Year in Review, Part I: Athletes upped the ante in 2009

North Kitsap gymnasts place seventh at state

For the first time in school history, North Kitsap High School sent a gymnastics team to the state tournament.

Last February, the team not only qualified for the tournament, but placed seventh overall. Junior Melissa Kunold was the only gymnast from Kitsap County to place in the individual competition, with a ninth-place finish on the balance beam.

“The girls did a great job,” Head Coach Kris Goodfellow. “I am very pleased with our team score and the way they competed.”

Viking Cup canceled, revived

After 24 years of Memorial Day soccer in Poulsbo, Viking Cup was forced to shut down for the first time in 2009.

Due to scheduling conflicts with other soccer tournaments throughout the area, the North Kitsap Soccer Club announced in March that the annual tradition would be postponed indefinitely. Club President Aaron Vernik said the Cup generated between $16,000 and $18,000 for the club, and at least $200,000 for local businesses in 2008.

In the Cup’s absence, the Kitsap Soccer Club Pumas helped raise funds for the club by donating money from ticket sales at a preseason match at the North Kitsap Stadium.

The club later revived the tournament, and Viking Cup’s silver anniversary is scheduled to take place May 28-31, 2010. The Cup now has a new Web site, at

Witt wins state wrestling title

Kiana Witt didn’t necessarily surprise anyone when she won the state wrestling title in the girls’ 112-pound division last February.

But as Kingston High School’s first state wrestling champion, she did make headlines.

“She’s an extreme competitor,” said her coach, Bobby Reece.

Witt was undefeated against fellow female wrestlers last season, and went 24-5 against the boys.

“When I get on the mat and the whistle blows, I block everything out and just wrestle,” Witt said.

North Kitsap boys basketball team ties for league title

For the first time in 17 years, the North Kitsap boys basketball team clinched a share of a league title last season.

The Vikings went 16-4 overall during the 2008-09 regular season and tied Port Townsend and North Mason for the top spot in the Olympic League.

Going into the district playoffs, the Vikings earned a No. 1 seed and rolled into the state tournament. They were ousted after two games, but were happy to make it as far as they did.

“I was having so much fun,” Head Coach Tony Chisholm said at the time. “The kids played hard, and for NK basketball this put us back on the map.

Kingston High girls get payback at state tourney

At the state basketball championships, the Kingston High girls were looking for payback against the team that beat them one year earlier.

In 2008, River Ridge High sent Kingston into the consolation bracket before moving on to win the title.

In the first round of this year’s tournament, Kingston fought back from an 11-point deficit to beat River Ridge in the final minute, 55-54.

“We didn’t stop playing,” Head Coach Kevin Strozier said. “That’s just a sign of this team’s maturity and how they’ve come together.”

The Bucs were knocked out of the tournament two games later, but Strozier looked on the bright side.

“A lot of people here came to us and said, ‘Where is Kingston?’” he said after the tournament. “Well, now they know where Kingston’s at. So that’s a plus for us. We want people to know where Kingston’s at, who we are. And we did that.”

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