The Chronicle’s 2021-22 Athlete of the Year Awards

Editor's Note: The Chronicle's full Athletes of the Year special section is included with the Thursday, June 23, edition of The Chronicle. 

Boys Athlete of the Year

  • Jeremiah Nubbe, Rainier

One of the most physically imposing and dominant forces in The Chronicle’s coverage area, and a Texas track and field signee, Nubbe set numerous records, won several state championships, and helped Rainier win its first ever team championship in boys track and field this spring. 

Honorable Mention: Keith Olson, Napavine; Gavin Fugate, W.F. West; Talon Betts, Rochester

Girls Athlete of the Year

  • Ashley Schow, Tenino

The three-sport star did everything for the Beavers in her senior season. While the Central Washington University commit will make her name at the next level playing hoops, Schow also finished as a district runner-up on Tenino’s top doubles team and was a key piece on the Beavers state-participant girls soccer team as a defender. 

Honorable Mention: Payton Torrey, Mossyrock; Karlee VonMoos, Adna; Addison Hall, Winlock

Football Player of the Year

  • Takari Hickle, Tenino

When whole gameplans are designed to stop you, and you still rush for almost 200 yards per game, that’s a pretty convincing case as one of the top players in the state. Hickle helped Tenino to its best football season in years and a state quarterfinal appearance, rushing for 2,091 yards and 24 touchdowns while also captaining the Beaver defense. 

Honorable Mention: Keith Olson, Napavine; Talon Betts, Rochester

Volleyball Player of the Year

  • Payton Torrey, Mossyrock

Not only an accomplished outside hitter, Torrey was a stellar defender and all-around stud for the Vikings in the fall, earning league MVP honors with 336 kills, 367 digs, 57 aces, and 53 blocks on a .327 hitting percentage with a 95% serving percentage. 

Honorable Mention: Evie Rooklidge, Centralia; Morgan Hamilton, Onalaska

Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year

  • Levi Jennings, Rochester

Jennings had the best state race time of any local athlete, finishing 40th in the 2A championships at 17:20.

Honorable Mention:  Asher Sympson, Morton-White Pass; Hugo Wedam, Mossyrock

Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year

  • Selena Niemi, Rainier

Niemi was the top local placer in the state championships, finishing 13th in 21:10. 

Honorable Mention: Mercedes Ricks, W.F. West; Ayricka Hughes, Morton-White Pass

Boys Tennis Player of the Year

  • Joseph Chung and Aaron Boggess, W.F. West

Chung and Boggess won both of their matches on Day 1 of the 2A state doubles tournament, finishing with a sixth-place trophy.

Honorable Mention: Landon Kaut and Brandon Yeung, Centralia

Girls Tennis Player of the Year

  • Elizabeth Hopkins and Maddie Corwin, Centralia

Hopkins and Corwin finished third in the 2A state doubles championships, losing in the state semifinals but bounced back for a two-set win in the trophy round.

Honorable Mention: Megan Letts, Tenino

Boys Golfer of the Year

  • Von Wasson, Centralia

Wasson, a sophomore, finished tied for fourth at the 2A state golf championships with a two-day score of 144.

Honorable Mention: Cole Wasson, Centralia; Ben Halverstadt, W.F. West

Girls Golfer of the Year

  • Natalie Eklund, W.F. West

Eklund finished 28th at the 2A state golf championships, shooting 186 over the two-day tournament.

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Oien, W.F. West; Isabella Masias, Rochester

Girls Soccer Player of the Year

  • Marina Smith, Toledo

Smith, the Central 2B League’s South Division Offensive MVP, broke the school’s previous record of 28 goals in a season and then helped the Riverhawks to a program-best fourth-best finish at state.

Honorable Mention: Megan Letts, Tenino; Cameron Sheets, W.F. West

Boys Soccer Player of the Year

  • Alexis Castillo-Corona, Rochester

Castillo-Corona was voted the 2A Evergreen Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year after a dominant season with the Warriors.

Honorable Mention: Cameron Kunz, W.F. West; Hayden Sciera, W.F. West

Boys Basketball Player of the Year

  • Dirk Plakinger, W.F. West

Lewis County’s highest-flyer and scorer extraordinaire, Plakinger scored 18.8 points per game and hauled in 5.5 rebounds per game, all while throwing down massive dunks when the lane cleared him for takeoff.  

