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The Vidette’s Top 10 sports stories of 2013

Vidette File Photo Montesano High’s Kody Usher is greeted by teammates after hitting a home run last spring. The Bulldogs’ run to the finals of the state 1A baseball tournament was selected as the year’s No. 3 story.Buy Photo
Vidette File Photo Montesano High’s Kody Usher is greeted by teammates after hitting a home run last spring. The Bulldogs’ run to the finals of the state 1A baseball tournament was selected as the year’s No. 3 story.
Vidette File Photo Montesano pitcher Layne Bruner led his team to the state finals, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and chose to attend Washington State on a baseball scholarship. His ascent was selected as the No. 2 sports story for 2013.Buy Photo
Vidette File Photo Montesano pitcher Layne Bruner led his team to the state finals, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and chose to attend Washington State on a baseball scholarship. His ascent was selected as the No. 2 sports story for 2013.
Vidette File Photo Elma High’s Brooke Goldsmith, center, boots a goal for the Eagle girls soccer squad, which won its first district title and was selected as the No. 4 sports story of 2013.Buy Photo
Vidette File Photo Elma High’s Brooke Goldsmith, center, boots a goal for the Eagle girls soccer squad, which won its first district title and was selected as the No. 4 sports story of 2013.
Vidette File Photo The Northwest Wingless Tour ran through Grays Harbor Raceway on Aug. 24. Less than two months later, the county would boot the raceway promoter, who wasn’t paying the bills. The tumult at Grays Harbor Raceway was selected as last year’s top sports story.Buy Photo
Vidette File Photo The Northwest Wingless Tour ran through Grays Harbor Raceway on Aug. 24. Less than two months later, the county would boot the raceway promoter, who wasn’t paying the bills. The tumult at Grays Harbor Raceway was selected as last year’s top sports story.

The past year has been one with many memorable events from all of the wins and even some of the losses. There was plenty of hardware returning to Grays Harbor by East County teams. Few teams were able to finish as high as the Montesano baseball team, which finished second in the state, but individuals — such as the six wrestlers who finished in the top five in the state — made headlines as well.

The pages of The Vidette were filled with athletes such as Gabrielle Rudolph creating history by setting records or the Elma girls soccer team winning its first district championship and also of hopes for the improvement of the future of sports in the county with everything from saying goodbye to old stadiums, new grandstands for Montesano and a possible new raceway promoter.

It was a memorable 12 months and The Vidette staff has taken the time to scan the stories of 2013 to find the top 10 stories from the past year.

1 County kicks promoter out of Grays Harbor Raceway – Oct. 17, 2013

The Grays Harbor County Commissioners terminated the existing contract with Great Northwest Promotions LLC, citing numerous unpaid bills owed to the county. The move was made during a special meeting of the county commissioners on Oct. 15 and was seen as so important that County Commissioner Herb Welch made his first physical appearance at a commission meeting in four months to join fellow Commissioners Wes Cormier and Frank Gordon in immediately ending the contract.

Great Northwest Promotions took over the contract in 2007, following the death of Fred Brownfield, who is largely seen as the man who revitalized the Raceway. Operator Jerry Schram brought NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Greg Biffle in as an investor in 2011. However, the county commissioners have never met Biffle and never seen any documents with his name on them.

Great Northwest Promotions had failed to provide documentation of ticket sales for two events which the promoter was required to pay the county $1 per paid admission to each event.

As of Oct. 15, Great Northwest Promotions owed the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office $6,109 for providing security at the track that remained unpaid back to Sept. 26, 2012.

2 Layne Bruner drafted by Baltimore, chooses WSU – June 20, 2013

Montesano High School’s ace left-handed pitcher Layne Bruner was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 26th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, but he says he’ll likely stick with his original plan and go to Washington State University this fall.

“It is such a good feeling (to get drafted),” Bruner said. “It feels great and a lot of hard work is paying off.”

Bruner was a key part of a Bulldog baseball team that took second place at the 1A Washington state tournament last year and his dominance on the mound earned him a spot in the all-state game. During the all-state game, Montesano coach and Layne’s father Mike Bruner got calls from the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals regarding Layne. However, Baltimore, which quietly had interest in the pitcher, selected him with the 789th overall pick.

While he was excited to be drafted, Layne decided the best route for him was to be a Cougar and he will be part of the Washington State pitching staff this spring.

3 Montesano Baseball takes second at state – May 30, 2013

The Montesano Bulldogs baseball team capped off a dominant season with a second-place finish at the state tournament. Even though the team wasn’t able to win the championship, it was the highest finish for the Bulldogs since 1989.

The tournament was a master’s course in overcoming adversity, with a few days of review and preparation adding to the lessons.

Montesano’s team bus broke down in Packwood and the Bulldogs practiced on a small patch of grass while waiting for the bus to be repaired. Then with rain forcing the tournament to be moved to Richland, there was no suitable practice field in the Yakima area for the Bulldogs, who used a small spot of lawn in front of their motel to get some work in before the state championship game.

The Bulldogs led the first 3 ½ innings of the championship game against Cashmere. In the fourth inning Cashmere grabbed the lead and never looked back winning 8-4.

Montesano ended the season with a 26-2 overall record.

