The Student News Site of Ballard High School



Fall sports in review

From winning metros in one sport and having multiple first team all-metro players to smashing records which seemed impossible to break, sports did not disappoint in a jam-packed fall season
Riley Fredericks
Senior tight end Connor Osborn received first team all-league honors, averaging 17 yards per catch.


The football team finished the season with a 3-7 record. They beat Lincoln in their first playoff game but ended their season with a loss the following weekend to Arlington high. One of the biggest risers of the team, senior Connor Osborn played a vital role as Ballard’s star tight end.

“Scoring my first touchdown against Ingraham, I felt a rush of adrenaline I hadn’t felt before and I knew that I wanted to feel that adrenaline again,” Osborn said. Osborn capped off his breakout season by completing the goal he had set from the start ofthe season, making the all-metro first team.

“Being a first team all-metro TE is awesome, I set a goal with my coach at the start of the season to make the first team,” Osborn said. “It means that
in the division Ballard plays in, which is one of the best divisions in the state, I’m the best tight end in that division. It’s awesome being rewarded with the same recognition that many D1 players get.”

While Ballard did finish with a 3-7 record, many injuries and challenges were set upon the team from
the very start.

“We struggled through injuries almost all of our season, our starting QB and WR got hurt in the second week, and our starting RB got hurt soon
after that,” Osborn said. “Our team overcame those injuries because of people stepping up, we had Dylan (who was originally our TE2) step up to come in and play QB while Joe was out, and we had otherpeople switch positions and play positions which they hadn’t played before.”

Similar to Osborn, his teammate junior Lake Christensen broke out as an all-metro linebacker.

“I am proud of achieving all metro linebacker, it feels very good to get recognition for all the work I
put in,” Christensen said.

However despite accomplishing this feat, Christensen isn’t satisfied yet with his performance.

“I would like to build on this achievement and strive to be an all league defensive player next year which will require much more work,” Christensen
said. “I think the best driving force behind the work is not being satisfied with previous accomplishments, and not becoming complacent.”

The mindset which every player carried started with head coach Ross Humphries. “Our head coach, Ross Humphries, showed up to every single team meeting, practice and team lift that he could go to,” Christensen said. “He showed that effort is everything, and if you aren’t putting 100% out, you shouldn’t be playing football. Coach Humphries has created a community within the football team that pushes us to take pride in our work…

“Those who seek out hard work on the team find starting positions and see action on the field. This has created a hard-working culture where teammates push each other to their best.”

There were many close, hard fought battles throughout the season.

One of the biggest, most exhilarating games, was their five-overtime duel at Blanchet.

“My favorite part of the 2023-24 season was our one-point loss to Blanchet,” Christensen said. “The game went into five overtimes, it was the longest and hardest I’ve ever played. I set a personal and season record of 27 tackles, but I did have a hard ride back after the loss. I leaned on my guys on the bus ride back, they were there for me then and I am very grateful.”

One of the biggest headlines of the season was the emerging rivalry and tension between Ballard and Lincoln players when they faced off in a hard fought battle. This would not be the last time they met, as Ballard saw Lincoln again in their sole playoff win.

“I know there was beef between some players on Lincoln and us,” Christensen said. “I have many friends attending Lincoln who gave me a tough time all week. I personally like to save the talk for in the game, let your pads do the speaking, but there was lots of hate speech coming from Lincoln which, in our second game against them, drove us even harder to defend each other on the field and leave no question by dominating the scoreboard.”

Cross country

Senior tight end Connor Osborn received first team all-league honors, averaging 17 yards per catch. (Calvin Ganyard)

Ballard’s Cross Country team absolutely thrived in their league meets, and also had
a new record breaker, Sophomore Cassidy Armstrong.

“We were undefeated in league meets and got fourth at metros, fifth at districts and sixth at state as a team,” Armstrong said. “Breaking a record means a lot to me because it makes all the hard work and training during the off-season, as well during the season, worth it, and I always want to make my coaches and teammates proud.”

The ability to push through challenges and stay focused for the entire season was due in large part to the perpetual coaching efforts.

“There were a lot of people who got minor injuries but just kept practicing anyway,” Armstrong said.

“Coach Day, Neal, Darren, Raul, Anne, Scott, Laurie,and Derrick are all really hard working and team oriented.”

A direct result from the high effort coaching was the positive team community which was built. “Our team community is really supportive and encouraging, there aren’t any team captains,and we’re able to keep running because we all just want to get better and place well at meets, as well as making the postseason,” Armstrong said. Armstrong succeeded the previous two-mile record by over a minute, and didn’t stop there. In the 5,000 meter run, Armstrong set a school best of 17:49, again smashing the previous record to smitherines, with her new best being over a minute better.

Girls swim

Star athlete Claudia Yovanovich signing a letter of intent to swim at UCLA for the 2024-2025 season. (Jay Yovanovich)

Another school record breaker, senior Claudia Yovanovich, led the charge for the
girls swim team and finished the season with an emphatic accomplishment.

“My favorite part of the swim season was getting to lead a whole team and watch everyone have fun,” Yovanovich said. “We stayed positive throughout the entire season and had fun no matter what.”

Despite not getting much attention or shine, the swim team fought hard and battled through a tough season.

“One challenge for us is that we are a small team with no variety of competing divers so a lot of ourNmeets were very closely lost,” Yovanovich said. “My team’s community is extremely motivating, everyone is super close and tries their hardest no matter what.”

Yovanovich was able to put in all of her hard work and finish the season by proudly representing her school.

She plans to continue her swimming career past high school.

“It was very cool to win an event at state,especially representing Ballard since we haven’t had a state champion in any sport for the past few years,” Yovanovich said.



