Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Braves Sports April 25, 2012

Photo by Karla Reynolds
La Conner linksters not rusty despite rain, long layoff
By Bill Reynolds
They say the best things in life are well worth the wait.
And for golfers, that includes a day on the course – even in the pouring rain.
The La Conner High golf teams returned to action Thursday after going nearly a month without a match, and had little trouble shaking off the rust.
The Braves kept their undefeated season intact, easily downing visiting Grace Academy and Highline Christian in a downpour at nearby Similk Beach Golf Course.
The Lady Braves, meanwhile, boasted medalist Hilary Edwards, who shot a 59, one stroke under the round shot by teammate Bailey Wyles.
"I'm proud of the effort," La Conner head coach Sean Skiles said afterward. "The rain made it tough, but everybody stuck with it and really turned in some impressive scores considering the elements."
La Conner's Jake Silva took top honors on the boys' side, carding a 37. Teammate Brendan McLeod fired a 39.
The Braves' Spencer Finley finished at 42, while Wilson Crawford shot a 44 in his varsity debut.
Pretty remarkable scores given there was standing water on some greens, and the
La Conner boys were without three of their top five players.
"It was nice to get a couple of the JV golfers a chance to compete in a varsity match," said Skiles, "without a noticeable drop off in team score."
The Braves finished with a combined count of 210. Grace Academy was 32 strokes back, at 242. Highline Christian golfers sloshed their way to a 267.
"It was very wet and never stopped raining," said La Conner assistant coach Kelly Silva. "So a team score of 210 was pretty awesome all things considered."
There will be little idle time for La Conner golfers from here on out. The LCHS teams were slated to host Lopez late Tuesday, then return the favor tomorrow, Thursday, afternoon.
La Conner wraps up the week Friday at Snohomish in a dual match with Northwest Christian.
Photo by Karla Reynolds
La Conner thinclads sweep home track meet
By Bill Reynolds
It was two weeks past Good Friday.
But a good Friday, indeed, for the La Conner High track teams.
The Braves boys' and girls' squads each won their half of the five-school La Conner Invitational Track Meet Friday afternoon at Whittaker Field.
The Braves outdistanced runner-up Crescent 122-77, with league rival Concrete, 67, claiming third place in the boys' meet.
On the girls' side, La Conner edged Concrete 110-96 for the meet title, with Crescent, 67,  placing third.
Friday Harbor, 30,  and Christian Faith, 17, rounded out the girls' field.
Christian Faith, 34, and Friday Harbor, 33, waged a close battle for fourth place in the boys' competition.
La Conner's Landy James, Nathan Sybrandy, Jamall James, and Nathan Parker were double victors for the Braves, whose mile relay team also captured top honors.
Landy James claimed the high jump with a personal best leap of 6'-4", easily besting Crescent's Donovan Christie, who finished second with 5’10”.
James, a senior, also won the javelin by a wide margin. His winning heave of 167'-5" was more than 24 feet better than the second best effort, a toss of 143'-0" by Quenton Wolfer of Crescent.
Sybrandy won both the mile and two-mile.
The La Conner distance standout hit the tape in five-minutes flat in the 1600 meters. That was seven seconds better than Friday Harbor's Jose Guerrero.
Sybrandy dominated the 3200 meter field, clocking an impressive 11:19.00, nearly two minutes faster than the rest of the field.
An added bonus in the two-mile was the performance of La Conner sophomores Jack Borusinski, Alec Azure, and Alex Wirth, all of whom placed in the top five.
Jamall James took gold in the long jump with 19'-6" and 110-meter high hurdles at 16:16, winning both events handily. No one was within a foot of him in the long jump. And James was nearly a full second better than Crescent's Matthew Waldrip in the hurdles.
Parker took both the shot put (43'-8") and discus (119'-10") in impressive fashion. His distance in the discus was more than 14 feet better than the second place finisher, Josiah Martin of Concrete.
The Braves' quartet of Todd Hoagland, Jamall James, Mitchell Grant, and Dahlton Zavala added to the La Conner point total by cruising to a win in the 4x400 meter relay.
Their time of 3:43.00 was nearly two seconds faster than that posted by Crescent's mile relay entry.
Grant and Zavala each earned silver in solo events, placing second in the 400 and 200 meters, respectively. Grant's time was :55.60, just back of Hoagland's winning pace. Zavala clocked a :24.38 in a race won by Concrete's Andy Aiken at :23.94.
La Conner's depth was a key factor in the girls' half of the meet.
Kelsie Crawford had a role in four wins, pacing the Lady Braves with triumphs in the 100 meters at :13.75 and long jump of 12'-9" while also running legs of La Conner's meet-best sprint and mile relay entries.
Crawford led a 1-2-3 Lady Braves finish in the 100 as Priscilla Ponce-Venegas placed second at :13.85), just ahead of teammate Madi Cavanaugh’s  :14.44).
