Peninsula High School Seahawks End-of-Spring Season Highlights


Peninsula athletes excelled in baseball, softball, track and field, and lacrosse, and one alumna continued to shine in college.

Track and Field Teams Qualify Seven for State Meet; Higgins Breaks Three School Records in Three Weeks

Peninsula sophomore Emma Young jumped 5 feet 2 inches to win the high jump championship at the West Central District track and field meet last month. She and six teammates, five girls and two boys total, qualified for 11 events at the 2024 WIAA Boys & Girls State Track & Field Meet at the end of May.

The Peninsula girls placed sixth overall at the district meet, finding the most success in the field events, and finished 12th at the state meet. Young and senior Anne Shipp competed in the same two events: high jump and triple jump. Young jumped the height at the state meet which earned her fourth-place finish. Shipp, who placed seventh in the high jump (4 feet 10 inches) at districts to qualify, also jumped her same height and got 17th at state.

In the triple jump, Shipp took sixth (34 feet 6.5 inches) and Young was right behind her in seventh (34 feet 5.5 inches) at the district meet, but Young jumped 1.25 inches better at the state meet to get 16th place and Shipp came in 17th.

Senior Grace Holtzclaw got second in the javelin (113 feet 3 inches) at the district and set a personal record with a 122 feet 10-inch throw that was good enough to get her sixth at state. Sophomore Suri Sardinia came in seventh in the discus throw (106 feet 8 inches) at districts before getting an 18th-place finish at the state meet.

Junior Elektra Higgins placed second in both the 1,600-meter race (4:58.33) and the 3,200-meter (10:29.46, a new PHS school record) to earn her spots at state. At the state meet, Higgins broke her own school record in the 1,600-meter race she set just two weeks earlier by running the mile in 4:55.10 and finishing in fifth place. She took fourth place in the 3,200-meter, ending it in 10:37.20.

Higgins was in both races with some familiar foes: the Rodriguez sisters, freshman Sophia and junior Victoria, from Mercer Island. The sisters were the only two to finish in front of Higgins at the 3A state cross country meet earlier this year and Sophia won both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter races this year. Though Victoria took second in the 1,600-meter race, Higgins was able to edge by her in the 3,200-meter race. Sophia is considered one of the best freshman runners in the country.

For the boys, junior Joshua Cashion qualified for state by taking fourth in the 400-meter (50.93, a personal best) and fifth in the 800-meter (1:59.57) races, but he wasn’t able to secure a spot in the finals at the state meet. Senior Joseph Carlson took sixth in javelin throwing a personal record length of 150 feet 9 inches and he landed in 17th at state. The boys team took 16th at the district meet.

Earlier in the month, the girls track and field team had five individual first-place finishers and took second place overall at the South Sound Conference Championships. The Seahawks boys team finished in sixth place.

Higgins won individual championships in the 1,600-meter race (4:55.22, which was the new school record until she broke it at the state meet two weeks later) and the 3,200-meter (11:00.82). Shipp, who is joining the track and field team at Eastern Washington next year, won the triple jump with a personal-record distance of 35 feet 1 inch, and Holtzclaw also set a personal record while winning the javelin event with a 118-foot 4-inch throw. Sardinia won the discus event (110 feet 11 inches) and took second in the shot put (32 feet 9.75 inches).

Senior Tyler Posey was the sole first-place finisher for the boys, winning a championship in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet 9 inches. He also took second in the 300-meter hurdles (42.63). He didn’t compete in either event at the district meet.

Both the Gig Harbor boys and girls track and field teams won the SSC Championship and the Tides boys also won the district title.

Boys Baseball Team Wins District Championship, Goes to State

The Seahawks boys baseball team took down 3A No. 1-ranked Kelso Hilanders, 2-0, May 11 and later in the day beat Stadium High School, 5-4, to win the West Central District Championship and earn the No. 12 seed and a first-round bye in the 3A state tournament.

Peninsula eventually fell to No. 5 seed West Seattle, 2-1, in the second round May 18.

“This is the most fun and most family-like group that we’ve had,” senior infielder AP Deschenes said after his final game in a Seahawks uniform “We all came together and definitely turned some heads. I can’t wait to see what (this team does) next year.”

The season started a little rough for the young Seahawks. The team of mostly juniors and sophomores began April with a losing record but won eight of their next 10 games to get back on track. Peninsula finished the season 15-10 overall and 8-6 in the South Sound Conference, tied for second with Gig Harbor only behind conference champion Capital. 

