Sports

South Kitsap's Riley Dopps named Female Athlete of the Year

Athleticism. Skill. Intelligence.

The attributes roll off the coach’s tongue when describing South Kitsap junior Riley Dopps.

Add another to the list: the Port Orchard Independent’s Female Athlete of the Year.

And while Dopps, who plays soccer and runs track for the Wolves, likes spontaneity on the field, saying that she loves being moved around in order to keep things ”new and exciting,” she wasn’t expecting such an honor.

“It’s really awesome,” she said. “I didn’t think it would happen.”

Dopps’ response is similar when she reflects on her athletic genes. Her father played football in high school. Her mother wasn't into sports. She calls her success a mystery.

South soccer coach Julie Cain would beg to differ. In fact, she has a list of reasons why Dopps has propelled herself into the books.

“No. 1 is her athleticism,” she said. “She’s a tremendous athlete.”

Cain, who also praised Dopps’ mobility, skill and intelligence, said she is someone who can play anywhere on the field.

“She has a tremendous attitude and is willing to do whatever to help the team,” she said.

And in doing that, Dopps earned first-team all-Narrows League honors and a soccer scholarship to Boise State University even though she still has a year left at South.

But when she reflects on her junior year, a team accomplishment is what comes to mind — defeating Bellarmine Prep.

The Wolves beat the Lions for the first time in program history in 2008 and then won 2-0 in both the regular season and the Narrows League playoffs. South, which lost 1-0 against Kentwood in the Class 4A state quarterfinals, finished with a 14-1-3 record.

“We really proved to them that it wasn’t a one-time fluke,” Dopps said. “It was refreshing that we didn’t beat them because they had a bad day or we had a good one. It was because we consistently outplayed them in every area.”

In the spring, Dopps outraced most of her competition, breaking the school record in the 400-meter dash at the Narrows League Championships, in 58.24 seconds. Danielle Fessler previously held the mark of 58.25 set in 1992.

But because she also was playing club soccer for Washington Premier, South track and field coach Joanne Warren kept Dopps on a scaled-back schedule. Dopps still advanced to Star Track XXVIII in the 400-meter dash, but finished ninth in the preliminaries, in 59.32 seconds.

She was one-tenth of a second behind Olympia’s Alexis Fesenbek — and one place from the finals.

“I have a competitiveness that I really want to win,” Dopps said. “I was disappointed that I didn’t do better at state. It makes me want to come back next year and do better.”

For now, Dopps is looking ahead to soccer season. She already has been selected by her teammates as a captain, and Cain is looking forward to seeing her in that role.

“She’s a wonderful person to have on your team,” she said, adding that Dopps frequently volunteers to coach youth soccer camps in the area. “She’s taking that leadership position personally.”

Dopps also is happy that her recruitment is over — she said academic and athletic scholarships will cover 90 percent of her tuition at BSU — so she can just focus on her senior season.

“I was upset to see last season end,” she said. “Next season should be really fun.”

Previous recipients

2009: Stephanie Osterdahl

2008: Kaileigh Westermann

2007: Madison Rousell

2006: Madison Rousell

2005: Brittany Miller

2004: Stephanie Davison

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