Katie McKnight, Emily Anderson, and Ponce-Venegas likewise turned in blue ribbon performances for the Lady Braves.
McKnight was first in the 200 meters at :28.68 winning by more than two seconds over Concrete's Thea O'Brien.
Anderson captured the triple jump with 32'-2.5", an event which saw La Conner teammate Amber Drye place fifth.
Ponce-Venegas sped to a convincing win in the 300 meter hurdles. Her time of :50.75 was almost three seconds faster than her nearest rival, Crescent's Kellie Belford. 
Ponce-Venegas, McKnight, and Anderson joined Crawford on La Conner's winning 4x100 meter relay team, clocking a time of :53.44. 
Ponce-Venegas also finished fourth in the javelin with 93'-7", three slots ahead of McKnight, who turned in a toss of 77'-0".
McKnight, Anderson, Crawford, and Cavanaugh then teamed to claim the 4x400 meter relay, posting a time of 4:29.06, nearly a half-minute faster than second place Friday Harbor.
Cavanaugh, meanwhile, was a strong second to Crawford in the long jump.
On a busy day, Anderson also finished second in the 100 meter hurdles, a finish matched by La Conner junior Sammie Mesman in the 1600 meters.
Mesman at 6:19.00 was just one tick back of mile winner Kaitlyn Smith, who finished in 6:18.00.
Mesman also joined Lydia Lenning, Marina Kochuten, and Victoria O'Brien for a second place finish in the 800 meter relay, turning in a time of 2:08.34.
Lenning further added to the Lady Braves' tally with a third place finish at 15:38.37 in the 3200 meters.
In related notes:
La Conner head track coach Peter Voorhees said the meet's highlight was the mile relays for both the boys and girls. Braves' sprinter Jamall James closed a 30-meter gap on the leader and seized the lead going into the final exchange. Anchor Dahlton Zavala held on for the win. Voorhees said the Lady Braves met their pre-race goal in terms of time, and are now the sixth ranked 4x400 group in the State. "The girls' relay was a great example," said Voorhees, "of the athletes choosing to make something happen, working hard for it, and pushing themselves through to their goal. I'm very proud of them."
Another highlight, stressed Voorhees, was the performance of Robert Duckworth, who established personal bests in four events.
Voorhees was grateful for the community's support of the meet. "The people in La Conner do a great job supporting school activities. I'd like to thank everyone who came out to help. It was our last home meet for our seniors and they all had a great day."
Photo by Lauren Reynolds
Braves defense falters in two tough losses
By Bill Reynolds
Baseball is a game that can drive coaches batty – in more ways than one.
Just ask La Conner's Jeremiah LeSourd, who last week saw his club turn in solid mound work and grind out several quality at-bats.
But it was their defense that let the Braves down in tough losses to Concrete and Blaine.
La Conner committed critical errors at crucial points of an eventual 5-3 setback to the Lions, a game marred by wet playing conditions.
"The game was close throughout," said LeSourd, "but errors were the difference. Weather conditions also played a factor, and made things difficult."
Braves' hurlers Taylor Swanson and Tanner Cyr were poised on the mound Thursday while facing a good hitting Concrete team.
"They really performed well and kept their composure," LeSourd stressed.
Cyr also helped his cause with a base hit. 
Hayden Schmidt led La Conner with a pair of base knocks, while Dakota Hartley lined a run-scoring single.
Cyr swung a hot bat Saturday against Blaine, as well. He went three-for-three at the plate, with a double, a pair of singles, and two runs scored in a 14-3 loss.
Erick Reinstra likewise delivered three hits, while Wil James laced two safeties in four trips.
But, again, it was defensive miscues that sealed La Conner's fate.
Starter Matt McCauley and Reinstra, who came on in relief, were victimized by five Braves' errors.
"Matt got his first start on the mound," said LeSourd, "and did well. Erick pitched the final three innings and was very aggressive."
Despite the twin defeats, LeSourd justifiably has a positive outlook on the rest of the campaign.
"Our pitchers are getting experience and improving with each appearance," he said Monday. "Their confidence will be an asset in the playoffs."
It's much the same scenario on offense.
"The Braves' attack is improving," LeSourd told La Conner Weekly News, "with the hitters having solid at-bats. We just need to come through with runners on base."
The key will be shoring up the defense, he said.
"That's where we must improve if we're going to make a run in the playoffs," LeSourd noted. 
It's a mission, he said, that can be accomplished.
"We're working on staying focused and thinking a play ahead," said LeSourd. "When we can do that we'll begin to execute on a more consistent basis."
The Braves (3-4 in league) were scheduled to resume play Monday at home against longtime rival Darrington.
The struggling Loggers entered the week with a 1-5 conference mark.
La Conner is slated to entertain Lummi today, Wednesday, in a non-league twinbill before traveling Friday to Coupeville. 

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