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Published: Sunday, June 15, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Boy Athlete of the Year


Finalists for The Herald's 2014 Boy Athlete of the Year award

Cascade's K.J. Brady smiles as he waits for a pitch during a session in the batting cage this season.

Mark Mulligan / The Herald

Cascade's K.J. Brady smiles as he waits for a pitch during a session in the batting cage this season.

Eds. note: Only senior athletes are considered for Athlete of the Year nominations, which are provided by school athletic directors, coaches and Herald writers. Finalists for the award are based on fan voting and a selection by Herald staffers. The athlete of the year winner is chosen from the six finalists by Herald writers and editors.

K.J. Brady, Cascade

Sports
Football, Baseball

Accolades
The Herald's All-Area Baseball Player of the Year ... All-Wesco first-team offense and defense for football ... All-Wesco first-team pitcher and outfielder for baseball ... All-Area first-team wide receiver for football and first-team pitcher and second-team outfielder for baseball ... led Bruins football team to the state tournament for the first time since 2007 ... led Bruins baseball team to back-to-back state tournament appearances ... headed to the University of Washington to play baseball.

Quotable

“KJ is an incredible young man. He is the most competitive athlete that I have had the opportunity to coach. KJ had a great attitude everyday and give 100-percent effort in every rep he does. No one works harder or cares more about winning than KJ.” — Joe Cronin, Cascade football head coach

“K.J. is a great competitor and tremendous athlete. He is a throwback player that does a little bit of everything well on the baseball field — gets on base, hits for power, scores runs, pitches, plays tremendous outfield defense. He is also an outstanding student and a great representative of Cascade High School.” — Scott Stencil, Cascade baseball head coach

Personal bio
Brady was instrumental in turning around not just one, but two sports teams at Cascade in his four years with the Bruins. He began with the football team, which went winless for the second consecutive season in Brady's sophomore year. The transformation began Brady's junior season under first-year coach Joe Cronin and by Brady's senior season he was a first-team All-Area wide receiver on a Cascade team that reached the state tournament. It was much the same on the diamond. After posting a 3-17 record his freshman year, Brady — along with several other key members of the team — got together and dedicated themselves to improving the Bruins' baseball program. Three years later, Cascade posted a 20-5 record, won the Wesco 4A South league title, a district championship and was in the 4A state quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. Brady finished his senior year with a .418 batting average, a .500 on-base percentage, 30 runs scored, 19 RBI, three home runs, three triples and seven doubles to earn The Herald's Baseball Player of the Year award.

Monroe's Hunter Bingham played wide receiver this season after playing quarterback in year's past.

File photo

Monroe's Hunter Bingham played wide receiver this season after playing quarterback in year's past.

Hunter Bingham, Monroe

Sports
Football, Basketball, Baseball

Accolades
The three-sport athlete is a throwback, competing in all three cornerstone sports ... All-Wesco first-team selection as an outfielder ... switched from quarterback to wide receiver as a senior and caught 10 passes for 125 yards ... maintained a 3.98 grade-point average while taking Advanced Placement and honors classes.

Quotable

“Hunter has an incredible ability to balance many things. Not only did he balance being an incredible three-sport athlete with a high GPA, but he also brought a great work ethic balanced with a great sense of humor to practice each day.” — Tyson Horner, Monroe boys basketball head coach

“I was blessed with the opportunity to have Hunter in my program for four years. He is a very good baseball player but a better young man and student. A three-sport varsity starter with a 3.97 GPA in AP courses that is a true student athlete.” — Eric Chartrand, Monroe baseball head coach

Personal bio
For story and interview with Hunter, click here.

Granite Falls' Riley Larsen prepares to throw the ball during a practice this past season.

File photo

Granite Falls' Riley Larsen prepares to throw the ball during a practice this past season.

Riley Larsen, Granite Falls

Sports
Basketball, Baseball

Accolades
Two-sport star was a key part of both basketball and baseball teams ... Cascade Conference all-conference first-team selection for basketball and baseball ... led Tigers baseball team with his bat and arm to the district tournament ... headed to Everett Community College to play baseball.

Quotable

“On the basketball court Riley is a fierce competitor and a gifted scorer. Off the court he is a polite and respected young man.” — Andy Estes, Granite Falls boys basketball head coach.

“Riley Larsen is definitely a ‘gamer.' ” — Doug Engstrom, Granite Falls baseball head coach

Personal bio
Any time the Granite Falls basketball or baseball teams were mentioned in 2013-14, Riley Larsen's name probably wasn't far behind. The two-sport star was an inspirational leader and a key part of both teams. Larsen averaged more than 15 points per game for the basketball team that finished 10-10 to just miss the postseason. His played earned him a spot on the Cascade Conference's all-league team. Larsen found even more success on the diamond. Not only was he considered the team's ace on the mound, but he was big at the plate, hitting a team-best .388 and nine doubles to lead the Tigers to their best season since winning the 2A state championship in 2006. The Tigers finished one game behind Archbishop Murphy for the regular-season league championship, but went 0-2 at the district tournament. After a shaky start to the year, Larsen and his teammates reeled off 10 victories in 11 games to get back in contention for the league championship.

