Paul Swartosky hopes to bring stability to a Liberty High School boys basketball program that has been bounced among five head coaches over the past seven years.
Swartosky, a 1983 Kennedy High School graduate, has been around throughout the revolving-door years. After one season as coach of the freshman team, he has coached the Liberty junior varsity the past five seasons. His opportunity to coach the varsity came when Dennis Stray elected to leave after two seasons to become head coach at new Eastlake High School in Redmond. Swartosky, a computer operator at Boeing, intends to stick with the job for at least the next four seasons.
"I told them I was going to give them a four-year commitment, if they would give me a four-year commitment," he said.
He called the head-coaching opportunity "a dream come true."
Swartosky, also a Liberty assistant coach in football and baseball, played basketball for two years at Everett Community College, but said he learned most about the game from Chuck Randall, former Western Washington University coach who got him involved with a six-month exchange basketball program in Mexico in 1985. Swartosky said he realized at a young age he enjoyed working with youngsters.
"Since I was a sophomore in high school, I've been working with kids," he said. "I felt it was a gift from God that I was able to motivate them. When you feel you have that gift, you have to take the bull by the horns and really go with it, which I did. I love basketball and sports and realized athletics was a way to teach kids the finer things in life."
SEAMOUNT MEET FRIDAY
Lindbergh seeks its third consecutive girls crown, and Hazen guns for its first boys title in 10 years in the Seamount League championship meets Friday at Evergreen High School.
The Lindbergh girls finished the dual-meet season unbeaten for the third straight year, and Coach Ken Storkson expects smooth sailing Friday.
"If we run well, at this level I don't think anybody's as good as we are," he said.
The Eagles' top runner, junior Sarah Gagnier, could challenge for the individual title, but seniors Angie Fortner of Mount Rainier and Dani Vargas of Liberty are favored, with Hazen's Stephanie Davidson and Kennedy's Erin Gauthier also in the picture. Vargas was unbeaten in dual meets this season, narrowly edging Fortner in last week's finale. Fortner is fighting an asthma problem. And Davidson is not 100 percent because of tendinitis in her foot.
The Hazen boys, ranked fifth in the state among Class AA teams, also went 9-0 during the regular season, but Coach Bo Kurle has a wary eye on Lindbergh (8-1) and Kennedy (7-2).
"This (race) is wide open," he said.
Mount Si's Nick Rogers and Lindbergh's Eric Dahlberg should battle for the individual title. Hazen's top two runners, James Day and Tom Hildrum, will be in the front pack, too, along with Kennedy's Kevin Walker and Matt Purcell.
KENNEDY TO GET BOOT?
Kennedy's string of seven consecutive postseason appearances in girls soccer could end this season.
The Lancers, who won back-to-back Class AA state titles in 1990 and 1991 and were fourth last season, are in third place in the Seamount League's tough Sea Division at 6-2-2 (24 points) after Friday's 1-0 loss to Mount Rainier. Liberty and Mount Rainier, both 8-1-1, are battling for the division title (Liberty has 31 points, Mount Rainier 30), and with just three matches remaining, it doesn't look as though Kennedy will be able to catch either. Only the top two teams from the division advance to the Seamount tournament.
"We're in deep doo-doo," Kennedy Coach Doug Stamnes said.
Kennedy plays Liberty tonight at 8 p.m. at Highline Stadium. Even if the Lancers win, they would need Liberty to lose again to either Mount Si or Evergreen, both just 1-8-1, or have Mount Rainier lose two of its final three.
POWELL OUT FOR THE SEASON
Eastside Catholic quarterback Ryan Powell had arthroscopic surgery yesterday and probably will miss the rest of the season.
Powell, the Metro League's most prolific passer, helped lead the 10th-ranked Crusaders to a 4-0 record in the Sound Division and a 6-0 mark overall.
He tore cartilage and suffered a slight tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee two weeks ago in a victory against Garfield High.
"The best thing is as of tonight, there is a possibility of him returning," Crusader Coach Chuck Tarbox said.
In a 6-0 victory against Rainier Beach last Saturday, Eastside Catholic junior noseguard Chris Owens went down with a knee injury. He will be out for the next three to four weeks.
Eastside Catholic can clinch its first division title and a Class AA state playoff berth with a victory Saturday night against winless Ballard. The sixth-ranked Franklin Quakers can clinch the Mountain Division against Chief Sealth on Friday night.
-- The showdown between the only unbeaten girls swim teams in the SPSL North Division turned out to be an easy Decatur victory as the Gators swamped Federal Way 115-71 to improve to 5-0. Federal Way dropped to 3-1. Decatur freshman Tiffany O'Brien won two individual events, the 200 individual medley (2 minutes, 16.29 seconds) and 100 backstroke (1:03.91) and swam on two winning relays, the 200 medley and 400 freestyle. Teammate Candace McBrayer also won twice, taking the 500 freestyle (5:22.64) and 200 freestyle (2:02.63) and was on that 400 free relay. Federal Way had a double-winner in Kara Walthier, who captured the 50 (26.38) and 100 freestyle (57.97).