2016: Emma York
2015: Hayley Romo
2014: Hayley Romo
2013: Miranda Caballero
2012: Maile Keanu
2011: Kelsey Callaghan
2010: Riley Dopps
2009: Stephanie Osterdahl
2008: Kaileigh Westermann
2007: Madison Rousell
2006: Madison Rousell
2005: Brittany Miller
2004: Stephanie Davison
By CHRIS CHANCELLOR
Special to the Independent
She tried basketball and soccer. They weren’t fast enough.
After all, South Kitsap sophomore Paxton DePoe piloted a small plane last year at Bremerton National Airport, for which she earned a Girl Scouts’ badge.
“The pilot and the co-pilot had a shared steering wheel,” DePoe said, adding that she probably would fly again if she had an opportunity. “They let me take it.”
DePoe likes to share the story because she said it breaks the stereotype surrounding Girl Scouts.
“We do more than sell cookies,” she said.
DePoe also runs – and runs well. In a year where the Wolves’ athletic programs experienced mixed results, DePoe was a state qualifier in cross country and track. For those reasons, DePoe was selected as the Port Orchard Independent’s Female Athlete of the Year.
“She’s a great kid, a fantastic student, a great competitor and a great teammate,” said Ed Santos, who co-coaches with LaRae Madison in track and assists Erin Fraser with the cross-country teams.
“She’s absolutely a great racer.”
Even with her success in the last school year, DePoe is looking forward to more in the future. She said she battled shin splints during cross country, which resulted in her finishing 106th in 20 minutes, 35.9 seconds at the Nov. 5 state meet. As a freshman, DePoe finished 66th in 19:51.2.
“I’m looking forward to building up a bunch of strength to redeem myself during cross-country season,” DePoe said.
Track season went better as DePoe helped the Wolves win the South Puget Sound League 4A girls team championship. She qualified for the district meet in both the 800- and 1,600-meter runs. But DePoe only advanced to state in the former, where she finished 11th in 2:19.56.
DePoe also qualified for state in the 800 as a freshman, and she thought the experience would prepare her to run well at Star Track XXXV.
It did not.
“Once I was warming up, all of the emotions got to me,” DePoe said.
Still, the experience has her excited for next season, and Santos sees plenty of potential for DePoe to improve in both sports. “She has the whole skill set to be a very good distance runner,” he said.
DePoe has no shortage of goals for the upcoming school year. She would like to qualify for Border Clash, which is a showcase of top high school cross-country runners in Oregon and Washington in November at Nike’s World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
But wherever Depoe soars – land or air – she looks forward to the camaraderie of her teammates in cross country.
“I enjoy the sport because it’s so different,” she said.