Ozzie was one of the most accomplished wrestlers to enter the halls of Olympic High School despite reluctantly starting the sport in the seventh grade at Fairview Junior High. He showed up three weeks late for the start of the season and after the first practice was so tired and sore he went straight to sleep. He had never worked so hard in his 13 years of life, but was hooked on the sport from day one. As everyone in the sport would find out, Ozzie is not afraid of hard work.
Saxon had a heartbreaking journey to the top of his sport in high school. In ninth grade he broke his arm, as a sophomore he tore cartilage in his chest twice, and his junior year he suffered a concussion right in the middle of state qualifying. As a senior, his luck changed as he bested the 130-pound weight class in the Class 4A tournament in 2000.
Recruited to wrestle for North Idaho College, Saxon won a junior college national title in 2002. Transferring to Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa he continued to dominate in the sport. In 2003 and 2004, he helped the Wartburg team to Division III national team titles both years. At 133-pounds, Saxon posted a 50-6 career record at Wartburg, finished as the NCAA Division III national runner-up twice, and earned All-American honors both years.
Ozzie earned his bachelor’s degree in electronic media from Wartburg in 2005, then received his master’s degree from Ohio in coaching education in 2007.
Saxon recently completed Physical Therapy school and is currently working as a Traveling Therapy Assistant in Okanogan County.
Harlan Thompson’s love for drag racing started when he returned from Vietnam in 1969.
The North Kitsap grad built a 1957 Corvette and started his career at Bremerton Raceway in 1970. The next year he toured the Northwest in a Funny Car while going to University of Washington.
In 1972, he started competing up and down the East Coast, which put him on the racing map. He was hired by some of the top teams.
In 1980, he joined a Swedish team Tre Kronor and raced in Europe. He won his first race and didn’t lose for almost a year, setting records at tracks all over.
In over 30 years of racing, Thompson won seven championships and was the first Funny Car driver in Europe with a sub-six-second pass (5.95 in 1985 at Mantwerp Park).
He was inducted into the European Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005 and British Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2011.
Stener Kvinsland, a North Kitsap graduate, played football for Western Washington and Pacific Lutheran.
In 1941, he was hired to be the head basketball and assistant football coach at South Kitsap. Two weeks before the season began, the head football coach stepped down and Kvinsland got the job.
He coached the football team for 17 years, winning five Olympic League championships.
He coached basketball until 1949 and won six league titles and three state trophies.
He went on to become the South Kitsap athletic director and one of the most notable hires he made was of Ed Fisher, who turned the football program into a state power.
Ted Berney was hired by East Bremerton High in 1963 right out of Oregon State University, where he played football and was on the track and field team.
Berney became the head football coach in 1965 and the Knights won the Olympic League championship. Berney coach East until 1978 when West and East Bremerton merged. He assisted Chuck Semancik for six years before he retired.
Berney took over and coach the Knights until 1994, compiling a 227-135 record.
Berney was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame for his semi-pro playing career (1963-65) with the Edmonds Warriors.
John Tracy was among the most gifted athletes to play basketball at East High in the 1960s. East High coach Les Eathorne called the 1964 grad one of the three best guards he coached and would later name Tracy to his top 5 dream team of EHS basketball players playing guard opposite Lyle Bakken.
He is “ambidextrous and at only 6-foot he posted up at the foul line,” said John Eathorne, the son of the Hall of Fame coach. “I remember him shooting off balance shots just to get rid of it and running to the opposite side of the basket to rebound his deliberate miss and put it back in.”
Tracy played freshman basketball for Stanford, where he graduated in 1968. He remembers having Art Harris as a teammate on the Stanford freshman team. Art later played several years with the Seattle SuperSonics who drafted him out of college.”
After serving in the Volunteer to Service America and Peace Corps programs, Tracy graduated from the University of Colorado Law School in 1975. He started a law practice in Kitsap County in 1976 and still works out of his Manette office.
John remains interested in running, hockey, soccer and sailing. Tracy and his wife Lorinne have two children, Stewart and Emily.
Willie Bloomquist is one of the best baseball players Kitsap County has produced.
He hit .463 with 23 stolen bases as a senior at South Kitsap as he and Jason Ellison led South Kitsap to a state baseball title in 1996. The Wolves were 24-0 and Bloomquist was the MVP of the state title game. As a sophomore, he was a quarterback on SK’s state championship football team.
Though the Mariners drafted him in the eighth round, he opted to play at Arizona State. A three-year starter, Bloomquist was the only Sun Devil with consecutive 100-hit seasons. He had a career .394 average. In 1999, he was an All-American and the Pac-10 player of the year.
Following his junior season, he was drafted by the Mariners in the third round and headed to the minor leagues.
He was called up in 2002 and hit .455 in the final month of the season. That began a 12-year career with Seattle (2002-08), Kansas City (2009-10), Cincinnati (2010), Arizona (2011-13) and back to Seattle for his final two seasons (2014-15).
He’s a career .269 hitter with 18 homers and 133 steals.
Todd Linden, one of the most talented baseball players to come out of Kitsap County, played parts of five seasons in the major leagues and is now trying to make it back as a coach.
The former San Francisco Giants prospect from Central Kitsap, a switch-hitting outfielder who was the 41st overall pick in the 2001 draft, is preparing for his third season as a hitting instructor in the Giants’ farm system. He was at Class A Augusta (Ga.) the last two years, and will be working with hitters at San Jose of the higher Class A California League in 2016.
The 1998 CK graduate was a multiple minor-league all-star, hitting .291 with 135 home runs during parts of 11 seasons. Linden hit .287 with 97 home runs in 618 Triple-A games. He was rated one of the top prospects in baseball by Baseball America following his 2005 season at Fresno (.321 with 30 HRs and 80 RBI in 95 games), but the Giants had a veteran team and it was difficult to get a lot of opportunities playing behind Barry Bonds, one of the greatest hitters in baseball hitter.
Linden hit .231 with eight home runs in 502 at-bats in the big leagues.
One of his career highlights was his first major-league home run. In his 24th at bat in 2003, he became only the 12th player to hit ball into the second deck at Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962.
Linden, 35, lives in Edmonds during the off-season with his wife, Rachel, and daughter, Riley. His father, Dave Linden, lives in Tracyton.
Jeremiah Davis is one of the top basketball players to emerge from Kitsap.
His senior year at Bremerton, he averaged 20 points, seven assists and five steals to lead the Knights to a fifth-place finish at state.
He ended his college career at Pacific, where he was named Big West Conference player of the year after leading the Tigers to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16. He averaged 14.7 points and 3.1 assists.
Davis played in the NBA Development League and had a long career in Europe.
In 2014, he returned home to coach his alma mater, Bremerton High.
Mark Bratonia was a three-year starter at running back at East Bremerton, where he won all-league honors in 1969. He also played basketball and ran track at East.
He earned a scholarship to Southern California and lead the freshman team in rushing in 1970.
As a sophomore, he moved to fullback and was third on the depth chart. His junior season was cut short because of a knee injury. He was part of two Rose Bowl and two national championship teams.