Marysville Pilchuck's Jake Luton throws during a game this past season.

File photo

Marysville Pilchuck's Jake Luton throws during a game this past season.

Jake Luton, Marysville Pilchuck

Sports
Football, Baseball

Accolades
All-Wesco first-team quarterback for football ... All-Wesco first-team outfielder for baseball ... All-Area first-team outfielder for baseball ... led the Tomahawks football team to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the state quarterfinals ... headed to the University of Idaho to play football.

Quotable

“Jake has led by example in both baseball and football this year. His competitiveness has helped him to be successful as well as those around him. Jake is a great athlete and even better teammate.” — Kurt Koshelnik, Marysville Pilchuck baseball head coach.

Personal bio
The Marysville Pilchuck football team has long been known to run the ball. One year the Tomahawks only attempted 42 passes all season. Then Luton came along. The 6-foot-6 quarterback added a new dimension to the Tomahawks' offense and guided MP to back-to-back state quarterfinals appearances in his final two seasons on the team. Luton threw for 1,244 yards and 14 touchdowns while drawing the eye of coaches at the University of Idaho, where he will play next season. Luton emphasized just how valuable he was in Marysville Pilchuck's Wesco 3A championship showdown against Glacier Peak. With star running back Austin Joyner sidelined by injury, Luton went 7-for-9 for 137 yards and three touchdowns and threw zero interceptions in the Tomahawks' 59-20 victory over the Grizzlies. An early season injury and his scholarship to Idaho kept Luton from his usual spot on the mound for the Tomahawks, but the senior was still instrumental in the Marysville Pilchuck baseball team's success and earned a spot on the All-Area first team as an outfielder.

Lakewood's Andrew Stich runs to a victory in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2A state meet.

File photo

Lakewood's Andrew Stich runs to a victory in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2A state meet.

Andrew Stich, Lakewood

Sports
Track

Accolades
State champion in the 110-meter hurdles at 2A state meet ... finished second in the 300 hurdles and javelin at state ... district champion in 110, 300 hurdles and javelin ... led the Cougars boys track team to a fifth-place finish at state ... finished third in decathlon at Washington State Multi-Event Championships ... cousin Garrett Stich is also a finalist for The Herald's Boy Athlete of the Year.

Quotable

“One of the many qualities that Andrew Stich exploits is a calm confidence. He trusts that his coaches and his hard work have prepared him to compete well. It's exciting to watch Andrew compete, because of his natural athleticism. His ability seems to have no limits.” — Ron Detrick, Lakewood hurdles coach

Personal bio
Blessed with speed, agility and a terrific work ethic, Andrew Stich took aim at a pair of Lakewood school records and set a new standard this season. The senior hurdler set school records in the 110-meter hurdles, which stood since 1984, and the 300 hurdles with times of 14.57 and 38.47 seconds, respectively. Just a few weeks ago, Stich won a state championship in the 110 hurdles and took second in the 300 hurdles and the javelin. Stich was also impressive in a sport many consider the greatest measure of an athlete: the decathlon. Stich finished in the top-five in five events, including a victory in the javelin, to take third in the state multi-event championships on June 6-7.

Snohomish's Garrett Stich was a running back/linebacker on the Panthers football team this past season.

File photo

Snohomish's Garrett Stich was a running back/linebacker on the Panthers football team this past season.

Garrett Stich, Snohomish

Sports
Football, Wrestling, Baseball

Accolades
Three-sport athlete earned 12 letters over his high school career ... finished seventh at 182 pounds at Mat Classic XXVI ... regional wrestling champion ... All-Wesco second-team linebacker for football ... All-Wesco honorable mention for baseball ... led the Panthers wrestling team to a 13th-place finish at Mat Classic XXVI ... cousin Andrew Stich is also a finalist for The Herald's Boy Athlete of the Year.

Quotable

“Garrett's been a real blessing for our program and school. He's modeled how a positive attitude and how hard work will outlast adversity. His junior and sophomore year he battled injuries but never wavered in his dedication to our programs. As a senior he was healthy all year and was able to contribute and lead three of our athletic programs.” — Rob Zabel, Snohomish wrestling head coach.

Personal Bio
It would have been easy for Garrett Stich to throw in the towel. Battling injuries his sophomore and juniors years, the Snohomish athlete came back as a senior and put together a great year in three sports. In the fall, Stich was a running back and linebacker for the Panthers football team. He turned his attention to wrestling in the winter, going into the season ranked in the top 10 at 182-pounds. He would ultimately finish seventh at the 4A state tournament. It was the first full wrestling season without an injury for Stich, who had suffered a broken ankle, nose and arm while competing on the mat in year's past. Stich completed his Snohomish athletic career as a key part of the Panthers baseball team to earn his 12th varsity letter. Stich helped Snohomish win its first six games of the season en route to a 15-9 overall record and tie with Lake Stevens for the Wesco 4A North title.

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