Maddy Newkirk thought her time at Olympia High School would last just a few months. More than a year later, the sophomore and starting outfielder on the Bears fastpitch team wants to make the United States her permanent home.
Newkirk is an Australian native with dual citizenship in Australia and the United States. She was born in Alaska, stayed there for five years before her family moved to Australia. Her family still travels to Australia for fishing, but she wanted to try a year of school in Olympia, where her father, Jeff, also attended high school.
“I thought I’d be home by Christmas (of 2011),” said Newkirk, with her Australian accent flowing off every word. “It was a test to come here. I really didn’t think I would like it.”
And when the 2011-12 school year came to an end in June, Newkirk headed back to Australia. She had goodbye parties, thinking she wouldn’t see the
friends she made in Olympia again.
But she missed Olympia. Her trip home lasted a month. She was back in South Sound at the start of September, just in time for her sophomore year.
“(Australia) just wasn’t the same,” Newkirk said. “I see myself staying here. The sports and academics are better here, and there are more opportunities.”
One of the those opportunities came from Olympia fastpitch coach Matt Loes, who helped Newkirk, known as “Aussie” to her friends, get on a travel fastpitch team. Although Newkirk’s background in fastpitch is mainly with her time at Olympia, her experience playing cricket in Australia made for a simple transition.
Newkirk is on a Bears team that is 8-2 and averaging 8.4 runs a game. While she’s an infielder on her travel fastpitch team, Loes has no problem playing her in left field.
“I trust her in the outfield,” Loes said. “She’s a good athlete.”
GOOD TO BE ON TOP
Not only is Northwest Christian junior Karen Bulger ranked No. 1 in the state in the javelin, but her mark of 157 feet, 4 inches from Saturday’s Kent-Meridian Invitational ranks her first nationally, according to times and marks registered on the track and field website athletic.net.
This is the second time this season Bulger has held the nation’s top throw for girls.
Last summer, Bulger, who spent her first two years of high school at Olympia, won the javelin title at the National Junior Olympics in Baltimore.
Five South Sound high school basketball players earned all-state honors from The Associated Press this week.
River Ridge’s Brad Wallace was a first-team all-state selection for Class 2A and Timberline’s Donaven Dorsey was a second-team pick for 3A. Tenino’s Devante Harris was a second-team pick in 1A. For girls, River Ridge’s Jazzlynn Brewster and W.F. West’s Jamika Parker earned first-team honors for 2A.
North Thurston sophomore shortstop Dominique Greeno has had a monster start to the fastpitch season, batting .520 with six home runs and 21 RBI in the Rams’ eight games. Two of those home runs were grand slams. … There’s a logjam at the top of the 3A Narrows League baseball standings with North Thurston (3-0), Shelton (5-0) and Timberline (5-0) each undefeated in league play. … Black Hills expects to hire a football coach soon, athletic director Don Farler said. The school is down to four finalists. The hire will be the third football coach in school history.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick