Year of the champions

The Mirror

Decatur’s Burks earns All-American honors

Ryan Burks, a senior punter on the Decatur High School football team, was named to USA Today’s 2003 All-USA high school football team. Burks punted the ball 42 times for 1,937 yards (46.1 yard a kick).

The 6-foot, 185-pounder was only the 10th player from Washington to be named All-USA in the 22-year history of the team, which is selected by sportswriters.

It’s Jefferson in a stunner

After finishing 3-4 during the South Puget Sound League South Division regular season, nobody expected the Jefferson boys swim team to make any noise at the Class 4A state meet. But the Raiders outdistanced second-place Inglemoor to win the school’s first state swimming championship Feb. 21.

Jefferson featured only four swimmers during the state meet and senior Matt Diotte proved to be the star. Diotte, who is currently swimming at the University of Denver, won two individual events and also anchored two relay victories.

Twice is nice for Bressler

Decatur senior wrestler Kyle Bressler completed one of the best careers in the history of the city. Bressler won his second straight 189-pound wrestling championship with an 11-3 win over Emerald Ridge’s Brynsen Brown Feb. 21. The win improved Bressler’s three-year wrestling record to 111-6 and completed a 40-0 senior season.

Bressler is currently wrestling at Oregon State University and was also an all-state linebacker during the fall sports season for Decatur.

Beamer’s dancers win school’s first title

The Todd Beamer High School Dance Team took home the first-year school’s first state championship March 19. The Titans won the 2004 Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Hip-Hop Dance championship in Yakima. The team was coached by Julianne Davies. Team members included Jenna Summerfield, Kirsten McMurphy, Jenny Park, Sarde Bullard, Samantha Easley, Debbie Goff, Alexandra Herndon, Kimberly Mayovsky, Kelsey Sparks, Brooke Summerfield and Eddie Washington.

Decatur High School cheer team wins state title

The Gators won first place at the Washington State Cheer Coaches Association Cheerleading Championships March 27 in Kent. The title came in the medium varsity division, which included all-girl teams with 13 to 18 members. The team included Shauntea Churchill, Amanda Conner, Nicole Corley, Katie Crafton, Jennifer Downs, Christine Duffy, Lisa Epperson, Linidsay Fay, Jessica Gross, Amanda Hastings, Rachel Hicks, Shana Koubele, Josie Leonard, Nichole Ross, Lindsey Swezea and Danielle Templeman.

TJ’s Jenkins shatters triple jump record

Jefferson’s Kyle Jenkins became the best triple jumper to ever put on spikes at a Washington high school. Jenkins popped a state-record leap of 50 feet, 2 inches April 17 at the Pasco Invitational Meet at Edgar Brown Stadium. The jump shattered a 27-year-old record set in 1977 by Wilson’s Aaron Williams and was the best mark in the United States last year.

Jenkins, who is currently jumping at Indiana University, went on to win his second consecutive triple jump state title in May.

Leaping Leopard wins national jump rope title

Ryan Fitzgerald, a fourth grader on the Leaping Leopards jump rope team, finished first in the 11-and-under single rope freestyle event at the 2004 National Jump Rope Championships at Walt Disney World in Orlando June 27. Fitzgerald is one of eight students from the Federal Way jump rope team based out of Lake Grove Elementary School and coached by Dana Henry. The winning performance was broadcast on ESPN.

Federal Way’s Gillespie is a heavyweight of weightlifting

Federal Way resident Bill Gillespie set a World Association of Benchers and Dead Lifters record in the super-heavyweight division by bench pressing an amazing 749.5 pounds at a June 19 competition. The lift shattered the old record of 707.4 pounds. Gillespie is the current Seattle Seahawk assistant strength and conditioning coach. His son, Cameron, is also a record-setting weightlifter and is currently a senior at Todd Beamer.

Rice rolls to tennis title

Decatur sophomore Chris Rice culminated an undefeated season May 27 with the Class 4A state singles title in Spokane. Rice beat Central Kitsap’s Francisco Carrasquero 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

Griffey snags Star Track title

Decatur sophomore Princess Joy Griffey won the Class 4A girls 100 meters May 27 at the Star Track XXII state championships.

Griffey ran a solid time of 12.04 in the final. She also finished second in the 200 meters.

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