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Early Season Softball
The Thunderbird Softball squad stands at 5-4 in the early season, with one game left against the Univ. of Puget Sound before beginning league play on March 15 at home against Everett. For additional information and more photos go to the Softball home page.
Early Season Report
Highline has gone 1-3 so far in 2018, with losses to Whitworth (7-2), the College of Idaho (5-4), and Bellevue (5-4). The T-Birds’ win came against Spokane (6-3). Highline has been sparked by the singles play of Amila Gogalija, who is undefeated as the top seed, and the doubles team of Amila Gogalija-Celeste Andreotti, who are undefeated as well. After its March 9 match against Bellevue, the team gets some time off, next competing on the road against the University of Puget Sound squad on March 17.
Amila Gogalija is undefeated so far for the Thunderbirds through four matches.
Men’s Wrestling: NJCAA National Tournament
February 23-24, 2018 Council Bluffs, Iowa
Report from- Head Coach Scott Norton
The good news is we came away with 2 All-Americans: Emmanuel Daigbe 197 and Liam Corbett 157. In addition, our team won the National Academic Championship with a 3.34 overall grade point average based on our 10 starters and 2 extra wrestlers. This is the 4th time. It’s important because we encourage our kids to do well in school so they can transfer to a four-year college.Emmanuel Daigbe lost 8-6. It was heartbreaking loss because Emmanuel was given a stalling call which awarded Tyree Sutton an extra point. It was a barn burner. Tyree Sutton was a high school national champ two years ago. Really it was a battle of two of the best athletes in the tournament. It’s tough when you lose a close match like that. Emmanuel probably should have been on the other side of the bracket because no kid has challenged Tyree all year.
Emmanuel did come back and finish fourth but should have finished 3rd. He lost a point for locking hands, and that was the difference in the match.
Liam Corbett did a great job. He lost to a returning All-American from Ellsworth in the quarters. Liam then pinned his opponent from Thaddeus Stevens to earn All-American Honors. Liam ended up losing to Isaiah Diggs, but secured a victory over his fellow Hawaiian friend Thomas Stevenson from North Idaho.
On the other side of the coin, we had Austin Lister at 133 win his first match. But he injured his shoulder, and it changed the way he wrestled. Lister was caught in his next match by Baterdene from Mongolia who is a national champ in his homeland. Baterdene finished 2nd. In the wrestle backs, Austin lost to a wrestler from Spartan who went on to become an All-American.
Our 4th competitor was Jacob Mendoza at 125. Mendoza didn’t seem like himself as he lost his first two matches.
It’s a weird tournament and a lot of things can happen. I’m proud of what our guys accomplished this year.
On the mat, the Highline College Wrestling Team is very good. In the classroom, it is a juggernaut. The team, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.34, based on its 10 starters and two extra wrestlers, won the 2018 NJCAA National Academic Championship, the 4th time the program has won this award in nine years. This is more than any other NJCAA college wrestling program. The coaching staff, led by Head Coach Scott Norton and lead assistant coach Brad Luvaas, focus on academics so their student-athletes can successfully transfer and continue their athletic and educational pursuits at a four-year college or university.
Liam Corbett at 157 lbs finished 5th in national competition and gained All-American status
All-American Emmanuel Daigbe finished in 4th place at the 197lb weight class in his first national championship competition.
Women’s Soccer Takes First Championship
Defense Stifles Peninsula For 1-0 Win in Overtime
In the end, it took grit, perseverance, an unbreakable defense, and a jewel of a kick in overtime for Highline to win its first ever championship. After playing to a scoreless tie in regulation time, it was Jewel Boland, Highline’s top goal scorer, playing with a heavily wrapped left leg, who hit a rocket from 20 yards that caromed off the top crossbar into the Peninsula goal at 1:06 into overtime to bring the long-awaited championship to the Women’s program. It was the first loss for the Pirates, who entered the game a perfect 19-0-0. Highline finished the season as the league’s only unbeaten team at 18-0-2, and the 2017 NWAC Women’s Soccer Champions.
In addition to the winning goal by Boland, assisted by Bella Keane, the story of the game was Highline’s defense, which had surrendered only five goals all season, best in the NWAC Conference. Although constantly tested by Peninsula, with the league’s most prolific offense averaging seven goals a game, and hanging on by its collective fingernails at the end of regulation time, the Thunderbird defense, with Jocelyn Hanrath in goal, kept Peninsula at bay just long enough for Boland’s jewel of a kick.
See the full report and photos from the game at the Women’s Soccer page.
T-Birds Edge Whatcom For Men’s Soccer Title
Kasim Sparkles in Goal; Evanger Gets Game Winner
When your goalkeeper is named Most Valuable Player in the Championship game, chances are you walk away with the title. And so it was with Highline defeating the Whatcom Orcas 1-0 behind Akili Kasim’s spectacular play in net and Dane Evanger’s goal at 58:39, assisted by Ryley Johnson. For the Thunderbirds it was their first championship since 2014, and the second for Head Coach Steve Mohn. Despite the lack of goal scoring the game was wide open, with Whatcom getting the majority of the better scoring chances, especially in the waning moments as it pressed the Highline defense in looking for the equalizing goal. In the end it was a contest between Whatcom, with the league’s best offense (65 goals scored) against Highline, with the league’s stingiest defense (11 goals against). In this case, defense won out. And as for Highline’s offense, while it was Ryley Johnson, the team’s top scorer and Adama Kante (3 goals in the semifinal win over Spokane) who put the most pressure on the Whatcom defense, it was Evanger, the team’s third leading scorer, who boomed in what proved to be the game winner off an opportune bounce. For the Thunderbirds and its defense, that is all it took.
See the full report and photos from the game at the Men’s Soccer page.