Sports have been a part of Gig Harbor High School senior Sammi Markham’s life for a long time, and she hopes that doesn’t change any time soon.
Markham will enter this spring’s track and field season with designs on another state medal in the shot put. Last year, Markham’s first as a thrower, she placed eighth in the event at the Star Track state championships. Her toss of 38 feet, 1 1/2 inches was fourth-best in school history.
She’s also a state qualifier in the javelin, and she’s aiming to break Becky Potter’s school record of 135-5, which has stood since 1995.
Right now, the 5-foot-11 Markham is immersed in basketball, and she serves as a key interior defending and rebounding presence for Tides coach Bob Boback.
Markham used to play volleyball, too, but an injured ankle led her to stick with two sports.
“It was also hard doing a sport during every season,” Markham said. “It’s super busy, and I wanted to have kind of a low-key start to my senior year.”
As the Tides prepared for last week’s game against the Foss Falcons, Markham sat down with The Peninsula Gateway to answer a few questions:
The Peninsula Gateway: How did you get started playing sports?
SM: I’ve been doing sports since I was in kindergarten. Then, when I was in third grade, I started doing basketball. I went to Lighthouse Christian School, so I basically played all the sports — basketball, softball — but I didn’t do track until high school.
My parents just got me into it, and I just loved being a part of the team. It was just a bunch of fun. So in high school, I started out doing basketball and volleyball. Track, I started doing junior year, but then I stopped doing volleyball.
PG: What do you see as your role on this year’s Tides basketball team?
SM: Being a senior, I think it’s really important to step up and be a leader. But I’m not one of the captains, so I have to let them take their spots as the leaders. Doing my best kind of encourages everyone else to do their best, too.
PG: Who would you credit for your development in sports?
SM: I would thank (Gig Harbor JV basketball coach) Denise DeWalt, because she was my coach at Lighthouse, too. She just pushed me to do my best, and I really admire her for that. In track, all my coaches deserve credit.
PG: What are your goals for your final season of track? Are you getting a chance to train much for your throwing events?
SM: Right now, I’m pretty focused on basketball. The track coach (Kevin Eager), he said that I don’t need to be doing any weightlifting now until basketball is over.
I would hope to be over 40 feet in the shot, and around 140 or 150 feet in the javelin. I’ve been talking to colleges. I’m hoping to continue track in college. My top schools right now are the University of Washington and Whitworth University (in Spokane), but I haven’t decided, and I’m still open to other ones, too.
PG: Who are your best friends in athletics?
SM: Probably one of my best friends on the basketball team is Naphtali Ward, because we’re both posts, and we just get each other. My friend Alexa DeYoung is the one that got me into track. We’re like best friends.
PG: What do you like to do when you’re not playing sports?
SM: I really like art. I like to draw and paint, and I like to sing, too. But I really don’t get to do those things often because I’m so busy.Sports Editor Neil Pierson can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_neil.