MONTESANO — As the school year started for the class of 2013, it looked like it might be a rebuilding year for several of the sports teams at Montesano.
Just two days before the end of the 2012 school year, Nathan Nussbaum, working in the weight room, injured both his wrists. The outlook for Nussbaum to return to play football for the Bulldogs after the summer was touch and go. And at the “Thunder” practice at the beginning of the new season, Nussbaum had to admit to himself that he probably could not play. It looked like strike one for Montesano.
As school started and the team formulated, Nussbaum gained encouragement from players and coaches and he continued to make practices.
The Bulldogs suffered their first home loss since 2007 to Hoquiam. Hoquiam was the team to beat going into the new season, and they made the Montesano loss one to remember with a 41-14 loss. Strike two for the Bulldogs.
The Sunday following the Friday night game, the community of Montesano felt the third strike as a fire, still undetermined as to the cause, took the football grandstands to the ground. Immediately, all scheduled football home games had to be rescheduled.
With everything that had happened, and so soon in the season, it looked like the Bulldogs had struck completely out and would be lucky to even make it out of the Evergreen League to entertain any District IV play.
Instead, a sense of determination and pride grew deep inside of the Montesano athletes.
A slow but continual purpose began to grow, driven by the players, wanting another at bat, not believing that they had yet struck out. Nussbaum made it on to the field and helped the Bulldogs defeat Forks at their first rescheduled home game in Aberdeen. The school made sure that the team would have a place for the Homecoming football game and with temporary bleachers and a makeshift announcers booth, the Bulldogs ran over Rainier 70-0, to let people know, “we’re back”, at Jack Rottle Field.
The football season ended with he Bulldogs taking the 1A State title defeating the Royal City Knights 43-28. Montesano had not seen a state football title since 1983. The win marked the third 1A State football title for the school.
But the Bulldogs were not done.
The Montesano girls basketball team also went to state. For the first time in 13 years, the Bulldogs got through District IV play taking second place, and advanced into the first round of 1A Girls Basketball State play. And as the girls tended to the hardwood, other Montesano athletes were matching strength and endurance in wrestling, cross country and girls soccer, again teams and individuals went to state tournaments from Montesano.
As the winter sports season transitioned into spring, powerlifters and equestrians were taking in meets and preparing for the end of their season. The equestrians ending with several state titles and the powerlifters taking their tenth consecutive state title.
With the last sports finishing up the end of the school year; track and field, fastpitch and baseball, all took their turns at representing Montesano and the Bulldog pride from regular season to district and on to state tournaments.
As the fastpitch, baseball and track and field teams packed to get ready for their state appearances in eastern Washington, Montesano golfer Kaelyn Walker stayed closer to home and finished fifth at her tournament in Spanaway. Walker had earlier set a course record at the Kalama meet shooting a 37.
Culminating in eastern Washington, the athletes from East Grays Harbor not only represented, but showed just what it is to be a Bulldog. As the baseball team took their perfect regular season record into the state tournament, the girls fsatpitch team had to fight all along the way. The boys took second in the state final game and the girls placed third in their quest.
Athletes were asked about their most significant or memorable moment during the state tournaments or their season. Many had specific plays or events that they offered to share.
Listed are those athletes that returned a questionnaire about their experiences during the season or state tournaments that appear in the picture.
Johanna Brulotte – Tennis, eighth place in state for doubles. (First time in several year,s Montesano has had a tennis team at state.)
“Brulotte and her partner April Easter finished the season with a perfect record. They took their first loss in Districts but continued to win to advance to state and finished eighth.
“It was a great feeling to end the season with an 18-3 record. And to bring home the first state medal for our school.”
Layne Bruner – Baseball.
“During regional’s having two home runs in one day and pitching in both games.”
Kaitlyn Chapman – Girls soccer.
Patrick Donnelly – Football.
Bobbi Fry – Girls basketball and fastpitch. Fry was named to the first team All-League and garnered a sportsmanship award during the state fastpitch tournament.
“Playing Elma during districts. To come back after two losses to turn around and 15-run them.”
Erika Garland – Powerlifting, second individual in state at 132 pounds, lifting a total of 595 pounds.
“Winning the team state championship back after two years.”
Morgan Geer – Girls soccer, golf and equestrian, team fourth in state, individual second in state in Steer Daubing.
“Taking second in state in steer daubing with my horse Dancer.”
Cristian Gutierrez – Wrestling.
“The Kalama tournament, it made me more confident to succeed in my season.”
Christian F. Hamblin – Cross country.
Mikayla Hanson – Girls soccer, named first team defense All-league, team most inspirational.
Drew Helms – Football, received Gold Ball; powerlifting, third in state at 220 pounds.
“Blocking a field goal in the state football game against Royal.”
Tucker Ibabao – Football, baseball.
“Coach Hollatz in the huddle; ‘If we stop them here, you win the game.’”
Skye Jefferson – Football, powerlifting, third individual in state at 148 pounds, lifting a total of 985 pounds.
“Winning Defensive MVP in soccer and state championship title for powerlifting my junior year.”
