Winter Athletes Finish Strong

By Ira Rose-Kim

While winter’s cold may deter many athletes from practicing outside, it is of little significance to Roosevelt’s winter athletes. Arguably the most arduous of sports seasons, winter athletics call for long, demanding practices as well as extensive conditioning in the off and preseasons. Luckily, the Riders’ work this year has paid off as swimmers, gymnasts, and wrestlers stormed their respective state meets to see what 3A was able to offer.

The Roosevelt wrestling team exerted unparalleled dominance in the Metro league this year as they won every dual meet they had, as well as the Metro Tournament. Though this level of supremacy was not seen at the state meet, the team was still very satisfied with what they’d accomplished. Senior Tom Skoog found the event as a whole to be especially rewarding. “They turn the lights up super high, there’s just thousands of people in the stands, and a lot of people wrestling too,” he recounted, “The whole thing’s a spectacle.” Senior Taka Olds was “extremely happy” with the meet’s outcome. Though he lost his first two matches, Olds was still enthralled by the experience. “Being in the middle of it all is very cool,” he detailed. They were also very proud of the number of wrestlers they sent to the meet and those who were able to win matches at such a high level. Hopefully, the team will be able to take this momentum and use it to continue their success in the coming season.

On the gymnastics side, the team as a whole was not able to reach as far. However, two individuals, Junior Claire Schwartz and Senior Quingyu Onouye, qualified for the state meet. Onouye described the meet as “awe-inspiring”. “I wasn’t expecting so many good girls,” she admitted. Onouye was satisfied with her performance at State, mentioning the skill she used at the meet was learned only two days prior. Onouye was also very impressed by Schwartz’s competing. “I think she got a lower score than she deserved,” she revealed. Onouye tied for 60th in the vault on the first day while Schwartz tied for 45th in the beam and for 17th in the vault. With two years of state experience under her belt, Schwartz will be a resourceful leader for the team next year.

Last but not least, the Roosevelt swim team had another strong showing at their state meet. Individually, captain Eli D’Albora felt he did well. “I got my fastest times, but not by as much as I would’ve hoped,” he explained. This was D’Albora’s third appearance at state, but his first time at the 3A meet since Roosevelt’s transition from 4A to 3A. He felt that while individual times at the 3A meet were faster than the ones seen at 4A, there was a lot less depth than what he would’ve seen at 4A. “If I’d been swimming 4A, I wouldn’t have made the finals in my 200 Free. I would’ve missed it by about two seconds, but I got 13th at 3A,” he explained. This was still a landmark year for the team as well. After coming off their Kingco Championship victory, the team sent more swimmers to state this year than they had since 2007 and more those swimmers scored more points than any Roosevelt team since 1988. The 400 Yard Freestyle Relay team placed 7th in the A-Final which helped move the team from 13th to 7th in state, tying the record for the farthest Roosevelt has made it in the meet.

As the weather warms up, many will look forward to the joys spring offers like baseball and soccer. For winter athletes however, the outdoors is a privilege they can live without. For them, its still the pools, mats and courts they know so well. It’s nine long months until the winter teams will get their next chance to compete and knowing Rider athletics, they’ll be more than ready for it.

Chapel Hill Victims Remembered

by Sophie Aanerud

Holding flickering candles and roses, hundreds of people (many Muslim) gathered in Westlake Park on the evening of February 14. Amidst prayers and speeches, the prompting of this somber gathering stood present in the minds (and media) of America.

On February 10, three young college students (husband and wife Deah Shaddy Barakat and Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha) were murdered in their condominium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It has been argued that the prime suspect in the murders, the victims’ neighbor Craig Stephen Hicks, committed the crime in response to a parking-related dispute, but many attribute Hicks’ violence to his anti-theist views and the fact that all three victims were practicing Muslims.

