From left: FWPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer, Alphonzo Tuputala, FWHS Athletic Director John Yellam, and Mirror reporter Olivia Sullivan. Photo courtesy of FWPS

From left: FWPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer, Alphonzo Tuputala, FWHS Athletic Director John Yellam, and Mirror reporter Olivia Sullivan. Photo courtesy of FWPS

Tuputala, Still named the Mirror’s 2019 Athletes of the Year

Second annual celebration honors 16 scholar-athlete finalists.

Federal Way High School senior Alphonzo Tuputala and Thomas Jefferson High School junior Hailey Still have been named the Mirror’s 2019 Athletes of the Year.

The awards were presented June 3 during Federal Way Public Schools’ second annual Athlete of the Year Celebration at Federal Way High School.

“We’re excited to have hosted the Athlete of the Year Celebration for the second year in a row,” said FWPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer. “It provides an opportunity to recognize our top scholar-athletes for their outstanding athletic achievements and positive contributions in the classroom and school community.”

Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell commended the scholar-athletes for their accomplishment of balancing a dedication to their sport(s) and demonstrating commitment to the classroom.

“The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary,” Campbell said.

Tuputala and Still were among 16 male and female finalists from all four high schools in the district.

Throughout the school year, athletic directors from each high school submitted nominees for Federal Way Mirror’s Athlete of the Week, which led to 76 total athletes earning recognition in a range of sports.

In May, athletic directors nominated 16 finalists for the Mirror’s Athlete of the Year online ballot. More than 3,200 votes poured in from the community to decide this year’s winners.

“We’re all winners,” Tuputala told the other finalists in a brief speech after accepting his award.

Earlier this year, Tuputala signed to play football for the University of Washington, ready to put his 6-foot-3 and 240-pound build to work for the Huskies.

During his football career at Federal Way, Tuputala was selected as a First Team All-League linebacker in each of his three years as a varsity player and served as a captain on this year’s team. He competed in football, basketball and track during his four years as an Eagle.

TJHS junior Hailey Still is now a two-time winner of the Female Athlete of the Year title.

Still took home the award last year, and another remarkable year competing soccer, basketball and softball brought on a two-peat.

Still was awarded the All State All-American during her soccer season — the only female soccer player picked in the state of Washington. As a team captain for the Raiders, Still was the 4A NPSL leading goal scorer and earned the titles of girls soccer First Team All-NPSL and varsity MVP among many others. She has verbally committed to play soccer for the University of Washington.

During her basketball season, team captain Still earned 4A Olympic NPSL Fab Five Pick, First Team All NPSL, All Star South Sound Team, and was varsity MVP. She broke the school record with most steals in game (13).

For her softball season, Still led the Raiders in RBIs and was one of the most versatile players in the league with the skill to play second base, third base, shortstop and centerfield.

More than 75 attendees celebrated the scholar-athletes on Monday and enjoyed student performances by Thomas Jefferson’s drumline, Decatur’s cheer team, Todd Beamer’s step team and the Federal Way High School choir.

Male nominees

Justin Cho; Decatur; senior; soccer

Brycen Dilworth; Todd Beamer; junior; football, basketball, track and field

Jaden McDaniels; Federal Way; senior; basketball

Brandon Niksich; Todd Beamer; senior; football, basketball

Jeremiah Palaita; Decatur; senior; football, track and field

Roman Shuck; Thomas Jefferson; senior; wrestling, track and field

Geno L. White II; Thomas Jefferson; senior; basketball, track and field

Female nominees

Esther Brutus; Federal Way; senior; soccer, basketball, track and field

Madison Heck; Todd Beamer; junior; soccer, gymnastics, track and field

London Houston; Federal Way; sophomore; wrestling

Jewel Springer; Decatur; senior; swim and dive

Renee Tiumalu; Todd Beamer; senior; volleyball, track and field

Gjianni White; Thomas Jefferson; junior; volleyball, basketball, tennis

Claire Xu; Decatur; sophomore; golf


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From left: FWPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer, Alphonzo Tuputala, TJHS Athletic Director Mike Grady, and Mirror reporter Olivia Sullivan. Photo courtesy of FWPS

From left: FWPS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Dani Pfeiffer, Alphonzo Tuputala, TJHS Athletic Director Mike Grady, and Mirror reporter Olivia Sullivan. Photo courtesy of FWPS

The 16 finalists for Athlete of the Year awards. Photo courtesy of FWPS

The 16 finalists for Athlete of the Year awards. Photo courtesy of FWPS

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