Female High School Athlete of the Year

Jennifer DeBellis, Columbia River High School

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Gymnastics has been with Jennifer DeBellis since she was little. That was an easy decision for her, to compete as a high school gymnast.

There was no long-term commitment to track and field and the pole vault, though. She just thought it looked fun.

Today, she is a champion in both sports.

DeBellis, a junior at Columbia River High School, is The Columbian’s All-Region girls multi-sport athlete of the year.

In the winter, she won the Class 3A state title on the floor exercise. That was a day after she finished fourth in the prestigious all-around competition.

A few months later, DeBellis was clearing the bar with a state-meet record mark in the 3A pole vault, claiming another state championship.

“I wanted to be a sprinter, but the workouts were hard and I’m kind of allergic to running,” she said with a laugh, referring to her freshman year when she went out for track and field. “I saw the pole vaulters. Everyone looked like they were being crazy and having fun. I went over there and really liked it.”

As a freshman in gymnastics, DeBellis was an integral part of the team’s state championship. She also won the floor exercise title that year, only to finish second in the event in 2010 by one-tenth of a point.

“Getting second place by that close of a score got me determined to win again this year,” DeBellis said. “That was my whole goal this season. I did all-around, but floor was my main focus the whole season.”

In the spring, she once again used 2010 as a driving force for 2011. She finished third at state in the pole vault last year. This year, she won the event by a foot, clearing 12 feet, 6 inches to set the state-meet record.

“They made me sign papers to make it official.”

DeBellis said her motivation for competing in two sports was to stay active. She wanted more to do than just a winter sport.

She also likes the differences in the sports. In gymnastics, it’s all about the judging. In track and field, the mark is the mark.

DeBellis is a champion of both disciplines.

Best of the Rest: Girls

  • Charity Arn, sr., Woodland: A two-sport All-Region athlete, Arn earned honors in track and field by placing second at state in high jump. She was also All-Region in basketball and was all-league in volleyball.
  • Erin Bate, sr., Ridgefield: Bate was an All-Region honoree in volleyball and softball, helping both Spudder teams to appearances in the Class 1A state tournaments.
  • Jessica Bottelberghe, sr., Columbia River: Bottelberghe earned another All-Region honor in swimming with top-5 finishes at state. She was also All-Region in track and field, placing fifth in 800, sixth in 400.
  • Blake Bowen, jr., Skyview: Bowen was an All-Region selection in basketball as a first-team all-league pick. She also made the all-league second team in cross country.
  • Katrina Chamberlain, sr., La Center: All-around athlete earned All-Region nod by winning state 1A high jump title in track and field. She was also a first-team all-league basketball player and played volleyball.
  • Lynelle Decker, jr., Mountain View: Decker made the All-Region team in track and field with a runner-up finish at 3A state in the 800 meters. In soccer, she earned all-league honorable mention.
  • Kiley Monson, sr., La Center: Monson earned All-Region in basketball after finishing second in Trico League MVP voting. She was second-team all-league in soccer and a standout in softball.
  • Ashley Sfetku, sr., Hudson’s Bay: The Oregon Tech-bound Sfetku was an All-Region selection in softball. She was also a first-team all-league selection in volleyball.
  • McKenna Spieth, sr., Union: Spieth was the 4A Greater St. Helens League MVP and an All-Region pick in softball. In swimming, she was first-team all-league in the 100-yard breaststroke.

n Kaitlyn Tuholski, sr., Heritage: The setter of the year in the 4A GSHL, Tuholski earned All-Region honors in volleyball. She also earned all-league honors in tennis as a doubles player.