Video: 2018-19 MaxPreps Female Athlete of the YearAlaska's Alissa Pili earns the honor for the second straight year.
The 13 Alaska state titles are impressive. Four volleyball titles. Two basketball championships. Four shot put crowns. Two discus medals. One wrestling victory.
"I know what I'm capable of and playing all these sports, I haven't had a chance to focus (solely) on basketball," she said. "I'm excited to see how good I can be."
The 6-foot Pili, headed to USC on a basketball scholarship, is the 2018-19 MaxPreps Female High School Athlete of the Year. A repeat winner, Pili joins Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) swimmer Missy Franklin as the only two-time recipients.
"Ever since I was little, I wanted to compete," she said. "I hate losing. I'd play against the boys, who were bigger, stronger and faster, and that only pushed me to go harder."
A two-time MaxPreps basketball All-American, she also holds the state Class 4A basketball scoring record with 2,614 points. In this year's postseason run, Pili dropped 40 points in the 62-57 title win over Bartlett, while adding 22 and 18 in the 46-36 semifinal win over Soldotna, 33 and 19 in a 66-43 quarterfinal win over Ketchikan.
"I've always played ahead of my age group to prepare me for the next level," said Pili, who is undecided about her major. "Going to college is going to be a good experience, but hard. I'm going to have to work at it, but it's exciting."
While Pili's resume stood above the pack, some of the other athletes considered for the honor included Stanford-bound Haley Jones
of Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
, super-sophomore Azzi Fudd
of St. John's (Washington, D.C.
and volleyball Player of the Year Kenzie Knuckles
of Yorktown (Yorktown, Ind.)
. Also in the mix were Jessica Nunge
of Castle (Newburgh, Ind.)
, Missouri-bound Hayley Frank
of Strafford (Mo.)
, Jayda Coleman
of The Colony (Texas)
, four-time Gatorade Player of the Year Katelyn Tuohy of North Rockland (Thiells, N.Y.)
and six-time Mississippi state softball champion Aspen Wesley
of Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.)
While at USC, she'll have a familiar face on campus as brother, Brandon, plays football for the Trojans.
"Him being there wasn't a factor," she said of the recruiting process. "When I went on my visit, all the people I met were close and welcoming."
She said the family atmosphere reminder her of the Lynx teams she played on at Dimond.
"The people I've met through sports are the ones I'm closest with now," Pili said, adding, "some of my basketball teammates have been friends since elementary school."
And while Pili's focus shifts to USC basketball — and the goal of one day playing in the WNBA — her all-around accomplishments are lofty and amazing.
In addition to owning the basketball scoring record and leading the 29-5 Lynx to back-to-back titles, she also broke the school record in shot put this year with a throw of 42 feet, 9.25 inches. She doubled at state with a 122-01 discus throw.
In volleyball, she tallied 463 kills in 102 sets — a 4.5 kills per set average — while compiling a 50 percent kill percentage and 38 percent hitting average. The team was 49-4 and lost seven sets all season. Add in 73 serving aces and a 90 percent serving percentage and Pili is no one-trick pony.
"At a graduation party at the school, they had a whole table set up with all my awards," she reflected. "I spent some time at looked at them all and thought it was pretty cool."
And while Pili said part of her is going to miss all she's accomplished in high school, she's excited for the future.
"If I just continue to work hard, everything will work out all right," she said.
Past MaxPreps Female High School Athletes of the Year
2007-08 — Nneka Ogwumike
, Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas)
: Basketball, volleyball
2008-09 — Jordan Hasay, Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
: Cross country, track and field
2009-10 — Chiney Ogwumike
, Cy-Fair (Cypress, Texas): Basketball, volleyball
2010-11 — Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2011-12 — Missy Franklin
, Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.)
2012-13 — Missy Franklin, Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.): Swimming
2013-14 — Ariana Washington
, Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.)
: Track and field
2015-16 — Mikayla Pivec
, Lynnwood (Bothell, Wash.)
: Cross country, basketball, track and field
2016-17 — Tara Davis
, Agoura (Calif.)
: Track and field
2018-19 — Alissa Pili, Dimond (Anchorage, Alaska): Volleyball, basketball, track and field