A year after construction scattered Stanwood spring sports teams across the region, the Spartans are back and ready to defend their new turf.
Experienced squads bring promise to a new season and the influx of plenty of talented youngsters could help put teams over the top.
So, to help get ready for another exhilarating end to what’s already been a memorable year of Spartan athletics, here’s a brief primer on Stanwood spring sports: players, coaches and season outlooks.
Track and Field
Head coach: Jordan Sneva (12th season)
2019 finish: Six Spartans placed at the 3A state championships: Wyatt Tayon (4th in the shot put and 12th in the discus), Anna Schander (5th in the discus), Isaac Zedwick (7th in the discus and 13th in the shot put), Lukas Sepulveda (8th in the 100 meter dash and 13th in the 200-meter dash), Ian Younce (15th place in the javelin) and Charlotte Bentz (16th in the 1,600-meter).
Returners: Cole Carrigan, Caden Carrigan, Preston Ing, Gabe Heckman, Baylor Hezel, Joe Hader, Rylee Masonholder, Bri Mitchell, A.J. Larson, Emily Langdalen, Isaac Ortega, Marcus Sardaneta, Owen Palmer, Cody Vail, Jalil Williams and Elijah Prout.
Newcomers: Barrett Anderson, Ryder Bumgarner, Carson Beckt, Wyatt Custer, Lindsey Khoury, Chloe Santeford, Tatum Brager and Heidi Ten Hoopen.
What to watch for: Home meets! It’s been two years since the Spartans hosted a track and field event due to construction.
“We’re very excited to get back to our track and enjoy new digs,” Sneva said of the bright new track and new area to the west for field events. Keep an eye on senior thrower Anna Schander, who is looking to return to state, and junior sprinter Isaac Ortega. In addition, there are “so many bright and enthusiastic newcomers and a solid freshman class,” Sneva said. “All coaches are very excited.”
Circle the calendar: Stanwood has four home meets on the calendar, but if you can only pick one, aim for the Stanwood Twilight Invite on May 8 — the regular season finale.
Head Coach: Alex Abdallah (1st season)
2019 team finish: 10-5 (Wesco 3A champions, lost in state semifinals)
Returners: Dawson Greenleaf (sr., goalie), Jackson Houston (jr., attack), Zane Schweiger (sr., middie), Ashton Greenleaf (so., middie), Kanyan Rhodes (so., face/middie), Colby Love (jr., face/middie), Huston Rawls (so., attack), Jack Laures (jr., middie), Matthew Lobaito (jr., attack), Justin Brown (jr., LSM/middie), Luke Grotle (jr., attack/middie), Zach Schell (jr., defense), Matthew Simpson (jr., defense), Adam Klein (jr., defense), Taylor Van Belle (jr., attack), Nate Weller (sr., middie)
Newcomers: Jaxon Eldridge (fr., attack/middie), Aidan Gervasi (fr., middie), Hunter Macomber (fr., goalie), Ryder McCall (fr., attack), Noah Grina (fr., middie), Tre Frankhauser (sr., defense), Nate Pedersen (fr., defense), Aidan Manzuk (fr., defense), Cody Andersen (fr., defense), Ben Pedersen (jr., defense)
What to watch for: The Spartans — a club team not associated with the high school — are starting fresh after graduating 13 seniors.
“Our upcoming players are ready to make a name for themselves,” Abdallah said. “Although our team is senior-light, don't let that fool you. Our boys know lacrosse inside and out with many of them already six, seven or eight years deep within the program.” Abdallah — who previously played and coached in Idaho and Oregon — is backed by Spartan alums Josh Smith and Jack Delich as assistant coaches.
“In my experience as a coach, lacrosse games are not won purely by size, age, and strength, rather, the team who makes the best decisions on the field can easily come out on top,” Abdallah said. “This season has us all excited and our coaching staff is expecting big wins and big upsets.”
Circle the calendar: Since the Spartans play at Stanwood Middle School — without lights — most home games are scheduled for later in the season when the sun is higher. The Spartans close with three huge league games at home on May 1, 4 and 7. Games start at 6 p.m.
Head coach: Erik Cruz (1st season)
2019 team finish: 4-11-1 overall
Returners: Dylan Link (sr., D), Christian Steiner (sr., D), Andrew Hill (jr., D), Landon Mcnelluy (sr., D), Daniel Thompson (sr., D), Nickolas Christianson (sr./M), TJ Rowley (jr./M), Christian Banuelos (sr., M), Abdi Maier (so., M), Kevin Rautenberg (jr.,M), Shintaro Wilcox (sr., F), Emmet Pedigo (jr., F), Zakary Christianson (sr., F), Preston Fekkes (sr., F), Jaysen Berg (jr, F), Blake Raynolds (sr., GK)
Newcomers: Eduardo Sanchez (so., M), Garett Allison (so., M)
What to watch for: Cruz brings a new style of play focused around the ball and position on the field.
