Almira-Coulee-Hartline's Beth Okamoto is SBLive's WaFd Bank 2B/1B Senior Girl Athlete of the Year

She was 1B Northeast most valuable player for district champions in volleyball, basketball and softball
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Beth Okamoto patiently waited for an expected teenager growth spurt.

And she is still waiting.

In the meantime, all she did at Almira/Coulee-Hartline was serve as the undisputed senior leader - and 1B Northeast most valuable player - of three district championship-winning teams in volleyball, basketball and softball.

The Warriors' energizing catalyst is SBLive WA's 2023-24 senior multi-sport athlete of the year in the Class 2B/1B ranks.

"Those middle-school years, I was small, but I thought I'd grow," Okamoto said. "But opponents just got a lot taller and a lot bigger than me."

In high school, Okamoto grew to 5-foot-1. That's it.

And yet, with her quick-twitch movements and tireless competitive grit, Okamoto became one of the most exciting small-school athletes to watch around the state.

"I remember one play in (volleyball) practice when she was a junior, she ran into the wall going after a ball, picked herself up ... to go get a shanked return and kept the point alive," Warriors volleyball coach Katie Walsh said. "She would get the ball up anyway she could."

Opposing-fan chants about her diminutive stature eventually became her rallying cry.

"I learned to embrace it," Okamoto said.

Eventually, she won fans over - her own and on the other side - with her never-say-die style. Walsh said the team referred to her as its "mighty ninja."

Okamoto also did something else cool during basketball season. As soon as she was finished leading her squad to a home victory, she quickly changed and grabbed her trumpet to join the school's pep band for the upcoming boys game.

"She has a charisma," Walsh said. "She is dynamic that way. People like her. And everybody likes to be around her."



School: Almira/Coulee-Hartline.

Sports: Volleyball, basketball, softball.

Next step: Signed to play volleyball at Big Bend Community College (NWAC) where she will also study psychology.

Senior-year highlights: Was 1B Northeast most valuable player in volleyball (477 assists, 262 digs) as a setter, leading ACH to district championship and fourth-place finish in WIAA tournament. Named to 1B all-state first team by Washington State Volleyball Coaches Association. … Was 1B Northeast MVP in basketball (11.0 points per game) as a point guard, leading ACH to district championship and appearance at WIAA tournament. Named to SBLive WA’s all-state team for 1B and was selected to play in Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association (WSGBCA) senior all-state game. … Was 1B Northeast MVP in softball as a utility player and pitcher, leading ACH to district championship and bi-district tournament appearance. Batted .675 with 34 stolen bases, and was 4-0 with 4.02 ERA, striking out 84 hitters in 47 innings pitched.

Career accomplishments: Three-time all-1B Norttheast first-team and two–time all-state volleyball selection. ... Three-time all-1B Norttheast first-team basketball selection. ... Three-time all-1B Norttheast first-team softball selection, and was league MVP in 2022. Led school to back-to-back WIAA tournament appearances, including school-best fourth-place showing in 2023. … Was fall-sports cheerleader as junior.

School/community achievements: 4.0 GPA and class valedictorian taking honors courses; National Honor Society member as senior; served as student body vice president as senior; Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) member; Knowledge Bowl participant; Drama club member; first chair trumpet player in school’s concert and pep band; earned 19 individual awards, including as school’s “Distinguished Young Woman” winner, and four athletic- and academic-based scholarships for college; volunteer coach for community's youth program; volunteered for fundraising auction banquet setup through ACH Foundation; volunteered to serve elderly as Warrior League member; volunteered at local food banks through Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; held job at Sun Lakes Park Resort in Coulee City.


Todd Miles