Top Federal Way sports stories in 2008

Federal Way plays first state football game since ‘76 (Nov. 11)

It’s been a long time coming for the Federal Way Eagles football program.

For the first time in 32 years, the Eagles (8-2) will play a game in the state football playoffs, thanks to a 24-19 win over the Gig Harbor Tides Nov. 7 in a Class 4A preliminary round game at Roy Anderson Stadium in Gig Harbor.

“It was a tough game,” senior running back/linebacker Andre Barrington said. “They play hard. But it feels good to finish this game and get a W. We did it.”

Barrington was the story against Gig Harbor. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder finished with a workmanlike 166 yards on 27 carries and the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 8:33 remaining in the game.

He also connected on a 46-yard touchdown pass to Nick Tanielu late in the second quarter.

Snapped: Beamer soccer loses first match since 2005 (Nov. 1)

The No. 1-ranked Todd Beamer Titans girls soccer team hadn’t lost a South Puget Sound League South Division match in three years.

That all changed Oct. 29 when Kelsy Villagas scored the only goal of the match in the 19th minute as Graham-Kapowsin upset the top-ranked Titans, 1-0, at Art Crate Field in Graham.

Decatur’s Tibbs eligible to play basketball (Oct. 23)

The Decatur Gators boys basketball team will officially have a familiar face back on the court when practice kicks off.

Marcus Tibbs was granted a fifth year of eligibility Oct. 23 by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. The 6-foot-1 guard instantly makes the Gators a contender in the South Puget Sound League South Division and gives them a better shot at playing at the Class 4A State Tournament for the third-straight season.

The WIAA, the governing body of high school sports in the state, informed Decatur athletic director Kelly Kirk that Tibbs would be eligible to play the upcoming 2008-09 basketball season as a senior. Tibbs was forced to go to the WIAA state office after an appeal in front of the West Central District was denied.

“It was just nerve-racking,” Tibbs said. “I was nervous.”

Dickerson’s basketball comeback put on hold (Oct. 11)

Michael Dickerson’s NBA comeback didn’t last too long.

The best basketball player to come out of Federal Way was released by the Cleveland Cavaliers Oct. 7 in order to attend to an undisclosed personal matter that caused him to leave the team’s training camp Oct. 1.

According to the Cavaliers, he was unable to pursue his return to the NBA at this time, while addressing the personal matter, but expects to still pursue a return to the league in the future.

The 6-foot-5 Federal Way High School grad was attempting a comeback after a five-year retirement from the NBA. Dickerson, a 1994 grad, was forced to call it quits before the 2003 season after five years in the NBA after his career was stalled by numerous injuries.

College bound: Federal Way football players commit (Sept. 10)

Just four days after his Federal Way High School teammate Andre Barrington committed to play football at Washington State University, Andru Pulu did the football equivalent of the exact opposite.

The 6-foot-3, 250-pound middle linebacker verbally committed to play for the University of Washington Huskies next season.

“It doesn’t happen everyday,” Federal Way head coach John Meagher said about having two Division I recruits on his roster. “As a matter of fact, it (a Pac-10 scholarship) hasn’t happened since I have been a head coach (11 seasons).”

Barrington, a 6-1, 200-pound running back/linebacker verbally committed to play for the Cougars on Sept. 1.

Going, going, gone: Ishikawa clubs first big league homer (Aug. 20)

Travis Ishikawa had quite a week.

The Federal Way High School graduate was recalled to the San Francisco Giants’ roster as the team’s starting first baseman after a two-year hiatus from the big leagues Aug. 11.

But it doesn’t stop there. Ishikawa also connected on his first major league home run Aug. 16 in a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder was also able to retrieve his home run ball from a fan at Atlanta’s Turner Field. Ishikawa signed two bats, two baseballs, two hats and a family photo for the fan who caught the ball.

“I don’t know what that’s really going to get you,” Ishikawa told the San Jose Mercury News, while smiling.

Fredrickson family reunion atop Mt. Rainier (Aug. 6)

Gary Fredrickson is a man of his word.

Especially when he talks about getting to the top of Mount Rainier.

The retired Boeing engineer has summited the most hallowed peak in the Pacific Northwest an astonishing 62 times. So when he went down to Houston 15 years ago following the birth of his grandson, Joe, he hatched a plan to get three generations of Fredricksons to the 14,411-foot peak of Mount Rainier.

“I’m not aware of it being done before,” Fredrickson said about the three-generation climb. “I’m sure it has, but I’m not aware of it. I had been thinking about this for a long time.”

While sitting in the hospital room in Texas, the 66-year-old came up with the idea of leading a climbing party made up of only Fredricksons, and the far-fetched idea came to fruition. A total of 11 relatives, including two brothers, two sons, three nephews, two grandsons and a daughter-in-law summited Mount Rainier on July 22.

