Braves eagerly await pregame warmups
By Bill Reynolds
La Conner High hoop teams were on a hot streak before last week's major winter storms.
But now they could face some tough sledding ahead in terms of schedule changes made necessary when the cold weather forced postponement of slated games at Shoreline Christian and Mount Vernon Christian.
La Conner must play five league games in nine days to make up for previously scheduled contests wiped out by snowy and icy road conditions.
The La Conner-Mount Vernon Christian games have been reset for this Saturday, Jan. 28, with boys' junior varsity action tipping off at 4:30 p.m.
The girls' varsity game is to start at or around 6 p.m., followed 90 minutes later by the boys' varsity clash.
The La Conner-Shoreline Christian games have been rescheduled for Feb. 1, a rare Wednesday date, with the same boys' JV at 4:30 p.m.; girls' varsity at 6 p.m., and boys' varsity 7:30 p.m. rotation.
Neither Mount Vernon Christian nor Shoreline Christian has a girls' junior varsity team, according to La Conner head coach Scott Novak.
La Conner players are eager to hit the hardwood again, he said, with both teams sitting atop league standings.
The Braves were 8-0 in league play and 13-1 overall going into Tuesday's late home action with Darrington.
The Lady Braves sported a 7-1 league mark and 10-4 overall ledger entering their Tuesday pairing with Darrington.
The La Conner girls' lone league loss was a December setback on the road to the Lady Loggers.
After being rendered idle by the region's extended snowstorms, the term “pregame warmups” now takes on added meaning for the La Conner squads.
But Novak is confident both teams will be fired up, despite the grueling schedule ahead.
In addition to the makeup games, La Conner is also scheduled this Friday, Jan. 27, at Orcas and at home Jan. 31 opposite Concrete.
La Conner hoopsters haven't spent the entire month sidelined, however.
Before the snow fell, La Conner players had once again taken part in the annual Bo Alleckson Memorial Hoop Classic.
The January tourney honors the memory of one of Novak's former students, who passed away in the 1990s, after having moved to
The event has grown to a 32-team, three-gym format, featuring boys' and girls' teams from the fourth through eighth grades.
"Our high school students work the scorer's tables," Novak said Monday, "with community members, coaches, and former players serving as game officials."
Many current La Conner High students played in previous Alleckson tourneys, he said.
"When it was a fifth and sixth grade boys' tournament," he said, "La Conner won the championship in back-to-back years."
Those teams included present Braves' players Landy James, Bobby Poulton, Spencer Novak, Tyler Howlett, and Jamall James.
Photo by Karla Reynolds
La Conner native raises bar on national stage
By Bill Reynolds
The past year was an uplifting one for a former La Conner resident.
Mark Reynolds, 22, a junior at
Tarleton State University in Texas, was recognized Saturday night in as the Natural Athlete Strength Association's 2011 male Power Sports Lifter of the Year. Oklahoma City
He received a large trophy and two wall plaques during annual awards ceremonies held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel near
. Will Rogers International Airport
Reynolds ranked first in the event, which combines the curl, bench press, and deadlift, among more than 2,000 Natural Athlete Strength Association members nationwide.
"Mark is going to be one of our future greats, and he's already great," said iconic association president and co-founder Rich Peters, who made the official presentation.
The 5-9, 200-pound Reynolds was nominated for the honor after a year in which he set personal competition bests in all lift categories.
He curled 171 pounds, benched 360, and deadlifted 623 before judges who also make sure lifters adhere to strict technique guidelines.
Reynolds also competed several times last year in the strength association’s Power Lifting division, where the squat is substituted for curls.
He set a personal best in the squat, with a 530-pound effort, at a meet this past summer.
Reynolds was attracted to the Natural Athlete Strength Association by its family atmosphere and Peters' long and tireless campaign to rid power sports of steroids and performance enhancing drugs.
"What I like about it," Reynolds explains, "is that I'm basically competing against myself. There's no place for steroids in that."
The lifters, he says, share a common bond. They travel from state to state to various meets, often using down time at the arena to encourage competitors.
Reynolds attends meets with his wife, Courtney, young daughters Callie and Kylie, and newborn son, Bryson.
He was introduced to powerlifting while a student at
, where Reynolds is the only athlete to have earned All-State honors in three sports in the same year. Mart High School
He was the starting middle linebacker on Mart High’s 2006 State championship football team, then three months later set the school record for combined weight – 1,315 pounds – in the squat, bench, and deadlift at the State Power Lifting Meet in Houston, where he placed sixth.
He closed out his senior year by leading the
Central Texas area in runs batted in as the Panthers' catcher, helping Mart High advance deep into the post-season.
But it was powerlifting that really grabbed Reynolds' attention after moving to
from La Conner, where his childhood friends included Braves' assistant basketball coach Carl Buher. Texas
"I liked powerlifting a lot in high school," Reynolds says, "and decided it was something I wanted to keep doing."
Reynolds' sisters, Melissa and Lauren, have since returned home to La Conner. Melissa, who graduated from Mart High, is a first-year student at
. Lauren is a sophomore at La Conner High School. Skagit Valley College
Reynolds, meanwhile, continues to train regularly at Mart High's Edd Burleson Weight Room, occasionally alongside fellow Panther alum Quan Cosby, now a member of the National Football League's Indianapolis Colts.
Another local product who turns up at Burleson is Jesse Plemons, a former Mart quarterback prospect and summer baseball teammate of Reynolds', who went into acting full-time and is best known for his role as Landry Clarke on the popular Friday Night Lights TV series.
And, if Reynolds continues to raise the bar as he did in 2011, Peters predicts he, too, will soon make a name for himself.
"I was glad when I saw that Mark had been nominated," Peters said last weekend, "and even more so when he won."