Matthew Jensen – Football, baseball. Given sportsmanship award during championship football game.
“When the final seconds ticked off the clock during the state championship in the dome.”
Tyson Lovell – Cross country, state team finish, ninth; individual finish, 15th. Track and field, state individual finish, seventh in 800 meter, eighth in 1600 meter.
“Watching Jefferson Donovan “Put Do” in every meet.”
Mackinzie Malizia – Girls soccer, girls basketball.
“Being the first girls basketball team to make it to the district championship game then make it to regionals.”
Ally McCaw – Girls soccer, named second team All-State and defensive MVP.
Elliot Mendenhall – Football, baseball. Awarded Gold Ball in football.
“When Richard Smith intercepted a pass in the King’s game which basically gave us the win and put us in the dome.”
Zack Nelson – Football, baseball.
“My most significant state experience is being able to experience two state championship games. The atmosphere and having the whole team there to support you exceeds everything else.”
Justine Nuckols – Girls basketball and fastpitch.
“Beating Lakeside (in fastpitch) and placing third at state, because we really came together as a team and showed what we were capable of.”
Nathan Nussbaum – Football, baseball.
“Coming from behind to beat Royal for the state championship.”
Cody Olsen – Football, voted teams most improved.
“My most memorable game was against Charles Wright, they had the biggest running backs all season.”
Ben Ohashi – Football.
“My most significant event of state was playing with my (Bulldog) brothers and creating memories with them that will last forever.”
Alexi Prante – Powerlifting, individual third place in state in 181 pounds with a total 690 pounds.
“I loved powerlifting ever since my sophomore year when I joined and could not wait to see my program continue strongly.”
Shad Rogers – Football, baseball, powerlifting. Placed first in 165-pound class.
“Winning a state championship in football”
Cody Sampair – Football.
“Winning it all.”
Richard Smith – Football, baseball.
“The catch. Winning state.” Smith’s catch at the end of the first half was pivotal to the Montesano win.
Robert Sprinkle – Football.
“When we won state and the satisfaction of accomplishing our goal as a team.”
Tyler Stott – Powerlifting, individual seventh place at 242 pounds.
“Having Stanfield as a coach.”
Courtney Swan – Fastpitch, sportsmanship award during fastpitch tournament.
“My last game at state against Lakeside when we won and took third place. It was the most fun game I have ever played.”
Kendra Warnock – Fastpitch.
“Getting a double play against Lakeside.”
Rayna Ashlock – Girls soccer, powerlifting, placed first in 114-pound class; awarded Women’s Deadlift Award and Best Overall Women’s Lifter.
Madi Besaw – Girls soccer.
Evan Bialkowsky – Football, baseball, powerlifting. Fifth place at 242-weight class.
“Next to the state championship game the most significant game to me was beating King’s because they were ranked number one.”
Carli Cairone – Fastpitch, equestrian. Placed fourth in Canadian Flags and fifth in team sorting in equestrian.
“Everyone had doubt in our fastpitch team, but we went and proved them wrong. In equestrian, the team did very well all year, and I made it to state in five events. It was difficult to get prepared for state doing both sports, but we made it happen.”
Pua Cavanah – Girls soccer, fastpitch.
Tristan Darst – Football, powerlifting, track and field. Placed third in 165-pound class in powerlifting and fourth in the 4x100 relay.
“The football season, coming together with my dawgs. Something I will never forget.”
Jefferson Donovan – Cross country.
“I beat some kid and passed him with 100 meters left.”
April Easter – Tennis.
“My most inspirational and significant event was getting to place at state.”
Noah Ewing – Football, powerlifting. Placed second in the 181-weight class in powerlifting.
“Getting to state for powerlifting and coming in second by only a few pounds.”
Reed Hughes – Track and field. Placed fourth in the 4x100 relay.
Jake Massoth – Football, powerlifting. Placed second in the unlimited weight class.
“Winning the state championship.”
Alyx Miller – Girls soccer.
“Our team had a very inspirational talk on the bus before the game. We all got super pumped and excited for the game and it really brought us together as a team.”
Chazlyn O’Bannon – Powerlifting, first in 97-pound class.
“Deadlifting double plates (225 pounds), has been my goal for the last two years. My last lift of state was a 225-pound deadlift and I ended up getting it.”
Byran Peterson – Powerlifting, third in 242-weight class.
“I would say the state for powerlifting, there was a bunch of people and it was more acknowledged.”
Lyndsy Quinn – Fastpitch.
“The best part was proving to everyone we could overcome hard times.”
LeeAnn Rhoden – Fastpitch.
“Proving everyone wrong and coming together as a team.”
Kenny Roy – Football, baseball.
“Watching the game clock tick down to zero in the championship game.”
Gabrielle Rudolph – Cross country and track and field. Placed fifth at state in cross country and fourth in the 3200 meter in track and field.
“In cross country placing fifth on the podium with a 5K personal best record was the highlight. This was mostly because the year before, I had a stress fracture and couldn’t run for much of the season.”
Jacob Sampair – Football.
