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How do you spell leadership? At Cedarcrest it's spelled P-e-d-e-f-e-r-r-i
DUVALL In four years of competition at Cedarcrest High
School, Eric Pedeferri has earned a total of 12 letters. Placed end-to-end, those
letters spell out MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR.
The unassuming senior took home his latest honor after last week's
annual awards banquet at the Valley high school. His coaches praised him
not only for his efforts representing the Red Wolves against larger
opponents in the KingCo 3A conference over the past four years, but for his
leadership and his excellence in the classroom.
"He was my team captain (in wrestling) for two years, but he was a
leader in every sport he played," said Athletic Director Josh Garcia. "He
excelled in every sport he played as well as in the classroom.
"Without a doubt, he is one of the finest products Cedarcrest
High School has ever produced."
Starting as a freshman, Eric has participated and lettered
each year in cross-country, wrestling and track. He also excelled
academically during high school, graduating this week with a cumulative 3.78
grade point average and has been offered a scholarship from Seattle Pacific
University. But he will most likely be competing for Central
Washington beginning in the fall.
"Earning three letters for four years was not something I
even thought about as a freshman," Eric told the Valley Record. "Then
somebody mentioned the possibility when I was a junior. I thought it would be a
cool goal to be the first person in the school to ever accomplish it."
Competition has been just another aspect of high school life for
Pedeferri. He claims he would not have taken part in after-school sports if it had
not been fun, "and having fun is what this is all about."
In addition to his duties on the wrestling team, Eric served as
captain of both the track and cross-country teams during his senior year. He
qualified for district competition in cross-country in each of the last two
years and currently holds the school record in the pole vault with a best effort
But wrestling is his favorite sport. He completed his senior season by
finishing second in the state in the 3A 119-pound division and earned
himself an invitation to compete this summer as part of a cultural exchange
program in Bulgaria and Italy.
In typical fashion, Pedeferri played down his athletic
accomplishments and said he is looking forward to
meeting wrestlers from other parts of the world and touring portions of
Europe. He has already agreed to return to the Duvall campus next fall to share
his experiences and techniques with the school's wrestling team.
As a freshman in the 101-pound category, Pedeferri placed fourth in
the state. He finished third in the state in the 108-pound division as a
sophomore and fifth in the 115-pound competition a year later.
But the Eric Pedeferri saga began long before he ever enrolled
at Cedarcrest. He began competing in long distance running under
the watchful eye of coach Lisa Windle while in seventh grade at Tolt
Middle School in Carnation. Windle moved with him to the new high school
and has coached the young Pedeferri for the past six years, including the
last four in both cross-country and track.
"I always wanted to try the pole vault, but the school did not even
have poles until my junior year," he said. "You just have to not think about
what you are really doing (the pole vault), and just do it."
Windle remembers very clearly when Eric was injured during his
junior year and made the switch from running distances to the pole vault as
part of his rehabilitation process.
"Eric is the kind of kid who will try anything. He is
extremely coachable and when I suggested pole vault, he took to it right away,"
she recalled. "He is capable of accomplishing whatever he puts his mind to."
Apparently the competition bug runs in the Pedeferri family. Over
the years Windle has become close with the entire family and has teamed
up with Eric's mother Margaret as a running partner. The pair have
set the pace for each other in numerous 5-K road-race events.
Windle said Margaret has developed a dedication to running,
but wrestling has always been Eric's sport of choice. The coach explained
that distance running was a natural event to help build endurance to
complement his wrestling.
"I am going to miss some of my friends at Cedarcrest because we
have been together since grade school," he concluded. "Male Athlete of the
Year was not even an award I was aware of a few weeks ago. Now I have the
inspiration to meet the challenges waiting for me next year in college."