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North Creek's Kyleene Filimaua is SBLive's WaFd Bank Class 4A Senior Athlete of the Year

Reigning Gatorade state volleyball player of year led Jaguars to a pair of WIAA state trophies, and will join both teams at Florida State University next fall

Welcome to a continuing tradition at SBLive Washington – honoring the WaFd Bank 2022-23 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!

Kyleene Filimaua, North Creek volleyball, class of 2023

North Creek High School multi-sport athlete Kyleene Filimaua is a girl with special skills but simple needs.

Give her sunshine, a body of water, sandy beaches - and a volleyball - and she'd be the happiest teenager on earth.

"That is how I love spending my summers," Filimaua said, "from the time the sun comes up until it goes down."

A dynamic outside hitter in volleyball, Filimaua - the reigning Gatorade state player of the year and also a Florida State University signee - is SBLive WA's Class 4A senior female athlete of the year for 2022-23.

"A lot of that started when she was little," said Robyn Filimaua, her mother and former longtime volleyball coach and official. "I always took the kids to Hawaii a couple times a year ... where they were either going to the beach or going to be at the swimming pool.

"Ky was always surfing, bodyboarding and swimming with dolphins from a young age. She could sit in the sand or surf (all day)."

From her lifestyle - and with her ability to jump and explosively hit - volleyball was a natural fit for Kyleene Filimaua, who developed so rapidly in the club scene at an early age, she was offered (and accepted) a scholarship from FSU in eighth grade.

In college, the 6-foot-1 standout will play both indoor and beach volleyball.

"I play both all of the time, and can't imagine it differently," Filimaua said. "Beach (volleyball) is probably a better fit for me. I love how laid back it is. Indoor (volleyball) has so many rules while beach (volleyball) is go-with-the-flow."

And yet, as accomplished and distinguished as Filimaua has been on the national volleyball scene, she never lost perspective on the team aspect of the sport.

Including when she suffered a serious knee injury that cost her all of her junior season.

"She came to practice every day on her crutches," said Gail Cornelius, the interim volleyball coach at North Creek who has been on the coaching staff as long as the school has been open (2017). "She was always giving feedback and positive comments to the girls from the bench.

"As hard as it was for her, she also made her own impact. And she won the 'Most Inspirational Award' that year, voted on by the team."

Not to go unnoticed, but Filimaua also tried another sport associated with water: Varsity crew.

"I wanted to play three sports, and needed a spring sport," Filimaua said. "So me and a friend from volleyball said, 'Let's do crew together, it will be fun!'

"Little did we know the water was 40 degrees and it would be raining ... and we'd be rowing for two hours. It was a wake-up call, but we turned every practice into a race. And it got me into shape for volleyball."

Not to worry, but Filimaua's next athletic chapter comes in the balmy weather of Florida.

"I will always be a kid from Washington at heart, but I need the sunshine," Filimaua said. "That is a reason I fell in love with Florida."

Kyleene Filimaua, North Creek girls basketball, class of 2023


School: North Creek.

Sports: Volleyball, basketball.

Next step: Signed to play indoor and beach volleyball at Florida State University (NCAA D1) where she will study sports medicine or marine biology.

Senior-year highlights: Named Gatorade state player of the year in Washington for volleyball as an outside hitter. Voted 4A KingCo most valuable player, totaling totaling 380 kills, 206 digs, 57 aces with a .552 hitting percentage and .858 serving percentage. As team captain, led North Creek to league and District 1/2 championship - and school's second WIAA Class 4A trophy finish (eighth place). Was selected to 4A all-state team by Washington State Coaches Volleyball Association (WSVCA). Was selected to SBLive WA's top 30 players to watch list. Was selected as an All-American by Invitee for postseason WSVCA all-state game. ... Voted 4A KingCo second-team selection for girls basketball as a forward, averaging 12.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Set single-game school record for rebounds (32) against Newport of Bellevue. In 19 games played, registered 10 double-double efforts. Was invitee for postseason Girls All-State Basketball Classic. ... Named North Creek's female athlete of the year for 2022-23. Named "Jag of the Month" for November: "Caring and Compassionate Citizen, Creative Thinker, Servant Leader."

Career accomplishments: Three-year starter in volleyball, two-year starter in basketball, two-year starter in crew and participated in one year of track and field - earning 11 varsity letters. ... Voted 4A KingCo's most valuable player in volleyball twice (2019 as ninth grader, and 2022 as senior). As three-year captain, led Jaguars to 4A KingCo title three times (2019, 2020 and 2022) and to WIAA Class 4A tournament twice (2019, 2022). Led program to best state finish in 2019 (fifth place). Was named to all-area team as ninth grader (2019) by The Seattle Times. Was two-time selection to 4A all-state team by Washington State Coaches Volleyball Association (WSVCA). Was two-time selection to SBLive WA's top 30 players to watch list. Was named on top players list nationally by American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), USA Volleyball,, and Named to all-tournament teams at Triple Crown NIT 18s and Windy City Qualifier. ... In beach volleyball, has trained with USA Volleyball National Development Program sine she was 10. Was two-time selection for JVA "Best of Beach" award winner. ... Earned variety of team awards in basketball as three-year captain - most inspirational, most improved and coaches award. ... Participated in varsity crew during her ninth grade (2020) and sophomore (2021) seasons, and was part of school record-setting shell in 2- and 5-kilometer races. ... In only season of varsity track as junior in 2022, earned 4A KingCo meet podium finishes in shot put (third place), high jump (fourth place) and discus (fifth place). ... Played club indoor volleyball for Kent Juniors and North Pacific Juniors, and club beach volleyball for DaKine Volleyball Club.

School/community achievements: 3.55 GPA taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses; three-year National Honor Society member; selected to WIAA and NorthShore School District student-athlete panels during COVID-19 pandemic; earned full-ride athletic scholarship to FSU (was a verbal pledge to the school since eighth grade); selected as Mill Creek Rotary scholar-athlete of month as junior; volunteered as peer tutor for local special-needs students; volunteered to work youth volleyball camps through North Pacific Juniors and Alderwood Boys and Girls Club; volunteered to instruct in week-long beach volleyball clinic in American Samoa; sang national anthem at North Creek athletic events; in spare time, enjoys drawing, painting and pottery.