For the Gig Harbor sports community 2018 was a fantastic year, giving us lots of great athletic performances, strong teams, plenty of league titles and even a few state titles. Here were some of the most noteworthy things to happen in the past year.
Gig Harbor track title sweep
Perhaps no feat quite matches Gig Harbor sweeping the boys and girls Class 3A state championships for track and field. Amazingly enough, Gig Harbor also pulled off the same feat in 2007, when the school was in the 4A classification. Event after event, Gig Harbor’s athletes showed up and delivered clutch performances.
Longtime Gig Harbor track coach Kevin Eager compared it to a “wildfire,” saying the athletes fed off each other’s performances.
The Gig Harbor boys were led by Jurrian Hering’s state title in the 110-meter hurdles, as well as a title in the 4x400 relay. On the girls side, Hadassah Ward won her third-straight title in the shot put, while the biggest star of the show was Hannah Carroll, who won the 400-meter title and 200-meter title, as well as being a member of Gig Harbor’s 4x100 (first) and 4x400 (fourth) relays.
More titles for Gig Harbor
The Tides added plenty to its trophy case in 2018. The boys golf team, the girls soccer team and girls basketball team all won Class 3A state titles.
Sophomore Caden Arnold led the way, shooting a combined 145 (74, 71) at The Creek at Qualchan golf course in Spokane. He capped off the tournament by carding an eagle on the 18th hole on the second day. Junior Griffin McCauley, who transferred to Gig Harbor from Eastlake this year, fired a 146 (73, 73) and junior Sean Vaovasa shot 147 (74, 73). Junior Jaydon Raquiza shot 155 (78, 77).
Also winning a state championship in 2018 was the girls basketball team. The Tides, led by Brynna Maxwell and Maddie Willett, defeated Garfield, 51-48, to claim the program’s first state title. Maxwell, a University of Utah signee, was brilliant during the team’s run at the Tacoma Dome, pouring in 31 points in the championship game, while also breaking several tournament records along the way.
Maxwell is now the 3A modern-era record holder for total points (83), average (27.7) and is tied for field goals made (28).
The girls soccer team, meanwhile, completed a historic season, winning the Class 3A state title with a 2-1 win over Holy Names, finishing the season with a flawless 23-0 record. Tied 1-1 in the 76th minute, 4-foot-10 freshman Ashley Wright fired in the game-winning goal for the Tides in the championship game.
Alyssa Gray among the best
Speaking of Gig Harbor soccer, exceptional teams have exceptional players, and this year’s Gig Harbor team was no different. Junior forward Alyssa Gray, a Washington State University commit, was named The News Tribune’s 2018 All-Area Player of the Year.
She led the Tides with 36 goals and 10 assists and scored a crucial game-tying goal in the second half of the state championship game. Twelve of Gray’s 36 goals came in postseason play.
Peninsula football wins SSC title
Perhaps no league championship in recent memory was more difficult for the Seahawks to pull off than this year’s. Top to bottom, the Class 3A South Sound Conference was one of the best leagues in the state, if not the best. League members Peninsula, Yelm and Timberline all made the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament this season, as evidence of the league’s strength in the 2018 season.
And Peninsula once again made it to the quarterfinals of the state tournament. While the Seahawks have been stuck in the quarters for the past few seasons, even reaching that point is a difficult task, and doing it year after year speaks to remarkable consistency of Ross Filkins’ program.
Sam Scholl takes over at San Diego
The 1996 Gig Harbor High School grad won a state championship during his time as a Gig Harbor basketball player and this year, was named the head coach of the University of San Diego men’s basketball team, after serving as the interim head coach at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Scholl has the Toreros off to an 11-4 start this season, including wins over in-town rival San Diego State and Pac-12 opponent Colorado.