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Athletes of the Month

By Colin Anderson

Jaxson Washington, Senior

Coeur d’Alene High School

Photo by Cheryl Nichols Photography

The Coeur d’Alene Vikings football program is year in and year out one of the top high school programs in the state. As any football observer will tell you, a big part of the success of the team starts up front with both the offensive and defensive lines. This football season you’ll find senior Jaxson Washington manning the line on both sides of the ball, helping any way he can to get his team back to state and bring a championship back to Coeur d’Alene.

Jaxson’s play has been recognized the past couple of seasons, earning Inland Empire All-League awards for his offensive line play during his sophomore and junior years. He was chosen as a pre-season All-State player on both O-line and D-line for his final season as a Viking. Striving to be better each season is one of the characteristics that have helped him achieve many goals along the way. “The things I enjoy the most about sports is the competition, being part of something bigger than yourself, and the brotherhood created within a team,” he said.

Once football season is complete, Jaxson will move to the wrestling mat, where he’s qualified for the state tournament in each of the past three years. Despite battling illnesses and injuries as well as having to drop 35 pounds in just six weeks to wrestle at a different weight class, Jaxson has reached his goal of the state tournament and looks to do so once again this winter.

He is still weighing his options but wants to continue to play football at the collegiate level after graduation. He continues to work hard in the classroom as well, landing on the academic Honor Roll throughout most of his time at Coeur d’Alene High. He’d like to pursue a degree in business or construction management and can see himself following in his family’s footsteps. “I want to own a construction company in town because my dad used to do it and it is something that I would really like to do,” he explained.

Whether it’s on the field, in the weight room, the classroom, or anything else he puts his mind to, Jaxson knows you have to put in the work to get the results you want.

“One of the most important life lessons I have learned from sports is that it doesn’t matter how much of a stud you are if you don’t work hard.”

Hannah Stoddard, Senior

Lake City High School

Photo by Cheryl Nichols Photography

“I have always loved the gym. There’s something about it that just makes me never want to stop playing,” said Lake City High School Senior Hannah Stoddard.

While Hannah has excelled at several sports including basketball, softball, and track and field, it’s volleyball that continues to bring her the most joy—and will for many years to come as well. “I recently verbally committed to play volleyball at Gonzaga University and will officially sign in November; I couldn’t be more excited,” she explained.

Hannah began her high school career in Lewiston. The family moved up to Coeur d’Alene just prior to her sophomore year. She admits she was nervous making the move, meeting new people and playing for a new team, but is thankful for the warm welcome she received at Lake City. “I made friends extremely fast and thrived at Lake City from then on. I played volleyball, basketball and ran track that year and had a blast.”

While Hannah recognizes the team aspect of her favorite sport, it’s also some of the personal competitive aspects that she enjoys most. “When it’s a close set and you can feel the adrenaline, knowing that you are going to do everything you can to make a good play on the ball, there is no better feeling. Or when your team works really hard for a play and it’s a long rally, and we end up getting the point. Or when you get a kill and your team just surrounds you with joy,” she said.

One of the newest members to the Gonzaga family, Hannah will settle into college next fall balancing her athletic commitments with maintaining her high academic expectations as well. She has interests in the fields of architecture or engineering, but her experiences in sports have sparked interest in athletic training as well. “I have always enjoyed working with my hands, which stemmed from working in construction with my dad for several years. The architect's interest also came from that job, because I am always around numbers at the jobsite.”

Hannah is enjoying her final year at Lake City and as a high school athlete. She’ll soon move up to a whole new set of challenges at the collegiate level and will be ready for what life throws at her thanks to the challenges she’s faced on the playing field. She cherishes every moment knowing that someday it will all come to an end.

“A life lesson that I have learned playing sports is to never take anything for granted. With COVID the past couple of years, it has really opened up my eyes that things can be taken away from you in a flash. So practice and play like it is your last, because it very well could be.”

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