The year in Federal Way sports — 2013

Jefferson senior Rodrigo Robles holds the Class 4A state championship trophy after the Raiders beat Union, 3-0, in May to win the program’s eighth state title at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium.  - Casey Olson/The Mirror
Jefferson senior Rodrigo Robles holds the Class 4A state championship trophy after the Raiders beat Union, 3-0, in May to win the program’s eighth state title at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

Jan. 10 — UFC: Benson Henderson named “Fighter of the Year” for 2012

Benson Henderson had quite a 2012 and the honors kept rolling in for the Decatur High School graduate as 2013 began.

Henderson’s 2012 included winning the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight championship by beating former title holder Frankie Edgar in Tokyo at UFC 144 in February. It continued with August’s unanimous decision over Edgar in Denver and ended with a thrashing of Nate Diaz inside Seattle’s KeyArena in December.

The perfect 2012 got even better after Henderson was named’s Fighter of the Year. Henderson outdistanced second-place Jon “Bones” Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, in the voting.

“It’s an honor to be named the Fighter of the Year,” Henderson told Bleacher Report. “When I fight, I want the fans, the media, everybody, to take notice of my fights and enjoy the show.”

Jan. 28 — MLS: Federal Way’s Neagle back with Sounders FC for third time

When the 2013 MLS home openers were announced in December, Lamar Neagle circled March 2 as his first opportunity to return home since the Sounders FC traded the Federal Way native to the Montreal Impact during the preseason in 2012.

Neagle, a Thomas Jefferson graduate and Federal Way resident, was on the field at CenturyLink Field that night, but it wasn’t with the Impact.

The Sounders FC instead brought Neagle back for his third stint with the club in the team’s five-year history in a trade in January, sending an international roster slot to Montreal for the 25-year-old midfielder.

“It’s amazing. It’s going to be nice to be able to see my family and be around my little sister and everything like that,” Neagle said. “I know a lot of guys have changed. In the offseason I came back and I connected with a few of the guys so it’ll be a good homecoming.”

Feb. 17 — WRESTLING: Carpio, Lologo and Gleed pin down state titles at Mat Classic

It was a night of redemption for a trio of Federal Way wrestlers in February inside the Tacoma Dome.

Beamer’s Arian Carpio, Federal Way’s Luaipou Lologo and Decatur senior Kyle Gleed overcame some wrestling demons to win individual state championships at Mat Classic XXV.

Carpio, who rolled through the 2012 season unbeaten until losing in the state championship match last year. The loss to Winlock’s Rachel Archer took away Carpio’s dream of becoming a four-time state girls champion.

But the sophomore got to stand atop the podium after pinning Kentridge’s Taylor Lee in the 112-pound title match. The win moved Carpio to 23-0 during the season.  The loss to Archer is still Capio’s only defeat during her already-stellar high school career.

“This is such a relief,” Carpio said after the match. “I have been working for this all year.  I have been working so hard.”

Carpio said that losing the state championship match during her freshman season was the main motivation for her getting back to the Tacoma Dome and winning the elusive state title.

“This is a way different feeling than last year,” Carpio said. “This is one of the best feeling I’ve felt in my life and last year was one of the worst.”

April 10 — Decatur dance team adds more national championships to trophy case

The Decatur High School dance team has turned into somewhat of a dynasty. The Gators just keep racking up titles, including their second-straight USA championship at the 2013 Dance/Drill Nationals.

"We work our butts off to win, and that's exactly what we did," said head coach Lindsay Starr, who is a graduate of Decatur. "We always kept the end in mind."

The Gators brought home three national titles from the USA Nationals, which were held March 29-30 inside the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Decatur won the USA championships in the Kick, Small Military and Medium Military divisions in California.

"The girls were going crazy as they continued to call out, 'And your national champions is Decatur High School,'" said Carol Edmonson, who is the dance team advisor. "It was fabulous and so exciting for them."

April 25 — Beamer hip-hop dance team wins eighth state title in last 10 years

The Todd Beamer High School dance team is the gold standard in the hip-hop division. For the eighth time in the last 10 years, Beamer snagged the hip-hop title at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Dance/Drill State Championships in April inside the Yakima SunDome.

Beamer blew away the rest of the competition in the Class 4A competition in  Yakima. The Titans tallied 281.2 points to win the hip-hop category. Pasco followed with 273.3 points and Kentwood was third (270.6).

May 24 — STATE TRACK: Federal Way makes history, sweep boys and girls championships

It was a very historic weekend for the Federal Way High School track and field team. For the first time in the long and rich history of the program, both the boys and girls proved to be the best of the best in Washington.

The Eagle boys, who were dominant all season long and the prohibitive favorites entering the weekend, set a meet record with 90 points during the Class 4A State Track and Field Championships at Mount Tahoma High School.

It was far more dramatic for the Federal Way girls. The Eagles won the state team title by the slimmest of margins, 42-41, over division-rival Curtis.

