baseball fans with “Olympic Peninsula Appreciation Night,” selling reduced-rate tickets and hosting “Twilight” series-based characters for photo ops. Surreal.
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.