The Herald’s Woman of the Year in Sports: The Nominees

Bianca Rowland, volleyball

Bianca Rowland, who grew up in Lynnwood and attended King’s High School in Seattle, always expected to be a college athlete, following in the footsteps of her father Ronnie Rowland, a standout running back at Washington who went on to play professional football.

But for a long time Rowland figured her sport would turn out to be basketball.

Instead it was volleyball where she found her niche, and she is continuing the Rowland family’s athletic tradition at Washington. In the 2009 season, Rowland was a top member of the UW team, helping the highly-ranked Huskies to another trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Rowland, a finalist for The Herald’s Woman of the Year in Sports for 2009, played in 30 matches and 104 sets this past season, during which she broke the school record for season hitting percentage with a .456 mark. That was tops in the Pac-10 and third in the NCAA.

She finished the season with 252 kills, including a season-best 17 against Oregon in a Nov. 27 match.

Also, Rowland was the team leader with 109 blocks, and she had blocks in every match but one. She had a career-high nine blocks in a match against Washington State on Oct. 23.

At the end of the season she was a Volleyball Magazine All-America second-team selection, and an honorable mention All-America pick by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Lindsey Bos, soccer

Maybe it’s time for soccer player Lindsey Bos to move on to the college game.

After all, the talented Archbishop Murphy senior has accomplished just about every possible thing as a high school athlete.

Last fall Bos, who is a finalist for The Herald’s Woman of the Year in Sports for 2009, led Archbishop Murphy to an undefeated season and the Class 2A state soccer championship. It was the second state title for Bos with the Wildcats, matching the team’s championship in 2006, her freshman season.

A midfielder, Bos was not only named to the Class 2A all-state team in 2009, but she was also the Class 2A Most Valuable Player in Washington.

“She had the ability to change the outcome of the game,” said Archbishop Murphy girls coach Dick Henderson. With her confidence and savvy on the field, he added, Bos “rubbed off on the players around her.”

Bos finished the season with 15 goals and 23 assists, making her a top recruiting target for University of Washington women’s soccer coach Lesle Gallimore. Bos has accepted a soccer scholarship to play for the Huskies next fall.

Amy-Eloise Neale, running

It would be hard to surpass what Amy-Eloise Neale accomplished in her freshman cross country season at Glacier Peak High School.

Heck, it would be hard for a high school runner of any age to surpass what Neale did last fall.

Neale, a finalist for The Herald’s Woman of the Year in Sports for 2009, was a dominating runner in her first high school season, which she culminated with an individual victory at the Class 3A state cross country championships in Pasco.

She followed that triumph a few weeks later by winning the BorderClash race at the Nike World campus in Beaverton, Ore. BorderClash brings together the top girls and boys runners from Washington and Oregon, and Neale was again the individual champion.

She was also named the Gatorade Washington Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Glacier Peak cross country coach Dan Parker, a longtime successful coach at nearby Snohomish High School before moving across the district to Glacier Peak when the school opened two years ago, has called Neale “the most polished freshman I’ve seen.”

Neale, who is currently running in her freshman season of track at Glacier Peak, is a five-time USA Junior Olympic track champion.

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