Herald’s 2021-22 Women’s High School Athlete of the Year: Cheyenne Rodgers

Cheyenne Rodgers grew up attending Snohomish High School athletic events and dreaming of one day excelling for her hometown Panthers.

The recent Snohomish graduate achieved her dream over the past school year.

Rodgers played a key role in the Panthers women’s soccer team’s Class 3A quarterfinal last fall. She played a major role in the women’s basketball team‘s journey to a fourth-place state trophy last winter. And to top it off, she helped the women’s track and field team win two state relay medals this spring.

For her outstanding senior year and immense contributions to the success of the Tri-Team State, Rodgers is the Herald Girls’ High School Athlete of the Year for 2021-22.

“It was really surreal,” Rodgers said. “It really was a dream come true for me, because I grew up in Snohomish (and) watched all these sports grow up, and I always wanted it to be me. … I wanted to be able to wear the jersey Snohomish and representing. That’s always been a big deal for me.

“And it was so cool that I was able to have the opportunity to go state in all of these sports, and be around such great teammates and coaches and people who supported me throughout. path.”

Rodgers’ accomplishments over the past year have been particularly impressive, given how rare the standout athlete in all three high school sports is. In this era of youth sport specialization, many top athletes choose to focus on one sport year-round.

“There aren’t many athletes left in all three sports who are able to excel in all three,” said Snohomish girls’ basketball coach Ken Roberts.

“It’s pretty special to have kids like her,” he added. “You have to be an exceptional athlete to do it, especially with kids who specialize in one now.”

Rodgers has juggled sports for most of his life.

She started playing soccer at the age of 4. She started basketball in kindergarten. And she’s been on the track since she was young, her mother being a former runner at Seattle Pacific University and a coach at Snohomish High School.

By age 12, Rodgers was playing on school and club teams for football and basketball. Around this time, she also started running on the college track.

“Since I was 12, I’ve played all three sports most of the year,” Rodgers said. “And I never wanted to choose one sport, because I loved all the sports I played.

“My favorite sport was always the sport I was playing that season,” she added. “So if it was football season, my favorite was football. Basketball season was basketball. Track season was track. … I never wanted to give up any a.

Three-sport star Cheyenne Rodgers of Snohomish is the Herald Girls’ High School Athlete of the Year for 2021-22. Photographed at Snohomish on July 7. (Kevin Clark/The Herald)

Rodgers started her senior year with a big season on the football pitch, scoring 12 goals and adding seven assists as a first-team All-Wesco 3A/2A forward.

She scored or assisted 30% of Snohomish’s goals and helped the Panthers to a successful 14-5-2 campaign that included a third-place finish out of 16 teams in Wesco 3A/2A, a second-place finish in District 3A. 1 Tournament and a trip to the 3A State Quarterfinals.

Prior to last fall, Snohomish had lost five consecutive first-round state games, including a pair of first-round losses in Rodgers’ first and second seasons. But by beating Roosevelt in their state opener, Rodgers and the Panthers broke through for the program’s first quarterfinal appearance since 2011.

“Cheyenne is obviously just a huge presence on the football field,” said Snohomish girls’ football coach April VanAssche. “She plays with so much passion when she’s there. She scores or creates opportunities for someone else to score, simply by how hard she plays.

“And then obviously his speed,” she added. “It’s hard to tag someone when they’re as quick and quick as Cheyenne. She created a lot of opportunities for us as a fair team with her pure athleticism.

For Rodgers, this past season of football has been particularly meaningful.

She enjoyed success alongside her younger sister, Sara, a junior midfielder who had a massive year with 31 goals and five assists. The two sisters, who have played football together for most of their lives, have combined to score more than two-thirds of the Panthers’ goals.

“To be able to end our last year (together) with a great state run and a great season, that meant a lot to me,” Rodgers said. “It was so much fun.”

“They loved playing together,” added VanAssche. “…Just the fun they had playing together, it was really special to see.”

Rodgers followed up with a stellar season on the hardwood last winter, using his all-around skills to do a bit of everything for Snohomish.

As a 5-foot-5 guard, she averaged 11.2 points per game and shot 36.5 percent from 3-point range. She added 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. She provided lockdown defense and stole 1.8 interceptions per game. And she was a 3A/2A All-Wesco first-team selection and a Herald All-Area second-team selection.

Snohomish's Cheyenne Rodgers looks for a pass during a district tournament game February 19 at Everett Community College.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Snohomish’s Cheyenne Rodgers looks for a pass during a district tournament game February 19 at Everett Community College. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Rodgers helped lead the Panthers to an 18-5 campaign, capped off with a 3A state quarterfinal appearance and a fourth-place state trophy. It was the program’s fourth top four in the last six state tournaments.

A measure of Rodgers’ immense worth was the time she spent on the court. In her team’s four games at the Hardwood Classic, she played 122 of 128 minutes.

“We definitely won’t finish fourth in the state without her and everything she’s done,” Roberts said.

Rodgers, who started three years in basketball, has always excelled on defense. This is what earned him a spot in the starting lineup in the second year.

“His defense is phenomenal,” Roberts said. “I mean, it’s elite defense on the ball.”

But this season, Rodgers has made significant progress as a shooter and overall offensive threat.

“His offense has come a long way,” Roberts said. “…She’s become much more of an all-around player.”

Rodgers credited two of her teammates — guard Ella Gallatin and point guard Jada Andresen — from Eastern Washington University — for helping elevate her offensive game.

“They pushed me in training to be so much better (offensive player) than I ever thought I would be, because I thought I was really just a defender,” Rodgers said. “This year I was taken down and I worked very hard offensively.”

After the Panthers fell short of state in 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the 2021 playoffs, Rodgers said this year’s state run was especially rewarding.

“I think last year we would have had a really good team that would have had a great state run,” Rodgers said. “To be able to do that this year meant the world to me.”

In the spring, Rodgers capped off his successful year by helping Snohomish win a pair of 3A state relay medals on the track. Running as the third leg in both events, she contributed to a fourth-place finish in the 4×100 relay and a fifth-place finish in the 4×200 relay.

Rodgers battled tendonitis in her legs during the season, which she said stemmed from overuse. At one point this spring, she was simultaneously doing track and field, club soccer, weightlifting and a bit of basketball.

But despite the challenges, Rodgers said she’s happy to be back on the track after taking a break from the sport for the past two seasons.

“I pushed myself a lot, just with (my body) being tired and it was my third season in sport,” she said. “But it ended up being so rewarding. … Track season was just an amazing way to end high school.

Rodgers will continue her athletic career playing Division III basketball at Whitworth University in Spokane, where she plans to study biology. After spending her whole life juggling sports, she said she was thrilled to focus all her energy on one sport.

“I fell in love with basketball more than anything this year,” Rodgers said. “And I’m so excited to go somewhere and be able to focus on a sport and see where it takes me.”

Roberts said he was confident Rodgers would continue to succeed at the next level. And he’s grateful for the impact she’s had on Snohomish athletics.

“She loves to compete in anything and plays hard and has a joy of hers when she does,” Roberts said.

“She’s done a great job helping the other kids understand what it means to be a Panther and a team first and to be part of something bigger than yourself.”

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