Whenever people asked Joe Webster how long he would coach the Edmonds-Woodway High School baseball team, he said he’d stop when he wasn’t excited about the next season.
Webster resigned Monday after 15 years as the Warriors head coach, but not because he lost interest. Instead, Webster found a career opportunity too good to pass up. Webster, 38, will leave his job of four years as dean of students at Edmonds-Woodway in December to become interim assistant principal at Meadowdale Middle School.
The 1986 Meadowale High graduate said he might get back into coaching someday. He reflected on a memorable run at E-W that included three state tournament appearances and quarterfinal trips in 1997 and 2004. In ‘04 E-W lost 8-7 in a quarterfinal game against Kentwood, the eventual runner-up. Webster said that Warriors squad, which won a Western Conference South Division title and went 21-5, overachieved and provided some of his favorite coaching memories.
“They really bought into the whole team thing, especially my seniors. Guys played over their heads and really played together. … It was a great experience,” said Webster, who was also an E-W assistant football coach for 12 years.
In a press release, Edmonds School District athletic director Terri McMahan praised the growth of Webster, who at age 23 took over the E-W baseball program with no coaching experience. “Joe has been a solid and dependable coach for a respected and successful baseball program. He has been a valuable member of our staff whom I believe was a better coach each year that he coached,” McMahan said.
Success came easier at E-W than in many areas, Webster said.
“If you want to coach in a place where you can be really successful, especially in baseball, that’s a great place.”
Oak Harbor quarterback Marshall Lobbestael’s stunning performance on Friday (18-for-22, 225 yards, six touchdown passes) highlighted the Wildcats’ 49-7 non-division football triumph over Meadowdale. Lobbestael’s six TD tosses broke the school single-game record of four set in 2002 by Marshall’s older brother, John Lobbestael, said Dave Ward, Oak Harbor’s coach for 16 seasons. Marshall Lobbestael tied the record with four first-half TDs and eclipsed it with two in the second half before leaving the game with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter. His sparkling completion percentage (81.8) would have been even higher if not for two drops.
Star runner out for season
Edmonds-Woodway senior Kate Southcote-Want will miss the entire cross country season with a knee injury, Warriors coach Regina Joyce said. Southcote-Want, a senior who placed 13th at the 4A state championships last November, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right leg while playing soccer over the summer. Southcote-Want still hopes to run in college and could return during the spring track season, Joyce said. The injury hurt Southcote-Want’s chances of receiving an athletic scholarship but she remains positive, Joyce said: “I’ve never seen anyone as disciplined when they start their rehab. She has a smile on her face and she’s there as team captain.”
In his honor
The Lakewood boys and girls cross country teams received a flood of uplifting letters from athletes and coaches after the Aug. 29 death of Lakewood star Scott Skiles. In addition to sending a letter of condolence, the Marysville-Pilchuck team gave Lakewood a tree that will be planted in Skiles’ honor. It will take root somewhere along the running trail at Lakewood, Cougars co-head coach Jon Murray said.
Becoming ‘The Man’
Last spring Joey Bywater of Lake Stevens High exploded onto the distance running scene by defeating Everett’s Jeff Helmer, a state cross country and 3,200-meter champ. Bywater, then a sophomore, won the 3,200 at districts and at the 4A state meet, cementing himself as one of Washington’s elite young runners.
No longer an underdog, now Bywater will deal with high expectations this fall as he leads a deep, talented Lake Stevens team that placed fourth at the state cross country meet in 2005. The junior learned a lot, Lake Stevens co-head coach Ernie Goshorn said, from watching and competing against Helmer, who now runs for Arizona State University.
Now it’s time to see how Bywater, who recently bounced back from a minor Achilles tendon injury, handles being the favorite.
“Sometimes when you become ‘The Man’ it gets to be a very heavy load,” Goshorn said. “But he’s a very talented kid, there’s no question.
Snohomish girls young, gifted
Dan Parker knows when he has a talented group of runners – he’s coached four state-championship girls cross country teams at Snohomish High since 1995. So when Parker recently said of his 2006 girls squad, “They have the potential to be one of my better teams,” it’s easy to understand the Panthers’ caliber of talent.
Besides veterans Kara Sporrong and Ellie Bonner, Snohomish boasts a deep, strong group of sophomores that includes Alanna Feltner, Michelle Bastian, Maria Ujifusa and Kristi Fairbanks. Fairbanks is a cross country newcomer who used to play soccer, just like former Snohomish standout Lucy Miller, who led the Panthers to a state title in 2003.
Feltner and Fairbanks said co-captains Sporrong, a senior, and Bonner, a junior, provide valuable guidance that will help the team reach its potential.
“They’re just helping us grow in every aspect of running, just kind of being great leaders,” Feltner said.
“They don’t talk about negative stuff,” said Fairbanks.
That’s crucial because Snohomish needs a positive approach to reach its always-lofty goals. Said Ujifusa, “Mentally, (the high expectations are) really hard on us but we work as a team and if we work together in a group it makes it a lot easier.”