David Woodward sat on a bench, chilled by the strong breeze blowing across the lower field at Mount Tahoma High School.
A few seconds and one throw of the javelin at last month’s Class 4A track and field state championships remained in his remarkable career as a four-sport athlete at Olympia High School.
However, a big goal was still unfulfilled.
Drew Stevick, the Bears’ throws coach, walked over to Woodward and reminded him that Mead’s Josh Farr was in the lead at 185 feet 11 inches — a mark Woodward had bettered twice during the season.
Never miss a local story.
“There was a crosswind, and I throw really high, so it was hurting me,” Woodward recalled. “But after he talked to me, I realized I could do it if I kept it lower and threw through the point.”
Woodward’s final throw carried 188-1 for a personal record and his first state title.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to play on a state championship team or win a state event. It was the first time I’d ever been to state in any sport, so it was really exciting,” said Woodward, who played baseball as a freshman before changing his spring sport to track.
“That last throw was like he hit a walk-off home run in baseball,” Stevick said. “A lifetime memory.”
During football season this past fall, Woodward’s hard-hitting defense earned him a full scholarship to Utah State University as a linebacker. He also gained 1,921 all-purpose yards on his way to all-state honors and his selection as The Olympian’s All-Area football player of the year. In basketball, he helped the Bears to a district playoff berth, averaging 11.4 points, six rebounds per game.
The numbers, combined with Woodward’s work ethic and leadership, is why he’ll add The Olympian’s 2016 Male Athlete of the Year to his long list of accolades.
“He’s one of those great natural athletes,” Bears football coach Bill Beattie said. “He could probably pick up a tennis racket or a golf club and be very good at those sports in a very short time. But what separates him is he’s willing to work really hard.”
Olympia basketball coach John Kiley, who was in his first season back at the helm during Woodward’s senior year, agrees.
“David’s intensity to compete is off the charts,” Kiley said. “He’s a quiet leader. He doesn’t beat his chest. He had some of his best games early in the season, made a statement about what kind of team we were going to be.”
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Woodward says a lifetime of activity made the transition from season to season relatively easy.
“My mom has a daycare, so I’ve been running around outside and playing sports my whole life,” he said. “I put a lot of time into staying prepared, so it’s fun for me.”
His versatility was also evident within his favorite sport of football.
On defense, Woodward recorded 71 tackles and made four interceptions as a safety — a position he will leave behind when he plays at Utah State. On offense, his 1,921 yards didn’t come as the result of a specialty. He rushed 92 times for 727 yards and caught 31 passes for 484 yards. As the quarterback in the Bears’ “Wildcat” formation, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 221 yards.
All that after missing his entire junior season with a back injury.
“He showed his character by staying a part of the program when he couldn’t play. Not every kid does,” Beattie said. “He sat back and watched, became an even better student of the game.”
“Getting hurt actually helped me a lot,” Woodward agreed. “Having played for so long, I was going through the motions a little bit. Being out made me realize how much I enjoy the game and how much I wanted to focus on getting back.”
Both Kiley and Stevick believe Woodward could have been a collegiate prospect in basketball or track and field had he decided to focus on one of their sports.
“He’d be able to take basketball just as far as he’s taken football,” Kiley said.
“He could be a 230-foot thrower,” Stevick contended.
Woodward, who is already in Logan, Utah, taking summer classes and working out with his new Aggies teammates, doesn’t mind narrowing his focus to a single sport in college.
“Playing multiple sports in high school definitely helped me,” he said. “But I’m excited, because never in my life have I been able to focus on one sport. It’s going to be fun to put all my effort into football and reach my full potential.”
Potential that Beattie believes has a high ceiling.
“You haven’t seen the last of David Woodward,” Beattie said. “He’s going to explode at the collegiate level.”
The Olympian’s male athletes of the year
With input from coaches and athletic directors, each year The Olympian names its male athlete of the year. Included below are the selections made by athletic directors and coaches from each of the 16 high schools in the area.
The Olympian’s male athlete of the year: David Woodward, Olympia
David Woodward, Olympia, sr. — The Olympian’s 2015 All-Area football player of the year is already off at Utah State preparing for his freshman season with the Aggies. Also helped the Bears to a district-tournament berth in basketball, and is the reigning 4A boys javelin state champion.
Jarryn Bush, Timberline, sr. — Tyrant on the football field and basketball court, and first-team 4A Narrows selection in both sports. Committed to play football at Central Washington University. Also a Special Olympics basketball and Unified Soccer volunteer.
Daylon Matthews, Yelm, sr. — Set nine school records as quarterback, including most passing yards in a game (339), season (2,412) and career (3,314). Was also a four-year letterman in baseball.
Nigel El-Sokkary, Capital, sr. — The Olympian’s 2016 All-Area boys soccer player of the year scored 30 goals and recorded 22 assists for the Cougars. Named 3A Narrows MVP and an all-state selection.
Peter Allegre, North Thurston, sr. — Was an eight-time letterman in cross country and track and field. State qualifier in both sports. Carried a 3.99 grade point average.
Colton Paller, Shelton, sr. — Holds school records for longest kickoff return (99 yards) and longest run from scrimmage (92). Wrestled his way to fourth place in Class 3A in the 195-pound weight class at Mat Classic XXVIII. Took fourth in the shot put at the 3A track and field state championships.
Kobe Key, River Ridge, sr. — All-state selection in football (first team) and basketball (second team). Was the 2A SPSL offensive MVP as River Ridge’s quarterback, and 2A SPSL MVP in basketball. Led River Ridge basketball to a fourth-place 2A state tournament finish.
TJ Borden, Black Hills, sr. — The first-team 2A EvCo linebacker helped Black Hills to its best finish in school history. Also took eighth in the 195-pound weight class at Mat Classic XXVIII.
Nolan Wasson, Centralia, sr. — Three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball. First-team 2A EvCo baseball selection as an infielder and played on Centralia’s 2A state championship team as a junior.
Andrew Dellsite, Tumwater, sr. — State qualifier in cross country and track and field. Helped T-Birds to a 12th-place finish in 2A in cross country.
Elijah Johnson, W.F. West, sr. — Headed to Lower Columbia CC to play baseball. Played in three district title games and on the Bearcats’ 2A state title team in 2013. Two-time first-team 2A EvCo selection at pitcher.
Andrew Filmore, Rochester, sr. — A three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball. Was a two-way starter for the Warriors football team and a four-year letterman. Recipient of Rochester’s G. Claude Striegel award.
Wesley Allen, Elma, sr. — Was the 1A EvCo cross-country champion, and took 15th at the state meet. Also a 1A EvCo honorable mention in boys soccer.
Kaleb Strawn, Tenino, sr. — The Olympian’s 2016 All-Area baseball player of the year struck out 122 batters this season. Was selected to play in the senior all-state baseball series and will pitch at Lower Columbia CC. Also played football and basketball.
Luke Schilter, Northwest Christian, jr. — Track and field state champion in the boys 3,200-meter run. Top finisher (second place) on the Navigators’ state-champion cross country team. Carried a 3.75 GPA.
McKoy Bichler, Rainier, sr. — Selected to The Olympian’s All-Area football team twice, and an all-state selection as an all-purpose player as a junior. Also a two-time first-team 2B Pacific selection in basketball.
Lauren Smith: email@example.com