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

READ:  The Case for School Activities




Kai Burgman
North Thurston HS


Eddie Rojas
Lake Washington HS


March 2018

Nyabol Lual
Spokane International Academy

Ryan Henning
Oakesdale MS



Aaron Slape, left, Mat Classic XXIX
After six state championship appearances in cross country, wrestling and track, Adna High School senior Aaron Slape is striving for a seventh. He has made it to state wrestling every year in high school, but this year, he his final appearance will lead to a state championship.

“I want to be a state champ, which I think I can do,” Slape said. “I’ve really worked hard with the practice squad, and our practices are really tough. We have a really good coaching staff that pushes us to excel and work hard in the mat room and in tournaments too.”

This year, Slape has been the cross country team captain, and also wrestling captain. Reflecting back on his state championship experiences, Slape specifically remembers state cross country this past fall, and the great times he had bonding with his team on the road from Adna to Pasco. Slape speaks fondly of his relationships with teammates and the memories made along the long drive.

Adna wrestling coach Craig Ferrier goes on to describe Slape as humble, hard-working, supportive, and selfless.

“He could lose a match,” Ferrier said. “And then thirty seconds later, he’s cheering on one of his teammates.”

Slape has been wrestling for many years, and at one point, he almost decided not to continue with the sport. His father always supported and encouraged him, and helped him learn how to and see the positive side and learn from failure. Slape stuck to those principles, and began to see success that has brought him to wrestling at the varsity level.


Slape, left, Mat Classic XXIX

“They’re not losses, you’re just learning.” Slape said. “You’re going to get better no matter what as long as you keep at it and always do your best.”

The perseverance and work ethic shown by Slape in his sports also transfers over to other areas. Slape is the Senior Class President, reads the school’s morning announcements, is a member of National Honors Society, has advanced to the Knowledge Bowl state competition and is an avid member of Young Life, all while getting a Running Start at Centralia College.

“I’m really goal-oriented,” Slape said. “I’ve learned that I can be strong and keep my chin up no matter what…. Even if you don’t make those goals, I think it’s important to make those experiences and memories, good or bad, because you’re with the people you like, and that’s what’s important.”

By the summer of 2018, Slape will graduate high school, and complete his Associates Degree at Centralia College. Recently, Slape applied to Whitworth University in Spokane and plans to enroll this fall.

“I want to teach, so probably like education,” Slape said. “Secondary education, I want to teach either history or English. My teachers in my life have really inspired me.”

Slape, left, Mat Classic XXIX

His teachers are not the only inspiring people in his life. When asked to name his number one hero, there was no question. His mother battled breast cancer for many years while Slape was growing up, and she passed away a couple years ago. Slape admired her strength, even during difficult cancer treatments, and he wants to emulate her strength in his own life.

“He is a very resilient young man,” Coach Ferrier said. “He’s dealt with a lot in his life, he’s been a great older brother…What makes Aaron even more exceptional is having to deal with what he’s had to deal with, and he’s still that happy kid that tries to find the bright side in everything, and you don’t get that a lot.”

Slape cherishes time spent with his family, which includes his three younger brothers who also wrestle. Family comes first for the Slape boys, and he speaks fondly of his close relationships with his father and with his brothers.

He is well on his way to reaching state wrestling this year, while also gearing up for graduation and the transition into college. But for now, Slape is focused on his goal and ready to take on any obstacle that comes his way.

“He’s wrestling better than I’ve ever seen him wrestle,” Coach Ferrier stated. “We had some tough competitions this year that he’s handled really well... He has the mental and physical tools to meet his goal.”

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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