Heritage HS basketball player earns gold medal with American Samoa

Katie Peneueta. KPTV photo.

VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) – A three-sport standout from Vancouver spent the month of July getting closer to her roots during the Pacific Games in Samoa.

16-year-old Heritage High School junior Katie Peneueta spent three weeks of her summer vacation playing basketball and celebrating her Samoan heritage.

The 6-foot-2-inch star was invited to play for America Samoa, a U.S. territory island of some 55,000 people. Peneueta was the youngest player on the roster.

“I am so used to club ball which is really fast, and there is just a lot of quick movements, but the things with playing with grown women, they are very methodical about their play and they take the time and find the right plays,” Peneueta said. “They don’t rush things.”

Peneueta earned the start in the gold medal game.

“I didn’t really want to go tell everyone, ‘hey, I won a gold medal this summer,’” Peneueta said. “I just don’t want to be that type of person to push it on people.”

As fall approaches, Peneueta transitions from playing basketball to playing volleyball.

“Volleyball is kind of like my getaway from basketball,” Peneueta said. “I still put shots up and get in workouts in the weekends, but I really enjoy the fun of volleyball. It’s not as much stress as basketball.”

Peneueta says she is being heavily recruited by multiple Division 1 colleges but knows education is the golden ticket.

“At the same time it is really stressful, it is also really humbling knowing all of the opportunities that I have, and I just have to think back on it and thank God for all of the blessings I have received,” Peneueta said.

Peneueta says she hopes to one day become a forensic pathologist.

“I kind of think its because I grew up with my grandma watching Law & Order SVU all the time and Criminal Minds,” Peneueta said. “I think it just kind of stuck in my head that I want to do that.”

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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