A LOOK AT GOLDEN GLOVES CONTENDERS
The 64th annual Golden Gloves boxing tournament takes place from Feb. 3-4, with an ever-growing competitive field highlighting the regional event this year.
"There's going to be lots of competition, some classes have five or six guys in it," said Tacoma Boxing Club coach Tom Mustin, who has four boxers in the tournament this year.
Mustin said 123-pound Chief Leschi High School student Hector Rendon, 16, is a favorite in his weight class because of his "good body punches and fast hands." Rendon is a former Junior Golden Gloves national champion and has already qualified for the senior nationals this year.
Mustin's other pupils include last year's 132-pound champ Nick Jefferson, a 19-year-old Rogers High School grad who is moving up to the 141-pound weight class this year. Jerrell Barbour will be one to watch for in the 132-pound class, and like Jefferson has experience at the national Golden Gloves competition.
"They have a lot of experience," Mustin said. "We have a lot of sparring in our gym, different guys to spar with."
Mustin expects lots of outside competition, highlighted by Vancouver's Jerrell Reynoso.
With around 60 boxers in this year's competition, Mustin said that a few weight classes – including the 123-pound, 132-pound, 152-pound and superheavyweight divisions – will likely need to have their championship bouts on Feb. 5.
The preliminary rounds will take place on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Al Davies Boys & Girls Club, with tickets available at the door. Championship bouts will take place at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall starting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 4. General admission tickets are $15 and reserved seats are $27. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.
By Jeremy Helling
CRUZ MAKES NATIONAL BOWLING TEAM
Wilson High School grad Tyler Cruz was selected to the USA Junior Bowling Team after participating in the Team USA Trials Tournament in Las Vegas on Jan. 3-6.
The 18-year-old Cruz graduated from Wilson last year and now bowls at Midland University in Fremont, Neb., placed eighth out of 145 bowlers to earn a selection by Team USA coaches.
"It's probably my biggest accomplishment. I've always wanted to be on the team," Cruz said, adding that he has friends on the national team from Washington as well. "It's kind of nice to be able to make it."
Cruz averaged a score of 216 in his 28 rounds during the four-day tournament, joining Yakima's Marshall Kent – who finished first – and Jordan Plunkett of Everett in the top 10.
"He bowled extremely well, he's worked a lot of years to get there," said Bob Hanson, a local bowling coach who has taught Cruz.
Cruz says that he will now train in April and May with Team USA to prepare for upcoming tournaments, including a potential invitation to the Youth World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand in late June.
By Jeremy Helling
KITNA NAMED LINCOLN FOOTBALL COACH
Former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna was named the new head football coach at Lincoln High School at a small ceremony in the school's library on Jan. 26.
Kitna, 39, is a 1991 graduate of Lincoln, where he starred at quarterback and also as a baseball player. Kitna would go on to play in the NFL for 15 seasons, including breaking into the league with the Seattle Seahawks from 1997-2000. Kitna also played for the Cincinnati Bengals for five years, the Detroit Lions for three years and the Dallas Cowboys for two years before retiring last month.
With Kitna taking over as head coach, former Lincoln head coach Mike Merrill is set to be named the school's athletic director in February.
TIDE BECOME SOUNDERS U-23s
Seattle Sounders FC announced on Jan. 25 that it has added Tacoma's Professional Developmental League (PDL) franchise – formerly the Tacoma Tide – to its Youth Development Program. The team, which will continue to play its games in Pierce County, has been renamed the Sounders FC U-23s (Under-23), and will be coached by Darren Sawatzky, Sounders FC director of youth development.
"By now having an affiliated PDL program, Sounders FC has added an additional piece to our Youth Development Program, creating a bridge between our academy teams and our Major League Soccer first team," said General Manager Adrian Hanauer. "This allows our college-age players to continue their development and further prepare themselves for the opportunity to compete at the highest possible level and potentially wear the Rave Green someday at CenturyLink Field."
While the exact venue for the team's games has yet to be determined, the season will begin in May, and the team will be run by new owners Lane Smith and Cliff McElroy, who purchased the squad in November.
"Pierce County has a rich soccer heritage and we are excited to partner with the Sounders to be able to offer Pierce County soccer fans a high-level game experience," said Smith. "The Sounders FC affiliation will allow the U-23 PDL team greater access to top local soccer talent as well as the best college players across the United States."
LUTES MOVE INTO THIRD-PLACE TIE
The Pacific Lutheran men's basketball team notched two double-digit wins at home last weekend to move to 10-9 on the year and into a third-place tie in the Northwest Conference with a 7-3 league record.
The Lutes beat Linfield 68-53 on Jan. 27, with James Conti leading the way with 16 points and six rebounds. Cameron Schilling hit three three-pointers and totaled 15 points and six rebounds, while Andrew Earnest added 11 points for the Lutes. The Lutes won despite taking only six trips to the free-throw line, as Conti was 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Schilling had a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds in an 89-78 win over Willamette on Jan. 28, with Earnest chipping in with 18 points. Cameron Reister came off the bench to hit four three-pointers and tally 15 points, and Conti added 12 points and seven assists for the Lutes.
Pacific Lutheran now faces a daunting road trip to Whitman on Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. and league-leading Whitworth on Feb. 4 at 6 p.m.
LOGGERS BACK IN WOMEN'S RACE
Two big home wins last weekend lifted the Puget Sound women's basketball team back into the NWC championship race, as they now sit in third place with a 7-3 league record.
The Loggers beat Willamette 70-51 on Jan. 27 behind a game-high 18 points from Kelsey McInnis, while Jocelyn Riordan notched a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Amanda Forshay chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals, and the Loggers out-rebounded the Bearcats 48-38 and forced 24 turnovers.
Puget Sound was even more dominant defensively in a 67-47 win over Pacific (Ore.) on Jan. 28, as they limited the Boxers to just over 29 percent shooting from the field. McInnis led the Loggers with 12 points and six assists, and Lindsay Layland tallied four points along with a game-high 16 rebounds. The Loggers were dominant again on the glass, out-rebounding Pacific 46-26, and shot more than 54 percent from the field.
The Loggers next travel to Whitworth on Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. and Whitman on Feb. 4 at 5 p.m.