Mountlake Terrace head basketball coach Zach Wilde wasn’t surprised that Hawks guard Samantha Romanowski was named to the Associated Press All-State first team.
One person who was surprised: Romanowski.
The junior guard was excited to learn of her inclusion on the 3A girls All-State list when it was released Thursday. Romanowski was one of several local players named.
“I was really surprised,” Romanowski said. “When I found out I was really happy. I don’t even know. I’m excited that people chose me to be on it. I’d say overjoyed.”
Wilde was thrilled for Romanowski. He thought the only thing that might hinder her was playing for a Mountlake Terrace team that doesn’t get a lot of statewide attention.
“It’s not surprising. I think she’s one of the top players in the state,” Wilde said. “I think that sometimes we don’t get as many looks around the state as some teams in Seattle. It’s a really cool thing that she can accomplish that.”
The first-year coach helped lead Mountlake Terrace to an 18-6 record, co-Wesco 3A South league title and a state regional berth — a huge turnaround from the previous year when the Hawks finished 7-12.
Romanowski, who averaged about 18 points per game, was another huge part of Mountlake Terrace’s run.
“For a first-year coach, having that kind of player really helps,” Wilde said. “And to get her back next year is huge. … She has a pull-up jumper that I haven’t seen out of a high school player in my career. She’s a coachable player and a good teammate. Overall, there’s not a bad thing about her.”
According to Romanowski, Wilde was a huge factor in the transformation of Mountlake Terrace, which was ranked as high as No. 6 in the Associated Press 3A state poll during the season.
“It boosted our hope,” Romanowski said. “It’s made people see that we can actually achieve this. Last year we accepted losing. We were just like, ‘Oh we lost another game.’ This year, we look at every game like that’s a game we have to win. That’s a game we can win. It’s changed our mentality.”
The Hawks lose seven seniors but Romanowski is hopeful Mountlake Terrace can build on last season.
And maybe get even farther next year.
“We lose a lot of seniors this year, and next year it’s going to be tough,” Romanowski said. “But we can do it if we work hard. I know I’ll have to step up a little more. I’d just be happy if everybody on my team tried their best and went all out. Not just settle for anything less than we can achieve. I want to go out there and try my hardest and I want to get to state. Hopefully, that’s in our future and we can achieve it.”
Lynnwood had a pair of players honored, with senior Jasmin Edwards named to the 4A first team and Mikayla Pivec an honorable mention. A sophomore, Pivec was the youngest player honored in 4A.
Both recently helped the Royals place third at the state tournament, the highest finish in Lynnwood school history.
Sidney Rielly of Everett was an honorable mention in 3A, and King’s junior Savanna Hanson was a first-team 1A selection.
On the boys’ side, Jackson’s Jason Todd was a first-team selection in 4A. Todd was recently named the Gatorade Washington Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season, the first time in the award’s history it went to a repeat winner.
After placing sixth at the 3A state tournament, Stanwood guard Josh Thayer was an honorable mention on the 3A team. Corey Kispert (King’s) also was an honorable mention for 1A as the Knights finished second at state.
Finally, Tulalip Heritage senior Keanu Hamilton was named to the 1B first team. Hamilton helped the Hawks to a sixth-place finish at the 1B state tournament.
David Krueger covers high school sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @krueger_david or reach him at email@example.com