As hectic as this time of year can be, roughly 1,435 highly motivated people decided to take some time off from the hustling and bustling and put that energy into participation in the third annual Santa Runs Tacoma event on Dec. 17. The run featured the Frosty 5k (1,042 runners), Grinch 10k (281 runners), 10k Relay (12 runners), and last but not least, the Tiny Tim 1k (100 runners), which took place on Dock Street. 

Richard Ames, 52, of Eatonville has participated in all three annual Santa Runs Tacoma events, accompanied by his family, Ethan (26), Zac (15), Carly (13), and his wife Cyndy. “I have been training on hills over in Pack Forest as of late and getting some good miles in. This time my family will be here, but they’ll be doing the 5k. It is just awesome to have the whole family out running in this event. I am looking to run a 53-minute 10k. That’s my goal,” Ames said. In the 10k, Ames found his stride and broke a personal record, coming in at a time of 51:37, 69th place out of 288.

Race directors Tony Phillippi and Paul Morrison have organized many races, such as the Tacoma City Marathon and smaller events like the St. Paddy’s Day 5k. “Tacoma has really embraced the races. There are just so many runners here. They are coming out of the woodwork. We have some really fast runners out here running in these events. There are no egos out here. These guys are easy to talk to, and all of them are down to earth.”

With runners coming from all over Puget Sound, Tacoma’s running community is getting a chance to see some of the elite runners in the country, like Joseph Gray, who is sponsored by Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team and is a Lakes High School alumnus. Gray can effortlessly drop a 4:35 mile on a 5k without having to catch his breath, and he accomplished this feat in the Frosty 5k, coasting in at a respectable 15:38. Gray started out the race as he usually does, but early on in the race, he found some competition in Ben Mangrum (15:43). Last year, Gray smashed the course with a time of 15:01. Gray wasn't satisfied with just winning the Frosty 5k, he would go on the following day to also win the Kirkland's 12k's of Christmas running event with an astounding 38:19 time.

“In the first mile, I wasn’t feeling too good,” Gray said. “I went out strong in first part, but later in the race, a buddy of mine caught up to me, and we ran together for a while. I just wasn’t feeling too great. At the end, I just made some surges, and lucky for me, I was able to get some separation.”

By David Hardt


Lawrence Mackey, founder of Tacoma Lacrosse Academy and coach of the Puyallup Panthers club lacrosse team, was recently named head coach of Uganda for the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships after spending two weeks in the African country helping coach players.

“It took a lot of hard work and a lot of people believing in me,” Mackey said. “A lot of people contributed to getting me over there.”

Mackey, who was in the capital city of Kampala from Nov. 30 to Dec. 13, was working with the local nonprofit organization Fields of Growth and stayed with Maurice Ssrenukama, a local business professor. During his trip, Mackey worked with 50 players from Kampala’s five new lacrosse teams, as the sport is just beginning to gain popularity in the country.

“After the second practice, Dr. Ssrenukama came to me and said, ‘Hey, the kids want you to be their coach,’” Mackey said. “I went in and they announced me as their coach at their media day, and now it’s just working out the details and getting the resources.”

If all goes to plan, Mackey says he will travel back to Uganda 20 months before the start of the World Championships to coach the team, then come back with the team to the U.S. six months prior to prepare for the opening matches. The World Lacrosse Championships will be held in Denver, Colo. on July 10-19, 2014.

By Jeremy Helling


The Puget Sound men’s basketball team rolled to a 79-57 win at New Hope Christian on Dec. 17 to improve to 9-0 on the year.

Anthony Gittens, the reigning Northwest Conference Player of the Week, led the Loggers with 16 points and added eight rebounds, while Gabe Borboa was 7-for-10 from the field for 14 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Derek Jobe and Rex Holmes added 12 points apiece, and the Loggers dominated on the boards, collecting 66 rebounds to just 33 for New Hope Christian.

The Loggers return to conference play when they host Whitman on Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. and Whitworth on Jan 7 at 6 p.m.


The Tacoma Community College men’s basketball team won their first two games at the Wenatchee Valley Crossover Tournament on Dec. 16-18 before falling in the championship to claim second place.

Mark McLaughlin, who averaged 30 points in the three games, led the Titans with 32 points in a 93-80 win over Blue Mountain on Dec. 16, as TCC shot 58 percent from the field as a team. Dominique Williams was 4-for-8 on three-pointers and tallied 16 points, while Demetrius Smith added 16 points of his own and Nate Walker had 10 points.

The Titans’ red-hot shooting was on display again as they edged Shoreline 95-92 on Dec. 17 behind 31 points from McLaughlin and 28 points from Smith, who was 10-for-14 from the field. McLaughlin also added five of the team’s 10 blocks, while Walker had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Despite McLaughlin’s 27 points in the championship against Clark, the Titans couldn’t overcome the Penguins, falling 81-71. Smith and Damani Coley each had 10 points and Walker added nine points and nine rebounds, but the Titans shot just 39 percent from the field.

The Titans next travel to the Clackamas Holiday Invitational on Dec. 28-30 in Oregon City, Ore., with an opening game against Linn-Benton on Dec. 28 at 1 p.m.


Despite facing a Division I opponent on the road on Dec. 16, Pacific Lutheran wasn’t intimidated and put up a good fight against Eastern Washington, ultimately falling 83-72.

Cameron Schilling was 7-for-10 from the field for a team-high 18 points and Cameron Reister came off the bench to hit five three-pointers for 15 points, but it wasn’t enough as Collin Chiverton and Cliff Colimon each scored 26 points to lead the Eagles. Kai Hoyt added 14 points for the Lutes, who shot a solid 47 percent from the field and outrebounded Eastern Washington 29-26.

The Lutes followed that up with a tough 69-52 loss at Division II Saint Martin’s, as the Saints shot 59 percent from the field compared to the Lutes’ 33 percent. James Conti led the Lutes with 13 points, while Schilling added seven points and seven rebounds.

The Lutes next host Whitworth on Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. and Whitman on Jan. 7 at 6 p.m.


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