Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Braves Sports, March 21, 2012

Photo by Karla Reynolds
Foes hurl gems at La Conner diamond teams
By Bill Reynolds
It was a case of good news, bad news Monday for the La Conner High softball and baseball teams.
The good news is both La Conner squads played well on the road.
The bad news is the two La Conner clubs were still edged in non-league action by larger programs.
The Lady Braves fell 6-5 at 1A Meridian, while the Braves dropped a 10-4 decision at Lynden Christian.
Frosh pitcher Emma Christianson showed excellent control for an early season game, fanning seven Meridian hitters while throwing two-thirds of her 111 pitches for strikes.
Meridian was coming off a convincing victory over Coupeville, which had earlier beaten Concrete.
La Conner was slated to face the Lady Lions in a twin bill late Tuesday.
Lady Braves' head coach Michael Bliss was pleased with the offensive support Christianson received at Meridian, which included a two-bagger from senior Jazmin Snyder in her first-ever at-bat.
Kelley McClung paced La Conner with three safeties, including a double to lead off the game.
Olivia Hedlund lined a pair of singles and drew a walk for the Lady Braves, while designated hitter Taysha James, batting cleanup, ripped a double and single and drove in three tallies.
"What I really liked," said Bliss, "is that everybody was up there swinging."
He said the Lady Braves will be addressing fundamentals and game situations in the days ahead. Getting more non-league games under their belt, said Bliss, will help in both areas. 
"We'll work on the small stuff and how to correct the little mental errors that you can't always teach at practice," he said. "It has to come during a game, which is what the game tonight (at Meridian) helped to do."
The Braves, meanwhile, were forced Monday due to field conditions to give up a home date for the trip to Lynden Christian.
Dakota Hartley and Wil James led the La Conner attack with extra-base hits.
Hartlet delivered a solo homer in the second inning, while James blasted a two-run double in the fifth frame.
Tanner Cyr and Hayden Schmidt added two singles each for the Braves, who closed to within 5-3 before the Lynx added some late insurance scores.
Junior Christian Johnston, sophomore Cameron Sherman, and freshmen Taylor Swanson and Erick Reinstra shared mound duties for La Conner.
Photo by Melissa Reynolds
La Conner thinclads sweep League preview meet
By Bill Reynolds
If Thursday's NWB League Preview meet is any indication, the future looks bright for the La Conner High track teams.
And that means the immediate future.
Building upon past success, La Conner captured both sides of the annual event before a supportive home crowd at Whittaker Field.
The defending League champion La Conner boys, coming off a fourth place finish at the 2011 State trials, bested runnerup Concrete 85-51.
The Lady Braves edged Mount Vernon Christian to claim their half of the meet.
We had several multiple event winners and our boys' and girls' relays swept the field," an elated La Conner head track coach Peter Voorhees said afterward. "It was a great day and a nice way to start the year."
Versatile distance runner Nathan Sybrandy enjoyed the unseasonably mild conditions, weathering all challenges in both the boys' 800 and 1600 meters.
Sybrandy clocked a 2:19.75 to win the 800. He posted a 5:11.0 finish in the 1600.
Brothers Landy and Jamall James were also dual victors for the La Conner boys.
Landy was best in the javelin (151'-4") and high jump (5'-6"), while Jamall took top honors in the long jump (18'-5") and triple jump (38'-7").
Todd Hoagland set the pace in the 200 meters, hitting the tape at :25.43.
Hoagland joined Jamall James, Wylie Thulen, and Dahlton Zavala on the Braves' winning sprint relay team. The La Conner quartet ran away with the 4x100 meters in a meet-best time of :48.21.
Hoagland, Zavala, Sybrandy, and Mitchell Grant secured the boys' mile relay crown for La Conner, winning the 4x400 meters in 3:52.91.
Katie McKnight and Emily Anderson paced the La Conner girls, each placing first in one track and one field event.
McKnight won the 200 meters (:29.53) and javelin (88'-11"), and Anderson reached the winner's circle in the 100 meter hurdles (:19.40) and high jump (4'-6").
Priscilla Ponce-Venegas was also a solo victor for the Lady Braves, turning in a :54.37 effort in the 300 meter hurdles.
The La Conner girls claimed first place honors in the 800 and 1600 meter relays, respectively, with Ponce-Venegas, Kelsie Crawford, Madi Cavanaugh, and Victoria O'Brien combining to post a 2:03.7 finish in the 4x200.
McKnight, Anderson, Lydia Lenning, and Chrissy Barsness each ran legs of La Conner's blue ribbon mile relay entry, winning that event (4:57.08) by more than two full seconds.  
"The great thing about this meet," said Voorhees, "is we have a better idea of where our strengths and weaknesses are now that we have some official times."
Among the strengths for both La Conner squads is depth.
The Braves’ teams piled up points with high placements across the board.
Crawford finished a strong second in the girls' 100 meters (:14.37) and long jump (13'-0"), with teammate Kelby Hermstad matching that finish in the 800 (3:10.81).
Lenning placed third in both the 1600 (6:59.6) and 3200 (15.07.0). McKnight picked up the bronze in the 100 (:14.97), as did Ponce-Venegas in the javelin (79'-11").
On the boys' side, Zavala was second in the 100 (:12.50), as was Braves' sophomore Alec Axure in the 3200 (12:51.0).
Nathan Parker picked up second place finishes in both the discus (109'-7") and the 12-pound shot put (39'-11").
Landy James, Jimmy Garcia, and Jordan Romanelli each tallied third place points for the Braves.
James was third in the shot (36'-0"). Garcia did likewise in the 300 meter hurdles (:48.90). And Romanelli finished third in the 200 (:25.62), just back of Hoagland.
Based on last season's showing, Voorhees was guardedly optimistic going into Thursday's competition.
The final results played out pretty much as expected, with Concrete's boys and Mount Vernon Christian's girls pushing La Conner the hardest.
Mount Vernon Christian staved off Friday Harbor to clinch third place team honors on the boys' side of the meet, while Concrete's Lady Lions fell just five points short (56-51) of upsetting MVC in the girls' events.
"The biggest surprise," Voorhees quipped afterward, "was the weather. It held out the entire meet." 

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