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The WIAA believes that school activities matter, and here's why...

READ:  The Case for School Activities




Brenden Archer
Shadle Park


Marte Borgman


November 2017

Ellie Marble
La Conner MS

Jeron Griffin
Tumwater MS



Joe Strecker, Manson HS, second from left

By the end of his junior year, Joe Strecker had just finished fourth in the boys 4x100 meter relay at the WIAA State Track and Field Championships, and was a varsity member of both Manson HS football and basketball teams. Strecker, who is now a senior on the league-leading Trojan football team, would have never predicted these accomplishments when he entered high school three years ago.

“This is my first year being a pretty good athlete,” Strecker said. “I came into high school kind of anything but an athlete, so it’s been kind of a process to get where I am.”

Even though Strecker came into high school not considering himself an athlete, he enjoyed playing so much that he decided to make athletics a part of his high school experience in a big way. Strecker is now the starting running back, football team captain, and basketball captain for the Trojans.


“This is the best sports season of my life, so far,” he said. “I went from having one touchdown and maybe a couple hundred rushing yards last year, to close to 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this year already.”

His dedication to sports has not diminished, as he is involved in other leadership activities at his school. He serves as the ASB vice president, FBLA treasurer, and Honors Society member. His determination and perseverance transformed his abilities one year at a time.

“He made himself into an athlete,” Manson Head Varsity Coach Joey Johanson said. “And that determination has carried over into other parts of his life such as school.”

Coach Johanson is new this year as the Manson football head coach, but he has witnessed this transformation since joining the staff for during spring football. He speaks highly of Strecker and his natural leadership skills, as well as his adaptability, positive mindset and determination.

“Joe’s emotions are always in check because he knows other players are watching to see how he reacts,” Johanson said. “He will be the first teammate to pick someone up when they mess up. The Joe Streckers of high school sports are the reason I love coaching.”

So far this season, Manson football is 6-1, and continuing to rise each week. The season got off to an exciting start, when Manson beat Oroville for the first time in 15 years. Coach Johanson attributes much of this success to the buy-in he has received from Strecker and the entire team, since he arrived at Manson.

“We play together and we play for each other,” Strecker said. “We always have each other’s back. We’re all really close this year.”

The Manson football team has contributed to more than just the win column this season. Strecker and his teammates have made an impact in the community by setting up for Kiwanis events, and providing manual labor services around town, including setting up the downtown Manson light posts.

Strecker, left

On his own, Strecker mentors a couple elementary school kids and referees youth football. For Strecker, balancing everything has never been an issue, and it shows on and off the field.

Strecker’s current GPA is 3.7, and he has racked up around 55 college-level credits through courses offered at Manson. He wants to attend Gonzaga University next year, but he is also considering playing football for a smaller school.

“I’m in love with the Gonzaga campus and atmosphere,” Strecker says. “But I’m also in love with sports. There’s a lot to choose from, it’s kind of overwhelming.”

Although Strecker has only been a varsity athlete for a couple years, his newfound joy has made him aware of the importance of participating in sports and extra-curricular activities.

“There’s a lot to be learned from football and sports besides how to play,” Strecker said. “So much to be learned from extra-curriculars, whether it be leadership skills, perseverance, dedication. You pick up life lessons you can use once you’re out of school and done with sports.”

Strecker’s relationship with his first-year coach has been brief, but their values of teamwork are right in step with one another. Because of this, Johanson is confident that Strecker will find success after high school, regardless of what he decides to pursue.

“I believe sports and activities are the closest representation of life,” Johanson said. “We lose, have bad games, and even disagree with each other, but we work through it. Sports showed me that it is possible to work through problems and that if groups are going to succeed, it takes the whole group buying in. If we as coaches show the importance of teamwork, our athletes will be more successful and hopefully selfless in life.” 

WIAA student leadership committee. Sophomores:  applications accepted in the spring.
$5,000 scholarship opportunity for graduating seniors. Apply November 1-April 1, 2017.

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   News & Headlines Archive
T-Strong at Kent Meridian

While sports are a natural arena for rivalries and competition, the Kent Meridian Football and Cheer programs have used this season as a chance to promote unity and sportsmanship throughout the North South Puget Sound League (NSPSL).


The Royals cheer squad and football team brought attention to Childhood Cancer Awareness month this September by implementing a "#TaylorStrong" awareness campaign.

A member of the KM coaching staff has a family friend whose son Taylor was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  The “T-Strong” campaign was started to support his fight. Taylor loves to watch student-athletes in uniform under the Friday Night Lights. These student-athletes have become heroes to Taylor, and the KM Royals have chosen to show Taylor how many “heroes” he has here in Washington State.

Cheer coaches Erica Wolfskill and Gerald Spalti explained the campaign further, “As a way to spread awareness and show this little boy that we have his back, KMHS Cheer and Football teams have been meeting their opponents’ mid-field, prior to kick off, to take one massive photo for Taylor.” 

 Amidst the fiery emotions that come along with competition, Kent Meridian and its opponents have created space for cross-team camaraderie and uniting for an altruistic movement.  
“While yes, we are bringing awareness, we are also showing that all schools in this league can unite for a cause. We are always looking for ways to promote and encourage sportsmanship…what better way to do so than to unite for a cause.”

Throughout the season, visiting coaches and players from schools such as Auburn Riverside, Hazen, Kentlake and Mt. Rainier have participated in the campaign by joining the Royals at the 50-yard line for a pre-game photo.

“This campaign has made so much of an impact that the new slogan for every game is to be “T-Strong," said Wolfskill and Spalti.

The KM Royals hope to use “#Taylorstrong” as a symbol of awareness for all students, regardless of their challenges, and to show that no matter what happens on the field, it's what you do off the field that can really make a difference.

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