Bears schedule only getting tougher
By Mike Vlahovich
Greater Spokane League football is approaching the halfway mark this weekend, but for Central Valley, the season is just beginning. The Bears still must face their three biggest obstacles in their bid for one of two spots in the state playoffs.
Friday, they host Lewis and Clark with unbeaten Mead and Gonzaga Prep left to play down the road. Plus, there's always the matter of that rivalry with University at home on Oct. 5.
"We've got the meat of our schedule in front of us," coach Rick Giampietri agreed.
After a season-opening loss to Ferris, the Bears won their next three games despite having returned just three starters on each side of the ball.
"We had growing pains that first game," Giampietri said. "They grew quite a bit since that time."
The biggest growth has been in the Bears line, he said, pointing out 6-foot-5 Beau Byus at both tight end and defensive end. The secondary has been a season-long strong point.
Scott Hilpert, a defensive back and receiver last year, was unexpectedly thrust into the quarterback position, and he's rushed for 76 yards and passed for 307, scoring with both legs and arm in CV's 24-19 win over North Central.
"He's done a great job and been a good leader for us," Giampietri said.
"I think LC will be a good game for us this week. We'll find out how well we've come along and improved."
Head of the pack
Central Valley girls cross country typically starts slowly and lets its depth produce success for understated coach Dennis McGuire.
It has worked well. The Bears have qualified for seven straight State 4A meets, finishing as high as third in 2008.
Prior to season's start, McGuire usually says the same thing - he doesn't know how good his team is - then finds his girls in the postseason mix by season's end.
This year's Bears?
"It's really hard to figure out, quite frankly," he said. "I have 12 kids pretty even."
When asked to dope out the GSL earlier this fall, he said, "With girls it's hard to tell. You can have two or three really hot freshmen or have someone move in and have a good team instantly."
CV lost to Mt. Spokane in its season opener, but stood 3-1 headed into Wednesday's meet at home against Mead.
Five girls return from last year's state eighth-placing team, although top finisher Skye Sanders suffered an ACL injury setback. Brielle Crump - one of those hot-running freshmen McGuire talked about - has been CV's first or second finisher in three meets, trading with state veteran junior Alex Moore. Last week, less than a minute separated five scorers.
"We have 41 girls out, nearly half new to cross country," McGuire said. "Toward the end of the season, we might be really good."
Speaking of numbers
Boys cross country coach Kieran Mahoney's stable of 52 runners proved the importance of depth when combined they scored a total of 3,878 points, most of any school, in the club portion of the Tracy Walters Invitational, a reward for program depth.
CV's boys, like the girls, have parlayed it into a 3-1 GSL record, its only loss to state and national power North Central. The Bears, fifth in state last year, are bunched within 30 seconds, led by senior Logan Giese.
Heading into this week, Central Valley's girls soccer shared first place at 2-0 … Bears volleyball was part of a four-way knot in second at 2-1 behind favorite Mead … Fall slow pitch softball is familiar with Central Valley (7-0) and University (6-0) in front, although it took a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh against Lewis and Clark for the Bears to remain unbeaten.