Welcome to an ongoing tradition at SBLive Washington – honoring the 2021-22 WaFd Bank Senior Athletes of the Year for each classification, recognizing the top multi-sport athlete in the state.
The criteria aren’t too broad: the starting point is to find seniors who are all-league/all-state performers in two or more sports. Whole career is also a factor. The same goes for admin/coach/fan recommendation.
As fluid and determined as Garfield-Palouse’s Kenzi Pedersen is on the basketball court on the softball field, she has her issues on the sidewalk.
Her mother – and softball coach – Rochelle Pedersen calls her “a clumsy, natural athlete.”
The teenager accepts.
“On the pitch it’s very different because I can get into a rhythm,” Kenzi Pedersen said. “But in ordinary life, I trip over nothing and fall. But it’s better.”
Pedersen stood tall as a three-sport athlete for the Vikings, earning full Southeastern Conference 1B honors in volleyball, softball and basketball, his best sport.
In fact, Pedersen was SBLive WA’s Class 1B Women’s Basketball Player of the Year in 2021-22 after leading the program to a third-place finish at the Spokane State Tournament.
“It’s his commitment,” Vikings women’s basketball coach Garrett Parrish said. “We had five years of basketball practices together over the season and summer, and there were two days she missed a city league softball championship game. . It was quite remarkable.”
Parrish didn’t stutter — Pedersen joined the varsity team as an eighth grader, which the WIAA allows in small schools in Washington state.
“It was really scary…but it also benefited me because now I’m used to the pressure of playing with and against older, better players,” Pedersen said.
When this deep group of the Class of 2018 graduated, Pedersen returned as the undisputed leader of the team as a ninth-grader.
“Somebody had to step in,” she said.
And she played that role for her entire high school career in the small town of Whitman County.
“Obviously I go to training to improve, but I also want to be the person my teammates can rely on,” Pedersen said. “To do that, you have to show up.”
Pedersen led the team in averaging 19.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in leading Garfield-Palouse to its first state tournament appearance in 13 seasons. The Vikings lost to eventual 1B champion Mount Vernon Christian in the state semifinals.
She will continue to play at Columbia Basin College in Pasco next season.
“I wasn’t doing this just for myself, but for my teammates, my family and my coaches. They’ve done so much to get me where I am,” Pedersen said. “I wanted to thank them by working hard.”
KENZI PEDERSEN ORGANIC
School: Garfield Palouse.
Sports: Volleyball, basketball, softball.
The next step: Signed to play basketball at Columbia Basin College (NWAC) where she will also study exercise science.
Terminal Highlights: Named SBLive WA Women’s Basketball Player of the Year in Class 1B, averaging 19.6 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. Also earned First Team All-Tournament honors at the State Tournament, leading the Vikings to a third-place finish. Was named 1B South East Player of the Year. Also played on the WSGBCA All-Star Game 1B Team. … Was a first-team player in all leagues in volleyball (134 kills, 130 digs, 33 aces). … Was a Southeastern all-1B pitcher in softball who also hit. 490 and had a .653 on-base percentage.
Professional Achievements: The four-time Southeast 1B first-team basketball selection finished with 1,376 points and 747 rebounds. … Four-time volleyball team captain who was selected to the All-League Team three times. She finished with 459 kills, 766 digs and 151 aces. … Four-time team captain on the softball team playing for his mother, Rochelle. Career .519 hitter was named to the Southeast All-1B team four times
School/community achievementsClass: 4.0 GPA and co-valedictorian; president of the National Honor Society and member for three years; obtained 11 athletic and academic scholarship offers for the university; vice-president of the ASB as a senior – a year after serving as student body treasurer as a junior; a four-year member of the school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) club; volunteer coach for “Little Dribbler’s” community youth basketball program; volunteer referee for community youth basketball leagues and referee for youth softball leagues; volunteer teacher for the Palouse Federated Church Vacation Bible School.