Athlete Spotlight: Onalaska’s Kayden Allison Stays Ready During Shutdown
Logger Lesson: Kayden Allison Trains Daily in Hope of Spring Sports Returning
MOSSYROCK — Eighteen miles of cow fields and family farms line Highway 12 from I-5 to Mayfield Lake, situated between the pastoral outposts of Salkum and Mossyrock. Past paint-chipped wooden for-sale signs offering timothy hay and alfalfa. Past Kelley’s Kountry Kafe. Past the Brown Shack Tavern, with a giant painted sign showing a farmer kicking up his feet with a beer and cigar in hand and a corn stalk in the background.
Even further is a single-lane dead-end road near the banks of Mayfield Lake where a state champion high school athlete lives, a 15-minute drive from his nearest teammate and what might as well be a world away from the novel coronavirus outbreak that cut his spring sports season short.
It’s a far cry from Centralia and Chehalis, which are small, rural towns in their own right, but for Onalaska high schooler Kayden Allison, this is his reality. Compared to many prep athletes in Lewis County, he has it good.
Allison is just a junior, meaning if the schools never open back up this academic year he still has next year to make his mark and hopefully secure a scholarship playing basketball, which is his dream at this point.
Allison helped the undefeated Loggers football team capture their first state title in 30 years, since 1986, by knocking off two-time defending state champion Kalama this past fall. A second-team all-league selection at both tight end and linebacker, Allison is even better with basketball sneakers on than football cleats.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound post was a crucial cog in Onalaska basketball’s run to the state tournament in Spokane, as the Loggers went 20-8 and were the final county boys team left standing this season. He averaged 16.5 points and six rebounds per game, just shy of the team’s leading scorer, Carter Whitehead, who was selected to The Chronicle’s All-Area boys basketball team. Allison, who garnered second-team all-league honors, credits Whitehead for a lot of his success this year.
“He makes my job easy, on the break,” Allison said. “He can dish it to me and he gets a lot of double teams, so I get a lot of mismatches in the post.”
Allison is hoping he can build upon this season and secure a basketball scholarship before he graduates; so much that he elected to drop baseball this spring, a sport he’s been playing since he was little, so he can focus squarely on basketball.
“Last year I made the decision that basketball is what I want to do after high school,” Allison said. “I’m just going to try and get as good as possible so I can hopefully get the opportunity.”
He recently joined an AAU basketball team for the first time, South Sound Roots Academy, based out of Olympia, and was set to begin this spring. Willapa Valley standout Logan Walker is also on the team. But Allison and Walker never got the chance to step foot on the court for a single practice with Roots as Olympia School District shut down on March 12 because of coronavirus. The next day Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the closure of all K-12 schools in the state through at least April 24. Allison’s team had a tournament scheduled for the end of march, and three more in April, all of which are now canceled.
Still, Allison said, it’s nothing compared to what the seniors around the county are going through right now.
“It does suck, especially for the seniors who play track and baseball,,” Allison said. “Like kids from Adna, Braden Thomas, Zander Blankenship, they’re state champions in track. And without track this year, it’s going to be hard for them to maybe get into college or do what they want to do. It’s just unfortunate.”
For Allison, his daily schedule consists of waking up at 10 a.m. to take advantage of having no school. He then eats breakfast and begins working out from about noon to 2 p.m., running cones in his fenced in backyard and lifting weights. He has a bench press set up in his parent’s two-car garage. His main workout partner is his dog, Jet, a greyhound that darts around the property at breakneck speeds.
“It’s been nice,” Allison said. “Just a lot of free time. A lot of video games. Kind of isolated.”
Though he’s enjoying what’s basically become a summer vacation at this point, Allison is anxious to get back in school, as weird as that sounds. Returning to school means lacing up his sneakers for AAU, which means one step closer to his goal of playing college basketball. In the meantime, he’s taking the days as they come.
“Hopefully it’s not too long,” Allison said. “If we come back, I don’t know if we’ll pick softball, baseball and track back up, but I hope we can. Just a lot of time to reflect on our football and basketball seasons. Watch film, lift, get stronger, get closer with your family.”