By Oliver Lazenby
For Blaine High School sports, 2018 was a year of changing leadership. Eight programs got new varsity head coaches and it was athletic director Sean Linville’s first full year in the position. Despite the changes, Blaine sports programs continued on an even keel, with previously successful programs posting winning records and others improving and rebuilding.
Here’s a season-by-season look at how Blaine teams and athletes did in 2018.
Jacob Westfall led Blaine High School’s wrestling team at state with a third place individual finish and the Borderites came in 13th as a team. Aidan Button placed fifth in his weight class and Chase DuBois placed seventh. Caleb Bullard, Porter Schmidt, Saul Magallon and Josy Delgadillo also qualified for and wrestled at state. In short, Blaine continued its long-standing dominance in the sport.
The girls basketball team reached its first playoff game in three years thanks to a come-from-behind 48–43 win in the final regular season game. The team held its own against higher-seeded Liberty in the playoff game, but ultimately suffered a 54–45 loss. Blaine finished its regular season with a 6–14 overall record.
Blaine boys basketball is going through a transition. In 2018, celebrated coach Rob Ridnour agreed to return for one season of coaching and an inexperienced team earned a 2–18 record. Highlights of the season include victories over Coupeville High School and Eastside Preparatory School.
Baseball became a winning sport for Blaine after a trip to state in 2016 and despite an early loss in the playoffs, 2018’s team continued the trend. The Borderites finished 8–5 thanks to a deep batting lineup and solid pitching by Mikael Elliot, Colby Knutzen and Cam Ellis.
Led by new head coach Tanner Olson, the team didn’t have any holes. However, they would have liked to go farther in the post-season; Sedro-Woolley, a team that improved much through the regular season, knocked Blaine out in a first-round district tournament game.
Blaine softball found a new varsity head coach in former assistant coach Nancy Williams and finished its season with a 3–17 record. It was a tough season, with some key players leaving and others suffering injuries. Senior Taylor Miller led the team from the pitcher’s mound, pitching every game after switching to the position for the season.
An experienced senior group led Blaine track and field teams in 2018. Seniors Dalton Mouw, Porter Schmidt, Rani Prasad and Josie Deming placed well throughout the season. Prasad and junior Ben Caro went all the way to the state championship and placed third in shot put and second in wheelchair discus respectively.
The Blaine boys soccer team is on a slow and steady path to success spanning years. In 2018, a 2–0 senior-night win against Lynden Christian landed the Borderites in the playoffs for the second season in a row. Senior Alieu Diaw scored both goals in that game and led the team to a 5–4–2 regular season record.
New coaches took over both the boys and girls golf teams. Both teams placed well in some tournaments but didn’t make the postseason.
The girls tennis team enjoyed home matches on brand new tennis courts at Blaine High School. The Borderites had a winless year as a team, but several individuals stood out throughout the spring.
In its last season on the current Blaine High School field, it took a while for Blaine’s football team to find a winning formula. The team battled injuries and struggled as head coach Jay Dodd tried out different offensive strategies and moved key players.
The team came together in the second half of the season as the Borderites battled to an even record of four wins and four losses. It added up to an exciting finish as Blaine beat Mountlake Terrace 29–10 in the first round of the district half tournament before losing to Lynden.
A strong freshman class powered the Blaine girls soccer team to its best finish in three seasons. The young team had 10 freshmen, including goalkeeper Krystin Kamrath and many other starters. Blaine snagged the lowest seed into the first round of playoffs with a 4–11–1 regular season record, and played in a controlled style throughout the season that suggests a promising future.
Gabe Bolton replaced Fryth Rasar as head cross country coach and a slew of young runners hint at future growth for the program. Twenty-seven Borderites came out for cross country, up from a low of just nine runners in 2016.
Freshman Eleeshiyah Faulkner and junior Taylee McCormick led the girls at the Northwest District Championships. Faulkner advanced to the state meet where she placed 56th out of 162 runners. Sophomore Malachi Crump and freshman Connor Hettinga led the boys in the Northwest District Championships.
Volleyball is one of Blaine High School’s most exciting sports and under new head coach Jacquie Wilskey, the 2018 Borderites reached the state tournament for the first time in 20 years. A 3–2 victory over White River High School was the highlight of state for Borderites fans and Blaine placed ninth overall. The team earned an 8–6 regular season record (8–4 in conference).