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Vikings capture impressive hardware in 2015

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As we close the book on 2015, it fair to say that it was another banner year for Curtis High School athletics. Not only did the Vikings capture several South Puget Sound League titles, several Curtis teams and athletes went a step further and excelled at the state tournament level. There were even some state championships brought back to University Place.

Let’s take a look back at some of the Vikings’ successes in 2015.

The Curtis girls’ volleyball team was probably the most impressive Viking squad to take to the field, court, track or pool in 2015. Not only did the volleyball team run away with the SPSL South title, they captured the district crown while facing some incredible competition. The team would then head to Kennewick where they would compete for the ultimate prize.

When the smoke cleared, the Vikings would hoist the 4A state volleyball championship trophy, capping a remarkable 22-1 season. Curtis thumped Eastlake and Mead 3-0 each in the first and second rounds of the tournament, before running into a worthy adversary in Battle Ground. The semifinal match would go the distance with Curtis advancing to the championship game following a heart-stopping five-game match (28-26, 21-25, 25-23, 27-29, 15-13).

Any questions as to whether the Vikings would have anything left in the tank against league rival Emerald Ridge in the championship match were soon cast away as Curtis took care of business in four games (25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 25-20).

Curtis senior Elly McEachern was named to the 4A all-tournament team.

Another championship performance was put in by the Curtis boy’s water polo team. The Vikings finished the season with an astounding 35-0 record and defeated defending state champion Bellevue in overtime by a score of 9-7. The win also ended the Wolverines four year run as state champions and avenged an agonizing 8-6 loss in the 2014 title game.

Curtis junior Sam Abbot would be named the 2015 state offensive MVP. Senior Andrew Gronlund was also recognized as the state goalkeeper MVP. Curtis head coach Dennis Picolotto was named State Coach of the Year. Senior Ryan St. John was named to the state first team and senior team captains Troy and Garrett Friedman were named to the state second team. Junior David Ling would garner an honorable mention nod.

The Curtis boys and girls basketball teams put in an impressive season in 2014-15 and look strong again this season. Both teams won the SPSL South title last February and looked strong going into the post-season. If the old 16-team state tournament format were still in play, both squads would have been playing at the friendly confines of the Tacoma Dome. Instead, the Vikings would have to take their show on the road and it would prove difficult as they were matched against two of the top teams in the boys and girls state rankings.

On the boys’ side, the Vikings would have to travel to Vancouver to face Union, who entered the game 21-1. The Titans would prove to be too much for Curtis (20-7) on their way to a 62-50 victory. Union would go onto finish third in the 4A state tournament after suffering a semifinal defeat to eventual state champion Federal Way. Currently, the boys are 4-0 in the SPSL South and 10-0 overall entering the New Year.

On the girls’ side, the Vikings had an even steeper challenge ahead of them. Curtis would have to travel to Spokane and knock off the top-ranked Bullpups from Gonzaga Prep, if they hoped to return home with a ticket punched for the Hardwood Classic at the Tacoma Dome. It would be too much to ask the Vikings (20-8) as they lost to the eventual state champions in front of a rowdy bunch in Spokane. The Curtis girls are currently at the top of the SPSL South standings with a 4-0 record and sit 5-3 overall entering the Christmas break.

There would be one more state championship to be won in the water by a Curtis athlete in the fall. Willow Lopez-Silvers would capture the girls’ 100 Freestyle state swimming title by nearly three-quarters of a second ahead of her runner-up with a time of 52.39 seconds. Lopez-Silvers would also take 13th in the 100 Backstroke, as well as swim the anchor leg for the 14th place finish in the 400 Freestyle Relay. Overall, the girls’ swim team would finish in 16th place in the team standings.

On the boys’ side, Sam Abbott would finish fifth in the 200 Freestyle, while Jaron Spoja finished fifth in the one meter diving competition. A sixth place finish by Ryan St. John in the 100 Breaststroke and another sixth in the 200 Freestyle Relays would go on to power the Vikings to an eighth place finish at the 4A state swim meet.

The spring was successful for a few Vikings at the 4A state track and field meet. It was a one-two freshman finish in the girls’ triple jump as Saudia James-Heard captured the state championship with a mark of 39-11.75. In second place, classmate Alexis Ellis was just two inches behind at 39-9.75. Senior teammate Jennifer Power finished in seventh place with a leap of 36-03. Power also finished in eighth in the long jump at 17-0.25. The girls 4x100 relay team finished in sixth place. On the boys’ side, freshman Izaiah Fields finished fifth in the 200 meter dash.

On the lanes, the 2014-15 girls’ bowling team had another successful season, finishing seventh in the overall 4A state team standings. Alexia Rawls finished in second place while averaging a 193 over six games.

Three Viking wrestlers medaled at the Mat Classic at the Tacoma Dome last season. While the team finished 18th overall, Jon Bridgman would take home a third-place finish in the 182-pound weight class. Patrick Wheeler finished sixth in the 113-pound class, while Alex Stuart finished seventh in the 160-pound division.

The Curtis boys’ tennis team had a successful fall, capturing the SPSL Central Division championship. Look for the Vikings to return to the courts this spring as they compete for a state title.

The girls’ soccer team was one of the favorites going into the 4A state tournament and gave it all they had before falling to Issaquah in the quarterfinals. The Vikings finished the season 16-3 and will miss Washington State commit Morgan Weaver after graduation.

The Curtis football team put together an exciting season, finishing 7-4 and qualifying for a spot in the district playoffs. The Vikings would square off against the Bellarmine Lions for the first time in the post-season in 48 years. In the end, the Lions would come out on top, but it was one heck of a ride this season for Viking fans.

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