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Josh Conerly Jr., nation's No. 1 lineman, is SBLive's 3A Senior Athlete of the Year

He led Rainier Beach to the state football quarterfinals and state basketball championship game. His connection to his community, school pride was behind it all.

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.

Enjoy as we honor some of Washington’s top multi-sport senior athletes!

Josh Conerly Jr. won't name names. But over the course of his high school career at Rainier Beach, more than once has someone from a surrounding program tried to convince him the grass is greener elsewhere. Many a pass has been made his way luring him to transfer. 

His response was consistent. 

"The thing about me is, I’m with my people," Conerly Jr. said. "This is where I grew up. This is my whole life. If you’re from south Seattle, you know. Why would I leave?"

The proof, he'll tell you, is in the pudding. 

As a senior, Conerly Jr., an Oregon signee and the nation's No. 1 rated offensive lineman, led the football team to the 3A state quarterfinals, where it lost to eventual champion Bellevue, and helped carry the Vikings basketball team to the state title game behind a tournament-MVP performance.

None of it would have happened if Conerly Jr., SBLive's 3A Senior Athlete of the Year, had left the school in search of greener pastures as he was prodded by some to do, and as 18 of his football teammates did after his sophomore year. 

Even through COVID shutdowns and a shortened 2020-21 season where Beach had to drop down a Metro League division due to low numbers, he was persistent. He wanted to become the face of the program. He wanted to bring championships to his home school. He was defiant — and determined to leave an imprint.

"He was like, 'I'm not going anywhere,' " Sampson said. "This is where I want to be."

The 6-foot-5, 283-pound offensive tackle's combination of strength, footwork has analysts projecting him as a future NFL player. Millionaire college coaches fought for his services. His college commitment was national news.

While his recruiting battle went on, becoming a leader was a multi-step process. As a sophomore, he was often times the most talented player on the field. But in practice and in the locker room, he was still finding his voice as a leader among a team of elders. 

The older he got, the more comfortable he felt barking out commands. When he talked, teammates listened.

(MORE: Coverage of Josh Conerly's high school career)

"Being the oldest on the team, being the big dog I am, it was a lot easier to teach," Conerly Jr. said.

It was on full display during his senior basketball season. 

As the Vikings built an 18-4 record heading into the 3A state tournament, Conerly Jr. was often times the strongest player on the floor, but Beach ran its offense through him.

He averaged a double-double, and held the team together when head coach Mike Bethea was hospitalized with COVID-19 during the season.

Once Beach reached state, Conerly Jr. was an interior force, willing the Vikings to the 3A state title game on one big performance after another. 

"State run was probably the best four, five games I’ve ever played in my life," Conerly Jr. said. "For that being the last time playing real organized basketball, I’m pretty sure I made the most of it."


School: Rainier Beach

Sports: Football, basketball.

Next step: Signed to play football at Oregon.

Senior-year highlights: Football: Metro League lineman of the year. First team all-Metro League selection on offense and defense. Led Beach to a 6-4 season and 3A state quarterfinal appearance, where it lost to eventual champ Bellevue. SBLive's offensive lineman of the year. Basketball: Averaged a double-double and asserted himself as one of the top bigs in the state, led the Vikings to a 22-5 record. Voted 3A state tournament MVP by media. Second team all-classification all-state selection by SBLive.

Career accomplishments: Football: Worked his way into the starting lineup as a freshman. Then became a two-way first team all-Metro League selection as a sophomore, junior and senior. Basketball: Three-year varsity player. Helped lead the Vikings to a 3A state third place finish as a sophomore and runner-up finish as a senior. Voted 3A state tournament MVP by media. SBLive's second team all-state selection as a senior. Averaged a double-double.


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

1B girl: Kenzi Pederson, Garfield-Palouse

2B girl: Kyra Gardner, Raymond

2B boy: Jackson Esary, Kalama

1A girl: Hailey Rath, Eatonville

1A boy: Jason Grant, Toppenish

2A girl: Halle Wright, Prosser

2A boy: Colton Bower, North Kitsap

3A girl: Hannah Dickinson, Lakeside (Seattle)

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)

Graphics by Johario Lopez; @Jo.lopez.33.