Despite following the second largest religion in the world, the over two million Muslims living in America often experience hostility, prompted largely by a burgeoning of anti-Islamic mentality in the United States following 9/11. “I think yes, [the fact that the victims were Muslim] did factor in,” reflects Muslim student and Roosevelt senior, Jaafar Kadhim, “all this happens because of the media.” Kadhim explains that films such as the recently released American Sniper and other American media forms have influenced how Muslims are seen, inciting anti-Muslim hostility among many misinformed individuals.

Kadhim adds that he personally feels safe as a Muslim American, but that location has much to do with it, “My family chose to live in Seattle because it is more liberal and there are fewer instances of violence against Muslims.”

Indeed, the memorial held at Westlake Park for the victims at Chapel Hill was a peaceful moment in which both Muslim and non-Muslim-alike stood side by side in mourning. In the midst of the tranquil atmosphere at Westlake, however, the tragic reason for the gathering— the fact that three young people had been killed (and their murder was likely prompted by American anti-Islamic mentality) — remained fresh on minds.

Diversity Assembly 2015!

By Simone Archer-Krauss

This past Friday Roosevelt High School concluded their annual Diversity Week celebration with a Diversity Assembly. RHS students were treated to a multitude of performances, each demonstrating a different part of the Roosevelt identity. Some of the highlight performances include the Roosevelt Competition Hip-Hop Dance Team’s electric performance of their competition piece to a compilation of Steve Aoki songs; a traditional Norwegian folk dance, complete with authentic costumes; a sneak peek of the drama department’s winter musical “The Little Mermaid”; and a vibrant display of Latin dances, courtesy of Roosevelt’s La Raza club. Students were in for an extra special surprise when, following the Roosevelt Drumline’s performance, which usually brings the closing of the assembly, Matthew Poon, more widely known as “Yo-yo Guy,” returned to Roosevelt for a special performance. All the performers who participated in the assembly did a wonderful job. For this year’s assembly, ASR decided to focus less on cultural diversity and more on the diversity in our experiences. Nothing displayed that more than the RHS student panel. The panel consisted of a wide range of students from all over the Roosevelt community from John Dale, our resident Sounders Academy player, to Shadrak Musafiri, who has 13 siblings and moved to Seattle from a small town in the Congo. As it is every year, Diversity Week was a success, and the assembly was the perfect culmination, providing a reflection on the theme of the entire week by flipping it inside out. “Zooming in on Diversity” began zooming out.



Students gather to watch the Diversity Assembly.

Students gather to watch the Diversity Assembly.

Matthew Poon performs at the Diversity Assembly.

Matthew Poon performs at the Diversity Assembly.

Track Season Begins

By Flora Davis

Exactly one month after Groundhog’s Day, the best holiday of the year, begins the best sports season of the year. Track and Field at Roosevelt officially kicks off on March 2nd, although a few athletes have already begun pre-season training. The women’s team lifts weights on Mondays and Wednesdays, and the long-distance team runs together on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Pre-season weights are a necessity for athletes who don’t want to injure themselves in the coming season, and other conditioning helps keep runners competitive.

This year, the men’s track team lost a few coaches after high jump coach Jim Neff retired, and assistant coach Curtis Easton became unable to coach any more practices. This leaves Howard Collier as head coach of both the men and women’s team, with help from Jeff Fulton, David Graves, Trinna Miranda, and Rick Kenney. When asked if he would find it challenging to coach both teams, Collier responds, “Yes it will be very challenging. However, with the right staff in place, I think it will be a success”.

More changes to the track team will arise as well, now that Roosevelt has switched from KingCo 4A to Metro 3A. Some say that Metro will be too little competition, although this certainly did not prove to be the case in the last cross-country season. Collier comments, “I prefer to stay in KingCo, competition is better I think, meets have less teams in them”.  It will be interesting to see if Metro proves to be less competitive than KingCo, and how the track team fares in the new division.