4 Elma girls soccer wins first ever district title – Nov. 14, 2013

The third time was a charm in the form of a district championship trophy for Elma. Facing Evergreen 1A foe Rochester for the third time in the season, the Eagles withstood a late flurry by the Warriors to get into a penalty kick shootout. From there, Elma got two straight saves by goalkeeper Alyssa Sutherby in the final spot kicks to preserve a 2-2 (4-3) victory over Rochester in the District IV 1A girls soccer championship match.

In the penalty kick shootout, Elma was down 2-1 after three shooters. Hannah Heelan hit the match’s first shootout spot kick, but Natalie Grant and Mackenzie Miller had their shots saved by Rochester goalkeeper Makayla Shank. Sutherby saw one Rochester spot kick go wide left, but Sierra Seymour and Camryn Althauser converted theirs for the lead.

The win gave Elma its first-ever district title in girls soccer.

5 Montesano stands not ready for beginning of school year – Sept. 12, 2013

The reconstruction of the Montesano’s Rottle Field grandstand, razed by fire last September, was delayed due to defects in the concrete risers that support the wooden benches in the grandstand.

Stadium contractor Rognlin’s Inc., of Aberdeen, refused the precast risers provided by the supplier because there were defective spots in all of them and the set back delayed the projects expected completion date until late winter or early spring.

The Bulldogs were forced to play all of their football games away from home, with the majority of the home games played at Aberdeen’s Stewart Field.

“I am kind of disappointed, but Aberdeen (Stewart Field) is like our second home,” senior Tristan Darst said. “We will play whenever, wherever any one wants to play.”

6 Montesano’s Rudolph breaks school record and nabs district title – April 24 and Nov. 7, 2013

On April 19, Montesano’s Gabrielle Rudolph set the record in the 3200-meter run for the Kalama Invitational and broke a school record that had stood since 1994. Rudolph posted a time of 11 minutes and 20.78 seconds, almost nine seconds faster than the time of 11:29.7 by former Bulldog Kristine Kinsey.

She ended her junior track season with a fourth place finish in the 3200 at the state meet.

Rudolph wasn’t done making headlines in 2013 as she ran her way to a district title in cross country with a time of 19 minutes and 55 seconds.

“Gab’s tough, because it’s hard running by yourself with everybody shooting for you,” Montesano cross country coach James Edwards said.

7 Elma and Montesano softball squads return with state hardware – May 30, 2013

The Montesano softball team placed third and the Elma softball team took sixth at the 1A Washington State fastpitch tournament.

Montesano started the tournament off with 10-0 wins over Seattle Christian and Cascade. The Lady Bulldogs lost to Connell 5-0 before a 9-2 win over Hoquiam put them in a contest for third with Lakeside. Montesano jumped out to a 7-0 lead by the sixth inning and cruised to an 11-3 win.

Elma dropped the opening game of the tournament to Nooksack Valley, 2-1, but fought back with a 10-5 victory over Warden and an 18-1 win against Eatonville. The Lady Eagles fell just short against Cascade, 15-5, to finish sixth.

8 Horns and Hooks nets Root Sports – April 4, 2013

Into just their second year of publication, Horns & Hooks, the western outdoor adventure magazine now based in an office building at Montesano Square, landed a 30-minute television program on Root Sports Northwest.

Horns & Hooks publisher Rex Peterson along with managing partner Jesse Kollman, have taken the next step in bringing Grays Harbor County, and all that it has to offer, in focus to the greater northwest.

“We have seen a lot of hunting and fishing shows, and wanted to know why don’t they ever show how we really do things, especially here in the northwest,” Peterson said.

After airing the first season in 2013, Horns & Hooks was signed for a second season to air from April to October 2014.

9 Elma and Montesano wrestlers place at Mat Classic – Feb. 21, 2013

The 2013 Mat Classic brought another set of medals for Elma and Montesano wrestlers. In the boys matches, Elma wrestlers took five top eight finishes with a pair of third places, two four places and a seventh place finish.

Elma seniors, Ryan Wilson and Matt Gamino both garnered top five finishes with Wilson taking third in the 106-weight class and Gamino capturing fourth at 132 pounds.

Eagle Tanner Sample scored a third place finish. Elma’s Tyson Dick finished fourth at 138 and Austin Cristelli, seventh at 145.

The only medalist for Montesano was sophomore Anthony Louthan who placed fourth at 170 pounds.

Elma placed sixth overall out of the 53 schools at the event.

10 Saying goodbye to Davis Field – Nov. 7, 2013

For Elma High football fans, viewing their final game from the Davis Field grandstands was bittersweet in more ways than one.

They will all miss the structure that generations have watched football from for more than six decades, but they’re hoping for a better facility to come, and they would have loved to see the venerable stadium go out with a victory. That was not to be as arch-rival Montesano celebrated its Senior Night at Davis Field with a 42-14 Civil War victory.

“There’s a lot of memories here — a lot of memories, said Howard King, superintendent of the Elma School District. “It’s nobody’s desire to tear it down, but it’s gone as far as it can go as far as a safe structure.”

Davis Field’s final game was the same Civil War matchup that opened the field back in 1949. Elma will now try to pass a bond to build a new facility to take the place of the field that became hallowed ground for so many Eagles fans.