Big players, big performances

Kentwood’s Nick Zografos proved this year to be a rare breed: the three-sport standout. There weren’t many of them among the boys this prep season. Zografos’ all-out athletic assault helped him capture The Reporter’s Male Athlete of the Year honors.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, June 9, 2008 7:42pm
  • Sports

Kentwood’s Nick Zografos proved this year to be a rare breed: the three-sport standout. There weren’t many of them among the boys this prep season. Zografos’ all-out athletic assault helped him capture The Reporter’s Male Athlete of the Year honors.

But there were plenty of other big-time performances from some big-time athletes.

Below is a look at a handful of male athletes from our three local schools (Kentwood, Kentlake and Tahoma) who were in the running for The Reporter’s Male Athlete of the Year award.

Nick Bayer, Tahoma

Talk about a smooth operator. None were smoother, calmer or downright more pleasant to talk with than Tahoma wrestler Nick Bayer.

And without question, when it comes to the wrestling mat, no one was better.

Bayer ripped through his first three matches of Mat Classic XX, pinning his first opponent before working over his next two, 10-4 and 8-1.

Then the level-headed sophomore ran into a bit of a roadblock in the championship match against Graham-Kapowsin’s Tyler Story. Down 6-4 with 28 seconds remaining, Bayer methodically worked a one-point escape before finishing the season in style, notching a title-winning takedown with 1.8 seconds left on the clock.

Bayer finished the year with a 37-5 overall record.

Demitrius Bronson, Kentwood

In a program that seems to churn out elite-level running backs every year, Bronson has been the man at Kentwood for four seasons.

The University of Washington-bound senior continued to drop jaws this past fall, rushing for 1,450 yards and 12 touchdowns in 10 games. Those numbers become even more impressive when considering that Bronson missed 2 1/2 games with an ankle injury.

No doubt, when Bronson played, Bronson delivered. Matter of fact, he scored at least once in every game he suited up, eclipsed the 200-yard mark three times and finished his prep career with a Kentwood-best 3,569 yards rushing, breaking the previous mark established by John Gardenhire.

Zach Smith, Kentlake

Smith is no stranger to the highest level of track and field.

A year-round competitor, his name is well known. But at the state level, Smith’s name hadn’t reached elite status until last month.

A junior, Smith missed most of the last two years after a lower-back injury his freshman season. Any thoughts that the Kentlake junior wasn’t yet at 100 percent were put to rest last month during the Star Track state meet in Pasco, where Smith captured the long jump crown with a lifetime-best leap of 23 feet, 3 inches.

The title was the first ever for track and field in Kentlake’s 11-year history.

Chris Marangon, Tahoma

Marangon picked up where former Tahoma star David Bentrott left off last spring.

A versatile athlete on the football field and baseball diamond, Marangon excelled in both.

In football, he became the Bears’ go-to receiver, pulling in 14 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Marangon also was a first-team defensive back and an all-league kick and punt returner.

The junior stepped it up a notch on the baseball diamond, helping the Bears earn a third straight state berth and a share of the SPSL North Division crown.

An honorable mention outfielder and second-team pitcher, Marangon went 2-1 with 25 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings pitched on the mound during league play, hit .350 and drove in a team-leading 19 runs.

Max Manthou, Kentwood

This powerful-swinging sophomore is now halfway to his goal of winning four Class 4A state boys singles titles. Manthou, already with back-to-back division, league and district crowns, notched No. 2 on the state scene when he defeated Juanita’s James Russell in the final at the Vancouver Tennis Center, 6-2, 6-4. There’s every chance those two could meet again next spring, as Russell is a junior.

Jonothan Lafler, Tahoma

The Bears senior has spent the last four years going the distance to make a statewide impact. Lafler finished fourth in the Class 4A state cross country meet last fall, helping Tahoma take home the third-place team trophy. This spring, Lafler ran to a silver medal in the 3,200 meters at the Star Track state meet, logging a 9:18.61. That helped ease his disappointment from the 1,600, when a hamstring that tightened up on him slowed him considerably, leaving him back in 16th.

Erick Walker can be reached at 425-432-1435 or

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Richard Sherman takes plea deal on charges stemming from July 2021 incident

The former Seahawks player will not have to do any additional jail time.

Design rendering of future Sounders FC facility in Renton. (Courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC)
Seattle Sounders FC announce new HQ at Renton’s Longacres site

Facility is expected to open in 2024, before Seattle potentially hosts FIFA World Cup games in 2026.

WIAA launches bias reporting form in response to discriminatory incidents

Inappropriate behavior seen, heard or witnessed at any WIAA member school event can be reported.

file photo
Health department: COVID outbreaks linked to high school wrestling tournaments

At least 80 cases are tied to the events which included attendees from multiple counties and states.

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

(Photos courtesy of Praveen Raj)
Maple Valley Cricket Club hosts its first youth cricket league

The Maple Valley Cricket Club hosted its first youth cricket league the… Continue reading

A come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals gave the Vancouver Giants their second win in a row Tuesday night, March 30, in Kamloops (Allen Douglas/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Back to the ice: Vancouver Giants resume play Sunday

Langley-based team scheduled to play three games in four days, following COVID postponement

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.