Hey, has anyone seen where the 1994-95 high school sports year has gone?
Oh, there it … uh, goes.
It came to an end last weekend in the Boise area, but it seems like just a couple of weeks ago that we christened the Coeur d’Alene-Lake City rivalry in the season-opening football game.
Here’s a look at some of the moments that will define 1994-95 in the Panhandle:
You’ll recall in the first football game between cross-town rivals that the much more experienced Vikings feasted on the young Timberwolves, scoring a historical 35-0 victory.
By season’s end, when the teams faced each other again in an Inland Empire League finale, much ground had been made up by the T-Wolves. Though it would finish its first season winless in nine games, LC took a 7-6 lead into the fourth quarter before falling to the rapidly fading Vikings 27-6.
The IEL football season featured a three-way tie for first (Post Falls, Lewiston and CdA) in the five-team league. And a failed extra-point attempt in overtime kept Sandpoint from sneaking into the state playoffs under charismatic first-year coach Satini Puailoa.
Post Falls had a banner season, led by 6-foot-6 rifle-arm quarterback Darick Pope, who would ultimately sign to play at the University of Idaho. The Trojans’ season ended in a 28-25 semifinal loss to Burley - a game Post Falls players and coaches will long remember as one they probably should have won.
Lakeland’s season, meanwhile, also ended too soon in a 17-14 overtime loss to Weiser, a game dominated by the Hawks of Rathdrum for nearly three quarters.
After two straight runner-up finishes at the State A-1 volleyball tournament, Sandpoint gutted its way through the loser’s bracket to knock off tourney favorite Hillcrest of Idaho Falls twice for the championship.
The tribute in Sandpoint’s run at state is that two very talented athletes, Alli Nieman and Tanya Allmaras, who don’t play the sport year-round like others, were the main reasons the Bulldogs captured the title.
The story of the fall was THE STREAK. The broken streak, that is.
St. Maries’ string of 10 straight State A-2 volleyball championships was snapped by Preston - finally. To St. Maries’ credit, there have been years when Preston had more athletic players, but the technically sound Lumberjacks prevailed.
Last fall, multi-talented Preston played up to its capability and St. Maries played up to its capability, and the Lumberjacks took home a well-deserved runner-up trophy.
Jennifer Kerns, Melissa Dodge and Nicole Nipp, starters on the ‘93-94 undefeated state championship girls basketball team at Coeur d’Alene, move over to Lake City and lead the Timberwolves to the first state title in school history.
With key contributions from Shannon Riggs and Katie Hatrock at state, the Timberwolves were never threatened.
Following a season that saw LC/CdA coach Dave Fealko reach the 300-win milestone, the longtime coach resigned. Four of his last five teams captured state titles.
The boys basketball season didn’t produce a state champion, but a pair of North Idaho teams brought home trophies: Clark Fork, third in the A-4 tourney and, Kellogg, A-2 consolation champion.
Continuing its fine athletic year, Post Falls captured the IEL championship in a hard-fought win at Lewiston. But Lake City knocked off the Trojans in a classically played regional championship game before a standing-room-only crowd at Post Falls.
Post Falls defeated Boise in a loser-out playoff at Grangeville to earn a state berth.
Lake City and Post Falls played competitive games at state, but each team’s season ended with two straight losses.
Kellogg and Bonners Ferry, co-Intermountain League champions, proved that the most talented teams not always win at state.
They ended up facing each other in the consolation final, and Kellogg held off Bonners Ferry 87-85 in double overtime.
The Sandpoint wrestling team may not have wrapped up the state championship the night before the finals as it did the year before, but the Bulldogs were nonetheless dominating.
And a third straight state title next winter appears headed to Sandpoint.
The all-North Idaho state baseball showdown between Lewiston and Coeur d’Alene had storybook written all over it.
But the story this spring centered around a well-built 6-1, 230-pound Trojan who threw around a shot and discus like they were Nerf toys.
A pair of numbers will be remembered for a long time: 63-0 and 203-9.
Waltz put the shot a school-record 63 feet at the regional meet, then obliterated the state-meet record by heaving the discus 203-9 - nearly 16 feet farther than any previous athlete had thrown at a state meet.
In case you were wondering, the 203-9 is a school record!
And it was an appropriate end to a year that, for many reasons, won’t soon be forgotten.