Jim Harney has been a fixture in the North Kitsap sports scene for many years. Harney was part of the 1958 Seattle University men’s basketball team that played in the NCAA Championship, losing to Kentucky. Harney was the captain and point guard and his most famous teammate included NBA great Elgin Baylor. Harney and the 1958 team are in the SU Sports Hall of Fame.
After graduating from SU, Harney coached three sports for nine years at Seattle Prep. Harney assisted at the University of Puget Sound for four years before coming to North Kitsap in 1973 and retiring in 1997. Harney led the Vikings’ boys basketball team to six state tournament appearances.
Harney has volunteered as a girls basketball and softball coach and was inducted into the Washington State Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002 with 362 victories.
Kirk Sell, who with her sister Dana became the first siblings to ever swim at the same Olympics, won a silver medal at the Athens Games in 2004 as a member of the 400-medley relay preliminary team. She won four straight NCAA championships the 100 yard breaststroke and was an eight-time NCAA All-American. Kirk Sell was a four-time national champion in the 50 and 100 breast strokes. Kirk Sell was also a three-time medalist at the 2007 FINA World Championships , a gold medalist at the 2006 Pan Pacifics in 100-meter breaststroke, a gold medalist at 2006 short-course World Championships in the 100 breast, a two-time medalist at the 2005 World Championships and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist and was named the 2004 Honda-Broderick Cup winner, which is given to the nation’s outstanding collegiate female athlete.
The Central Kitsap Cougars claimed the 1969 Class 2A boys basketball championship with a win over Burlington-Edison 72-58. CK was coached by Bob Moawad and included players Don Thorsen, Harley Robinson, Bill Wells, Ken Adkisson, Greg Crane and Bill Damschen.
Damschen scored 25 points in the championship game, followed by Thorsen with 19 and Wells with 17.
The Cougars went 11-1 during the Olympic League season and were 16-4 during the regular season, where they finished second in the 2A state poll. They finished the season with a 20-4 record.
The Year of the Cougars
He came to Central Kitsap in 1965 to coach football and wrestling. He had played football, basketball and baseball at Roosevelt High in Seattle, He concentrated on football and baseball at Central Washington, where he was an all-conference end and outside linebacker in football and the catcher and team captain in baseball. The nationally recognized 1963 CWU football team has been inducted into the CWU sports hall of fame. Ellis was all-league, all-coast, and NAIA honorable mention all-American in football. At CK he assisted Gary Fredrick before he became the head football coach. His CK teams won three Olympic League championships and his 1969 team was 8-1, losing only to AAA Bellarmine, and was voted the state AA champions. (State football playoffs did not start until 1973.) Ellis, now living in Selah, also started the wrestling program at CK. His CK football teams were 24-5-7 and his wrestling teams were 40-10. After leaving CK he coached football 13 years in Yakima (Eisenhower). His 18-year record was 77-71-8.
The Gladiator Top Fuel team was one of the best in the drag-racing world during its heyday. The Gladiator crew became the “Gladiators” — John Blanchard, owner; Larry ‘Flash’ Hendrickson, driver, and Perry ‘Brock’ Brochner, crew chief. Three Gladiator cars raced over 10 years, 1962-72. Blanchard owned Eastside Auto Wrecking. Hendrickson was Lents Hardware’s sheet metal expert. Brochner was a supervisor at PSNS. The Gladiators caught the hot rod world’s attention when their car made a World AA Top Fuel record run July 11, 1970, in the National Hot Rod Association’s points and records meet at Mission Raceways, B.C. Hendrickson drove the Gladiator through the quarter-mile pass at 230.76 mph, then validated by raising the record to 232.55. Two months after the Vancouver runs the Gladiator and its crew were at Fremont (Calif.) Dragway for the Fall Top Fuel Championships where Hendrickson again beat the No. 2 qualifier, Poulsbo’s Herman Petersen in the Petersen-Fitz car, and the NHRA’s poster boy, Don (The Snake) Prudhomme. Hendrickson drove for other sponsors for 10 years after Blanchard sold his cars. Brochner was known for his wizardry as crew chief. There were no limits to speed in those days. “It was all in the fuel mix,” Blanchard said. “Brock would rather work on the car than the guys who sat in the bars.”
Ron Vehrs was a multiple state champion in track and field, winning titles for Bremerton High and setting records along the way. As a junior, Vehrs won the 220 sprint in 22.3 seconds and that record lasted for 25 years at BHS. His senior season in 1953 Vehrs won the 100 in 10.2 and was second in the 220. By then, Vehrs had picked up the nickname "The Rocket" and enrolled at Olympic College where he finished second in the 440 and 220 in the NWAACC meet. In 1954 he enlisted in the Navy and after his discharge went back to OC where he anchored the relay team to a conference record and became co-captain of the track and field team.
In 1966 Vehrs became the boys’ track and field coach at East Bremerton and held that position until East and West Bremerton merged in 1978. The Knights won 53 of 61 dual meets and 10 of 13 Olympic League championships. Vehrs also started the girls and boys cross country teams and guided the boys team to a second-place finish at the state meet in 1972.
A standout basketball player at Bremerton, Lori Carver (Loera) helped lead the Knights to the Narrows League championship twice, scoring a career-high 34 points, 27 in the second half, in a playoff game against Auburn. Carver earned a scholarship to the University of Oregon where she helped lead the Ducks to two Pac-8 North Division championships.
Carver Loera is a teacher/coach in Moses Lake and has four children with her husband Javier.