Thursday news…..

Good Thursday morning. A lot to get to. First, basketball.

Cedarcrest High School’s girls fell last night on the road to Mountlake Terrace 50-37. The team struggled with fouls and poor shooting at this one; case in point, the Red Wolves missed 20 free throws for a team that according to coach Brad Knowles is good in that department. So overall, not a good night at the office for the ladies. Kat Townley led CHS with 10 points. The Red Wolves host Shorewood tomorrow.

Also, Mount Si’s girls fell on the road to Eastlake 50-27. Stats are unavailable. The Wildcats are at Newport tomorrow.

In other news:

High school sports in Washington under scrutiny thanks to virus outbreaks
The Washington Department of Health has begun to pay closer attention to high school sports around the state, namely wrestling, following a rise in COVID-19 cases tied to season-opening weekend tournaments in that sport earlier this month, including a pair attended by wrestlers from both Valley high schools.

According to the Kitsap Sun, the state has linked almost 100 positive cases to the four tournaments, which included girls events in both Yelm attended by Mount Si’s girls wrestling team and Puyallup attended by Cedarcrest’s girls. In a hastily-called press availability yesterday afternoon, DoH officials suggested the fast-spreading newly discovered “omicron” variant was being seen in some of the positive cases.

The state, while they didn’t order a pause to the season yesterday, will be monitoring it, and Dr. Scott Lindquist, the DoH spokesperson, suggested in a response to a media question that the WIAA’s wrestling state tournament, the Mat Classic, may not be able to be held in February if the situation doesn’t get any better.

Guidance changes for wrestling could also affect other winter sports, including basketball and gymnastics. As for Mount Si’s response, athletic director Chris Hill told us by email that the school and Kingco Conference will continue on as normal unless the WIAA orders any changes. He also sent us a statement from the association which indicated that despite rumors to the contrary, they weren’t planning any changes.

In the statement, the WIAA wrote: “Please know that despite some rumors being spread by the Tacoma-Pierce (County) Health Department, at this point, no decisions have been made to change testing protocols or temporarily suspend any winter sports.” As for Wesco and Cedarcrest, it is not clear what they will be doing.

We may have further comment on this matter down the road so look for that here.

Football: The other Millen transfers
We mentioned the news yesterday about QB Clay Millen, the 2020 Mount Si HS grad from Snoqualmie, announcing his decision Tuesday to transfer from the University of Nevada to Colorado State University to continue his college football career. Well, on the heels of that news comes word his older brother is also changing college football addresses.

Cale Millen, who is also a QB and graduated in 2019 from the Wildcats, went on Twitter last night to announce his decision to transfer from Northern Arizona University, where he had been playing this fall, to the University of Connecticut. The move marks a return to the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision for Cale, who played with the University of Oregon, also an FBS school, before transferring earlier this year to join the Lumberjacks, part of the D-I Football Championship Subdivision.

The Huskies, as the UConn teams are nicknamed and ironically called, are located in Storrs, CT, and this fall played an independent schedule. Other athletic programs at the university are part of the American Athletic Conference. The school recently hired former Seahawks and UCLA coach Jim Mora to coach the football team there, and those of you who know the Millen’s well know they have a strong relationship with Mora and his family tied to Hugh Millen (Cale and Clay’s dad and former Mount Si High School football assistant coach) and Jim Mora’s connections at the University of Washington. This likely was a factor for Cale in this transfer decision, and could serve him well in terms of gaining a significant role on the team next fall. Time will certainly tell on that front for sure.

Soccer: A dream opportunity for Valley soccer legend now in sight
There was some significant news yesterday in local professional women’s soccer that now sees a Valley women’s soccer star potentially getting a chance to live a dream: playing on the same pitch as the Sounders do.

The National Women’s Soccer League’s Seattle-based OL Reign club yesterday announced a move from their home this past season at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma back to Seattle, where they will be playing their games next season at Lumen Field, the home of the men’s pro soccer Sounders. A strong response from fans for a match that was played this summer at Lumen, in which the team drew nearly 30,000, combined with a breakdown in plans on a new stadium in Tacoma resulted in the move back north.

The Reign had been playing at the minor-league baseball stadium since 2019  with an eye on building a new soccer-only facility next door  which was set to open next summer. However, the pandemic stopped work on the project and the team and city could not figure out a way to move forward. It is hoped that the move to Lumen will allow the team’s visibility and fan base to grow as the sport becomes more popular.

This move will enable 2008 Mount Si High School alum Nikki Stanton to play even closer to family and friends than was first anticipated; Stanton, from North Bend, as you know was recently acquired in a trade by the Reign from the Chicago Red Stars. For her part, she reacted well to the news on social media. “Let’s goooo!!,” Stanton wrote on Twitter, and she also told fans she’d be waiting to see them at home games inside Lumen next summer.

The initial plan as is being reported will see the team utilize 10,000 seats to start, all on the lower bowl on the east side of the stadium, but if they see increased ticket sales that available number of seats could grow. A schedule will be announced at a later date.

Author: Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is a 20-year veteran of covering Snoqualmie Valley sports and their many athletes and families. Workman first started his career with the Snoqualmie Valley Record, but in 2011, went independent with the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal, and has continued to cover local sports since. Workman's statewide profile has increased in recent years with the advent of him being very active on Twitter providing news and discussion sports and non-sports related. His coverage has earned the respect of athletes, coaches and parents in this community, and he looks forward to your continued support of his efforts to provide the community quality local sports coverage.

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