King Aquatic Club sends two to Olympics in Beijing (July 9)

King Aquatic Club was already recognized around the Pacific Northwest as one of the top competitive swim teams in the region.

Now, the Federal Way-based organization, is recognized as one of the best swim teams in the United States.

The King Aquatic Club, whose members swim out of the King County Aquatic Center, had 15 swimmers participate in the United States Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Neb. and two will be competing at next month’s Olympics in Beijing. Margaret Hoelzer and Megan Jendrick qualified for the US team by finishing in the top-two places in their respective events in Omaha.

The club also had Svetlana Karpeeva (Russia) and Heather Brand (Zimbabwe) swim at the Olympics.

Malamura, Beamer relay team snare state titles (May 28)

It was a year of firsts at the Class 4A State Track and Field Championships at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco.

Jefferson senior Sofia Malamura became the first-ever Raider girl to win an individual state championship, when she captured the shot put with a throw of 41 feet, 2 1/4 inches. Malamura joins triple jumper Kyle Jenkins as the only individual state title winners from TJ.

The Todd Beamer boys 4x100 relay team also accomplished a first. The Titan team of Travis Koch, Duran Ward, Justin Drayer and Josh Waller outleaned Cascade of Everett to win the state title in a time of 42.37. Cascade finished with a time of 42.78.

Hale transfers to Federal Way High School (April 25)

The future already looked bright for the Federal Way High School boys basketball team. The Eagles finished second at the Class 4A State Boys Basketball Championships last month.

It looks even brighter now.

The Eagles, who lost to Ferris High School in the state championship game in Tacoma, have added former Decatur point guard Michael Hale.

Hale has played the last two seasons at Decatur, earning All-South Puget Sound League first-team honors as a junior and second-team as a sophomore.

Eagles win instant classic over Gators (March 4)

It was a game for the ages. An instant classic, if ever there was such a thing.

Federal Way vs. Decatur on the biggest stage for high school basketball in the state of Washington, played in front of thousands of fans inside the Tacoma Dome.

It couldn’t get any better. Not only were the Eagles and Gators playing for city pride, but there was also a berth into the Class 4A state championship game on the line.

The two teams have played some huge games over the years. But none were bigger than Friday night’s semifinal at the Class 4A state tournament.

And the two teams didn’t disappoint, playing the best game of the 2008 tourney.

The tension was more than palpable and the ebb and flow of emotions on and off the court are what makes high school sports so magnificent.

And the intensity of the game was at its height as the buzzer sounded at the end of regulation.

That’s when Decatur’s shot at playing for its first-ever state title was dashed with one bounce of the basketball, and the Federal Way Eagles were granted a little karma.

With the score tied at 54-54 and everybody in the Tacoma Dome on their feet, Decatur junior Michael Hale let loose with a 3-pointer that seemed destined to fall through the hoop.

“I thought it was in,” Decatur head coach Kevin Olson said. ”I thought we were playing Saturday night (for the state title).”

But, unfortunately for the Gators, and fortunately for Federal Way, the ball rimmed out, sending the game to overtime.

“I thought the ball was in and the game was over,” Eagle senior Aaron Broussard said. “And when it went in and out, all the stress was over.”

The Eagles went on to dominate the four-minute overtime period to pull out the 69-60 win over their arch-rival, sending Federal Way to the school’s first state championship game, which unbeaten Ferris won 68-44.

On a mission: Decatur’s Tillman snags state title (Feb. 19)

It was the match Tevyn Tillman had been waiting a year to wrestle.

Ever since the chiseled Decatur High School junior lost in the semifinals of last year’s Mat Classic and ended up finishing in fifth place in the 285-pound bracket, he had only one thing on his mind — winning the 2008 state wrestling championship.

Mission accomplished.

Tillman dominated a familiar foe in the 285-pound championship Saturday night inside the Tacoma Dome at Mat Classic XX. The Decatur junior beat Kentridge senior Le’Roi Edwards, 7-0, in the state title match.

“I worked my butt off for this,” Tillman said. “I should have been here last year, but I lost in the semifinals. I just wanted to get back here and win it. It made me work even harder.”

O’Brien selected fifth overall in MLS Draft (Jan. 22)

Ciaran O’Brien is officially a professional soccer player.

The former Decatur High School star was drafted with the fifth overall pick of the 2008 Major League Soccer SuperDraft Sunday by the Colorado Rapids. The SuperDraft was held in Baltimore.

“I am very excited about joining the Rapids and look forward to joining my new teammates in Colorado,” said O’Brien.

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