Lynden Christian senior softball player Bridget Kruck has suffered through enough rainouts and near-freezing early-spring games that probably should have been rained out to know that she doesn't want to be a part of it any more.
On Tuesday, Jan. 15, Kruck hopes to put the rain and chilly temperatures behind her when she plans to sign a national letter of intent to play for Mesa (Ariz.) Community College.
"I've always wanted to go play somewhere warm," Kruck said in a phone interview. "I'm sick and tired of the rain. During spring break, I visited Arizona State, and it made me want to go there to play. I went to Mesa and got to know the players and coach, and that made me feel real good about my decision."
Kruck, who expects to move to the outfield primarily but still see a little time pitching, should get her fill of the warmer, drier climate in the Valley of the Sun - the Thunderbirds play 20 to 25 games in the fall and 60 to 65 more in the spring, Kruck said.
"They play in the best junior college league in the county," Kruck said. "They play a lot of ranked teams, and they're improving. ... They've sent a lot of players on to Arizona and Arizona State and Arizona Christian, which is a new school down there, and I'm hoping I can do that, too."
Kruck went 13-13 last season for LC, and she picked up a pair of victories at the Class 1A State Tournament.
Kruck said she plans to major in sports management or communication to "stay in the sports world once I'm done playing."
REGIONAL SITES ANNOUNCED
Whatcom County Class 1A and 2A basketball teams will have an opportunity to play a little closer to home in the regional round of the state tournaments this year, as the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association selected Lynden as one of four 2A regional sites and Mount Vernon as one for 1A.
Brackets have not yet been released, so it is not yet known which seeds will play where in the regional round, but it should be a big improvement over last year when the 2A Northwest District's top seed traveled to Stanwood and the 1A's closest regional was Glacier Peak.
Other 2A regionals will be held at Kent Meridian and Tumwater high schools and Central Washington University, while the 1A regionals also will be at Chehalis W.F. West, Yakima West Valley and Central Valley high schools.
The 3A regionals will be held at Glacier Peak, Mount Tahoma and University high schools and Bellevue College, while the 1B regionals will be at Lynnwood, Timberline, Eastmont and Walla Walla high schools.
The single-elimination girls' regionals will be held on Feb. 22, with the boys' a day later. The state quarterfinals will follow on Feb. 28, with the 1A and 2A elite eights held at the Yakima Valley SunDome, the 3A at the Tacoma Dame and the 1B at Spokane Arena.
LYNDEN HALL OF FAME
Lynden will induct three former athletes, a former administrator and a volunteer who is still instrumental in helping the Lions excel into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame on Jan. 24.
Elmer Clarkson, Greg Helgath, Adrian Jorissen, Scott Rutgers and Doug Smith make up the Class of 2013 and will be honored at a 5:30 p.m. banquet at Homestead Farms Resort. Tickets are $40 and are available at the high school office.
Jorissen was a 1944 graduate of the school. He was part of Lynden's 30-game league win streak in basketball under coach Elbert Isom and was a standout pitcher for coach Fred Rockey. He went on to play basketball at Washington State and baseball for the Bellingham Bells under coach Joe Martin and with the Seattle Rainiers. He was instrumental in establishing what the Lynden Youth Sports Program.
Rutgers was known for his competitiveness in all three sports he played. He was quarterback and kicker on a football team that went 9-2 and advanced to the state quarterfinals, was a standout on coach Jake Maberry's basketball team, which took fourth in state, and played shortstop on a baseball squad that took third his senior year in 1976. He went on to play basketball at Everett Community College, enlisted in the Navy and currently lives in New Mexico.
Smith, who is a nephew of Jorissen, played halfback, receiving honorable mention on the 1960 National High School All-American Football team and was part of an unbeaten, unscored-upon Lynden squad. He was a member of the Lions' first state championship basketball team for Maberry in 1960. He was also a standout shortstop for the baseball team, and earned a scholarship to Washington State, where he was a teammate of John Olerud Sr. He later joined the Air Force and spent 29 years working as a flight operations engineer manager at Boeing.
Clarkson is a legendary administrator at Lynden who is remembered for his many contributions to student activities both in school and the community. He joined the staff at Lynden in 1946 as a science teacher and football coach. The school had been without a football team since 1913, but he helped lay the foundation to turn it into a perennial power. In 1957 he took over as principal at the school, where he spent the next 13 years. He became a leader in the Northwest District and served on the district's executive board and on the WIAA Representative Assembly.
Helgath grew up in Lynden and was a three-sport athlete on the football field, wrestling mat and on the track, where he was part of a school record-setting 4x200 relay team. He went on to Everett Community College, the University of Washington and Puget Sound University to study physical therapy. Among his many professional honors, he served on the International Olympic Medical Staff for the 1984 Olympic Games, before he returned to Whatcom County in 1990 and opened C.O.A.S.T. Physical Therapy and began to volunteer his services to Lynden sports.
The Class of 2013 will be honored at halftime of the Lynden boys' basketball team's game against Blaine on Jan. 25.
Longtime Sehome teacher and tennis coach Bonna Giller was inducted into the Burlington-Edison High School Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Friday, Jan. 11.
Giller starred in volleyball, basketball and track and field for the Tigers before graduating from the school in 1976 and going on to Seattle University and Western Washington University to compete in basketball and track.
The Class of 2013 was Burlington's first to include female athletes.
FERNDALE SOPHOMORE STEPS UP
The Ferndale boys' basketball team may have found a young player it can build around for the next few years in the form of sophomore wing Brady Shearer.
In a 70-62 win over Sehome on Jan. 4, Shearer came off the bench to record 22 points in just three quarters and also was a defensive presence that caused troubles for the Mariners. He averaged 8.4 points in his first 13 games this season.
"Brady is one of our hardest workers in practice, which makes our team better," Golden Eagles coach Monte Walton wrote in an email. "He is always the one that shows up to practice first early and the last one to leave. ... His hard work has paid off to make our bench stronger as our sixth man and our team better. He is an example of what it takes to become a complete player."
COACHES VS. CANCER
Sehome will celebrate its Northwest Conference Coaches vs. Cancer basketball game on Jan. 24 with a silent auction and a half-court shot contest. But the highlight will no doubt be the head shaving of school figures to raise cancer awareness and donations for area cancer centers.
The Mariners will host Nooksack Valley in a 7:15 p.m. boys' game.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.