The four-year starter at point guard was the Royals’ leader on both ends of the basketball floor this past season. On offense, she was like another coach, getting the team into its offensive sets and making sure it was running efficiently. Edwards was predominantly a facilitator to her teammates, but was always a threat to penetrate with her speed and like many of her teammates, she could be deadly as a long-range shooter.
Defensively, Edwards was nothing short of a nightmare for opponents. Her relentless defensive pressure created countless points in transition for a Lynnwood team that finished third at this year’s state tournament, the best finish in the school’s history.
It’s not hard to understand why Edwards was like another coach for the Royals. She’s had more than just the past four years to learn from their actual head coach — her father, Everett Edwards. Add it all up and it’s easy to see why Edwards is the Class of 2014 Girl Athlete of the Year.
The Royals finished the regular season with a 19-1 record — their only loss coming to eventual 3A state champion Cleveland. They didn’t lose another game until falling to Gonzaga Prep in the 4A state semifinals.
Edwards will continue her basketball career at Central Washington University, where she begins classes this fall.
Basketball may be where Edwards finds the most success, but her athletic talents extend further. She played outfield and led off for the softball team all four years of high school and was named first-team All-Area as a senior.
Edwards was a three-sport athlete as a freshman, playing volleyball in the fall, but has spent the past three years using the fall to study athletic training.
In the classroom, Edwards was just as impressive. She graduated over the weekend with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average and was recently named Lynnwood’s Student of the Year.
Herald Writer Aaron Lommers recently spoke with Edwards to discuss her high-school career and her future.
Q: What was the top moment of your high school career?
A: The top moment would probably have to be this year’s basketball season. For one, just making it past the regional round and making it to state has been a goal of ours for so long and finally being able to achieve it was great. Being able to be with the team at state was definitely the highlight, for sure.
Q: Are there any other athletic accomplishments that stand out to you?
A: In softball this year we made it past the first day of districts, which hasn’t happened in a long time at Lynnwood. We’ve made it to the first day (of districts) and lost both games. Making it to the second day was a huge accomplishment. And for basketball, just how we’ve been able to kind of turn the program around. It’s just a huge deal to our school and to me as well.
Q: Does it feel like you were a big part of a changing culture for athletics at Lynnwood?
A: I think my whole class kind of helped with that. For our class, both Grace (Douglas) and I were both four-year varsity players and from softball (Jessica and Erica Gott) and other players that kind of just helped turn it around, at least for the girls. Just having that competitiveness and want to win helped kind of turn it around.
Q: What will you miss the most about high school?
A. Definitely the sports, (and) the teammates and the relationships that I’ve created from them. It’s kind of hard to replace all the people I’ve met and all the memories I’ve created, so that will definitely be something that I miss the most.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish as a freshman at Central Washington University, both athletically and academically?
A: Academically, I want to get (prerequisites) covered and have good grades, that’s always a huge goal. Also, just trying to figure out what I want to do for sure. Physical therapy is kind of an option for me and an interest, but I want to figure out what I want to do so I can focus in on that. In basketball, I just want to try to have an impact right away on the program because they weren’t as successful last year as they wanted to be. (I want) to help and bring anything that I can to the team that will help benefit them and win some more games.
Q: How hard is to go from everything you put into basketball in the winter into softball in the spring?
A: It wasn’t that much of a challenge simply because my whole life I’ve been playing basketball and softball. On weekends I run from basketball games to softball games and the same with practices. Transitioning from the great season in basketball was definitely different because I love basketball more and kind of put more into it, but softball is definitely a fun sport that I love and have been playing forever. It was kind of an easy transition and it was just kind of a fun and successful season.
Q: What was it like playing basketball with your sister, Jordyn, and for your dad?
A: It was great. It really was. Just to have your family’s support and (them) with you the whole time and being able to spend more than just time together at home, but also on the court is great. These past few years, playing with my sister, I’ve grown a lot closer to her because of that and the same with my dad. The past four years we’ve been together so much at practices and games. Having all the success we’ve had helped contribute to that. It’s definitely going to be different having a new coach just because (my dad) has always been there. He definitely did a great job and I loved having him as a coach.
Q: What was it like to be the leader and what were some of the challenges of that role?
A. It was definitely a great experience, especially for me as a point guard. That’s what I need to get better at, being a leader, especially vocally as well as on and off the court. Just having the example of (Arsenia Ivanov, who graduated in 2013) was great because I could learn from her and kind of put in what she did. The challenges are just making sure everyone is involved and happy and making sure everyone has input as well. There was really no drama on our team at all, so that made my life a lot easier. It was just fun, especially with Grace’s help. It made it a lot easier.
Only senior athletes are eligible for the Athlete of the Year award. Nominations were provided by athletic directors, coaches and Herald writers. Finalists for the award are based on fan voting and a selection by Herald staffers. The Athlete of the Year was chosen from the six finalists by Herald writers and editors.