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The Activities Matter - Student Spotlight Blog

October Student Spotlight

Dylan Holland

Dylan Holland is a senior at Anacortes High School. With seemingly unending endurance, Holland is one of the WIAA’s Activities Matter Student Spotlight for the month of October.

Holland is one of the top cross country runners in the state, earning WIAA Athlete of the Week honors after his win at the Nike Portland XC Invite in the middle of September. Holland won the 5000 meters Division 1 race in 15:41.39. He is currently ranked first in 2A after winning the NWC Championships on October 22 in a time of 15:27.

“I didn’t know that I would end up winning it, but I went out trying to and no one kept up,” Holland said.  “I was happy with it and it was a new PR.” Holland seems extremely relaxed about his running, with his race strategy to literally just give everything he has each meet.  
His coach, Chris Crane, can vouch for his toughness and his ability to just keep going. “He is one of those athletes that seems to just run without pain. He keeps pushing his body and it’s like he doesn’t feel it,” Crane said. “Rarely have I seen him look truly fatigued after a race. He did this year at Sunfair. He was staggering around after the race and this incredible finish with another athlete from Tahoma, whose team is ranked first in 4A. Dylan came in second to their number one runner. Even though he didn’t win, it was really good for him to just give it everything he had.”

In 2014, Holland placed seventh in the 2A State Championship Meet with a time of 15:48.48. He led the Seahawks to their first State team appearance in 13 years, an occasion the team commemorated with dying their hair purple.  He earned Northwest Conference All-Team and MVP honors for his outstanding junior season.

Holland’s endurance on the cross country course translates over to the track, as well. He placed third in State in 2015 in the 3,200m setting a school-record of 9:21.29, and fourth in the 1,600m in 4:17.50.   
Having moved from Florida to Anacortes in seventh grade, Holland joined cross country because it sounded fun and seemed like a good way to make friends. Coach Crane has been Holland’s coach since his first year of middle school cross country and has seen the growth and benefits athletics have provided for Dylan.

“Our team is a family and they hold each other accountable for working out and training hard, but also for grades,” Crane said. “They make sure that their GPAs stay at an appropriate level and Dylan has been a beneficiary of that. Cross country and track have really helped hold him accountable academically, keeping him passing classes and graduating this year, something I could say, may not have been the case had he not been involved with athletics.”

Next year Holland plans to run in college, and has received interest from a number of schools, with his top choice being Gonzaga. He hopes to one day to become a college or high school cross country coach, or a video game designer. Don’t get your hopes up for a cross country video game though, “That would be an interesting game… I don’t know if I’d play that one,” said Holland with a laugh. 

Alea Acosta

Alea Acosta is a senior at Mead High School in Spokane. A standout soccer player and top student, Acosta is one of the WIAA’s Activities Matter Student Spotlight for the month of October.

Acosta is a dynamic forward on the Mead soccer team, having scored more than 10 goals so far this season. She scored six goals and recorded four assists in four wins in mid-September to earn her WIAA Athlete of the Week honors. Coach Kevin Houston has seen her eye for the goal develop since he began coaching her as a freshman on Mead’s varsity team. 

“She’s always been a very good player,” said Coach Houston. “As she’s grown and developed she’s become stronger and more knowledgeable and the things she can do on the field now are just so much better than what she could do before. She is definitely one of our team leaders.”

The Panthers are 10-3-1, tied for second place in the Greater Spokane League, and hoping to make a State appearance. On October 16, Acosta helped get the Panthers one step closer by scoring the game-winner in Mead’s 1-0 victory over rival Mt. Spokane.
The game sticks out to both Acosta and Coach Houston. “We had close to 300 people at our last game versus Mt. Spokane and Alea scored the game winning goal on an amazing volley off of a cross,” said Houston. “When our community can see our players do things like that it is just phenomenal for the players and the program in general.”

“It was a lot of fun,” added Acosta, also noting that the game was the most memorable game of her high school career. 

Acosta ran track her freshman year of high school, but chose to focus on soccer, playing for Mead and also for a competitive club team in Portland, Oregon. Her club’s league requires travel throughout the West Coast for games. While Acosta loves the competitive environment of club soccer, high school soccer presents another side of the sport.

“We’re playing for our community,” Acosta said. “Everybody that you’re playing for lives in the area and they show up to your games and you want to win for them and make the community proud. Club is not the same feeling as getting to play in front of your friends and family.”

Acosta currently holds a 4.0 GPA and attributes her success in the classroom to her participation in sports.

“High school sports are a privilege. They’re a great outlet and they help keep you focused on school, since you need good grades to play,” she said.

Acosta is committed to play soccer at California State University Fullerton next fall.



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October 2015

10/30/2015 October Student Spotlight

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