The results are in: The Peninsula High School volleyball team has some of the smartest kids in the state. The team won the WIAA’s 2018 Academic State Championship award in the 3A classification, compiling a 3.79 team-wide grade point average.
Peninsula High School athletic director Ross Filkins made the announcement during Peninsula’s home match against Timberline on Oct. 25.
“The kids are incredible students,” said Peninsula volleyball coach Katrina Cardinal. “They make everything really easy. This is completely on the kids. It doesn’t have anything to do with me. They work so hard in the classroom, out of the classroom, just being good people. How lucky am I to have that kind of group to coach?”
Cardinal wasn’t stunned by the news. She’s known for some time that her team has some bright players.
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“You see them with their books on their laps before their matches when we have away games,” she said. “They’ve got their AP books stacked up, they’re doing study sessions together. Almost all of them are taking AP classes as well, or doing running start. The award is even more meaningful because of the academic degree of difficulty there.”
The collective IQ is evident in practice, when Cardinal is teaching a volleyball concept.
“When you teach something to the kids, give direction and they say ‘OK,’ and walk out and do it — there’s that mind and body connection,” Cardinal said.
Cardinal, who works at Peninsula High as an educator, said the results in the classroom make her more proud than any big win could.
“This is what it’s all about,” Cardinal said. “The X’s and O’s, the volleyball, that’s all small beans in comparison to the education piece. The classroom is what matters the most. They’re doing what they need to do to be successful in their life and not just on the court.”
With only two seniors on the roster, could the Seahawks start an academic title streak?
“I think now that the girls actually know this is something, there’s a competitive drive with those kids,” Cardinal said. “I think they’d probably push toward that. It’s a big deal.”
Peninsula currently sits in third place in the Class 3A South Sound Conference with a 9-4 league record. The Seahawks will begin postseason play in early November.