When Sehome learned reigning Class 2A singles state champion Avery West wasn't returning for his senior season, there was the question of who would step up and take over the Mariners' singles spots.
That hasn't been an issue this season. In truth, No. 1 singles Brady Anderson, No. 2 Max Shmotolohka and No. 3 Reece Gilbert are all legitimate No. 1 players. None of the three has lost a match yet, but coach Bonna Giller has been especially pleased with Gilbert of late.
The sophomore increased his record to 13-0 following a singles win against Bellingham on Thursday, Oct. 10, and he's only dropped two sets in the process.
"Reece is our steady eddy - never up, never down," Giller wrote in an email. "He is a smart player with calm and coolness not often seen in a sophomore varsity player. Reece is good at sizing up his opponent and executing a game plan."
WITTENBERG MAKES PRESENCE FELT
Lesser known Lynden football players have become more widely recognized this year since many are in starting varsity roles for the first time.
Sophomore Jordan Wittenberg can be added to that list.
The Lions slogged their way through much of the first quarter against Sehome on Oct. 4, but Wittenberg ignited Lynden with a key 55-yard punt return to the Sehome 4-yard line.
Quarterback Lucas Petersen punched the ball into the end zone the next play, and the Lions' rout was on.
Wittenberg later sealed the victory in the second half with a 49-yard onside kick return for touchdown.
"Jordan is an up-and-coming young player for us on offense and defense, but we preach the importance of all three phases of the game, and this week he proved that special teams are just as important as offense and defense," Lynden assistant coach Blake VanDalen wrote in an email.
MUNDELL ENJOYING STRONG SWIMMING SEASON
Sehome coach Don Helling admits, besides Gwen Roley, Sehome doesn't have an absolutely dominant swimmer. But it's athletes such as Megan Mundell who help Helling's team contend for state titles year after year.
Besides providing senior leadership, Mundell has enjoyed a strong season so far. She continued her strong swimming during last week's meet against Ferndale.
Mundell, who swims freestyle as well as the backstroke, won two individual events against the Golden Eagles and swam a leg in the Mariners' 400 freestyle relay.
"Megan is a strong swimmer on the team who doesn't always get the spotlight," Helling wrote in an email. "She is within tenths of a second of (a) state-qualifying time in the backstroke and is on track to be one of our championship point scorers."
Mundell and the Mariners return to the pool for a dual meet against Burlington-Edison at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Fidalgo Pool in Anacortes.
CARMICHEAL EARNS HUGE WIN
The Bellingham boys' tennis team knew it would get one more shot at Sehome following a 4-3 early-season loss. Red Raiders coach Steve Chronister also knew his club would have to win at least one singles match the next time after suffering all four losses in singles play.
Chad Cheldelin and Chris Nakatani were the last ones on the court and won the deciding match between the two tennis powerhouses, but Charlie Carmichael got the singles win Bellingham so-desperately needed.
Carmichael, who plays No. 2, 3 and 4 singles, beat Sehome's Charlie Lahud-Zahner 6-3, 6-1, improving his record to 12-1 in the process.
"Charlie is a warrior," Chronister wrote in an email. "He also learned some new things in the last couple of weeks that have raised his game a level. He had a great week."
LUMMI FOOTBALL SCHEDULE CHANGE
Lummi's Week 9 football game against Tulalip has been moved to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at Tulalip.
The game originally was scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 31.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-756-2862.