Beamer keeps racking up SPSL South Division titles

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The Todd Beamer Titans are filling up their 6-year-old gymnasium with championship banners.

The Titans have secured four more South Puget Sound League South Division titles during the fall sports season. Beamer teams have secured championships in girls swimming, boys golf, boys cross country and girls soccer.

“We are having another great fall,” said Beamer athletic director Jerry Peterson. “I’m proud of what we’ve done and very proud of the kids.”

The championships this fall means four more banners will be hung up inside the Beamer gymnasium, joining 13 the Titans have earned since opening their doors in 2003. But of those 17 SPSL division titles, 14 have come since the 2006-07 school year while Beamer has been a member of the current nine-team SPSL South. Last school year, the Titans won titles in girls soccer, boys tennis, girls track, boys track and girls swimming.

In comparison, the three other Federal Way district high schools — Decatur, Federal Way and Thomas Jefferson — have combined to win nine SPSL division titles during the same time period. Jefferson has won five North Division titles, Federal Way has garnered three and Decatur tied for the boys basketball championship last season.

A bulk of those titles also came while Beamer was the only member of the Federal Way School District in the SPSL’s South Division, away from the other three district schools. Only this year has Decatur moved back into the SPSL South.

When the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) passed a sweeping reclassification amendment before the 2006-07 school year, Beamer remained in the South Division, while the other three Federal Way high schools were moved to the league’s North Division with the four Kent schools (Kentridge, Kentwood, Kentlake and Kent-Meridian), along with Tahoma.

At the time, parents and administrators were upset about splitting up the district’s athletic programs. A large group of parents even joined together in an attempt to move Beamer into the North Division. The group said Beamer athletes would lose out on many high school experiences, including inner-city rivalries, and the kids would feel alienated from the other Federal Way schools and receive less community support.

“We like it,” Peterson said. “I think it’s been good for Beamer. But we do miss playing the Federal Way schools.”

Coaching stability has also been a big factor in Beamer’s recent success in the SPSL South. A large number of the coaches on the varsity level have been entrenched at Beamer for all six years of the school’s existence. The stability has allowed those coaches to establish the tone of their programs, as well as give student-athletes the knowledge of what is expected of them during the season.

Until a couple of years ago, Beamer programs couldn’t rely on a senior class to provide leadership and maturity. When the school opened in 2003, there were no seniors in the student population and a large portion of the freshman and sophomore athletes that would have attended Beamer, chose to stay at the other high schools they had already started at.

Another huge factor in the recent success of Beamer athletics is where most of their kids are coming from. Beamer draws a bulk of its students from Illahee and Sequoyah middle schools. Year in and year out, Illahee has the most successful athletic programs in the city and Sequoyah is the newest school in the district, which is a big draw.

So don’t expect the championship banners to stop being unrolled inside the Beamer gym anytime soon.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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