With a new division begins new experiences for competing athletes.  On what he’s looking forward to in the coming season, Collier comments that he hopes for both the men and women’s team to “compete at their highest level”.  He’s looking for “dedication from all”.  Collier has been coach of the women’s track team at Roosevelt for the past two decades, as well being the coach of the men’s cross-country team, so if there’s one thing he knows, it’s dedication to a team he’s supported for years. His final comments on the coming track season are “[I] look forward to a healthy season and a team with heart on both ends”.

By Amy Pelz

†rack åmy pelz

Diversity Week

By Claire DeVour

This week is Roosevelt’s annual Diversity Week celebration of different cultures and backgrounds. After the thought- provoking keynote speech on Monday, one can enjoy an assortment of diverse and delectable treats sold in the commons Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

 “We chose a wide variety of food to resemble different cultures. We have Mexican, Japanese, and Thai,” says International Club. Right beside this stand you can find Chinese club selling orange chicken, chow Mein, fried rice, and homemade bubble team. Other clubs selling in the upper commons include Doctor Who club- selling tea and crumpets with jam, and Roots club displaying fragrant strawberry- chocolate pancake kabobs.

In the lower commons you can most likely find the Black Student Union selling cornbread, mac and cheese, and fried chicken, French club selling crepes, and DECA with hot dogs and root beer floats. Green team can be found with creative and delicious dirt cups to resemble the earth, of course.

The Black Student Union and Chinese club have been the most popular so far, causing huge lines and food shortages- so get there when you can! After having a variety of delicious lunches, we can look forward to ending the week with a bang, with an entertaining Diversity assembly.

Wrestling Metros

By Ira Rose-Kim

Roosevelt’s exerted its indisputable dominance at the Metro championships on February 6th and 7th. The team had five individual champions: Trygve Groh, Ben Kriesberg, Tom Skoog, Jody Cearns, and Jordan Forst. From there, five more wrestlers placed in the top three and a grand total of sixteen wrestlers will represent Roosevelt at the Regional Tournament next Saturday, the 14th. The team has not seen an achievement of this caliber for quite some time. due to the structure of the Regional Tournament’s brackets, the top eight wrestlers at the Metro tournament will make up the entire bracket at Regionals. This greatly raises the chances of the wrestlers who performed excellently at Metros’ of going to the WIAA State Tournament at the Tacoma Dome on the 20th and 21st.

Sophomore Speer Kajamulo was the runner up in the 220 weight class. This makes him tied for highest-placing sophomore with Rory Hayashi who was second to only to fellow Roosevelt wrestler Jody Cearns. Kajamulo claims he wasn’t that confident going into the tournament. “I got really lucky on my half of the bracket and most of the bad guys were on my side,” he admits. He was still proud and satisfied with the results though. “Nobody expected me to do good at all this year. I was super bad last year; I never really learned anything, but I got a lot better,” he confidently explained. Kajamulo hopes to continue his success through the Regional tournament and make the State tournament.

The class of 2016 was also well represented at Metros. Five Juniors will be wrestling at Regionals and two made the finals in their brackets at Metros: Erik Choi and Trygve Groh. Groh won while Choi got second. Both were initially apprehensive about what the State tournament would offer. “I think State’s going to be a pretty big shock considering Metro’s one of the weaker conferences in the State,” Groh revealed. No one of the team are ranked within the State’s top 10. Will the Riders continue to prove their skill once they’ve finished trouncing the same opponents they faced a week ago? Choi thinks so. “I’ve been training all season. I haven’t missed a practice, so I’ve been feeling pretty confident,” he declared. Groh also noted that he felt the team could rack up some wins at State.

It seems that the rest of the team is bristling with a bold energy as well and they’ve very good to reason to be. Skoog and Forst have two of the best records on the team with 24-3 and 32-1 respectively. While it was originally believed that O’Dea had one the Metro tournament by a narrow 2.5 points, the score was rechecked to reveal Roosevelt took the tournament by a significant margin over highly ranked schools like Eastside Catholic which is currently 13th in Washington 3A. While the State tournament’s outcome is unsure at the moment, the Riders’ strength has already been proven at Metro and will surely do well levels beyond.