The Federal Way girls got a huge performance from Mariyah Vongsaveng, who was responsible for 33 of the Eagles’ 42 team points. The sophomore won the individual state title in the 100-meter hurdles by running a 14.55 in Tacoma and also finished fourth in the 300 hurdles (44.51).

Vongsaveng ran on a pair of relays for Federal Way, including the state-championship in the 4x100. The team of Gabriela Pelogi, Ta’Mara Richey, Vongsaveng and Karis Cameron won the title in the 4x100 relay in a time of 47.85 over second-place Bethel (48.25). The same foursome was second behind Curtis in the 4x200 in a time of 1:41.95.

May 24 — SOCCER: Jefferson caps undefeated season with 3-0 win in state title game

It was safe to say that the Thomas Jefferson boys soccer program has been the cream of the crop in the state of Washington for a long, long time.

It’s even safer to say now.

The Raiders won their state-record eighth title in May with a 3-0 thrashing of the Union Titans at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium. And all eight of the championships have come in the last 30 years and all have come in the largest classification in the state.

“There is nobody even close in the state, 1A, 2A or 3A,” said TJ head coach Dave Hanson. “Nobody. That’s a title pretty much every four years. That’s pretty amazing.”

The win capped a perfect 19-0-4 season for Jefferson and came 30 years after the program’s first state championship in 1983.

“I think being TJ soccer helps our mentality,” senior Matthew Cruz said. “It makes us want to win that much more.”

“This feels amazing,” said senior Luis Alvaro Osornio after the win. “There are no words to even describe it. It’s what we’ve been fighting for. I just don’t have the words.”

May 26 — STATE TENNIS: Stewart wins another singles title, TJ has best-ever finish

Mitch Stewart capped a busy weekend by standing on top of the podium once again.

The Federal Way High School senior won his second consecutive Class 4A singles championship Saturday at the Columbia Basin Racquet Club in Richland.

Stewart dominated the competition during the State Boys Tennis Tournament. He didn’t lose a set in his four matches and beat Gonzaga Prep’s Alex Marchinkowski in the championship match, 6-2, 6-1. The win also completed Stewart’s second unbeaten season in a row. His only loss came in the state title match during his freshman season.

The doubles team of Zach and Cameron Martin led the way for the Jefferson Raiders. The Martin brothers finished up in fourth place. Singles player Alex Chan ended up in fifth place.

The performances led Jefferson to the school’ highest-ever team placing of third place. Despite the rich tennis history at TJ, the Raider boys have never placed at a state tournament, until Saturday. Newport won the team title with 19 points and Skyline was second with 14. Jefferson finished with 13 team points.

Aug. 30 — SPEEDSKATING: Celski wins overall title at U.S. Short Track Single Distance

J.R. Celski hopes his short track speed skating career peaks in February. That’s when the Federal Way resident hopes to be participating in his second Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Celski took a step toward Russia last weekend when he won the overall classification title at the United States Short Track Single Distance Championships in Salt Lake City. It was the first competition of the season for Celski. He won the 500-meter and 1,500-meter races during the championships and also finished second in the 1,000, securing a World Cup spot in all three events.

The top-two finishers in each of the three distances automatically qualified for the U.S. World Cup team.

“I didn’t want to risk too much,” he said about the 1,000 final. “Now is not the goal. So I want to stay safe through trials, through all of the World Cups and through the next trials (for the Olympic team).”

Nov. 18 — STATE SWIMMING/DIVING: Federal Way’s Ramey finishes career with two more titles

Federal Way High School senior Kenna Ramey finished up one of the best swimming careers in the history of the state of Washington Saturday afternoon.

Ramey added two more individual state titles to her already-full trophy case by winning the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. The two championships were Ramey’s fourth and fifth during her career for the Eagles.

Ramey’s state championship time in the 50 free was the second-fasted ever recorded in state history. Ramey won the race in a time of 22.96, which was also an automatic All-American time.

It was the third consecutive year that Ramey has won the 50-yard title. Her performance broke the Class 4A meet record of 23.17, set 23 years ago by Mercer Island’s Megan Oesting. The state record was set by in 2008 by Mount Rainier’s Leona Jennings during the Class 3A meet. Jennings swam a time of 22.92.

Ramey followed up her massive performance in the 50 free with her second-straight championship in the 100 butterfly. Ramey dominated the butterfly with the fifth-fastest time in Class 4A history.

Nov. 23 — FOOTBALL: Federal Way makes history, blow by Richland and into 4A semifinals

The Federal Way Eagles made history Friday night. For the first time since 1976, the Eagles will play in the state’s Final Four.

Federal Way beat the Richland Bombers 41-34 in the Class 4A state quarterfinal football game at Federal Way Memorial Stadium. The win earned the Eagles a semifinal berth against Chiawana at noon at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco on Saturday. The winner will play for the state championship on Dec. 7 at the Tacoma Dome. Chiawana beat Wenatchee in the quarterfinals Saturday at the Apple Bowl.

“This feels amazing,” said senior fullback/linebacker Eric Ah Fua, who had some huge runs up the middle against Richland. “I can’t even put into words what’s going through my mind right now. It’s so amazing. We are making history at Federal Way.”

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