Seattle Times Girls Athlete of the Year: Mount Rainier's Jordan McPhee was a step ahead
Jordan McPhee couldn't have had a much better sophomore year at Mount Rainier High School. She was perfect in the classroom and near-perfect...
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Ali Forde, Sr., Woodinville
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Maddie Meyers, Sr., Northwest School
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Joclyn Kirton, Sr., King's
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DES MOINES — Jordan McPhee couldn't have had a much better sophomore year at Mount Rainier High School.
She was perfect in the classroom and near-perfect in the competitive arena.
In her first season of high-school cross country, McPhee went unbeaten and won the Class 4A state title. She helped the Rams' basketball team finish third at state, then won the 1,600 meters at the state track and field championships. In the 3,200, she lost in a photo finish to Chandler Olson of Woodinville.
McPhee is The Seattle Times' Girls Athlete of the Year.
"I don't think any of us have any idea yet how good she is," said Brian Jacobson, Mount Rainier cross-country coach. "She didn't have the same kind of (running) foundation that most girls who are winning state usually have. I was just impressed with how much she was able to do in her first season. ... She is still learning what it's all about, when it comes to being a distance runner with race strategy and pacing."
McPhee, who has a 4.0 grade-point average, won the 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) state cross-country race last fall in 17 minutes, 24.7 seconds. The first-time participant was almost 43 seconds in front of the runner-up, Union freshman Alexis Fuller, and 56 seconds ahead of her 3,200 nemesis, Olson.
"It was really exciting," said McPhee. "I did track the year before and I was always running for basketball. It comes natural, but I've put a lot of work into it, so that's made it fun."
Credit her twin sister, Brittany, for her competitive drive. Jordan, born 19 minutes after Brittany, didn't want to be the little sister left behind.
"They bring out the best in each other," said their father, Bryce McPhee.
Brittany didn't run cross country, but the twins teamed in the backcourt in basketball and ran together in track and field.
"We push each other in everything we do," said Jordan, a point guard in basketball. "If one of us goes for a run, the other says, 'I think I'll go for a run, too.' "
Jordan averaged 9.8 points while making 37 percent of her three-point attempts for the basketball team. It was her job to set up Brittany (22.7 ppg), the SPSL North Player of the Year and Gatorade State Player of the Year.
"I've always been louder and more aggressive (than Brittany)," Jordan said with a laugh.
In track, after she lost at state to Olson by .01 of a second in the 3,200, Jordan bounced back to win the 1,600 in 5:01.27, more than a second faster than Fuller.
"I don't think I've ever coached an athlete as competitive as Jordan," Jacobson said. "Winning the state title was absolutely a lot of guts. She will leave everything out there and give it her all in every effort."
Jordan McPhee, constantly in motion during the school year, thrived on the activity.
"It was kind like things never stopped, and I went from running to basketball and back to running," she said. "Every little thing made it the best year."
It was almost perfect.