Katie King's high school sports career may have ended sooner than expected, but the Burlington-Edison senior got the most out of the seasons she had.
In 11 seasons over three-plus years, King qualified for state championship events 11 times — once as an alternate — won a state title with her school's volleyball team in 2017 and reached a state title game with the girls' basketball team in 2017.
This year, she averaged a double-double in conference play in basketball on her way to an all-conference selection and became the volleyball team's all-time kills leader with 1,397. Both teams placed in the top five at state.
For her consistent performances and frequent postseason appearances, King is the Skagit Valley Herald Girls' Athlete of the Year.
King said she was disappointed the COVID-19 pandemic ended her track and field season before it began. But she said she was grateful to have the opportunities she did — not only to compete, but to connect with teammates.
"I feel like I'm going to remember the relationships I made more than the games themselves," King said. "I've been thinking a lot about high school since it's over and I've had time to think. It's weird ... sports have been my life throughout high school. Most of my friends were through sports. The girls on the volleyball team, the basketball teams became lifelong best friends. I feel like fun things before practices, games, bus rides, celebrating wins, funny things people do ... that's what I'm going to remember."
King made an undeniable impact in both sports she played this season.
During the basketball season, she averaged about 11 points and seven rebounds — and bumped it to a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in Northwest Conference play. The Tigers placed fifth in the Class 2A State Tournament, reaching the semifinals.
"She's going to give you everything she's got on the court," Burlington-Edison coach Brett McLeod said. "What I was impressed with was she rose to occasion in biggest games, the biggest moments. She loved those games where she knew there would be high-level competition."
He said King's character came through after she and a Snohomish County player collided in a nonconference matchup, sending the other player off the court because of an injury.
"Katie asked the officials about (the other player) so much they nominated her for a sportsmanship award," McLeod said.
In volleyball, King capped a prep career that had started when, as a freshman, she was unexpectedly pressed into service as a setter when the starter was injured. This year, she helped boost the Tigers to a fourth-place state finish while earning her third all-state selection.
Burlington-Edison coach Tawnya Brewer said the Western Washington University-bound King is special.
"Katie's one of those special athletes that has a competitive drive and motivation that inspires everyone around her. She's been that way since she was young," Brewer said. "I started coaching her in seventh grade. She made everyone around her better."
While King said she was disappointed to have lost a track and field season, she hopes she left a legacy of sorts anyway.
"If I'm remembered for something I hope it's not just being good athlete, but a good person," she said.