2023 Students of Distinction

Payton Knowles a winner on and off the field

Posted on May 12th, 2023 By:

Gig Harbor Now is posting profiles of each of the Students of Distinction being honored by the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. The students will be honored during a banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at Ocean5, 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Student: Payton Knowles

School: Peninsula High School

Category: Athletic Achievement

Payton Knowles is all about sports. He was captain of the Peninsula Seahawks football team, competing 70 percent of his passes while being voted Most Inspirational Player by his teammates.

He also has earned three varsity letters in baseball and has been chosen for All State, All Area, League MVP and Tacoma Athletic Commission’s Athlete of the Year. His batting average is an astounding .527. In 2022, he helped lead his Seahawks team to its first league championship in 12 years, a feat that he says is his most important accomplishment.

All-everything in baseball

Peninsula baseball coach Michael Johnson calls Payton “a passionate, determined and driven individual. On the baseball field, Payton is a top-level performer and competitor who has built himself an impressive resume. After leading the league in almost every offensive category, he was unanimously voted the 2022 South Sound Conference Player of the Year and was awarded Athlete of the Year by the Tacoma Athletic Commission.”

During his down time, Payton volunteers at youth football camps, teaching kids how to throw a football and the importance of endurance, Johnson added. “He does everything he can to make the people around him better, because that is just the type of caring teammate he is. He understands the importance of community, the importance of family and he wants each one of his teammates to succeed.”

Payton Knowles

Payton is also a winner academically and has been on the honor roll every semester.

Off to Gonzaga

His favorite thing about high school was “the opportunity to make lifelong friendships at both high schools,” he said. His biggest challenge was learning how to tune out negative criticism from his peers.

This fall, he’ll play baseball at Gonzaga and major in business with a minor in sports management.

His advice to younger high school students is to “trust the process and don’t rush the progression of high school. Have fun doing the little things.”

Payton Knowles

Parents: Mark & Jill Knowles

Achievements: Baseball – 3 varsity letters, All State, All Area, League MVP, TAC Athlete of the Year, .527 batting average; Football – 3 varsity letters, team captain, voted Most Inspirational Player; honor roll every semester; overall GPA: 3.8-3.9

Favorite teacher: Ms. Kim Demianiw. “She has always been there for me no matter the situation.”

Best thing about PHS: “Teachers and students support each other, my favorite part of PHS.”