The Snohomish County Sports Commission is beginning an exciting new blog series; Athlete Spotlight Interviews. Within this series, we will be interviewing current stand out Snohomish County athletes of all levels.
We are pleased to begin this series with Snohomish High School Women’s Basketball player, Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles. Tyler is a 3-year varsity starter with a flowing list of impressive stats. During her freshman year, she was an All-Wesco honorable mention and 2nd leading rebounder during the 2A/3A state championship tournament. She became team captain in her sophomore year and averaged a double-double during the season with points and rebounds. Tyler is now a Junior at Snohomish High School and will be graduating Spring of 2025.
Q: How did your love for basketball begin?
Tyler: My love for basketball began in the first grade when I was 6 years old. I started playing because my dad played growing up and signed me up for it. Even though I got dragged to practice for the first week, it quickly became a love and something I looked forward to. I continued playing through my elementary, middle and now high school years. I wasn’t really thinking about playing competitively to gain college interest until coaches reached out to me asking for me to play on their club teams. I wasn’t aware of the recruitment stuff until after covid ended and once I realized that was an option for me, my family jumped at the idea. Now that I’m in the middle of it as a junior, I’m glad I took the opportunity and hop to continue with my career.
Q: What role has your family played in your athletic career?
Tyler: My family has played a huge role in my athletic journey. Without their unwavering support and time sacrificed, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My parents always supported and pushed me to be the best I can. They have high ambitions for me and help me see the potential I have in my future. My sisters also have supported me at every step. Each of them has their own way of supporting me. My two oldest sisters always come to my high school games, my little sister looks up to me and plays basketball herself, and my older sister just above me has been playing just as long as me on the same teams. Even though her main sport is running, she still plays with me.
Q: What position do you play on the court, and what do you feel are your strengths in that position?
Tyler: I’ve always played post, but I am starting to transition into a power forward. I think my strong points are my rebounding, my physical strength for defense or finishing at the rim, and court IQ. I’ve played enough games in my life that I can see the court and determine the best play or pass to make. Especially with being in the center of the court playing post growing up I had to learn how to open up and see all possible options. I’ve become good at determining what move is the best, especially playing this summer with my club team whether that be the shot or drive for me, pass backdoor, or pass out for the shot.
Q: Are there any specific players or teams that you look up to or model your game after?
Tyler: Growing up, I didn’t watch as much pro or college basketball as I do now, but some girls that I always looked up to were the older high school players when I was in elementary. We would always go to high school games, and I would watch hoping I would be like them one day. Now I’m the player little girls watch and I’m grateful I got this far, and now I can be the high school player watching college players with the hope I’ll be them.
Q: What is your approach to teamwork and leadership on the court? How do you communicate and collaborate with your teammates?
Tyler: My approach for teamwork and leadership is forever changing as I learn more every day. Right now, I think it’s very effective to lead by example and be the player you can always rely on. I want to be approachable to my teammates and be able to help them be the best player they can be by answering their questions or being a role model. Communication is really important on the court as well as off. I know in the Snohomish program your teammates become a second family. Although we are forced to get to know each other due to a no phone rule but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Once we know each other off the court it’s so much easier to talk on the court. You put in the work outside to improve team chemistry.
Q: What is your experience playing at a Snohomish High School, which has so much pride in their athletics? What will you miss the most about it?
Tyler: Snohomish pride is like no other. With a crowd or none, I would play no matter what, but I will say it’s a whole lot more fun with the amazing band, cheerleaders, and student section yelling in your ear. I remember my freshman year being shellshock with the amount of people and noises in the gym, but I’ve grown to love it as I’ve played more. The atmosphere in the Panther Gym doesn’t compare, especially as pride is growing stronger and stronger after covid. I will definitely miss the cross-town Glacier Peak rival games the most. One town with two schools develops childhood teammates and friends that you can play and root against. When it comes to basketball games, there was always an opposing student section to feed into the already packed and loud gym growing the rivalry.
Q: What are some of your most memorable moments or achievements in high school basketball so far?
Stiles: The most memorable moment in my high school career would be getting 4th in state my freshman year and basically being carried there by our amazing seniors pretty much with their bare hands. Having them to admire made me want to be them one day. And now that they’re gone there are shoes to fill that I’d love to reshape for this coming up season. My most memorable achievement would be getting named player of the game by STSPN last year. It was a really validating feeling knowing the work I was putting in was paying off and that I should strive for more.
Q: Do you play any other sports? If so, how do you manage to juggle them?
Tyler: I play three sports in total. I play volleyball in the fall which was originally just to keep active during my off season, but I ended up being decently good and making it to state my freshman and sophomore year. I try to balance them by keeping each sport separate and being fully committed to each sport as I’m playing it. Although basketball is and always will be my main sport, I have a commitment to my other teammates that I wouldn’t break. I also throw for track in spring which helps with my strength for my club basketball season. My club basketball season overlaps with track, but I do prioritize that club team since track is mostly an individual sport and I just do it for fun.
Q: How do you see basketball fitting into your future, whether it’s in college, professionally, or as a lifelong passion?
Tyler: Basketball in my future is going to be an always. The big goal for a lot of high school athletes is going on scholarship to play in college, myself included. Although my goal was and still is going D1 as I always set my sights high. No matter where I go in college, I want it to be a good fit for me. Whether or not I do anything after that Is still up in the air. All I know is basketball will forever be a hobby and I hope to pursue coaching if nothing else comes out of it. My coaches are the ones who shaped me as a player and person today and I would love to be a part of another athlete’s journey as positively my coaches affected me.
You can view the Snohomish High School Womens Basketball schedule here.
We are currently accepting submission for athlete spotlights! Please email [email protected] to submit an athlete for consideration.