With help from coaches, fans, media and local sports historians, SBLive 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 Jamie Craighead to Debra Larsen, Grays Harbor County has produced several outstanding female athletes. Take a look at SBLive’s list of the top female athletes to ever come out of Grays Harbor County and cast your vote in the poll.
(The list is in alphabetical order.)
BEST FEMALE ATHLETES IN GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY HISTORY
High School: Elma (class of 1998)
Sports: Basketball, softball
Notable Stats: One of the Oregon Ducks’ most prolific 3-point scorers, Craighead set the school’s single-game record with 21 long-range attempts against Iowa in 2001.
You could make a strong case that this skilled, zig-zagging supreme ball-handling guard is the best basketball player to come out of the county.
Craighead was the state’s Class 2A player of the year in 1998 (23.6 points, 9.6 assists, and 7.1 steals), and was a USA Today honorable mention All-American as a senior. Her 1,669 career points was the school record at the time she graduated (No. 2 overall now to Carly Meister).
And during her time at Oregon, the Ducks went to the NCAA Division I women’s tournament three times, and won a Women’s NIT title. Craighead was the team’s top 3-point threat – and was No. 2 all-time in career made 3-pointers (182; that mark is now No. 7 in Oregon history).
After assistant-coaching stints at Seattle Pacific and Portland State, Craighead took over at Sacramento State as NCAA Division I’s youngest women’s basketball coach in 2009. She took the San Jose State job in 2013 and is coming off her best season with the Spartans as they went 19-12.
High School: Aberdeen (class of 1984)
Sports: Basketball, track and field
Notable Stats: In 1986, Larsen was part of NCAA Division II national titles in two different sports at Cal Poly Pomona – women’s basketball (final four MVP) and track and field (national heptathlon champion).
There wasn’t much Larsen could not do as the county’s most dominant two-sport athlete ever.
Larsen was the school’s first state track and field winner, capturing a pair of high jump titles (1980, 1982) and the 3A long jump crown (1982) before accepting a scholarship to compete at USC.
It was in her first year with the Trojans that she competed in the first of two U.S. Olympic Trials in the heptathlon.
Eventually, Larsen transferred to Cal Poly Pomona because she wanted to play two sports, and she became one of that university’s most decorated multi-sport athletes.
Larsen starred on back-to-back D2 title-winning basketball teams (1984-85, 1985-86), and was the WBCA national player of the year (as well as being an All-American as a senior).
In track and field, Larsen was a six-time All-American as well, winning the national heptathlon title in 1986. She still holds the Broncos’ record with 5,827 points – a mark that has stood for 34 years. She also ranks in the top five in five other events.
In 2017, Larsen was inducted into the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) hall of fame.
Tera Novy, Montesano (track and field, volleyball) – Four-time 1A throws champion has USC’s all-time best throw in the discus (200-5), set in 2016.
Sissel Pierce, Wishkah Valley (basketball, volleyball) – Paint enforcer led Loggers to ‘B’ title in 1995, and was all-Pac-10 center at Oregon State in 2000.
Vicky Strada, Aberdeen (golf) – 1992 state champion was part of three NCAA Tournament top-10 Stanford teams; played in two U.S. Women’s Opens.