“This can only be done if the team comes together as one and plays hard in order to achieve the main goal of having a winning season and a playoff spot,” he said. This is a experienced roster brimming with upperclassmen.
“We are looking to bring all the qualities of each individual player in order to help us play collectively as a team,” he said.
Circle the calendar: Bundle up and see this team early in its home-opener on March 17 against Oak Harbor to get a sense of the new style of play.
Head coach: Zach Ward (2nd season)
2019 team finish: Shelby Lund advanced to the state championships.
Returners: Shelby Lund (sr.), Francis Zoloth (jr.), Kiera Beach (so.), Kallie McCoy (sr.), Natalia Stytes (sr.)
Newcomers: Brooke Lund (fr.)
What to watch for: The Spartans feature plenty of experience and are ready to take the next step, Ward said. Stanwood advanced two to the district tournament last year. Getting more to districts is a goal, Ward said.
Circle the calendar: The Spartans have three home events at Camaloch Golf Course on Camano Island this season: April 2, 15 and 30. Those sunny, warm April afternoons are typically a very pleasant time to take a walk on the flowering course and watch some Spartan golf.
Head coach: Scott Bates (25th season)
2019 finish: Cole Weiderstrom advanced to the state championships.
Returners: Logan Brennon (jr.), Carson Skahan (so. and alternate to state 2019)
What to watch for: There are a lot of question marks surrounding the team after graduating four seniors last season. “Will be a young group,” Bates said.
Circle the calendar: The Spartans’ lone home meet is April 16 when they host Wesco 3A North foes at Camaloch Golf Course on Camano.
Head coach: Matt Brennan (2nd season)
2019 team finish: 4-16 overall, 6th place in Wesco 3A North
Returners: Preston Pierce (sr., P, SS), Brandon Duncan (sr., OF), Ethan Kemp (sr., DH), Justin Place (sr., OF), Chase Larkin (jr., INF.), Darren Smith (jr., C), Aidan Carter (jr., P, OF), Ty Griffin (jr., P, INF), Brandt Gilbertson (so., P, INF)
Newcomers: Cameron Bailey (so., INF), Carter Thorpe (so., P, OF), Teegan Jacobsen (so., C, INF), Riley Lewis (jr., P)
What to watch for: A very experienced squad returns with goals to improve on their sixth-place finish last year and go deep in the district playoffs, Brennan said. Four-year letter-winner and standout senior pitcher Preston Pierce looks to lead the way on the mound and with his bat. Keep an eye on Chase Larkin, a second-team all-Wesco outfielder last season, and catcher Darren Smith.
“Smith couldn't play the field last year due to an elbow injury but will be behind the plate this year with his elbow at 100%,” Brennan said.
Circle the calendar: The three-game series against Arlington (home games April 14 and April 17) will be one to watch — less for rivalry reasons and more for benchmark reasons. The Eagles were undefeated in league the past two seasons.
Head coach: Sean Cunningham (4th season)
2019 team finish: 11-4 (second in Wesco 3A North) and Avery Zill advanced to the state 3A championships for a second consecutive year
Returners: Avery Zill (jr.), Lily Cunningham (sr.), Sarah Schmidt (sr.), Lexi Brennan (sr.), Maddy Rueckert (sr.), Lauren Brager (sr.), Magdalena Hundley (jr.), Ansley Lalone (jr.)
What to watch for: An experienced group of eight upperclassmen — all returning starters — have their sights set on taking the league title from perennial favorite Snohomish. “We have good depth and great senior leadership,” Cunningham said. “Avery Zill aiming for a third straight spot into state and should be once again one of the top girls in 3A Wesco.”
Circle the calendar: The showdown with Snohomish on April 27. The Panthers haven’t lost a league match since dropping to 3A in 2015.
Head coach: Cherlyn Schander (16th season)
2019 team finish: 1-19
Returners: Taylor Eldridge (sr.), Alex Knudson (sr.), Morgan Saunders (jr.), Kassidy Stoner (jr.), Shaye Martin (jr.), Paige Almanza (so.), Mackenzie Schaffer (so.)
Newcomers: Madeline Larson (jr.), Caitlyn Burchard (jr.), McKenzy Seay (fr.), Lily Carter (fr.), Katelin Hannum (fr.)
What to watch for: The Spartans boasted their largest number at tryouts in several years. “After the first week of practice we look to have a more competitive program at the varsity and JV level this year,” Schander said. The bulked-up roster features a handful of pitching prospects and several batters capable of launching bombs, including Paige Almanza and Morgan Saunders. “Girls at both levels are stronger and will be fun to watch,” Schander said.
Circle the calendar: The league home-opener is March 31 against perennial power Meadowdale Mavericks, who were unbeaten in Wesco 3A last season. The Mavs are a good early season yardstick for the Spartans.