It’s been a great week or so for local sports.
Ex-Marysville-Pilchuck standout Austin Joyner announced he is going to try to make it in the NFL. Joyner, a cornerback, didn’t play much at the University of Washington because of injuries but was impressive when on the field. We hope he stays healthy because he has had an issue with concussions.
Another former Tomahawk, Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton, is also going to try to play in the NFL. He also has had injury issues.
Yet another M-P grad, Raequan Battle, is finally getting some playing time with the UW on the hardwood. His windmill dunks aren’t as prevalent in college, but he’s still hitting the 3s. We’re just as glad he’s staying eligible academically because at least one of his teammates hasn’t been as fortunate there.
Before the season, one had to wonder how Battle’s old team would do without him. No worries. They are doing just fine. They’re tied with Stanwood at the top of the standings, and they are even harder to defend this season because of their balanced attack.
MG also has a big star, but it’s not in football or basketball. Actually, Malakhi Knight is an excellent roundball player, but his sport of choice is baseball, which will be starting practices at the end of next month. He’ll go on to play at Oregon State, which won the national championship in 2018.
Lakewood has its own standout in Alex Jensen. The four-year starter recently broke the school basketball record in scoring. The mark had been set by his coach, Anthony Wiederkehr. However, rather than play basketball in college, Jensen is going to focus on running.
Speaking of that, a couple of former standout local prep athletes surprisingly are not participating in college sports at all. Anthony Whitis was a star quarterback and basketball guard at Arlington High School. And Mckenzie Justice was an amazing softball player at M-P. It just goes to show that all the time young people put into sports with parents pushing and supporting them usually doesn’t pay off to the extent of Joyner, Luton and Battle. Better to focus on academics.
That’s not to say prep sports are not fun, just fleeting.
One thing that isn’t fleeting is the success of Arlington coach Joe Marsh’s girls basketball team. He would be great to play for. He is old school using tough love to teach fundamentals. And, almost everybody gets to play. Plus, he won’t let you get complacent. In a recent game, the fiery coach got a technical foul even though they led by 15.
This column can’t end without a congratulations to MG’s wrestling team for beating M-P for the first time. But M’P’s got its own great wrestling story in the White family. Mom Andrea coaches the girls’ team, which includes spectacular freshman daughter Alivia. And son Cayden, who was second in state last year, is going to wrestle in college at Minot State in North Dakota.
And congratulations to Arlington volleyball coach Whitney Williams for getting the job at Everett Community College. We will miss you.
Steve Powell is managing editor of The Marysville Globe and The Arlington Times. His Backseat Coach column runs as needed.