Season leaders for the Seahawks, according to batting average (junior Matthew Saunders: .343); hits (junior Matthew Sleeter: 25); runs (junior Isaac Schultz-Tait and freshman Pete Browand: 16); runs batted in (Sleeter: 19); doubles (junior Michael Tellez: 7); stolen bases (Browand: 14); wins/pitcher (sophomore John Browand: 6); strikeouts (J. Browand: 31); earned run average (sophomore Kaleb Copeland, 0.49).

Boys Lacrosse Goes to 3A State Tournament

The Peninsula Lacrosse team finished in third place in the Puget-Pierce 3A League and beat Stanwood High School, 12-8, in a play-in game to clinch a spot in the 3A state tournament last month.

The Seahawks won their first-round game by traveling to beat Mt. Spokane 12-9 but lost in the quarterfinals to Ballard, 14-3.

The team was 7-6 overall, 5-3 in conference play. They split a pair of games with their conference foes Gig Harbor this season, beating the Tides 10-7 in March but losing in April’s Baggataway Bowl, 16-14. Before the loss to Ballard, the Seahawks had won four straight since falling to Gig Harbor.

Senior co-captain Robby Akulschin scored a league-leading 43 goals this season and seven assists. He was named first-team All Puget-Pierce 3A League for the second-straight season. Junior Nathan DeLong finished eighth in the league in scoring. Tyler Givot had a 57% save percentage in the goalie net with 78 saves on the year.

Girls Softball Lands Four on All-SSC Teams

Seahawks softball seniors Malia Coit and Sophia Hooper and junior Ava Miranda were repeats on the All-South Sound Conference list, the league announced in May.

This was the fourth time Coit, who played second base and outfield for Peninsula, made the all-conference team. She was named honorable mention her freshman year and finished the last three seasons on the first team. Miranda, the team’s catcher this season, earned a spot on the second team after being honorable mention last year, and left-fielder Hooper is on the honorable mention list following a junior season on the second team.

Junior right-fielder Mira Sonnen made her first appearance on the All-SSC team as an honorable mention.  

The 2024 softball season was drastically different than the last one. After winning the 2023 3A state championship, the Seahawks struggled early and only won four games this year, finishing 4-16.

Coit, who signed to play NCAA Division II college softball next year in Colorado, led the Seahawks with a .476 batting average. She knocked in 28 runs off of 30 hits and had eight home runs, all team-highs.

Alumna Peninsula Softball Star Leads WWU to Conference Title, NCAA Division II Championship Appearance

Former Peninsula Seahawks softball player Alli Kimball (Class of 2023) helped lead the Western Washington Vikings to the NCAA Division II Championship series last month in Florida where the team was runners-up to national champion University of Texas Tyler. It capped off the best season in WWU’s history with a 52-12 overall record, winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament and the NCAA West Regional championship.

Kimball wrapped up her freshman season with an impressive 24-4 record as the team’s pitcher.

She had a successful regular season, but it was the post-season where Kimball stood out for the Vikings. Kimball pitched five scoreless innings and allowed only three hits to help lead the Western Washington Vikings softball team to a GNAC Tournament championship with a 4-0 win over Northwest Nazarene May 4 in Bellingham.

The conference title win earned WWU the No. 1 seed in the NCAA II West Regional Championships where Kimball, a freshman for the Vikings, allowed only one earned run in the 19 innings she pitched.

WWU won the West Regional Championship to advance to the eight-team national championship tournament where they eventually lost to UT Tyler in a best-of-three series.

“This team is something truly super special,” Kimball said after winning the GNAC championship. “I know I have an amazing team around me that’s going to support me when it comes to runs and defense, and just always being behind me.”

Kimball pitched seven complete games and had seven games where she struck out five or more batters. There were 14 games where she didn’t allow a run and 18 games where she didn’t allow an earned run. Her performance earned her a spot on the NCAA Championships All-Tournament Team. Kimball was also named to the All-GNAC honorable mention team and the All-West Region second team after her post-season play.

Kimball was the 2023 Scorebook Live Washington 3A Pitcher of the Year and three-time South Sound Conference Pitcher of the Year for the Seahawks. Peninsula won the 3A state championship her senior year. During her days in a Seahawks uniform, Kimball threw five no-hitters and recorded 599 strikeouts while collecting an impressive 44-6 record as a pitcher.