Honorable Mention: Landon Kaut, Centralia; Gary Dotson, Morton-White Pass

Girls Basketball Player of the Year

  • Ashley Schow, Tenino

Schow averaged a dominant 20.5 points, 12 rebounds, 3.5 assists and two blocks a game as the undisputed leader of a Beavers squad that made the regional round of state after finishing as district runners-up. Schow did all of that while facing the most box-and-ones of any basketball player in the Chronicle’s coverage area. 

Honorable Mention: Drea Brumfield, W.F. West; Addison Hall, Winlock

Boys Wrestler of the Year

  • Tristan Ridley, Adna

Ridley won a regional title took second in state in the 2B/1B 152-pound bracket. 

Honorable Mention: Brady Davis, W.F. West; Antonio Campos, Centralia

Girls Wrestler of the Year

  • Elizabeth Patana, W.F. West

Patana went 2-1 at state in the 130-pound bracket.

Honorable Mention: Analeese McAllister, Centralia; Lia Hornby, W.F. West

Baseball Player of the Year

  • Braden Hartley, Rochester

One of the most dominant pitchers and hitters in the state, Hartley finished the 2022 season with a 1.15 ERA, 78 strikeouts, and just seven earned runs over 42 ⅔ innings. At the plate, he was just as strong, hitting for a .414 average with 22 runs scored and 10 doubles. 

Honorable Mention: Logan Moore, W.F. West; Gavin Parker, Napavine

Softball Player of the Year

  • Olivia Matlock, PWV

Matlock, a senior, hit over .700 for the season, won the Pacific 2B League MVP award, and pitched a shutout and hit a home run in each of the Titans’ three games at the 2B state tournament.

Honorable Mention: Kamy Dacus, W.F. West; Karlee VonMoos, Adna

Boys Track Athlete of the Year

  • Jeremiah Nubbe, Rainier

Nubbe won the discus with a state-record toss and won the shot put, while finishing second in the javelin, at the 2B state track championships. He also led the Mountaineers to a team championship.

Honorable Mention: Lucas Dahl, Napavine; Seth Hoff, W.F. West

Girls Track Athlete of the Year

  • Jordan Koetje, MWP

Koetje, a senior, won the 100 meters, the 200 meters, and the 300-meter hurdles at the 2B state track and field championships.

Honorable Mention: Savanna Bolivar, W.F. West; Teaguen Weise, Mossyrock

Bowler of the Year

  • Piper Chalmers, W.F. West

Finishing third as a freshman in 2020, Chalmers came back and took home an individual state championship this past year as the first Bearcat bowler to ever win state gold, beating the next highest competitor by 62 pins. 

Staff of the Year

  • Tenino athletics under athletic director Joe Chirhart

If you showed up to any Beaver sporting event, regardless of sport, you were likely to find a bouncy, energetic athletic director taking video for social media on his phone while cheering on Tenino. Chirhart’s support and leadership helped the Beavers to their most successful overall sports season in years, with three state qualifying teams and seven individual qualifiers. The Beavers had two athletes earn Chronicle-area MVP honors in Takari Hickle and Ashley Schow, and were a contender in league in almost every sport. Other coaches at Tenino that had strong seasons include Kevin Schultz in girls and boys soccer, Ryan Schlesser in baseball, Cary Nagel in football, and Scott Ashmore in girls basketball. 

Honorable Mention: Morton-White Pass boys hoops under Chad Cramer; Pe Ell-Willapa Valley softball under Ken Olson

Game of the Year

  • MWP’s Triple-OT Hoops Thriller Against Napavine

In a late season boys hoops game with real league stakes, Morton-White Pass could not have gotten off to a worse start against Napavine in Morton. Trailing by 18 at the half, and scoring just two points in the first quarter, the second half could not have been more different. 

Erasing the deficit to just a shot with seconds remaining, Carter Dantinne banked home a shot at the buzzer to tie the game and send it into a first overtime. But the Tigers, down by three, returned the favor with a long buzzer-beating three from Cael Stanley to send the game into a second overtime. Finally, in the third overtime, the home team stole away momentum and took home a 70-67 win at home in the last week of the regular season. 

The momentum from that game, and others, helped MWP make a run to the district title game and a fifth-place finish at the state tournament in Spokane. 

Honorable Mention: Tenino Football Holds Off Freeman in Defense-Optional Playoff Game; W.F. West Softball’s Seventh Inning Rally Helps Capture District Title Over Rivals