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04-26-12: Academics shine in winter sports season
04-26-12: Academics shine in winter sports season

Student athletes earned several league and state titles in their respective sports this winter.

What made this season especially noteworthy, however, was the effort students put forth in the classroom, said Rick Wells, director of athletics, health, and fitness.
The following teams and individuals are among students who made the grade academically:

  • The Rogers High School boys basketball team was named the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Class 4A State Academic Champion in boys basketball — the highest academic award possible. The team had a combined 3.644 grade point average (GPA).
  • The Rogers High School gymnastics team received a WIAA Outstanding Academic Team Award. The team had a combined 3.723 GPA.
  • Emerald Ridge High senior Katey Della-Giustina was named an academic state champion by the Washington State Wrestling Coaches Association in the 130-pound weight class. Della-Giustina had a 3.95 GPA.

"Winning an academic award, especially being recognized as the State Academic Champion, is truly remarkable,” Wells said. “Such recognition is indicative of those students who have not only achieved significant success in their sport, but also demonstrate the highest standards of leadership in the classroom.”

Wells shared highlights of the winter sports season, including individual, team, and Coach of the Year recognitions, during last month’s Puyallup School Board meeting.
The Emerald Ridge High School girls bowling team, which won the state title the past three years, fi nished in second place at state this year and won the SPSL South Division and West Central District titles.

Elisa Couch, a ninth grader at Glacier View Junior High, finished third in state. The bowlers also received a Sportsmanship Award from both the league and district.
The Emerald Ridge High gymnastics team also won the league championship, and several team members earned medals at the state meet.

The Jaguars also dominated on the wrestling mat.

The girls wrestling team was named the SPSL tournament champions, senior Jennifer Anderson won the state title in the 124-pound weight class, and several students finished in the top eight medalist spots. Boys wrestling team member Cayle Williams also claimed a medal at state.

At Puyallup High, several wrestlers finished in the top eight medalist positions, and the boys swimming team received a league Sportsmanship Award.

Additionally, the Vikings Special Olympics basketball team won the silver medal in the Unified Division at the 2012 Special Olympics Winter Games in Wenatchee.

Several team members also won state medals in the individual skills category, including a gold medal by junior Jeffrie Depping and several silver medals.

In addition to its academic awards, Rogers High saw two of its girls wrestling team members win one of the top eight medalist positions at the state tournament.

This year’s SPSL winter season Coaches of the Year are Rogers High boys basketball coach Rico Ancheta, Emerald Ridge girls basketball coach GC Hillburn, and Puyallup High boys swimming coach Andrea Stammen.

A complete winter sports season wrap-up featuring individual and team highlights from Emerald Ridge, Puyallup, and Rogers high schools is on the school district website.