By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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The state tournaments and meets are still two weeks away, but many teams have already stopped playing.
That means that the high school sports careers of many seniors have ended.
Kind of a sobering thought, isn't it?
In late August, athletes and coaches throughout the North Olympic Peninsula wondered how good they will be this year.
As we approach mid-May, we have a pretty good idea.
Now all that's left is for the remaining teams and athletes to see how far they can go.
The individual sports — track and field, golf and tennis — have a few weeks of qualifying at events such as league championships, districts, tri-districts, quad-districts and sub-districts.
Meanwhile, the number of area schools are still alive in team sports competition is dwindling.
Baseball and boys soccer are down to one team, both from Sequim.
Softball has three area teams left: Quilcene, Port Angeles and, yes, Sequim.
Two of those teams, the Wolves and Roughriders, face off today in a regular season game with a postseason feel.
If Port Angeles (14-1, 14-3) wins, it wins the Olympic League championship outright, while Sequim would take third and Kingston second.
If the Wolves (13-2, 15-3) win, they clinch a tie for the league title with the Riders.
The No. 1 seed at the 2A West Central District tournament Friday and Saturday, May 23-24, would be decided by a coin flip.
A head-to-head matchup for the league championship would be great, and both teams have 10 days to get such a game in, but that isn't how Olympic League prefers to decide tiebreakers.
The Riders and Wolves play at 4 p.m. at Dry Creek Elementary School in Port Angeles.
Quilcene (15-1) has one regular season game this week and one more scheduled for early next week against Highland Christian.
Then the Rangers host the District 1 and 2 Bi-District tournament next Friday, May 23.
Highland Christian and Evergreen Lutheran face off in the opening game. Immediately following that game, the winner plays Quilcene for a spot in the 1B state tournament.
Sequim awaits opponent
Sequim is the only area baseball team remaining and due to holding the Olympic League's No. 2 seed and a first-round by in the West Central District tournament, the Wolves have the luxury of scouting their two potential opponents today.
Fife (13-6) and Tyee (5-12) play this afternoon. The winner plays Sequim on Wednesday at Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma at 2:30 p.m.
The Wolves lost to Fife 9-5 last month in sloppy, rainy game.
Win or lose, Sequim will advance to play another game Saturday.
A win on Wednesday, though, guarantees the Wolves a spot in at regionals next week.
The Wolves move on to regionals by winning Wednesday or finishing in the top five at districts.
If they lose Wednesday, they'll have to win twice Saturday to reach regionals.
Wolves eye high seed
The Sequim soccer team is guaranteed a spot at Saturday's West Central District tournament.
Right now, the Wolves are playing for seeding.
A higher seed will give them a better shot at reaching state, as the district tournament is a one-game, win-and-you're-in event.
And, of course, higher seeds play lesser teams. At least that's the idea.
Sequim (13-3) plays either Kingston (14-2) or Klahowya (10-7) on Wednesday.
Golf tourney, all-league
The Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend boys and girls golf teams play today in the Olympic League championship tournament at Cedars and Dungeness in Sequim.
Some golfers will qualify for state at the league tournament and others will advance to next week's district tournament at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton.
Sequim's Alex McMenamin and Klahowya's Aaron Holliday were named league MVPs by virtue of their nine-hole scoring averages.
McMenamin won the girls MVP with an average of 41, while Holliday earned the boys award with a 38.2 average.
Right on their heels are a pair of Roughriders.
Dana Fox trailed McMenamin by four-tenths of a stroke (41.4), and Alex Atwell was even close to the boys MVP, falling just three-tenths short of Holliday (38.5).
Joining Atwell on the boys all-league team are Sequim's Jack Shea, Klahowya's Matt Phillips and Andrew Nelson, Olympic's C.J. Lagat and North Mason's Josh Frederickson.
The girls all-league team is Fox, Sequim's Brianna Kettel, Kington's Aimee Zehrung and Dani Fox (yes, there is a Dana Fox and a Dani Fox — not at all confusing, is it?), Klahowya's McKenna Kendall and North Kitsap's Kaylin Oster.
Klahowya won the boys Olympic League title and Kingston is the girls champion.
The area's three tennis teams, Sequim, Port Angeles and the combined Chimacum/Port Townsend squad.
All three teams will send two singles players and two doubles duos to Wednesday's Olympic League tournament at North Kitsap High School.
Following that will be districts next Friday and Saturday, May 23-24, at the Bremerton Athletic Club.
Track and field
Track and field, more than any other sport, really ramps up in May.
The Olympic League season moves on from last weekend's league meet to Saturday's sub-district meet at Bremerton.
That's where Sequim and Port Angeles will be.
Port Townsend parts ways with the Class 2A Olympic League to compete with schools its own size at the Class 1A Nisqually League on Wednesday and Friday.
Forks will be at the Evergreen 1A League Sub-Districts on Friday at Rainier.
The top-four finishers for Neah Bay, Clallam Bay and Crescent at last week's North Olympic League qualifying meet will be in Stanwood at the Bi-District qualifier on Friday.
“So all the preliminary meets have finally led the athletes to this ultra-competitive postseason, where everything is on the line in each event with very little room for hiccups,” Crescent coach Darrell Yount said after the North Olympic League championship meet last month.
“Exciting times. This is what the track and field world lives and breathes for.
“Typically, the top athletes tend to really take off and separate themselves from the rest of the field. So very rewarding for an elite group; perhaps a bit frustrating for the rest, but that's track and field.”
Rowing technically isn't a high school sport, but three area teens will be competing at this weekends Northwest Regional Rowing Championship at Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Wash.
Aubrey Officer and Elise Beuke will compete in the women's double, and Officer and Gabe Weneger will row in the singles.
All three are members of the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association and are coached by Rodrigo Rodrigues.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.