Success in athletics has come readily to Misty Stark.
The Freeman High School senior is a two-time All-Northeast A League volleyball player, was second-team all-league in basketball last year, played second base on two state qualifying softball teams and last year long jumped more than 16-feet and flirted with 100-feet in the discus throw.
But she hasn’t been without her disappointments. Last year a conflict with an assistant coach deprived her of a chance to compete in the NEA district track meet.
After finishing second in league last fall, nervousness got the better of the Scotties volleyball team during the district tournament and they were eliminated in two games.
And this year’s basketball team, with its fourth head coach in four years, is 1-12 and struggling.
“It’s frustrating,” said Stark, the only senior on the team. “It makes the season very long.”
But it hasn’t weakened her resolve as an athlete or dampened her enjoyment of the games.
Indeed, following last week’s initial victory, a league win over Medical Lake, there was talk about cutting down the nets and celebrating like the team had won a championship.
Stark’s dad, Terry, is 6-foot-5 and had a chance to play basketball at Eastern Washington University. He went to work instead because his father was ill with a heart problem.
But Stark said she learned most from her mother, Stormy.
“She’s very athletic and taught me to shoot,” said Freeman’s dominant female athlete. “She played against boys and is still good. She has a good hook shot.”
There’s no less storm in Misty.
“She’s just so strong and one of our most complete athletes,” said John Hays, Freeman’s girls basketball coach. “She’s just a dominant personality and loves competition.”
Stark is averaging 15.7 points per game for the Scotties, nearly half the team total. She also leads the team in rebounding and assists, averaging nearly 8 of each per game. She has a 23-inch vertical leap and can play any position on the floor.
“Everyone knows she’s our dominant player and most of the teams have used a box and one against her,” said Hays. “But she still has not scored less than double figures in but one game all year.”
Because of the youth on Freeman’s team, which includes five sophomores and four juniors, Stark was moved from point guard to a wing this year.
“I’m a point guard,” said Stark. “I like passing more than shooting. (Hays) sees it different than me.”
Hays admitted that she could play the point because she sees the floor and passes so well, and is unselfish. Her value as a three-point shooter, driver and rebounder dictated the change.
If she has a weakness, he said, it is that if things go bad, she tries too hard.
“I have a hard time with all the inexperience,” Stark admitted. “He tells me, ‘Patience, patience, they’re young.’ If I help them out they’ll get better.”
Volleyball is Stark’s favorite sport. She said that failure of Freeman’s players to communicate during games kept the Scotties from state last fall.
She switched from softball to track after her sophomore year when the league went from slow to fast pitch.
She is reluctant to talk about the track season, calling it simply a clash of personalities. This year she is torn between competing again or going to work to earn money for college.
She plans to attend Spokane Falls Community College. There she hopes to play both volleyball and basketball.
Stark’s athletic philosophy has remained the same, win or lose.
“I just go out and try to win,” she said. “I never give up.”
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