Sports

How do you spell leadership? At Cedarcrest it's spelled P-e-d-e-f-e-r-r-i

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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

of 13-6.

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."

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