Eleven players and two coaches from the Selah High School football team stand at the AA state football championship game between Tumwater and Prosser High Schools Dec. 5, 2015 in Tacoma, Wash. The Selah team earned the 2015 academic state champion award by having the highest overall grade point average of all the class AA football teams in the state. Accepting the award were (L-R) coach Scott Ditter, Tyler Mooney, Emanuel Balbuena, Gabe Tyrrell, Lane Berry, coach Jeff Jamieson, Wyatt Pettijohn, Colton Redtfeldt, Anthony Bays, Peter Kuhn, Mason Martinez, Jonathan Delgado, and Connor Engle. (Photo courtesy of Colton Redtfeldt/Selah High School)

"Brains over brawn,” as the age-old saying goes. People can debate which is the superior attribute, 
but there’s no arguing that this year’s Selah High School football team had both.

The Vikings were at the Tacoma Dome on Dec. 5 during the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Class 2A state championship game between Prosser and Tumwater. While there, the Vikings accepted the 2015 Academic State Championship award, which is presented to the football team from each classification that has the highest overall grade-point average out of every school in the state.

Selah won the award with a team GPA of 3.401 — the best among the 63 Class 2A schools.

“It makes me proud to know that our student athletes are serious about their grades and it’s great that they are rewarded for it,” Vikings head coach Scott Ditter said.

Eleven juniors and seniors from the Vikings were present during the halftime ceremony to receive the plaque from the WIAA.

I was one of those players, and it was a special feeling for us to be standing on the field in front of hundreds of people. Even though Selah’s football team had won the award the previous three years, only a handful of the 11 had actually ever gone to Tacoma to accept the award.

Heck, I had never watched an entire state championship game on TV, let alone watched one in person. So getting the chance to travel to Tacoma and actually go onto the field made for an enjoyable experience.

We had a good season, going 8-3, and our record qualified us for a playoff crossover game against Cheney to determine which school would go into the playoff bracket. Unfortunately, we were knocked off and didn’t go further.

The state championship game itself was tense the entire way, with Prosser winning 22-15. Sitting on Tumwater’s side of the stadium, the level of tension in the stands was evident to all of Selah’s players.

The Prosser athletes won the title because of their physicality and superior team play, but all the Selah players who attended the game agreed that our own team was also being recognized as winners due to our academic success.


Colton Redtfeldt is a junior at Selah High School and is a member of the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed program for teen journalists.