Community Sports

Sports Beat: Gig Harbor’s Morkert wins state cross country title

Posted on November 11th, 2022 By:

We start this week’s Sports Beat with a state champion. The cross country state finals were held Nov. 5 in Pasco and Gig Harbor’s Reese Morkert won the Class 3A title in a legendary battle.

Morkert went stride for stride with Clare Herring of Central Kitsap over 3.1 miles. Both runners kept an exhausting pace, 15 seconds in front of the pack.

Morkert caught Herring from behind as both runners were in a final kick after 18 minutes of running. Morkert lunged over the line to win the state title by 1/10th of a second in the closest finish in 3A history.

The Tides’ girls team just missed the team title, finishing second in 3A with three other runners finishing in the top 21. Sophomore Taylor Sletner finished 16th, freshman Lejla Carlsson  17th and senior Kaley Fergus 21st, propelling the Tides to runner-up spot behind Central Kitsap.

Peninsula sophomore Elektra Higgins finished ninth and teammate Hannah Lee finished 26th.

Reese Morkert (second from right) won the Class 3A state cross country championship by 1/10th of a second.

On the boys’ side, the Tides finished fourth. Individually, senior Micah Galeana was sixth, Preston Fradet ninth and Tyler Campbell 25th. Logan Parrish of Peninsula finished 17th.

Water polo: Gig Harbor takes Division 2 championship

Another state championship was awarded last week when the Gig Harbor Tides boys water polo team won the Division 2 state championship with a thrilling 13-12 victory over Interlake.

The Tides have explosive scorers, a physical defense and an exceptional goalie in Joey Hughes. Gig Harbor’s Alana Ponce was named state Coach of the Year.

Peninsula, led by coach Carter Gilmore, finished 20-4-1 and placed fourth in the division 2 tournament.

The Gig Harbor water polo team won the Division 2 state championship.

Volleyball: Peninsula edges GH for league title

A showdown between local volleyball teams took place Tuesday, Nov. 8. Peninsula (14-2, 13-1 South Sound Conference) earned the league title with a 3-2 win over Gig Harbor (13-4, 11-3).

The 12th-ranked Tides actually scored four more total points than the sixth-ranked Seahawks, but Peninsula won the final three points of the fifth set to claim the title. Set scores were 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 17-25, 16-14.

The Seahawks leaned on their state experience and came through with the final points to escape the Tides’ gym with the SSC volleyball championship in hand.

“Last night was an awesome match and a great challenge against one of the best 3A teams in the state,” Gig Harbor coach Slade Klein said. “Peninsula is currently sixth in the RPI and they played like it. I was really proud of our effort. I feel like we’ve been improving each match down the stretch and it definitely showed last night. We were only two points from a share of the league title but a few plays didn’t go our way.”

Peninsula’s Lagley Griffin leaps for a spike in the Seahawks’ 3-2 win over Gig Harbor. Bryce Carithers

Both teams will be in action Friday, Nov. 11. The Seahawks earned the No. 1 seed to the district tournament and will play Central Kitsap at Bonney Lake High School at 2 p.m. Gig Harbor was seeded eighth and will play 10th-seeded Lincoln at Capital High School at 2 p.m.

Soccer: Teams open state tournament play

Both girls soccer teams own identical 14-1-2 records and both open state tournament Friday, Nov. 11.

Fifth-seeded Peninsula will take on 12th-seeded Bonney Lake at 3 p.m. at Shoreline Stadium at 3 p.m., while No. 6 Gig Harbor faces No. 11 Seattle Prep at 5 p.m. at Interbay Stadium. Seattle Prep knocked off Gig Harbor in the state semifinals last year by a 2-1 score.

Gig Harbor forward Samantha Huber shared South Sound Conference offensive MVP honors with teammate Sophie Blake. Bryce Carithers

Swimming: State meet this weekend

The state swimming championships are Nov. 11 and 12 at the King County Acquatics Center in Federal Way. The Tides send nine participants: Kailyn LaTendresse, 200 intermediate medley and 100 backstroke; Ashlyn Pepich, 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle; Alexis Tojo, 500 freestyle; and Julia Davis, diving. Frances Benson, Beau Ensminger, Ava Hurley and Karina Yevstifieieva will join the others already listed in relay events.

Peninsula will send Brogan Braaten in the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke and district champ Makenna Post in diving.

Football: Peninsula faces O’Dea

The (8-2) Peninsula Seahawks football team earned the 14th seed and will have a tall order  against third-seeded O’Dea (8-1). The two teams play at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.

The Irish should have a distinct size advantage so look for the Seahawks to try to use all four downs and pull out a full bag of tricks. O’Dea’s only loss on the season came Sept. 30, by a touchdown to Eastside Catholic. The winner of this game faces the winner of Stanwood and Mt. Spokane in the state quarterfinals.

Check out the Sports Beat next Friday for results of several state tournaments as the fall championship season is in full swing.