The Thirteenth Man

By Sage Bitter

This is the first year I have ever actually cared about the Super Bowl. Before the infamous Sunday, I referred to the ‘Twelfth Man’ as the thirteenth man, could name roughly four Seahawks players (on a good day), and had absolutely no idea who the Seahawks were playing against or why it should matter to me in the slightest. But as I pre-gamed with my family and friends and became bloated with the weight of too many chips and dips, I started to become involved.

Suddenly, I thought Marshawn Lynch’s interviews were revolutionary, the controversy over “Deflategate” was completely warranted, Russell Wilson might in fact be the greatest quarterback in the NFL and naively, that the Seattle Seahawks would annihilate the New England Patriots and bring home a second Lombardi trophy. My spirits were high throughout the relatively matched game, and from my inexperienced yet dedicated sports perspective, the Patriots would score some points and then one of the Seahawks lesser known members, like wide receiver Chris Matthews—who caught his first NFL catch and scored his first NFL touchdown during the Bowl—would score our team some points and even it back out.

From where I sat on my couch for several hours (boy are those things long), the Seahawks seemed to have not only intelligent plays but also luck on their side. Then a series of events that would lead to an earthshattering (or Seattle shattering) outcome began to transpire. The Seahawks had a 24-14 lead entering the fourth quarter, which was quickly withdrawn when Tom Brady scored two touchdowns and took the lead. At this point, time was running out for the Seahawks, but then we were graced with a miracle catch by wider receiver Jermaine Kearse that pushed the Seahawks to the 5 yard line. Marshawn Lynch did what he does best and got the ball to the 1 yard line.

Then came what has been described as the “worst-play call in Super Bowl history” courtesy of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

It’s a scenario that will be burned into the minds of Seahawks fans for eternity. The Seahawks are at the 1 yard line, there are roughly twenty seconds left in the game, Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch is on our team and Russell Wilson throws a pass that is immediately intercepted by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.

With that throw, cries of anguish and confusion could be heard ’round Seattle, but I just sat there in shock. I had thought the Seahawks, which in those six or so hours I had come to think of as my team, were going to pull through. And they didn’t. My disappointment and sadness were more crushing than I could have ever imagined a bunch of guys running around in tight pants tossing around something originally derived from a pig could make me feel. At least now I can soundly say even in spite of their painful loss, the Seahawks have gained another twelfth man.

ISIS Executes Japanese Hostages

By Ira Rose-Kim

While Seattleites have been mourning the Seahawks’ loss, just across the Pacific, Japan mourns the loss of two of their citizens who were executed by ISIS. The Islamic State had been holding two Japanese men, Kenji Goto and Haruna Yakuwa, and initially demanded a ransom of $200 Million. However, after the execution of Yakuwa, they then demanded the release of Sajida al-Rishawi in return for Gotos Return. al-Rishawi was facing the death penalty in Jordan for participating in a violent bombing of the Jordanian capital, Amman. Japan refused to capitulate to the terrorists’ demands and Goto was shown decapitated in a video ISIS released a week after they executed the first hostage. This act of terror was prompted by Japan’s humanitarian support to ISIS’s enemy countries and in response to the hostages’ murders, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said they would be ramping up their support. “Japan will work with the international community to bring those responsible for this crime to justice. Japan will never give in to terrorism,” declared Abe. Obama has also announced that the U. S. strongly condemned what he called a “heinous murder” and would continue work with international allies to defeat ISIS. Abe claimed Japan would make the “terrorists pay the price” in a departure from Japan’s normally pacifist stance on international affairs. He especially noted his outrage over the recent murder of a Jordanian pilot, Mouath al-Kasaesbeh,  by ISIS and his sympathies for Jordan.