Sports Gravy

"What a year for Federal Way sports, eh? That one team did that thing, those people came to town and competed before they left, and that unlikely hero did something above and beyond what was expected. OK, so I wasn't exactly here for the past year of sports, but I've heard stories. And what better way for me to get caught up in the history of the past year than by looking though back issues of the newspaper? While the usual game scores and sports columns fill most of last year's space, a few major stories help draw attention to some of the bigger moments of Federal Way sports this year. It was a banner year for the 10th anniversary of the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. Megan Quann set an American record of 1:07.54 in 100-meter breaststroke at the Phillips 66 U.S. Spring National Championships in April. Quann legitimized herself at the event before propelling into the world spotlight at the Summer Olympics.Quann wasn't the only one to use the aquatic center as a launching platform to success at the Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Team Diving Trials, including eventual gold medalist Laura Wilkinson, were at the center in June.As far as local competitors, the Decatur girls basketball team rose above all expectations on their way to the state tournament.The Federal Way football team members battled their way through the season and made the state playoffs for the first time since 1976. Federal Way High School's Jon Manthey also launched himself above all state competition. Manthey, then only a junior, won the 800-meter race and a state title at the Star Track Tournament. In its first full year of hosting soccer, Celebration Park drew more than 160 teams in two weeks to the youth Blastoff soccer tournament in August. The park also hosted the USSSA Softball NIT tournament and 48 teams in the Girls ASA 16 U West National Championships, in which Federal Way team Triple Play finished 11th. Aquatic center legend Bob Regan retired from his full-time duties, though he can still be heard at meets on the public address system. Basketball coach Keith Cooper moved on to Central Washington University after five seasons at Decatur and Jefferson baseball coach John Stephens left for a teaching job in Gig Harbor. The Federal Way sports community experienced a collective loss this year when Jean Sanson, a sophomore at Thomas Jefferson High School, died shortly after her swim race at Mount Rainier High School. The community also lost a sports hero when long-time Little League supporter and activist Mary Standfill died in September. "

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