As spring sports enter the stretch run of conference play, league-title races are heating up.
Among the local leagues, perhaps no race is more intriguing than the tightly contested battle in Wesco 3A/2A boys soccer.
Approximately two-thirds of the way through the conference slate, a massive logjam exists atop the 15-team Wesco 3A/2A standings, with the league’s top seven teams separated by just five points.
Defending Wesco 3A/2A champion Marysville Pilchuck is in the driver’s seat, sitting atop the standings with 22 points. The Tomahawks have a favorable remaining schedule, with all five matches coming against the bottom six teams in the conference.
But if Marysville Pilchuck draws or loses just one of those matches, it could leave the door open for several other teams.
Shorewood, which beat the Tomahawks 2-0 last week, is tied with Meadowdale for second place at 21 points — only one point behind Marysville Pilchuck.
Edmonds-Woodway sits in fourth place with 20 points, followed by fifth-place Lynnwood at 19 points and sixth-place Shorecrest at 18 points. Defending Class 3A Northwest District tournament champion Snohomish, which reached the state quarterfinals last spring, is seventh with 17 points.
In addition to what could be a down-to-the-wire conference-title race, there also figures to be plenty of jostling for postseason positioning in the district-wide 3A Ratings Percentage Index, which includes Ferndale and Squalicum from the Northwest Conference.
The top six teams in the RPI rankings receive first-round byes in the 3A district tournament, and thus avoid the loser-out play-in round.
Jackson soccer rolling
While there’s very little margin between the top teams in the Wesco 3A/2A boys soccer standings, it’s quite the opposite in Wesco 4A.
Jackson is running away from the pack, having won all eight conference matches this season by a combined margin of 29-3. The unbeaten Timberwolves are 10-0-0 overall, having outscored opponents 37-3.
Earlier this month, Jackson beat Kamiak and Lake Stevens to build a comfortable cushion atop the Wesco 4A standings. Sitting at 24 points with six league matches remaining, the Timberwolves lead second-place Kamiak by eight points and third-place Lake Stevens by 10.
Local athletes receive WIAA honors
The following five local athletes received Athlete of the Week honors from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association this spring.
— Kiley Hubby, junior, Lake Stevens softball: Hubby hit a three-run home run to lift the Vikings to a 4-1 win over defending 4A state champion Jackson on April 8.
— Adan Fernandez, junior, Jackson boys soccer: Fernandez assisted on the game-winning goal against Glacier Peak on March 26, netted a goal in a win over Mount Vernon on March 29, and logged three assists in a rout of Cascade on April 1.
— Malia Schroeder, freshman, Lakewood girls golf: In the first Northwest Conference match of her career, Schroeder sank a hole-in-one on the par-3, 136-yard No. 3 hole at Semiahmoo Golf Course on March 20. She shot a 3-over-par 39 to earn medalist honors for the nine-hole match.
— Addison Dennis, sophomore, Granite Falls softball: Dennis went 8-for-14 at the plate over three games during the week of March 17-23. She hit three home runs, a triple, a double and drove in seven runs.
— Samantha Vanderwel, sr., Granite Falls softball: Vanderwel was 14-for-19 over four games during the week of March 10-16. She had two home runs, a triple, four doubles, 10 RBI and eight runs scored. She hit for the cycle in a rout of Ferndale on March 16.