When it comes to gold medals, it would be difficult to find anyone at the high school level in Snohomish County with more hardware than Rachel Powell.
Powell, who has orofacial digital syndrome, competed in the Special Olympics and unified sports for Kamiak High School the past seven years, four while attending Kamiak and three while attending the Mukilteo School District’s Community Based Transition Center (CBTC). During that time she earned 11 gold medals while competing for the Knights, participating in bowling in the fall, basketball in the winter and track and field during the spring. She was looking to add to her medal total this spring in her final year of eligibility to compete for Kamiak when spring sports were shut down by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Herald spoke to Rachel and her mother, Sonya, for this edition of the spring sports senior salute:
Which track and field events do you compete in, and which one is your favorite?
Rachel: The shot put, the 100 meters, the 200 meters and the 4×100 relay. My favorite one is the shot put because I feel strong when I throw. I like pushing it hard forward.
What were your goals for this season?
Rachel: I was hoping to qualify for state again. They canceled because we had to stay at home. I was not happy.
What is your favorite memory from competing in track and field at Kamiak?
Rachel: My favorite memory is when I got my first gold at state. It was doing the shot put.
What other interests do you have outside sports?
Rachel: I like hanging out with my dog.
Sonya: We got a new puppy in February. She’s always wanted to go to school to train dogs.
Rachel: My dog’s name is Peppermint Patty, from the character in Charlie Brown. We call her Pepper for short. She’s a Yorkshire terrier and she’s learning fast.
I’m not familiar with CBTC. What is that program all about?
Sonya: It’s a community based transition center for ages 19-21.
Rachel: It’s for job skills, life and money skills, academic learning, sometimes we do cooking skills. We have some outings where we’re just walking around, more for exercise.
Sonya: You also gain familiarity with going to the mall, taking the bus and knowing where you are.
Rachel: It’s fun, I like it. I like helping other kids learn. I also worked at six different places (over the past three years). The first one was at Walgreens close to Kamiak, the second was at Albertsons closer to Everett, another was Fred Meyer, then the Burlington Coat Factory, then Walgreens again, and Buffalo Wild Wings in the Everett Mall.
Sonya: You’ve gained a lot of skills.
Do you plan to continue competing in sports?
Rachel: I’m not sure yet. I’m looking into bowling and basketball. I’ll probably find another team.