With help from coaches, fans, media and local sports historians, Scorebook Live has put together its lists of the best athletes — male and female — to emerge from every county in the state of Washington. We looked back as far as the turn of the 20th century, and we examined the totality of each athletes’ career, not only what they did in high school.
As comprehensive as our lists are, we also want to hear your opinions. We have included polls where you can vote for the best male and female athletes by county. You can also leave your comments below or hit us up on Twitter @sblivewa.
From Tara Kirk Sell to Bree Schaaf, Kitsap County has produced several world-class female athletes. Take a look at Scorebook Live’s list of the top female athletes to ever come out of Kitsap County and cast your vote in the poll.
(The list is in alphabetical order.)
BEST FEMALE ATHLETES IN KITSAP COUNTY HISTORY
High School: Bremerton (class of 1944)
Sports: Softball, golf, bowling
Notable Stats: Kressin, who was a standout in so many sports, for many decades, became the oldest woman in the world to bowl a sanctioned 300 game at age 71 back in 1997.
If you dare to try and research the stellar college career of Kressin – you won’t find anything. She did not go that route.
Instead, she was a West Sound softball star at age 11, eventually playing for state powerhouse Bremerton Greenjackets. She was so good by the time she was a young adult, she was invited to try out for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) in the mid-1940s, which was made famous by the blockbuster movie, “A League of their Own.”
By the 1970s, Kressin had given up fastpitch for golf, and began shooting in the 70s in no time. She also picked up bowling, and became one of the area’s top tournament competitors.
But if you asked Kressin, all the way up to her death in 2013, what her best sport was, she would have said track and field.
In 1999, the Kitsap Sun named Kressin its “West Sound Female Athlete of the Century.”
High School: Olympic (class of 1998)
Sports: Bobsledding, volleyball
Notable Stats: In just more than a year after taking up the bobsled, Schaaf captured one gold, one silver and four bronze medals in the first half of the America’s Cup circuit season, including her only national championship.
If there’s one thing to know about what made Schaaf such a standout, versatile athlete, it is her perseverance.
Schaaf played basketball and volleyball, and ran track in high school before solely focusing on what would get her to an NCAA Division I school. That was volleyball – and she went on to play at Portland State for three seasons.
But she soon began searching for a new sport – and found it when her older brother, who was at a skeleton tryout in New York, invited her out for a training camp.
She competed in skeleton for five years, recording a best finish of 11th at the world championships. Feeling like she hit her peak, she switched to the bobsled in 2007. And in just more than a year, she captured the U.S. title in 2009 – and qualified for the two-person women’s bobsled (with Emily Azevedo) at the 2010 U.S. Winter Olympics. The American duo placed fifth.
TARA (KIRK) SELL
High School: Bremerton (class of 2000)
Notable Stats: Kirk Sell and her sister, Dana Kirk, became the first siblings to ever swim in the same Olympics – 2004 in Athens, Greece.
There was a time Kirk Sell was headed off to a small college to swim, and enjoy life as a normal student.
That all changed when her swimming times in the breaststroke began dropping dramatically during her junior year at Bremerton, which earned her a scholarship to Stanford..
That is where Kirk Sell took off, winning four consecutive NCAA Division I championships in the 100-yard breaststroke – and nine NCAA titles overall. She was never beaten in the 100 breaststroke during her collegiate career.’
The eight-time All-American also set American records in the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke events – and became the first woman to ever swim the 100 breaststroke in under 58 seconds (57.77).
Kirk Sell made the U.S. Olympic team in 2004, and was part of the 400 medley relay team that captured the silver medal. In all, she took home 15 medals from major international competitions for her career.
(Tara Kirk Sell feature photo by JD Lasica)
High School: Bainbridge (class of 2003)
Notable Stats: Silver became the first competitor to win two WIAA state events for four consecutive seasons, accomplishing it in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races in Class 2A (2000-2003).
There were many water torpedos that came through the tradition-rich Bainbridge girls swimming program. None were faster than this speed demon.
In each year of high school swimming, Silver set – or reset – a state record, including three years in a row in the 50 free (23.31).
She went on to become a 20-time All-American at Cal, and was the Pacific-10 Conference champion in the 100 and 200 free. She also set a school record in the 50 free.
But her shining moment came in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She swam one of the legs of the American’s silver medal-winning 4×100 free relay team – just weeks after suffering a broken hand at the Olympic Trials.
Maiya Anderson, Bremerton (swimming) – Won state and NCAA D2 titles (Air Force) before rowing at OSU, then competing for Ironman world titles.
Lindsey Foster, South Kitsap (basketball) – Three-time all-Narrows point guard became Northern Arizona’s all-time steals leader, No. 3 in assists.
Kristen Kane, North Kitsap (diving) – Ex-three-time 3A state champion won U.S. outdoor national title at Indiana, competed in two Olympic Trials.
Dana Kirk, Bremerton (swimming) – Three-time prep All-American swam with older sister (Tara) in high school, at Stanford and in 2004 Olympics.
Erynne Lee, Central Kitsap (golf) – Dominant 4A state champion was three-time All-American at UCLA, and is now playing on the LPGA Tour.
Keri (McCallum) Stratton, South Kitsap (softball) – Led Wolves to 4A title, before making two U.S. national teams while catcher at Mississippi State.
Cheron (Moyle) Wittman, Bainbridge (basketball) – All-time great was fierce all-state defender in 1970s, and went on to set records at Boise State.
Nicole Zymontowicz, Central Kitsap (soccer, basketball, softball) – All-league in three sports; finished up college soccer career at Evansville.