Sarah Toeaina: The Seattle Times Female High School Athlete of the Year
Sarah Toeaina became the first athlete to earn 12 varsity letters at Kentwood High School. Capping an outstanding prep career, Toeaina is The Seattle Times Female High School Athlete of the Year.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Six other girls you should have seen
Mary Ann Santucci, Seattle Prep
Santucci enjoyed another stellar year in soccer (all-state midfielder), basketball (All-Metro) and tennis (postseason qualifier in doubles), raising her total varsity letters to 10. Athletic director Ed Paulter calls her “the most impressive athlete I have been associated with in my 30 years at Prep.” Will play basketball at Yale.
Maddy Kristjanson, Mountlake Terrace
Only the second female to earn 12 varsity letters since the school opened in 1960, Kristjanson was a key player again in soccer (All-WesCo 3A defender), basketball (second-team selection) and softball (Star Times all-area), helping all three squads reach post-season play. Signed with Seattle U for softball.
KC Moulden, Enumclaw
Just a junior, Moulden continued to show her versatility, and took it to a new level. She not only won a second state championship at 235 pounds in wrestling, but also was crowned state champ in the shot put (class 3A) after placing second last season.
Mikayla Pivec, Lynnwood
The sophomore sensation made her presence felt in all three of her sports. starting with a top-30 finish at the 4A state cross-country meet. Pivec then helped the Royals take a best-ever third place in basketball, earning all-tournament honors, and capped her year by placing seventh or better at state in three track and field events.
Lyndsay Leatherman, Arlington
The UW track and field signee saved her best for last, throwing career bests to sweep 4A state titles in the discus (142-0) and javelin (146-4) and also placed second in the shot put. Leatherman was also an All-WesCo selection in basketball, leading the Eagles back to the state tournament, where they placed second in 2013.
Tia Thomas, Federal Way
Three different individual sports, three state medals – that adds up to an impressive year for this junior athlete. Thomas placed fourth in diving in the 4A finals, then finished seventh on floor exercise in gymnastics and closed out the campaign by tying for seventh in the pole vault.
What did I do today to better my skills?
It’s a question Sarah Toeaina routinely asks. As a reminder, she has the query stuck to a mirror she sees every morning. And there are other motivational messages dotting the home.
“Around my house, in my room, on my bathroom mirror, I have sticky notes or pieces of paper of all the goals I want to achieve through the week, month and year,” Toeaina said. “I just like to see progress and always get better.”
Toeaina became the first athlete to earn 12 varsity letters at Kentwood High School. As a senior, Toeaina was integral in the Conquerors’ run to state in volleyball and basketball and she also medaled in two events at the 4A state track and field meet.
Capping an outstanding prep career, Toeaina is The Seattle Times Female High School Athlete of the Year.
Coaches rave about her and athletic director Jo Anne Daughtry considers Toeaina the best multi-sport female athlete she’s seen in her 31 years at the school. The compliments encompass far more than her athleticism.
“She is one of the most humble, dedicated, team-first athletes I have ever met,” Doughtry said.
Even on her 18th birthday earlier this week, Toeaina made sure she got in a morning workout designed to help her succeed in basketball – her first love – at the University of Hawaii, where her parents were both athletes. She is eager to see the progress she can make while finally focusing on just one sport and admits her ultimate goal is to play professional basketball.
Her potential in basketball and volleyball stood out her freshman year, when she started in both sports. She helped the Conquerors reach the state-championship game in volleyball as a sophomore, and the five-set loss to Olympia stuck with her.
“That definitely made me push harder every year after that for every sport,” Toeaina said.
She turned out for track at the urging of older sister Alyx, now a thrower at Washington. It was at the district meet her freshman year where Sarah demonstrated her character.
She already had qualified for state in four events and was running in the last race of the 300 hurdles for seeding purposes only. She remembers an extra burst of adrenaline when she got the early lead over a girl favored to win the state title. But her approach to the third hurdle was off. She hit it and feel awkwardly, badly spraining an ankle.
In her mind, Toeaina heard her father yell, “Get up and finish the race!” She did just that, refusing help and hopping her way to the finish, gingerly stepping over the remaining hurdles as fans clapped and cheered.
“Her attitude and courage left a mark on everyone who saw that race. I know I will never forget it,” coach Stephen Roche said, adding she is “everything you hope your daughter would grow up to be.”