Swanson led in athletics and activities

On the field and off, Jenika Swanson stands tall.

On the field and off, Jenika Swanson stands tall.

Whether it was her nine shutouts in soccer, her team-leading 12.2 points per game in basketball, or her work as the Associated Student Body Director of Faculty and Academic Affairs, Swanson’s impact at Bellevue High School can be valued in terms of results.

Because of her success in both avenues and the leadership displayed along the way, Swanson is the 2008 Bellevue News Female Athlete of the Year.

“Jenika just leads by example,” said Bellevue High School soccer coach Jon Anderson. “She never takes anything off and is honest and true.

“She doesn’t expect anyone to give more than her,” he continued. “She expects them to give as much as her.”

Which is a lot: Swanson was a first-team All-KingCo selection at goalkeeper for Anderson’s squad. With her steady play in net, the Wolverines finished 11-4-3 on the season in what was most likely the toughest conference in the state this year. KingCo produced three teams that finished the season with over 10 wins, including Issaquah, the state champions.

“We worked phenomenally as a team this season,” Swanson said, brushing aside any individual acclaim. “Our chemistry worked on and off the field and we were able to bring a lot of success because of that.”

Chemistry, Swanson says, was the key to Bellevue’s state run this year in basketball. The team’s leading scorer, Swanson, a guard, combined with fellow senior Joey Brazen to form a deadly inside-outside tandem threat the two called “The Joe-Jen” that helped Ron Tinnin’s squad win the KingCo 3A tournament and reach the second round of the 3A state tournament at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on the UW campus.

“It was really nice to end on a high note like that,” Swanson said. “Joey and I, as captains, that was all we talked about. We really wanted to lead our team to state.”

Swanson earned All-KingCo 1st-Team honors in basketball as well.

“The quickness, the speed, all of the attributes that make her a good goalie, she uses for basketball, too,” Anderson said. “She has that ability to read the game, to see what is going to happen before it does.”

The other reason Swanson is so successful, Anderson says, is the preparation she does beforehand.

“She is one of those people who makes sure that every ‘i’ is dotted and every ‘t’ is crossed before she gets involved in something,” he said. “There has never been a deviation. She’s always held herself to the highest standard.”

This spring was the first time the senior had a break; typically she plays spring ball, but being her senior year, she instead had time to concentrate on her other game: ASB.

“I really like getting involved and it was exciting for me to be in a position where I could have direct involvement in the school,” said Swanson, whose duties included helping run assemblies and Bellevue’s homecoming. “ASB definitely gave me that.”

“I also finally got a chance just to relax this spring,” she continued. “It was a little weird; I caught myself bored a couple times.”

Swanson will head to the University of Oregon at the end of the summer, where she says she’ll room with Sammamish basketball standout Ali Stillwell. While she plans to play intramural sports at Oregon, Swanson says she’ll definitely miss her days at Bellevue High.

“The camaraderie and the feeling of being part of a bigger family is what I’ll really miss,” she said. “All the involvement I got to have at Bellevue, it was all really exciting.”

Joel Willits can be reached at 425-453-4270 ext. 5060 or at jwillits@reporternewspapers.com.