Tim Martinez: Repeat All-Region winners a rare feat

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

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We are midway through our run of announcing the All-Region athletes of the year for the winter sports season.

Boys wrestling, girls wrestling and boys swimming have been announced. We’ll follow with gymnastics and girls bowling Wednesday and Thursday and girls basketball and boys basketball over the weekend.

In fact, if you haven’t cast your vote in our boys basketball fan vote, balloting will remain open through Tuesday. The girls vote received more than 3,500 votes.

I thought it might be a little bit of fun to take a walk down memory lane with some past honorees of The Columbian’s All-Region athlete-of-the-year award.

Ethan Rotondo of Union became the first two-time winner of the honor in boys wrestling.

Two-time winners on a whole are less rare. In fact, since The Columbian began selecting All-Region athletes of the year in 2001-02, there have been 55 athletes to be so honored multiple times in the same sport.

In fact, every sport now has at least one multiple winner of the All-Region award, except one.

Care to guess?

Girls soccer.

There have been 16 different winners of the All-Region girls soccer player of the year award.

As we look to another of our honorees so far this season, we find another multiple winner — Washougal’s Abby Lees. Lees joined Skyview tennis player Sammi Hampton as the only four-time winners of the honor in the same sport when Lees was selected the All-Region girls wrestler of the year for a fourth time.

The all-time leader in All-Region honors is Camas’ Alexa Efraimson, who won the honor six total times — three in cross country and three more in track and field.

Efraimson was headed to becoming an eight-time winner before opting not to compete in high school sports in her senior year.

There have been nine other three-time winners of the All-Region honor, and two of them are very familiar to Josh Bottelberghe of Columbia River — the 2016 All-Region boys swimmer of the year.

Josh’s sister Monica won the honor three times for River from 2011-13. His coach at River, Alyssa Manlow, won it three times for Heritage from 2004-06.

In fact, another sister, Jessica Bottelberghe, was a two-time winner for River in 2008 and 2009.

The other three-time winners were Kelsey Walsh of Prairie gymnastics (2004, 2005, 2007), Ashley Corral of Prairie girls basketball (2006-08), Chloe Bartek of Columbia River girls golf (2011-13), Christina Le of Union tennis (2008-10), Natalia Agarycheva of Prairie girls tennis (2005-07), Spencer Mendoza of Hudson’s Bay boys tennis (2003-05) and Gaston De La Torre of Hockinson boys golf (2006-08).

Some other interesting tidbits:

• Twelve of the 15 honorees in girls basketball have come from Prairie.

• Nine of the 15 honorees in boys soccer have come from Camas.

• Camas can boast of having four of the past five All-Region football players of the year.

• Columbia River has had four of the past five girls soccer players of the year.

• Five athletes have been honored in two different sports: Efraimson (cross country and track), Jane Demme of Columbia River (volleyball in 2002, track in 2004), Kerstyn Dolack of Skyview (tennis and girls soccer in 2002), Greg Peavey of Hudson’s Bay (basketball in 2007 and baseball in 2006-07), and Clint Coulter of Union (wrestling in 2010 and baseball in 2012).

• Every school in The Columbian’s coverage area has had at least one All-Region athlete of the year with the exception of Stevenson, King’s Way Christian and Seton Catholic, although Kasey Calwell was a King’s Way student when he won his honor while swimming for Camas in 2013.

• Columbia River has had the most All-Region athletes of the year with 50. Camas is close behind with 49, followed by Skyview (43), Prairie (36), Union (28) and Evergreen (21).

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538, tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.