High School Sports

Chronic laryngitis forces Timberline girls basketball coach Zandrea Edenstrom to resign

The Olympian

Zandrea Edenstrom said she resigned as the girls basketball coach at Timberline High School to prevent permanent damage to her voice from chronic laryngitis.

Edenstrom, who took over the program in 2005 after two years as an assistant, said it got to a point where she couldn’t talk and had to take time off from work.

“Over the past five years it had become progressively worse, where (my voice) would not come back,” Edenstrom said. “The girls knew I was losing my voice and they were trying to listen to me as best they could. My assistant coaches were having to talk for me and call timeouts for me.

“I finally talked to my doctor and they said, ‘You could be permanently damaging your vocal chords where your voice might not come back.’”

Edenstrom led the Blazers to their first and only state tournament victory in the 2010-11 season. It was the program’s first state-tournament appearance. Timberline returned to the regional round of state the following season.

Timberline finished 15-11 and fifth in the 4A Narrows League last season. The team went 0-19 in Edenstrom’s first season as the head coach.

Timberline athletic director Nick Mullen, who took over when Pat Geiger retired, said the school will begin reviewing applications for the basketball job next month.

“She’s (Edenstrom) really turned around that program,” Mullen said. “Nobody could say a negative word about her. Whoever steps in is going to have big shoes to fill.”

Edenstrom said she hopes her successor will be Tim Borchardt, who played at North Thurston and Saint Martin’s before joining Edenstrom’s staff as an assistant coach. She said she’d still like to contribute to the program even if it is behind the scenes.

“They obviously want to keep their options open, but I made it clear that I’m very willing to help Tim out if he gets it,” Edenstrom said.

She said she will continue to teach science, and the Tumwater and Eastern Washington University graduate plans to continue in her role as the jumps coach on Timberline’s track and field team.

“(The doctor) told me I needed vocal rest. I was like, ‘Well, I’m a teacher and a coach so that isn’t going to happen,’” Edenstrom said. “And he kind of looked at me like, ‘Well, it’s your decision.’

“I told the girls I’ll support them in any way. I’ll still open up the gym if they need to get into the gym. It wasn’t a decision I wanted to make.”

TJ Cotterill:253-597-8677