Community Sports

Sports Beat | Gig Harbor cheer squad second in state

Posted on February 8th, 2024 By:

The Gig Harbor cheerleaders missed winning back-to-back state championships by just one point on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the 2024 WIAA State Cheerleading Championships at Battle Ground High School near Vancouver.

The Tides finished second in the Class 3A Game Day Small division, which is certainly an outstanding achievement considering the Tides lost half of last year’s team to graduation.

Gig Harbor won the 3A championship in 2023 but fell just shy of the title this season as Kentwood prevailed, 77.6 to 76.7. Nine-tenths of a point is the difference between a simple missed step or wobble during a lift, but not much more than that, in the highly competitive division.

The Gig Harbor cheerleading team performs a routine at the state championship in Battle Ground. Photo courtesy Laura Nation

“We are incredibly proud and excited about the team’s performance and placement at the state championships. … Their hard work and strong performance, highlights their drive to succeed,” Gig Harbor coach Laura Nation said.

Gig Harbor also qualified for the USA Spirit Nationals on Feb. 16 and 17 in Anaheim, Calif. The event brings in the nation’s best, and the Tides will compete in it for the first time after executing an outstanding routine at a virtual regional performance in January. The Tides placed second at the regional event, missing the top spot by just 1.5 points, and qualified for Spirit Nationals in four divisions.

To celebrate their achievements, and to give the community a sneak peek of their routine before heading to nationals, the Tides cheer team will host a free Nationals Showcase at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, in the GHHS auxiliary gym.

The Peninsula cheerleading team, led by first-year coach Rebecca Hooper, participated in a different division. The Seahawks placed sixth in the Class 3A Non-Tumbling Medium division, with a final score of 59.3.

The eight seniors on the Peninsula High cheerleading squad. Photo courtesy Peninsula High cheerleading

GH boys open districts vs. league foe

Three of the four local basketball teams qualified for the district playoffs.

The Gig Harbor boys play at North Thurston at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. The Tides finished third in the South Sound Conference to advance to districts. League rival North Thurston finished first.

The Tides (17-4, 11-3) were tied with North Thurston, 45-45, with two minutes remaining in a Jan. 5 game in Gig Harbor before the Rams pulled away late to win. The Tides will have to contain North Thurston senior Ray Adams, who plays above the rim, but Gig Harbor has some quality players of their own and will look to pull off the upset.

If the Tides can run and create some easy buckets in transition, they have a chance to surprise. Gig Harbor’s half-court defense has proven effective, allowing only 44.8 points per SSC contest, second in the league.

A win on Saturday would clinch a third straight state tournament appearance for the Tides. They could still advance with a loss in the double-elimination playoff format.

Peninsula girls win league’s No. 3 seed

Peninsula (12-7, 9-5) clinched the South Sound Conference’s third seed to districts with a 42-27 win over Gig Harbor (12-9, 9-5) on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Seahawks junior guard Maci Miller came out of the locker room with her Nikes on fire and torched the Tides with three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes. Miller scored all of her game-high 14 points in the first half.

Maci Miller (2) led Peninsula with 14 points in a win over Gig Harbor. Photo by Bryce Carithers

Junior Grace Richardson was all over the court for Peninsula, scoring 11 points and yanking 14 defensive rebounds to go along with seven assists, four steals and five blocked shots. In my opinion, Richardson is a consistent jump shot away from a Division I scholarship as she exhibits all the other characteristics to play at that level.

The Tides played without senior leading scorer Taylor Schwab, who suffered a knee injury but may be back for a playoff run. They were also lost leading rebounder Willow Bonnici, who played in the first half before falling on her back.

Peninsula senior guard Kaylia Heidelberg hit three 3-pointers and played a fine floor game with 13 points, six rebounds and six steals. Senior Irene Segura of Peninsula crashed the offensive boards hard and finished with eight rebounds and four points.

The Peninsula girls open the playoffs at North Thurston at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in the double-elimination bracket of the district tournament. The key to that game for the Seahawks will be containing the Rams’ Soraya Ogladez, who can get 30 points in a hurry.

The Seahawks trailed by only five at halftime of the two teams’ last meeting, which resulted in a North Thurston victory. But if Peninsula can contain Ogladez and get solid contributions from Miller and Segura again this could be a game that comes down to the wire.

Gig Harbor hosts Bainbridge at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9. The key for them is obviously getting Schwab and Bonnici healthy. One by-product of those injuries is that it forced some other Tides to step up and many of them have elevated their games, gained confidence and should be better in the postseason. The Tides were on a roll late in the season, winning nine of their last 12 games at one point.

Local wrestlers move on to regionals

Twenty-three local wrestlers advanced to regionals by virtue of their performances at sub-regionals last weekend. Six of them won sub-regional championships.

Regional wrestling takes place Feb. 9 and 10 at Oak Harbor High School (boys) and Bethel High School (girls). The top five finishers in their weight class earn an automatic bid to Mat Classic XXXV, the state championships at the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 16 and 17.

Local wrestlers competing at regionals include:



113: Colin O’Cain (Sr.), 5th place at sub-regionals
120: Justin Phipps (Sr.), sub-regional champion
120: Bryce Tillman (Fr.), 5th place at sub-regionals
138: Cameron Miller (Sr.), 3rd place at sub-regionals
144: Marcus Reum (Sr.), 2nd place at sub-regionals
150: Nehemiah Grandorff (So.), 3rd place at sub-regionals
175- Caden Waite (Sr.) 3rd place at sub-regionals
215- Joaquin Antoine (Sr.) 2nd place at sub-regionals


100: Olivia Griffin (Jr. ), 3rd place at sub-regionals
105: Georgina Johnson (So.), 3rd place at sub-regionals
110: Mya Robles (Fr. ), 7th place at sub-regionals
115: Brianna Sanders (Jr.), 6th place at sub-regionals
120: Paige Powers (Fr.), 3rd place at sub-regionals
125: Kylie Michalke (Sr.), 4th place at sub-regionals
130: Ava Miranda (Jr.), 3rd place at sub-regionals
135: Lyla Klingler (Fr.), 7th place at sub-regionals
140: Mira Sonnen (Jr.), sub-regional champion
145: Bailey Parker (So.), sub-regional champion
155: Lindsey Shipp (So.), sub-regional champion

Gig Harbor


106: Jack Greer (Fr.), sub-regional champion
120: Jonah Edmund (Jr.), second at sub-regional
132: Liam McDermott (Jr.), second at sub-regional


100: Eleanor Nimrick (So.), sub-regional champion