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Avery Watkins, Kennedy Catholic team-oriented leader, is SBLive's Class 4A Senior Athlete of the Year

The Lancers' 1,000-point scorer never got to play in the Class 4A basketball tournament, but says she would not trade her team-building experiences for any of that. She is headed off to play at Hawaii

Welcome to a continuing tradition at SBLive Washington – honoring the WaFd Bank 2021-22 senior male and female athletes of the year for each classification.

Because the SBLive crew gets so immersed in specific sports seasons, it is nice to take a step back to pick a statewide honor from a broader perspective.

The criteria isn’t too expansive: The starting point is finding seniors who are all-league/all-state performers in two or more sports. Totality of career is also a factor. So is administrator/coach/fan recommendation.

Enjoy as we honor some of Washington’s top multi-sport senior athletes!

By all accounts, Avery Watkins was the best female athlete in the school the second she stepped on the Kennedy Catholic campus in 2018.

It was later confirmed by her accomplishments - four-year starter in basketball, volleyball and softball, earning 12 letters. She was an all-4A NPSL performer eight times, including four consecutive first-team nods in basketball.

In less than a week, she is headed off to her next basketball-playing destination - the University of Hawaii.

The individual accolades are nice, Watkins admits. But it was never her first priority as a high-school athlete.

She wanted to be a team leader, first and foremost.

"It was really great seeing how the rest of my teammates looked up to me, and learned the game," Watkins said. "They are out there working hard. They are trying. I wanted to be that person to build them up."

It all falls under the umbrella of one of the most important early-life lessons taught to her by her father, Keith, a former wide receiver on the University of Washington football team.


"From that, one of the best lessons Kennedy Catholic taught me was patience," Watkins said. "I am not a patient person. I am always on the go."

In her early years, everything Watkins tried, she was naturally good at. 

"She was always that kid was the most coordinated, always the fastest one out there," Keith Watkins said. "In soccer, she's scored 12 goals in a game, and we'd have to tell her to slow down."

She was so good at softball at age 8, she was moved up - to baseball in the Auburn Little League.

In sixth grade, Avery Watkins hit a massive growth spurt, and it shaped her athletic arc.

"After that, basketball chose her," Keith Watkins said.

She was the do-everything guard at Kennedy Catholic that could score - she was a 1,000-point career scorer - but preferred to facilitate.

But in her four seasons, the Lancers won just 33 games, advanced to the district tournament twice - and never went to the state tournament.

"Instead of getting mad or upset, she'd keep going, and it was refreshing to see," Kennedy Catholic girls coach Willy Burns said. "She handled it all well."

Which, she says, might be her best accomplishment.

"It took a toll on me," Watkins said. "But it's also why I am most proud of myself, because I would not change it for anything. It was all about the team for me."


Avery Watkins, Kennedy Catholic girls basketball, class of 2022

Avery Watkins was not earned 12 letters in basketball, volleyball and softball, she was leader on those teams - and around campus.


School: Kennedy Catholic.

Sports: Volleyball, basketball, softball.

Next step: Signed to play basketball at Hawaii (D1). Major is undecided.

Senior-year highlights: Voted to the all-4A NPSL first team for a fourth consecutive season in girls basketball, averaging 14.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for fourth-place team in league that advanced to district tournament. Was team captain and most valuable player. Selected to play in WSGBCA senior all-state game against Class 3A all-stars. ... Voted all-4A NPSL honorable mention in volleyball as middle blocker, helping fourth-place team in league earn a berth at state tournament in Yakima. Was team captain and named most inspirational player. ... Voted all-4A NPSL honorable mention in softball as corner infielder for team that reached district tournament. 

Career accomplishments: Four-year starter in all three sports, earning 12 varsity letters. ... Finished with 1,127 points, 734 rebounds, 103 steals, 84 assists and 52 blocked shot in four seasons of basketball. Scored a career-high 44 points as a junior in a game against Mount Rainier. Was four-time all-4A NSPSL first-team selection, and three-time team captain and MVP. ... Lone state-tournament berths came in volleyball (2018, 2021), and was a two-time all-league honorable mention selection (2019, 2021). ... Was two-time all-4A NPSL honorable mention performer in softball. ... Selected as Adidas All-American and captain for Spokane-based Northwest Blazers club basketball program. ... Invited to USA Women’s Basketball U-16 tryouts that were cancelled due to COVID-19. ... Four-time South Sound all-star game participant.

School/community achievements: 3.40 GPA in honors courses; National Honor Society member; won Carl J. Vedding Award as Kennedy Catholic's senior girl student-athlete of the year; won Reverend Michael Batterberry Solidarity Award as student who best demonstrated multi-cultural inclusion and celebration, voted on by the senior class; served as student-body president as a senior in 2021-22; founder and president of Black Student Union; member of school's environmental club, skiing and snowboarding club and intersectional feminism club in first three years; one of student representatives in school's staff-member hiring committee; volunteered with Special Olympics' athletes as member of Kennedy Catholic's student-athlete leadership council ("Captains Council").