The 2022 to 2023 school year was very noteworthy for Eastlake High School athletics.
Eastlake teams won three state titles in girls basketball, baseball and cheer, and also achieved multiple Kingco Championships.
Eastlake’s athletes strived to perform and accelerate, said Pat Bangasser, the athletic director. In addition, Bangasser credited the many successes to both athletes and coaches, as well as parent support and a “culture where we really focus on effort and behavior of our athletes.”
The girls basketball team, off to a rocky start, ended their season with a championship win in the Tacoma Dome in March. After a controversial semifinal win with a 3-point shot right at the buzzer — that some felt was made after the buzzer — the Lady Wolves knew they had to deliver a decisive victory to prove they deserved to play for the championship. They ended up delivering with a resounding 48-41 win over the Camas Papermakers. This was Eastlake’s second state championship under head coach Sara Goldie.
Krista Kostoff, a junior who plays on the basketball team, said she was “very proud of our team because we pushed through a lot of struggles in our first two games with 0-2 record, but we bounced back to have a great season.”
The end of the school year brought another huge achievement to the school athletic record. Eastlake’s baseball team won the state tournament in May. This was the first 4A state baseball title in Eastlake’s history. Head coach Frank Smith credited the victory to improved batting, especially to the lower halves of the batting lineup.
“Even though we hadn’t hit great all year but the playoffs, we hit .469 as a team,” Smith said.
The Eastlake cheer team also ended their season by winning a state championship in February.
The head coach of the cheer team, Casey Sullivan, said her team anxiously waited on the day of the performance to hear Eastlake’s name shine at the end of that night.
“It was really exciting and a powerful moment for the whole team. And that really validated all the work they put in,” Sullivan said.
Some of the cheer team athletes credited the focus they put in their practice as the key ingredient for their success.
“In order to stimulate that environment, we ran every practice as if it were a competition,” Sullivan said. “It helped the athletes to have a mentality to have a near perfect performance when the final night arrived.”
This strategy “helped us to keep the drive in the team,” said Lucy Johnson, a freshman on the team.
While the cross-country team did not take home a state title, the team made history when both the boys and girls teams finished on the podium at state. In addition, the Wolves boasted their largest cross-country team in school history with 118 runners.
Coach Troy Anderson said the team ended the season with some unforgettable bonding moments as they “worked really hard to earn amazing, end of season results with the boys team getting second in state and the girls team getting fourth in state.”
Other athletic achievements include volleyball winning the 4A Crest division title and reaching a season record of 15-8.
The girls swim and dive team had 23 girls qualify for Kingco, 14 qualify for District and 6 qualify for State, according to Coach Shelby Ruge.
The boys swim and dive team had 34 boys qualify for Kingco, 21 qualify for district and 10 qualify for state. Senior Connor Brown broke two Kingco championship records in the 200-yard Individual Medley and 100-yard Breast events. He also achieved one district record in the 200-yard Breast event and placed second at state for the 100-yard Breast event.
Ruge said this was “the highest showing I have had at State from a whole team.”
Eastlake’s badminton team also won a Kingco title.
“I feel, at Eastlake, it becomes a priority and a family to make sure we put our best into everything we do,” Kostoff, the basketball player, said.