Beamer Titans ready for inaugural season


Sports editor

Jerry Peterson couldn’t even get into his office when football practice started last week for the Todd Beamer Titans. Federal Way school district officials were waiting for the go ahead on their occupancy permit — meaning no more than 30 people could be on the campus together at one time before the permit was issued.

Peterson, the new athletic director at the first-year school, and the rest of the staff had to set up shop at Illahee Middle School and most of their fall sports equipment was stored in the Beamer choir room. Jeff Housman’s football team was forced to practice in the evenings at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, while the school’s beautiful new Field Turf practice field sat vacant.

Beamer finally got their occupancy permit Monday, making life a lot easier for Peterson and the rest of the Titan athletic staff. Monday was the first day of practice for volleyball, boys tennis, girls soccer, cross country, swimming and diving and golf.

“We’re getting there,” Peterson said. “Everybody is excited.”

Those are just the ebbs and flows that go along with starting an athletic program from scratch. Scheduling games and busses, ordering practice and game uniforms, setting aside practice times and sites, making sure everyone is eligible, are just the tip of the iceberg for Peterson. His current task is coming up with a mascot for Beamer.

“Titan is a difficult one,” Peterson said. “We have struggled to come up with one. I think we are going to have the kids come in this fall and pick that.”

Peterson is also the head baseball coach at Beamer and is waiting until school starts to order the team’s forest green, silver and blue uniforms.

“I want the future baseball kids to help design them,” Peterson said. “The kids will have a say in it.”

Housman, the new football coach, also had a big say in how his team’s uniforms would look. The former Decatur defensive coordinator went with forest green jerseys, white helmets and green facemasks. The helmets will have Titans written on both sides.

“They are turning out really nice,” Peterson said. “They are coming in bits and pieces, but we are getting closer.”

The Beamer football team opens up their non-league schedule Sept. 6 at home against Chief Sealth (Seattle).

The introduction of Beamer into the South Puget Sound League brings the South Division’s total to 10 schools. The North Division currently has nine schools, but that is set to change during the 2004-05 school year. That is when Bonney Lake High School will start competition in the SPSL, bringing the league’s total to 20 schools — by far the largest in the state. The Narrows League has 16 members.

But it doesn’t end there. Two more high schools are set to open in the fall of 2005 in the Auburn and Bethel school districts, pushing the SPSL to 22 teams.

“This year we are staying the same,” said Decatur Athletic Director Greg Flynn. “But there has been discussion about doing something else.”

Most of the talk has centered on re-organizing the schools into three divisions. Two with seven members and one with eight.

“We are going to have to go to three divisions,” Flynn said.

Nothing has been finalized, but there are several division possibilities, in terms of rivalries and proximities. The most likeliest division would include the seven Pierce County schools — three from the Bethel district, three from Puyallup and Curtis High School. That would leave 15 King County schools to be divided up into two divisions.

One possibility would be combining the four Federal Way high schools with the three Auburn schools to form a seven-team division, leaving the two Sumner schools, Tahoma, Enumclaw and the four Kent schools to round out the three divisions. The Federal Way and Kent schools could form an eight-team division and the Auburn and Sumner schools, along with Tahoma and Enumclaw would round out the league.

“We will talk about it after this year,” Flynn said.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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