Senior Vikings reflect on the winter that was

POULSBO — Cooperation. Teamwork. Patience. Composure. These are just a few of the words that North Kitsap’s winter senior athletes used to describe competing for their respective teams.

POULSBO — Cooperation. Teamwork. Patience. Composure.

These are just a few of the words that North Kitsap’s winter senior athletes used to describe competing for their respective teams.

Above all else, the group of seniors claimed they wouldn’t trade their experiences on the court, in the pool or on the mats, for the world.

“(Sports) helped me to keep my grades up and taught me how to be a leader,” Senior basketball player Alex Campagna said. “It’s made me who I am today.”

Campagna, who has played basketball since the fifth grade and also played at

Kingston Junior High School, competed on the Viking varsity team for one year. He cites cooperation as a key factor in his success over the season.

“You learn to work with people even when you don’t want to,” Campagna said.

Lady Viking JJ Proudfoot said she feels much the same way as Campagna — she too developed skills for working with players with whom she might not see eye-to-eye.

“I learned to communicate with people outside my realm,” Proudfoot said.

Proudfoot began playing basketball in the third grade and played on the varsity team at NKHS for two years. She explained that athletics taught her how to be a hard worker.

“I learned a harder work ethic,” Proudfoot said. “One that’s not emphasized in the school system.”

“You have to learn how to carry yourself and develop poise and integrity,” she added.

Sometimes the hardest thing on the playing field is simply to make the attempt, senior and Viking swimmer William Almond said.

“I learned that winning isn’t everything — it’s about competing,” Almond said. “If you don’t compete, you’ll never know how well you can do. Sometimes you surprise yourself.”

Almond’s brother recommended he try out for the swim team his freshman year at Poulsbo Junior High School. He said he’s loved the sport — and being an athlete — ever since.

“I used to be a nerd and I didn’t want to be,” Almond said. “I started having school spirit and team spirit and learned to love to work out.”

Pushing one’s self is a skill Almond developed in the pool, he said.

“You learn how to take pain and channel your energy until the end,” Almond said.

Almond’s teammate Jesse Feutz spoke highly of the bond between the swimmers on the team.

“Of all the teams I competed on, swim team was the tightest,” Feutz said.

Feutz, who began swimming when he was 5, started on the high school team as a freshman. Swimming always kept him motivated academically, Feutz said.

“Swimming definitely helped me to get through school,” he said.

Senior Lady Viking Brenda Stice said competing on the basketball team kept her busy — an aspect she loves about playing sports in school.

“To me, (being in sports) is about fulfillment,” Stice said. “If I’m not in season I get bored.”

Stice has played basketball since age 6 and played three years at Poulsbo Junior High School. She was the only player this year to letter all three years at NKHS.

Like her other basketball seniors, she said working together as a team is something she’ll take with her out of high school — and beyond.

“Along with the basketball skills I learned, I also learned life-long skills in friendship and interacting with people,” Stice said.

She recalled how sports can remind us of the bigger picture. All year, the Lady Vikings dedicated their season to NKHS graduate Alice Wood who died last year at the hands of Crohn’s Disease. The girls would often wear her initials on their arms.

One athlete who was a little less acquainted with her sport than some of her senior counterparts was gymnast Kim Lyles. She began competing on the gymnastics team when she was a junior at NKHS.

“I just wanted to do a sport besides basketball,” she said.

Even in the short span, Lyles said she learned many lessons from competing.

“I learned cooperation. Patience,” Lyles said. “You have to be patient to learn new things and put up with your teammates.”

She also said she appreciates the fact that sports provide a positive distraction — and they’re a lot of fun, too.

“(Sports) keeps you healthy and out of drugs and alcohol,” Lyles said. “And gymnastics is the best sport ever.”

Senior Randy Beck, who played one year on the varsity basketball team, said he also learned a number of things he might not have learned in the books at school.

“A lot of times, you don’t communicate with others in a classroom like you do on a basketball court,” Beck said. “We’re all a family out there.”

Senior Heather Case, who played two years on the Lady Vikings varsity basketball team, echoed Beck’s sentiments.

“No matter who is on the court with you, they’re an aspect of you on the team,” Case said. “Overall, you learn how to get along with people.”

For Case, patience and cooperation — the two things every athlete cited they learned most — were again the keys to success.

“I learned to control my aggressiveness,” she said. “Working with people and putting differences aside.”

More in Sports

NK's Angel Chavez (8), a junior forward, and Jackson Reeves (12) rush back to defend to keep Clover Park from scoring a breakaway goal. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK wins in soccer, softball

North Kitsap is still alive in the District 2/3 2A boys soccer… Continue reading

Pitcher Noah Sorensen moved the ball around and struck out a number of Pirates.
NK wins district title, on to state

Kingston wins 1 before being eliminated

The free fishing derby put on by the Lions Club is Saturday in Poulsbo. Courtesy Photo
Free fishing derby Saturday in Poulsbo

The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club is hosting a “Hooked on Fish Derby”… Continue reading

Colton Bower of NK dives safely back to first base after hitting a single in the first inning. Zach Duffy of BHS applies the tag. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald
NK falls to league-leading Bainbridge

You can bet the North Kitsap Viking outfielders are going to be… Continue reading

.
NK baseball team keeps winning

North Kitsap The Vikings beat Columbia River in baseball 10-7 and Ridegefield… Continue reading

Kingston goalie Carter Krantz jumps up to make a save under crowded conditions against Olympic. Krantz and the Bucs shut out the visitors 1-0. Krantz’s booming kicks also were a powerful offensive weapon for the Bucs, keeping Olympic on the defensive side of the field. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Kingston’s defense blanks Olympic in soccer

Kingston has a strong defense, and it needed every bit of it… Continue reading

Kaden Schaefer of Kingston signs a letter of intent to play college soccer, while brother Zander, 5, looks on with admiration. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Buc scores college soccer scholarship

Once Kaden Schaefer got to high school, he started to think maybe… Continue reading

Ian ‘J.R.’ Ritche
Outdoor prep sports spring into action

The Bainbridge Spartan baseball team returns one of the top pitchers in… Continue reading

Owen Scheer tees off for Bainbridge in a match at Kingston. Steve Powell/Bainbridge Island Review Photos
BI, Kingston split golf matches

Bainbridge In girls golf last week, Bainbridge beat Kingston 230 to 264.… Continue reading

Viet Tran of Kingston follows through on his second shot after missing the numerous sand trips off the tee on Hole 1 at White Horse Golf Club. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Kingston splits golf matches against Bainbridge

Kingston In girls golf last week, Bainbridge beat Kingston 230 to 264.… Continue reading

Junior captain Elise Walters was the medalist for Bainbridge in the match against Sequim. Lucy Rector/Courtesy Photos
Defending champs start year with win over Sequim

The Olympic League defending champion Spartans started off the season last week… Continue reading

Cade Orness had 7 assists in the game for third place.
NK boys place 3rd at state

Now that’s more like the Vikings North Kitsap fans know and love.… Continue reading