With Coupeville leaving the 1A/2A Cascade Conference and joining Port Townsend, Chimacum and Klahowya in the 1A Olympic League this fall, now is a great time to learn a bit about some of the players who will face off with the Wolves in the future.
Malia Henderson doesn’t mind being in the crossfire.
The Port Townsend senior anchors both of her teams, playing goalie for the girls’ soccer squad and catcher for the Redhawk softball team. Both positions put her in the heart of the action, something she openly craves.
“I like positions that involve strategy and quick responses,” Henderson said. “I like the strategic aspects of playing team sports; it’s amazing to watch the cohesiveness of the team come together throughout the season.”
While she enjoys both of her sports, it’s soccer, where Coupeville will see her for the first time, that ultimately captures her heart.
“Soccer is my favorite sport,” Henderson said. “I like how physically demanding being a goalkeeper is; the position requires a great deal of focus and I love the adrenalin rush I get when the other team is shooting at me.”
When she steps into the net, Henderson goes in expecting to be at her best, and a large part of that is based on the hard work she and her teammates put in between games.
“I am a good leader and have a good work ethic and take practices seriously,” she said. “I am a strong strategic player; I’m always thinking a play ahead.
“I like to size up each team we play and know the other teams strengths and weaknesses,” Henderson added. “I play very aggressively and go into each game thinking we are going to win.”
A big fan of backpacking and mountaineering (she and her dad climbed Mt. Rainier this summer), Henderson splits time between PTHS and Peninsula College, where she participates in the Running Start program.
As she prepares for her final year at Port Townsend — she moved to town in the 3rd grade — Henderson will face new challenges, from different league foes (“I have never played against Coupeville before, but I am ready to see them on the field”) to a school mascot change.
After 88 years as the Redskins, Port Townsend students voted to retire that mascot and become the Redhawks starting with the 2014-2015 season.
“I fully support the change of the mascot, and I am looking forward to becoming a Redhawk for my last year at Port Townsend High School,” Henderson said. “My goal for my last year is to play my absolute hardest and leave it all out on the field.
“I want to enjoy my last year at the high school and my first year as a Redhawk!”
During her final months as a high school athlete, Henderson will continue to turn to the people closest to her for support.
Her family and a string of coaches have been a reliable rooting section, helping guide her into becoming a successful young woman.
“My parents have always been huge supports with my interests,” Henderson said. “When I first came to Port Townsend, Liz and Kevin Coker were my first soccer and baseball coaches. They have always been my biggest supports in my extended family.
“Steve Shively gave me one-on-one coaching during my first two years at the high school,” she added. “I have two wonderful coaches in Colin Foden and Tom Gambill, and I love all my teammates. I couldn’t do any of this without them!”