Katie King has been a standout on the Burlington-Edison volleyball team the past four seasons.
She’s etched her name in the Tiger record books, and for her efforts on the court this season she is the Skagit Valley Herald Volleyball Player of the Year.
“I’m excited,” King said of receiving the honor. “I’ve seen a lot of other athletes get it over the years and for me it’s an honor.”
The King-led Tigers finished the season 18-3, and with a bi-district title and a fifth-place finish at the Class 2A State Tournament.
King was the Northwest Conference Player of the Year.
“I am super proud of the things we did on the court,” King said. “We didn’t make it as far (in the state tournament) as we wanted, but it still feels good. It was a fun season and I have no regrets.
“Looking back, I’m super happy. I’m so proud of what we accomplished at Burlington-Edison. It was special.”
King leaves the Burlington-Edison program as its all-time kills leader with 1,397. Not bad considering she was the team’s setter as a freshman.
“Both offensively and defensively she took control of matches, time and time again,” Burlington-Edison coach Tawnya Brewer said. “There were times when she took the team on her back and took over. She led by example. She has since she was younger.”
What King is really proud of is surpassing her sister Rachel for the No. 2 spot on the all-time list for digs in a career. The younger King finished with 1,201 digs while her sister, who played libero for the Tigers and graduated in 2016, finished with 1,115 digs.
King led the Tigers in kills this season with 512 (No. 4 in school history) as well as in hitting percentage at .292. That equates to 5.62 kills per set.
She tallied 217 aces in her four seasons.
“I really love to hit,” King said. “And I also love to play defense.”
As her career went on, not only did her statistics grow but so did her leadership role and her confidence.
“Leadership, that was the biggest improvement I made,” she said. “I wanted to play selfless volleyball, to be a good teammate.
“This team was like that. We all connected and trusted each other.”
That trust bred confidence.
“Big time,” King said. “My confidence improved. We realized you can’t be afraid to make mistakes. Either you do it or you don’t. I knew I had to put the ball away.”
Brewer said King did what the program needed her to do when she was asked to make the switch from setter to hitter.
“Looking back, she’s probably one of most selfless players I’ve had,” Brewer said. “She wanted to set in her career. She would have taken that position ... (but) she knew she was one of our best hitters and we wanted her to hit. She took that position on to help us win.
“Because of her size, she’d have an advantage as setter rather than hitter ... she sacrificed a lot.”
King also praised her coach.
“Relax, play free. That’s what Tawnya told us,” King said. “She’s an amazing coach. She’s been coaching me since the seventh grade. She is so knowledgeable about the game. I owe a lot to her.”
King wasn’t planning on playing volleyball in college. Rather, she planned on taking her 4.0 GPA and joining her older brother and sister at Brigham Young University, where she would study English.
The plan has now somewhat changed.
“I really wasn’t planning on playing until recently,” she said. “Now I realize how very special volleyball is. So I’m looking at options.”
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