Sports -- November 03, 2005

Published on Thu, Nov 3, 2005
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by Jack Kintner

Lady B’s pull it out of the hat

Blaine advanced to the next round of the district soccer tournament with a narrow but decisive win over a well-prepared Lakewood squad last Tuesday at the Pipe 3-2 in overtime. Alyssa Hendrickson’s two goals were enough to lift the Lady B’s into the win column, but up until her game winner at 20 seconds into overtime on an assist by Bailey Richardson the game could easily have gone either way. It was one of the best efforts seen at the Pipe in recent years. Not only did both teams deserve the win, but each seemed to gather the game in hand only to let it slip away time after time, leading to a wild finish that was more like a movie than a real game.

Lakewood history teacher and two-year varsity coach Jeremiah Wolgemuth prepared his team well, taking what was an inept and somewhat clumsy team just a few seasons ago and molding them into a heads-up and savvy opponent that matches the Lady B’s like a mirror.

Wren Baldwin nailed the first one on an assist from Bailey Richardson in the 13th minute during a soft but cold rain.

Shortly after the halftime break Lakewood knotted the score at one, where it stayed as the rain stopped and the sky broke open in the west. Each team seemed to be effective up its right side as the offenses traded offensive thrusts, neither one winning or losing while playing some of the best and most energetic soccer of the season.

Then, in the 38th minute, Alyssa Hendrickson canned a line drive from about 25 yards out on a Bailey Richardson assist, and Lakewood reacted like a jostled hive of hornets, knowing they had maybe three minutes counting injury time before the game would be lost forever. Their offense went straight to Blaine’s goal after the ball was put into play but Blaine keeper Janelle Gobbato stepped in front of the inevitable short-range shot and with a stretch stopped the ball cold at the goal mouth.

Moments later Lakewood charged into the Blaine end again, shot and nearly scored before Gobbato pounced on the ball as players piled and tripped around her.

And the whistle blew, not to end the game but to lay a personal foul for tripping on the prostrate Blaine goalie, who looked up in confusion, her arm that was tightly wound around the ball supposedly having tripped a Lakewood player.

This set up Lakewood with a penalty kick with but seconds left in the game, the Blaine fans having gone from elation to despair in the time it takes to read the period at the end of this sentence, while Lakewood, of course, went nuts. The PK was good and the tie sent the game into two five minute overtimes followed by a shoot-out.

Then, just seconds into the extra frame, Hendrickson scored again, this time from the left side of the goal mouth, on yet another Bailey Richardson assist, soccer’s equivalent to a walk-off home run.

Afterward, Blaine head coach Dan Steelquist told his young team that, “this is what we’re getting ready for in practice, this kind of game, no let-up.” The B’s (8-10) play this Friday but at press time were still waiting to find out both their opponent and location.

Dan Persse receives state honor

Dan Persse, physical education instructor at Blaine elementary school, has earned the Washington state Elementary PE teacher of the year from the Washington Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (WAHPERD). 

Persse was presented the award at a WAHPERD conference and recognized by the school district with flowers and a plaque at a Blaine school board meeting last Monday.

Blaine school district superintendent Dr. Mary Lynne Derrington said Persse stood out among others for his passion for teaching and involvement in the community. “We are so proud of Dan,” she said.
Persse will now go on to compete for the national title, a contest that will be determined in the 2006/07 school year, Derrington said.

“I’m very appreciative,” Persse said at the meeting.

In a time where obesity in children is becoming rampant, Persse said his mission is to teach children to be physically active throughout their lives.
Lisa Rakoz, president of WAHPERD, and health and fitness program supervisor at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, agreed.

“He has so many remarkable qualities as far as his dedication and passion for education in the physical education arena,” she said. “Not only is he a fabulous teacher, but he also helps at a state level.”

Persse grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York state and moved to Blaine in 1988 after serving four years in the U.S. Navy and working several years as a commercial fisher.

He earned a his bachelor of arts degree with honors from Western Washington University in 1996 with a double major in K-12 physical education, and exercise and sports science.

He also worked as a fitness instructor at Bellingham Athletic Club and a Sunday school teacher at Grace Lutheran Church in Blaine for several years.

He began teaching physical education at Blaine high school in 1996 and at Blaine elementary school in 1997.

“The first five years were trial and error,” he said, adding his teaching style has changed 180 degrees since he started. “When you network with different districts you see what they’re doing and you learn new things.”

In 2001, he returned to school to earn his masters in arts degree in physical education and health and leisure studies from Central Washington University in Ellensburg and earned his degree in 2004.
Persse said a lot of what he has done wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Blaine school district.

“Many of these things would not have been possible without the school district being so flexible in letting me try new things,” he said.