May 2023 ~
Whether it was the unavoidable influence of DNA, the inescapable impact of environment, the determined pursuit of hopes and dreams or, most likely, a powerful combination of all the above, Kristy Wing Ree (Marshall 1988) seemed destined for athletic greatness.
And if all her sports achievements weren’t destiny, neither were they a surprise. To anyone.
Born and raised in Portland, Kristy was the youngest of four athletic Wing children, including sisters, Kathy and Karyl, and brother Ken. “My family was very active and sports oriented,” Kristy says. “Being the youngest, I got to watch their games and they included me in a lot of their activities. I’ve always been grateful for that.”
Karyl Wing was a three-sport star at Marshall who went on to star in basketball at the University of Portland, where she is now enshrined in its sports hall of fame. She was also a 2004 inductee into the PIL Hall of Fame.
While Karyl was closest to her in age, Kristy says her oldest sibling, Ken, was equally influential.
“He and I used to go to the MAC Club (Multnomah Athletic Club) a lot and play pepper (a baseball/softball warm-up exercise),” she remembers. “So I got a lot of good practice time with him.”
By the time she reached Marshall, Kristy was well-prepped and already skilled enough to play on the varsity volleyball, basketball and softball teams, earning the first of a combined 12 letters in the sports. That’s a feat she considers one of her proudest achievements.
In addition to being skilled and naturally competitive, Kristy also benefited greatly from the tutelage and influence of two legendary – and PIL Hall of Fame — coaches in Ken Trapp (girls basketball and softball) and Rod Jones (volleyball).
“At the time, Marshall was kind of a powerhouse in basketball and volleyball,” Kristy remembers. “They were excellent coaches who were really motivational and competitive. They made it fun for me. I was fortunate to able to play at the next level because of their influence.”
Though she excelled in all three sports, volleyball was Kristy’s favorite, and that’s where she earned the most accolades. Her Marshall team made the state finals twice and her individual honors included twice being named to the All-State 1st Team. For an athlete who stood only 5’3”, that was no… small feat.
“I was built more for softball,” she says.
While Kristy also made the All-State 1st Team in softball, it was volleyball that earned her a full scholarship to Oregon State. “They wanted me to play both sports, but I wanted to focus on just volleyball,” she says.
Among Kristy’s college highlights was OSU’s upset of a USC team ranked in the top 10 nationally during her freshman year and being nominated for OSU’s Woman of the Year.
She was inducted into the PIL Hall of Fame in 2009, an achievement Kristy was “definitely excited about and honored to be part of. I do really feel proud when I reflect on the achievements I had in the past.”
Kristy has enjoyed a long and productive career as a teacher and coach, first at Beaverton High School and, since 2001, at Centennial. She earned volleyball coach of the year honors in both the Metro and Mt Hood conferences before leaving the coaching ranks in 2011. That’s when her daughter, Kaylee, another stellar athlete, enrolled at Barlow High, a rival to Centennial. “I didn’t want to coach against her,” Kristy says.
Kaylee would go on to star on the Seattle University softball team, which under different circumstances would be a nice segue back to the discussion of DNA, environment, hard work and destiny. But Kristy is more focused these days on her daughter’s starring role as the mother of Kristy’s first two grandchildren. “I’ve loving being a grandparent,” she says.
Odds are the sporting world may not have to wait long for the next generation of outstanding athletes from the Wing family bloodline.