Few girls have coaches from two sports clamor for their services, and Keagan Bolibol is one of those. I first met Keagan in July, during a cross country boot camp at Woodinville High School.
Her coach, Sandy Laurence, pointed her out as a budding star. When I spoke to Keagan, she said she was running cross country for Woodinville and playing soccer for the local Crossfire team this fall. As a junior-to-be, her goal was to play soccer collegiately.
Two months later, I entered Pop Keeney Stadium before a Woodinville soccer game. Falcon head coach Nathan Davis walked over.
"We’ve got a new star!" he said. I looked out and saw Bolibol.
"What’s Keagan doing here?" I asked.
"She made a last minute switch," Davis said. And then a maniacal grin seized control of his bearded face. "The cross country people aren’t too happy with it ... BUT WE GOT HER!"
Eight weeks later, as the season wound down, I headed back to the Popster to check in with the Lady Falcons.
As it turned out, Bolibol had missed several games due to injury. But she was back now, running around with a padded black headband for protection.
"I had a soccer game and got hit in the head," Bolibol said. "And then the next day I got into a car accident. Together, it made it worse. I had to be out for awhile and I definitely lost some fitness there. I’m trying to work back. I feel almost 100 percent. I still get headaches from time to time, but I’m almost there."
In a season where Woodinville finished 10-5-1 and near the top of Kingco, Bolibol flourished. This included her game-winning goal to beat Skyline on September 24th. That’s when her right foot launched a rocket shot from 20 yards out, beating the goalie and bringing down the house.
"As a junior, she was a great leader on our team and on our defense especially," Davis said. "But we were without her for about 5 games. And what was noticed is that we lost our offensive threat too. It’s funny that you lose a defender and you lose your offense, but that’s what happened when she was gone. She was such a shutdown defender on the outside, but once she gains possession and we get offensive, she gets up the field so fast that it’s like having another scoring threat."
Such was the case in late-season. Opposing teams advanced, but Keagan always seemed around the ball, gumming up the works. Then with control of the ball, she’d accelerate up the field with nimble rapidity.
"I want to work on my foot skills more, and I want to be able to beat people by dribbling past them," Bolibol said. "And I want to work on my confidence. That’s a major issue I have with myself on the field. Because the (Crossfire) team is very competitive and I’m not a star on the team at all. We’re all very even. It’s super competitive. It’s a little hard on the confidence when you’re playing with such amazing players."
When told that coach Davis considers her a star, Bolibol smiled.
"I love hearing that people believe in me," she said. "But I think it takes a skill to believe in yourself and not everybody has that. But I’m working on it, I’m trying."
Cross country coach Sandy Laurence emphasized that she wants what’s best for Bolibol.
"She’s a wonderful kid," Laurence said. "Her future’s so bright. I hope that I get to share some of the light. She’s going to be just a human being to watch. There isn’t anything she won’t do her best at."
Laurence was told that Bolibol sometimes struggles with confidence.
"She will overcome that and she doesn’t let it show," Laurence said. "Keagan is one of the greatest natural leaders I’ve ever met -- of any age. She’s positive, supportive in a quiet sort of steady way. Good leaders know how to keep the whole together. They don’t divide, they unite. Keagan is a uniter."