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Jackson Esary, Kalama's proven winner, is SBLive Washington's 2B Senior Athlete of the Year

Sure, the football, basketball standout is a talented athlete. What separates him, according to those around him? His will to win: “People are going to talk about Jackson Esary years from now.”

Welcome to a continuing tradition at SBLive Washington – honoring the WaFd Bank 2021-22 senior athletes of the year for each classification, recognizing the top multi-sport athlete in the state.

The criteria isn’t too expansive: The starting point is finding seniors who are all-league/all-state performers in two or more sports. Totality of career is also a factor. So are administrator/coach/fan recommendation.

Jackson Esary’s phone’s lock screen is an everyday reminder.

Out of all of the pictures the Kalama standout could have chosen to see each time he picks up his phone, he picked a photo of his corner 3-point attempt in the final seconds the 2B state semifinals against Brewster in March that would have forced overtime and kept the Chinooks title hopes alive.

Masochism? Self-torture? That's not how he sees it.

“It’s motivation,” Esary, the Kalama football and basketball standout, said. “Don’t trip. I’m not going to miss again.”

Said Kalama basketball coach Wes Armstrong: “That’s Jackson Esary to a T right there. He always responds to difficult situations in ways that makes him stronger.”

There’s great irony in the quirky motivation tool. Winning might be the one thing Esary, SBLive’s 2B Senior Athlete of the Year, excels at more than stuffing a box score with video game-like numbers.

Many of the Senior Athletes of the Year played three or sometimes four sports in high school. Esary played two, but the extent of his impact in them is rare.

He led Kalama to a perfect 12-0 football season in the fall, and finished it by leading the Chinooks to a 2B title, throwing for 216 of his 2,720 passing yards on the season in the championship game on an injured throwing shoulder, which included a game-winning touchdown drive to beat Napavine 16-14.

He missed the first game of the basketball season nursing that same shoulder, then returned for game two and led the Chinooks to 22-straight wins. They swept Central 2B League and 2B District IV titles along the way. Esary was the team’s point guard and emotional leader, averaging 23.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.5 steals per game.

Armstrong will remember Esary’s leadership qualities and intense, competitive nature.

He recalled times in practice when Esary would call out teammates if he thought they were slacking during drills. In games, Esary always wanted the ball in his hands in key moments.

“He will always keep you in ballgames,” Armstrong said.

His recruitment in football picked up steam as Esary earned opportunities to play both sports in college.

He had football offers from Central Washington and Eastern Washington, but he wanted to play quarterback and EWU wanted him as an athlete. So when NAIA Providence's basketball team came calling, he leapt at the chance to play basketball at the next level. 

He says he hopes to play professionally overseas one day.

He has a legacy to point to. The Chinooks basketball team’s 34-4 record spanning Esary’s junior and senior year is the best two-year stretch in program history.

“He’s going to be a legend,” Armstrong said. “People are going to talk about Jackson Esary years from now.”


School: Kalama.

Sports: Football, basketball.

Next step: University of Providence. He’s set to play basketball for the NAIA school in Great Falls, Montana and study business management. Before that? He'll head to King Salmon, Alaska to work on a commercial fishing boat this summer.

Senior-year highlights: Football: Led Kalama to a 12-0 record and 2B state championship. Threw for 2,720 yards, 39 touchdowns and rushed for 1,101 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, named Central 2B League Offensive MVP and SBLive’s all-classification all-state first team quarterback. Basketball: Central 2B League MVP and SBLive first team Class 2B all-state selection, led Kalama to 22-2 season (missed season-opening loss due to injury), Central 2B league title, 2B District IV title, third place state tournament finish, averaging 23.5 points, 8.8 boards, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game.

Career accomplishments: Football: Played tight end as a freshman on Kalama’s 2018 state championship. Sophomore season, moved to quarterback and led the team to a state runner-up finish in 2018, named all-state 2B honorable mention by the Associated Press. Junior season did not have playoffs due to COVID-19. Senior year, led team to 12-0 season, 2B state championship. Basketball: Multi-year standout guard. Led the Chinooks to a 2B District IV title as a junior and senior.

School/community achievements: Graduating with his associate’s degree from Lower Columbia College’s running start program with a 3.75 GPA.


1B boys: Reece Isaak, Almira-Coulee-Hartline

1B girl: Kenzi Pederson, Garfield-Palouse

2B girl: Kyra Gardner, Raymond

Rest coming soon ...



1B boy: Jimmy Strange, Naselle

1B girl: Jenna Andringa, Sunnyside Christian

2B boy: Kaden Krouse, Chewelah

2B girl: McKenna Martin, Tri-Cities Prep

1A boy: Tom Lambert, La Center

1A girl: Jordyn Goldsmith, Freeman

2A boy: Haden Hicks, Prosser

2A girl: Jaydia Martin, Hudson's Bay

3A boy: J.T. Tuimoloau, Eastside Catholic

3A girl: Madeline Gebers, Kennewick

4A boy: Cameron Breier, Chiawana

4A girl: Aaliyah Collins, Glacier Peak


1B boy: Brandon Montoya, Lyle-Wishram

1B girl: Maddy Dixon, Pomeroy

2B boy: Brody Klein, Rainier

2B girl: Maisie Burnham, Liberty (Spangle)

1A boy: Zach Sipma, Lynden Christian

1A girl: Jalyn Sackrider, Elma

2A boy: Isaiah Perez, Othello

2A girl: Hailey Marlow, West Valley (Spokane)

3A boy: Carter Monda, Evergreen (Vancouver)

3A girl: Camille Duckett, Roosevelt

4A boy: Riley Cissne, Chiawana

4A girl: Raigan Barrett, Rogers (Puyallup)