Chmielewski’s hectic NK career comes to an end | Kitsap Daily News (2024)

It is not every day I get my haircut while doing an interview, but with North Kitsap’s do-everything athlete Mason Chmielewski, that’s just what happened.

But cutting hair is just one of his skills. The recent graduate played basketball, soccer and tennis in high school, then in summers played soccer for Kitsap Alliance and the Bainbridge Island Football Club.

NK basketball coach Scott Orness called him “Mr. Utility” because he can do it all.

Chmielewski said he just followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Logan. He “also did at least two sports so it showed me it was possible, and he paved the way,” Chmielewski said. “I have had to balance club soccer with basketball and overlapped and got good with it.”

Chmielewski has been living the hectic lifestyle since he began playing sports at 4 years old. “I mainly played basketball and soccer,” he said. “My first time playing tennis was in high school. My brother played tennis in high school so I played with him a bit. I went to a tennis camp with Jay DeVries in the summer and came out in the fall and kept coming back every year.”

He would bounce from club soccer and high school basketball in the summer, to tennis in the fall, basketball in the winter, and to tennis and soccer in the spring. Yet, Chmielewski was not a big name when he entered NK as a freshman in the 2020-21 school year. First, he entered school during COVID. Since all of the sports were played in the spring that year, he decided to play basketball instead of tennis.

Chmielewski was never the tallest, fastest, strongest or flashiest player. So he had to find a way to stand out.

“Every sport my role has been the workhorse,” Chmielewski said. “I would give 110% at every practice and game. It is not 50/50 because I will outwork anybody for the ball. Everyone would look at me as a maximum-effort guy.”

Soccer coach Greg St. Peter said: “Mason’s role on the team would be best described as an anchor. He has been the steady force offensively and defensively with a strong aerial presence and long throw-in threat.”

Chmielewski struggled as an underclassman. After battling the COVID season, Chmielewski was dealing with personal battles behind the scenes. He would not elaborate but said he connected with God and built a relationship with him, which helped. He was tested on the court and field during tryouts and away from sports with his mental strength. He also dealt with bumps and bruises while playing all his sports but remained active so he could excel.

Chmielewski flipped things around his junior year and took the NK community by storm. Since he remained active throughout the year, Chmielewski was able to boost his abilities, including his strength, speed and leadership.

Chmielewski began to pile up accolades as an upperclassman. He won league and districts and placed fourth at state in tennis as a junior with Ethan Gillespie in doubles and followed up with another league and district title and third-place finish at state as a senior with Spencer Gillespie.

“Mason is one of the hardest-working, most coachable kids I have had in my tennis program,” tennis coach DeVries said. “Mason is someone who leads by example and treats others the way they are supposed to be treated.”

Chmielewski earned first-team all-league, first-team all-state and led the Viking soccer team to a second-place finish at state as a junior midfielder. He followed it with co-league MVP, first-team all-state, a third-place finish at state and earned North Kitsap’s Joe Shandera award. That award has been given to NK’s top student-athlete for over 50 years.

Of Chmielewski, St. Peter said, “His contributions and impact was big from the start and watching his development progress each season as a player and person has been a privilege and really fun to be a part of.”

Chmielewski’s achievements ended with first-team all-league and earning captain status as he played forward for the basketball team. He led the team in rebounds and helped the Vikings place third and sixth at state the past two years.

“Mason was the definition of hustle and hard work which was contagious throughout our program,” Orness said. “Mason does all the little things and just wants to win. He was willing to do anything for us and fill any role.”

Although Chmielewski piled up several accolades at NK, he played a larger impact on each program as a whole. “He was always good to our younger players, and that is huge for a program like ours,” DeVries said. “He was not always a vocal leader, but he was a leader by doing.”

Orness said, “He is one of the best Vikings ever. Off the court, he is an outstanding student and leader.”

Chmielewski graduated from NK June 7 but his schedule has yet to slow down. He is heading to Utah with his club soccer team to compete in regionals for a chance at nationals. In addition, Chmielewski has helped train a handful of kids in soccer and has been cutting hair for fun for the last two years.

“I was at a soccer tournament with my club team two years ago and one of my teammates had a haircutting kit that he brought to the hotel,” Chmielewski said. “We had another teammate who didn’t care about his hair so he let us all have a go at it. It was nice to get into haircutting, to have fun with it, spend time with friends and make them look good.”

Chmielewski is planning to attend Central Washington University but he is still considering going to a different school and trying to walk on for a soccer team. “There will be a bunch of college coaches at the soccer tournament” in Utah, Chmielewski said. “I am going to get together some film and reach out to coaches.”

He is hanging on to his memories at NKHS since that could be his final time playing competitively. He will miss the community because, “It is like no other. It is such a loving community and family. I loved my time and wouldn’t want to go to any other school.”

Likewise, NK also is missing him. “All the accolades and abilities he has as a student athlete are great of course,” St. Peter said. “But at the end of a high school career like Mason’s the most impressive achievement is who he is as a person. He and his family should be very proud.”

Chmielewski finishes his tennis career with two state appearances.

Chmielewski is known for his hard work and maximum effort.

Chmielewski’s hectic NK career comes to an end | Kitsap Daily News (2024)


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