“The state championship game that we won.”
Staci Schneider – Fastpitch.
“When we won the game to get us into state because no one thought we would make it.”
Madison Studer – Fastpitch.
“How loud we were in the dugout. It truly was a team win for sure.”
Kody Usher – Baseball.
“The championship game even though we lost, it was an eye opening experience and the journey there was great.”
Ashley Walters – Fastpitch.
“After we won third, we proved to everyone that we could do anything and that we deserved to be there.”
Tanner Birdsall – Powerlifting, placed first in the 148-pound weight class.
“During the state tournament, the kid that took second was in first until the deadlift. When I lifted 420 pounds, it put me in first to be a state champion.”
Jordan Bussard – Football, baseball.
“Beating Woodland in the regional games to go further into state. They had beat us in districts in baseball.”
Megan Choate – Girls basketball, fastpitch.
“In fastpitch, our first two games at state, we went onto the field knowing we were going to win. We worked as a team. In basketball, knowing everyone thought we couldn’t make it and we proved them wrong.”
Madison Didion – Fastpitch.
“Going into state as a new season and the team playing to our full potiential with heart for every game.”
Myranda Floch – Girls basketball, track and field. Placed sixth in triple jump.
“I kept on improving my jump almost every time.”
Jacob Izatt – Football, baseball, powerlifting, wrestling.
“Standing on the sidelines in the state championship football game.”
Dakota Jefferson – Cross country.
“Making a personal best record in districts.”
Hannah Jensen – Fastpitch.
”The ride over the rotten mangos.”
Ashley Laney – Powerlifting, placed first in 105 weight class.
“The most significant event of my state experience was squatting double plates (225 pounds), while having a body weight of 99 pounds.”
Mason Loman – Football, powerlifting. Placed seventh in the 220-pound weight class.
“Beating King’s in the football playoff’s.”
Anthony Louthan – Football, wrestling, track and field. Took fourth in wrestling state in the 170-weight class and fourth in the 4x100 relay team in track and field.
“I have two events; In football I made a 41-yard field goal in the championship game, and taking fourth in wrestling after being ranked 11th.”
Brandon Lovell – Cross country – selected team Most Improved. Took a ninth place finish at state.
“Most inspirational event was the league meet where four of our runners placed in the top ten.”
Andrea Ostwald – Girls basketball, cross country, track and field. Placed 12th in 3200 meters in track and field.
“At the Kalama Twilight meet the 3200 and 1600 meter races were both exciting and fun to race.”
Charley Schimelpfenig – Powerlifting. Placed second, third and fifth in various lifts at 181-pounds in powerlifting at state.
“Our season was very exciting for us winning state. We worked so hard to get where we are now.”
Alexis Schupbach – Equestrian, placed fourth in Canadian Flags.
“I enjoyed the opportunity to go to state and meet different people and experience different things.”
Jed Travers – Football, powerlifting. Finished sixth in the 160-weight class.
“My last deadlift was a personal best.”
Donovan Wargo – Football.
“Showing that the impossible can happen. Winning it all.”
Taylor Birdsall – Girls soccer.
Maguire Cavanaugh – Baseball.
“Beating Woodland 6-1 to go to Yakima.”
Kaleb Chastain – Football.
“Watching the team bounce back from the ashes to a state championship.”
Keegan Darst – Football.
“The Hail Mary pass before halftime.”
Elaine Dennolm – Soccer.
Jake Herzog – Football.
“Tacoma Dome when we won the title.”
Makenzi Howard – Fastpitch.
“Having the entire team be loud and into each game at the tournament.”
Jennifer Johnson – Soccer.
“I thought the game against Elma was the most important. It challenged us and made us use our mental strength.”
Kasie Kloempleen – Soccer, basketball, fastpitch.
“My favorite part of basketball season was the district tournament. We really came together as a team.”
Connor Lovell – Football, track and field.
Cortney Miller – Basketball, fastpitch.
“When we played in the district championship game. First team ever. Even though we lost, we hung with them the whole game.”
Cole Nelson – Football.
“The Hail Mary that “Ritt” caught in the back of the end zone before halftime.”
Luke Peoples – Football.
“Beating King’s because Hoquiam lost to them.”
Kylar Prante – Football, wrestling.
“Wrestling in the dome.”
Connor Roy – Football.
“The Hail Mary at the halftime of the state championship game. From “Matt” to “Ritt” in the back of the end zone.”
Tianna Schurr – Girls soccer, girls basketball, fastpitch.
“The most memorable moment in soccer was beating Woodland 1-0 in order to get into the state tournament, it’s a game I won’t forget.”
Corrie Stewart – Powerlifting, second in the 165-weight class.
“A great coach and team.”
Logan Truax – Football.
“When Richard Smith caught the big touchdown pass at the end of the second quarter in the state championship game.”
Austin Vinson – Cross country.
“When some dude called to complain about us being monkey’s running around town.”
Brooke Whitsell – Girls soccer, fastpitch.
“My most significant game was beating Woodland 1-0 with five minutes left in the soccer game. The win allowed us to advance to state.”