SK's Ryan Cole named state player of the year

The spotlight on Ryan Cole has reached national proportions.

The senior South Kitsap High school running back was named 2001 Gatorade Washington State High School Football Player of the Year.

He now qualifies for the Gatorade National High School Football Player of the Year award.

A panel of prep sports writers nominated Cole based on his performance on and off the field.

After breaking the West Sound rushing record last year with 2,175 yards, Cole toppled his record this year with 2,357 yards and 33 touchdowns. Off the field he maintains a 3.36 GPA and is active in his community.

SK coach D.J. Sigurdson said the award couldn’t go to a better person.

“It’s a nice award for him,” Sigurdson said. “He’s such a classy kid. He’s involved as much as he can whether it’s school-related or in the community.”

Cole is the second SK student-athlete to earn the Gatorade player of the year award.

In 1993 Tony Coats earned the award.

The award program has a reputation in coaching circles as the top award in high school sports and is perceived as an accurate measure of talent and character, according to the Gatorade press release.

The organization recognizes top athletes at the state and national levels for 10 sports, including football, baseball, softball, volleyball, basketball and track and field.

“That’s a big award,” Cole said. “It’s a great feeling having someone look at you not just on the field. I’ve worked hard for my grades.”

Some of Cole’s community work includes the Adopt-a-Family program.

“We deliver food to houses and also Christmas trees for families,” Cole said.

Cole said he doesn’t expect to be named national football player of the year, but said it would be quite an accomplishment if he won.

“It’d be great but I’m just honored to be named the best in Washington state,” he said.

The big question everyone has been asking Cole is what college he is going to attend.

Cole said he has trips lined up for the University of Washington, Oregon State, Northwestern, and University of California-Berkeley.

His final visit will be around mid-January.

“Yeah, now I’m dealing with colleges,” Cole said. “It’s fun but there’s a lot of pressure.”

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