Submitted by Experience Olympia & Beyond
The Olympia & Beyond Sports Commission, a division of Experience Olympia & Beyond, announced winners for its seven community sports awards at the 2023 Sports Awards banquet held at South Puget Sound Community College on November 9. Presented by Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, the event drew more than 150 people including nominees, families, coaches, sports supporters and influencers from around the county.
Bob Grisham, retired Athletic Director for Saint Martin’s University, was recognized as Thurston County Sports Legend posthumously. His daughter Nicole accepted the award and delivered a heartfelt tribute to her father.
Mitch Lewis, a local farmer and author, delivered an inspiring keynote, taking the audience through his experiences climbing Mt. Everest and running marathons in some of the highest elevations in the world.
Below is a complete list of the 2023 winners:
Sports Star of the Year – Girls Sports: Alexis Meyer, North Thurston High School (Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field)
Meyer is a standout athlete on three state-qualifying teams for volleyball, basketball and track and field, serving as team captain for all three sports. She is noted for breaking the North Thurston High School record in the 1,600 meter and placed 4th at the state meet in the 800 meter. She is an All-State Academic in all three sports with a 4.0 GPA and works as a peer tutor with special education students. She is also a Unified program partner in basketball and soccer.
Sports Star of the Year – Boys Sports: Parker Gerrits, Olympia High School (Basketball)
Gerrits is the career record holder in basketball field goals made, three-point field goals made and steals for Olympia High School. During his career the Bears finished fourth at state in 2020, they were South Puget Sound League Champions in 2021, third at state in 2022 and second at state earlier this year. Currently playing basketball at Washington State University, he has also been involved in the Unified program as a referee.
Sports Star of the Year – Womens Sports: Corona Parker, The Evergreen State College (Track and Field)
Parker is a heptathlete on the track and field team at The Evergreen State College, posting an NAIA national qualifying mark in her first heptathlon. In her second season, she broke her own school record in the high jump twice. At the Cascade Collegiate Conference meet, she qualified in three events: the high jump, the long jump and the 100 meter hurdles.
Sports Star of the Year – Mens Sports: Yuta Shimazu, South Puget Sound Community College (Soccer)
Shimazu is a two-time All-Star with South Puget Sound Community College. He was second in goals scored during the 2022 season and led the team in assists. His coach describes him as a force that led the offense, a leader both on and off the field as a member of the soccer team and the campus community. He is currently playing at Pacific Lutheran University.
Sports Contributor of the Year: Mike Reid, North Thurston High School Basketball Coach
Reid played football, basketball, and baseball for four years at North Thurston High School, graduating with honors in 1981. After playing basketball as a starter at Whitman College, he graduated with honors in 1985 and returned to Lacey where Rams head coach Ed Smith hired him immediately to be the C team coach for the 1985-86 season. The next year he was promoted to JV coach, and he has been at it ever since. He was inducted into the Washington State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.
Sports Moment of the Year: Yelm High School Football Team
Yelm High School won their first ever football state championship, capped by a last-minute touchdown catch by Kyler Ronquillo. The ball looked like an interception until Ronquillo snatched it out of the hands of the defender. That winning play amassed more than one million views online and made ESPN highlights.
Thurston County Sports Legend: Bob Grisham, Saint Martin’s University (posthumous)
Under Grisham’s 37 years of leadership, Saint Martin’s University experienced historic success both on and off the court, the field, and the course. He oversaw the expansion of the university’s athletic programs from two to the current 15 sports with more than 250 student athletes, serving as head men’s basketball coach for 17 years and as the women’s golf coach for 20. He graduated from Canby-Union High School in Oregon and played college basketball at Clackamas Community College and the College of Idaho, going on to complete a Master of Arts in Athletic Administration at Western Washington University in 1985. He had retired as athletic director in 2022.