Incoming Kooyman most decorated since Ryp?

HE MAY NOT BE A PARADE ALL-AMERICAN, but incoming Cougar defensive end Kevin Kooyman of Tahoma High in Maple Valley just may be the most diversely decorated prep athlete to head to Pullman since Mark Rypien. In recent days, two of the state's largest papers – the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune – have named him high school Male Athlete of the Year for his wide-ranging sporting feats.

Like Rypien 25 years ago, Kooyman didn't just play three sports. He excelled in three sports -– and he did so in an era, as the News Tribune noted rightfully, when more and more athletes are specializing in one. The recognition by the two newspapers is a fitting capstone to a truly remarkable high school career for Kooyman.

Whereas Rypien, the one-time Parade All-American from Spoakne's Shadle Park High, made his mark as a first-team All-Stater in football, basketball and baseball, Kooyman's trifecta was football, wrestling, and track and field. And if competitive weight lifting was a high school sport, he no doubt would have starred there as well. Kooyman bench presses 300 pounds and squats 500. Oh, and he also happens to be a straight-A student.

In football, Kooyman was a first-team All-State pick, a consensus All-Area selection, and a two-time all-league choice on both offense and defense – as well as league Defensive Lineman of the Year two successive seasons. As a senior he racked up 63 tackles, including a league leading 16 tackles for loss.

In wrestling, he won the state Class 4A title at 215 pounds this season and the state title at 189 pounds last year.

In track and field, he just finished No. 8 in the state in the shot put and narrowly missed qualifying for the 110 meter high hurdles.

"He's got a lot of athletic ability," Kooyman's football coach, Tony Davis, told the News Tribune. "But what sets him apart, the big thing that makes him different from other guys with his abilities, is his drive. When things aren't going well or when something just needs to get done, you can bet he'll find a way."

Here are links to the News Tribune and Times stories profiling Kooyman and his achievements:

News Tribune: Desire, smarts and talent fuel three-sport standout

Seattle Times: Kooyman has more lofty goals on to-do list

Seattle Times: The File on Kevin Kooyman

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