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 Sherri Felton to Erica Wheeler, Clallam County has produced several outstanding female athletes. Take a look at SBLive’s list of the top female athletes to ever come out of Clallam County and cast your vote in the poll.
(The list is in alphabetical order.)
BEST FEMALE ATHLETES IN CLALLAM COUNTY HISTORY
High School: Port Angeles (class of 1977)
Sports: Basketball, track and field, volleyball
Notable Stats: Felton set records in women’s basketball (single-game mark of 36 points) and track and field (first to clear 6-0 in the high jump) in her only season at the University of Washington (1977-78).
Felton was such a dynamic two-sport star, she was mentioned as a U.S. Olympic hopeful in the high jump – and could have played professionally in basketball.
Divided by a life detour, Felton’s post-high school athletic career had two distinct tours.
In high school, the all-state (undersized) center set the single-game state tournament record (39 points) in 1977, then jumped 5-11 in the high jump in the spring, which was tops in the nation that year. And she qualified for the USATF junior team in the pentathlon.
She was named one of the top 40 female multi-sport athletes in state history by the Seattle Times.
After that one spectacular debut year at the UW — she not only had a school-record 36 points, but scored 24 points three times as a freshman; and she cleared 6-0 in the high jump, which is No. 3 all-time in school history — she was set to concentrate on track and field full-time, but she got married the next year, and left the area to start a family.
Felton returned to sports 14 years later, becoming the NWAACC North player of the year at Olympic College (21.2 points per game; second player in school history to tally 500 or more points in a season), then played two more seasons at NAIA program Alaska Anchorage.
High School: Sequim (class of 1985)
Sports: Track and field
Notable Stats: In her final WIAA meet in 1985, Wheeler established the state’s all-time greatest javelin throw (old spec) at 189 feet, 7 inches. She is only one of two individual females to set an all-time mark at Star Track (Curtis’ Alexis Ellis is other in the triple jump at 43-6, set in 2018).
When you start naming the best track and field throwers to ever come out of Washington, the list should start with this Sequim standout.
Her 189-7 in Lincoln Bowl not only became the top in-state throw, but it was the national high school record as well.
Wheeler went to Stanford, and set not only the school women’s javelin record (192-2), it was a Pacific-10 Conference mark as well. She left as a four-time All-American.
Wheeler went on to make the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, won the 2003 U.S. outdoor title and was twice a national runner-up. Her personal-best is 206-0, which ranked No. 5 all-time by an American athlete at the time.
After competing for more than two decades, Wheeler went into college coaching. She is now the U.S. Paralympics track and field national team coach, and guided Rachel Morrison to a word record in 2014.
Tyna Barinaga, Port Angeles (badminton) – Winner of the U.S. Open in women’s singles and doubles in 1968, she is in sport’s international hall of fame.
Penny (Graves) Hewlett, Port Angeles (track and field, basketball) – Three-time state 800 champion was six-time All-American at Oregon. Even won three national junior badminton titles.
Lea Hopson, Sequim (softball) – Former two-time Olympic League MVP led Wolves to 2011 state title, became one of Texas Tech’s best power-speed hitters in school history.