The volleyball team rejoicing after beating Franklin to advance in Metros.
(Ed Tanaka)

After the majority of last year’s girls volleyball team graduated and moved on to college, an almost entirely new, energized squad picked up right where they left off, finishing a promising season with an 11-3 record and placing third in their division. Showing adversity and fight, Senior Lily Huber was able to lead her team in a complicated season.

“With so many new people, I wasn’t quite sure how everyone would work together,” Huber said. “But this ended up being my favorite season to play, everyone was so encouraging and funny to be around, making the long hours of practices and games all worth it. We gelled together so well from
the start, and each person brought a lot of new, positive energy to the team. I also learned more about having resilience.”

Despite being successful in building community, it wasn’t all sunshines and rainbows for the volleyball team. Some of their challenges were hard to overcome.

“Myself and many of my other teammates got lots of injuries and had lots going on outside of volleyball,” Huber said. “It was really important to work together and support each other when we each had our own challenges.”

Having been on the team for four years, Huber had gone through her fair share of coaching changes, and had built bonds through being a team

“Myself alongside Natalie Bauer, Violet Martel, Makenna Meyer, and Amelia Higgins were the four varsity captains. Having multiple captains was great for the team, because each person brought different assets through leadership and team building,” Huber said. “While playing
at Ballard I’ve had two different coaching staffs. Last year was the first year with coach Zach, and it was such a reset with much more structure than what we previously had.”

In volleyball, some of the biggest implications of how good a team is, are their communication skills and chemistry with each other.

“As everyone’s positions became secured the more we played, it was so cool to see the strengths each person brought to the court,” Huber said. “With the three hours of practice or more every day, everyone’s skills went through the roof.”

In the pre-season, Huber got injured and had even more injuries throughout the year. This however, did not prevent her from completing her goals.

“For me, I worked to relax and focus on what I could do in terms of supporting the team,” Huber said. “But also, the ultimate goal and drive I had was wanting to make sure I could play, at least a little, during my senior season.”

Girls soccer

Girls varsity soccer team huddling together and strategizing ahead of their first game of the season. (Lisa Vanderford-Anderson)

The girls soccer team ended their season with a 7-5-3 record. In what was a pretty exciting season, Peyton Nakagawara led the charge despite the unfortunate amount of injuries faced by the team.

“Our team faced a lot of challenges but the main one was the amount of injuries that we had in such a short amount of time,” Nakagawara said. “We had three ACL tears within three weeks, two concussions and a couple other lingering injuries throughout the season.”

Nakagawara was also one of two team captains. Through many challenges, she was able to rally the troops and continue to keep high spirits.

“We overcame these challenges by pulling players up from our JV team and keeping a fun, competitive environment, as well as giving the best effort that we could,” Nakagawara said. “I think our team grew a lot over the season through playing off each other much better, and growing mental toughness. We embraced the mindset that we have nothing to lose and that we are playing for those on our team that are no longer able to take the field.”

Nakagawara, who had been on the team for four years, was very impressed with the team’s atmosphere. “Our team culture was super great this year. Personally, this was the closest I’ve felt our team has been in the years that I’ve been on the team,” Nakagawara said. “We were like a family, we could understand each other super well and also knew how to motivate and push one another.”

Amidst a long, grueling, injury-riddled season, Nakagawara grew as a leader.

“From this past season, I learned how to keep positivity up within our team especially when a lot of people were down or felt discouraged by how our season was headed due to injuries,” Nakagawara said. “There were definitely moments especially after all of the injuries where spirits were kind of low and I had to figure out how I could best motivate and encourage my teammates.”


Girls softball team celebrating after winning Metros. (Audrey Hanson)

The softball team finished the season with a bang, fulfilling all of their goals by having a 7-1 record, winning metros and having multiple all-league nominated players on top of it. One of the nominated players, Junior Audrey
Hanson, who was also a team captain, won the best pitcher award.

“Having practice everyday and being able to be a part of such a great team this year was my favorite part,” Hanson said. “The community has a very positive atmosphere, everyone is always very excited to play or just be together as a team.”

Led by four coaches, the softball team is known to be very welcoming and inclusive. “Everyone is welcome on the team no matter what their skill level is, and the whole team is understanding about how everyone is at different levels,” Hanson said. “Our four coaches, Coach Dale, Coach Jared, Coach Alyssa and Coach Williams, have always shown up for all the athletes and helped them grow and get better at softball.”

For Hanson, one coach in particular helped her improve at her primary position.

“Coach Jared helped me in terms of pitching and pushing myself to be the best player I can,” Hanson said. “During the season, I was able to realize that there is always room for improvement.”
Hanson, along with other captains led the team with resilience and positive attitudes.

“We did our best to push everyone on the team so they could improve, as well as bringing a fun aspect to softball by playing loud music and hyping everyone up,” Hanson said.


The golf team posing together after beating Seattle Prep, despite being lopsided underdogs. (Calvin Ganyard)

The Golf team finished the season with a record of 4-6. One of the key contributors was Junior Skate Yoder. “My favorite part of the season was when we beat Seattle Prep, who
were heavily favored to win,” Yoder said. “It was great to pull off such a big upset.”

Unfortunately, that game was disqualified due to one of Ballard’s players not having their final forms signed.

“We overcame this challenge and still had a player make districts, our captain Joey,” Yoder said.

While golf is often considered more of a mental,
relaxed game, Yoder shared his opinion on why Ballard golf was the right fit for him.

“I started golfing during the Covid year because it was the most socially distancing sport, and it was easy to just go out and play for fun,” Yoder said. “I’m so glad I joined the team as I’ve met a lot of new people and have built connections, creating a newer, stronger community for the golf team.”

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