Harrington signs NLI to play tennis at Upper Iowa University

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 21, 2013 

Squalicum senior Alexa Harrington has dedicated most of the past two years of her life to earning a spot on a college tennis program.

When she signed her National Letter of Intent to attend NCAA Division II Upper Iowa University on Wednesday, April 17, she accomplished just that.

Harrington hasn't played tennis for the Storm since she was a sophomore so she could focus her practice time with her Seattle-area coach, but that wasn't the only sport she gave up at Squalicum.

"Basketball was my first love, and I gave that up, too," Harrington said in a phone interview. "I played basketball my whole life. But I knew at 5-8 I probably wasn't going to be able to go that far in college basketball, so I decided this was what I wanted to do, and I went after it."

Harrington said she goes down to Seattle for instruction one or two times per week, and spends the rest of her time working out at the Bellingham Tennis Club.

Harrington said she chose Upper Iowa, which competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, over Portland, Portland State and a couple of other Midwestern schools despite a change in coaches in January that made her relook at her choice to join the Peacocks.

"I went back there (to Fayette, Iowa) to visit with my dad, and I just loved him," Harrington said. "He has a new outlook, and his entire goal is to win conference championships and contend for NCAA titles. ... I think they're an up-and-coming program. Hopefully by the time I'm a sophomore, they'll be a top team."

The small school (about 2,000 students), smaller class sizes and shorter terms that help a student body that is heavy invested in the athletic programs also interested Harrington, she said, as did the fact that Upper Iowa has a good International Business program.

- DAVID RASBACH

MEPPELINK FULFILLS COLLEGE DREAM

Lynden Christian senior Nathan Meppelink has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball for Biola University.

Meppelink said he made the choice to head to La Mirada, Calif., over an offer from Trinity Western in Canada.

"It's been a dream of mine to play college basketball in the United States, and this is an opportunity for me to chase my dream," Meppelink said in a phone interview. It's a great opportunity for me to play basketball there. I think they're going to help me grow in every aspect."

Meppelink, a 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 8.1 points per game as a senior, helped the Lyncs place fifth at state and was selected second-team All-Northwest Conference, said the weather and Biola's longtime coach Dave Holmquist also were big draws for him.

"The school just seemed like the perfect fit," Meppelink said. "The coach stresses many of the same things we did here at Lynden Christian, and you can't beat the California weather."

The Eagles finished 28-6 last year and advanced to the third round of the NAIA National Tournament - the 20th time the program made the tournament in Holmquist's 32 seasons.

Meppelink said he plans to major in Business, but he's not yet sure which area he'll focus on.

- DAVID RASBACH

CYR-MOORE KEEPS IT IN THE FAMILY

Sehome senior Noah Cyr-Moore has decided he will continue his basketball career at Westmont College, choosing it over Western Oregon and Northwest Nazarene.

Though the Santa Barbara, Calif., campus played a big part in Cyr-Moore's decision, he said the opportunity to play for his uncle, Warriors head coach John Moore, sealed the deal.

"He's been persuading me in that direction," Cyr-Moore said in a phone interview. "I'll have to prove my stuff, that's for sure. I don't want people to think I got there just because I'm related to him. There was no favoritism or anything."

Doing that won't be as easy as you'd think.

Moore, a 6-1 guard, 11.1 points per game in Sehome's sometimes frenetic style of offense, will have to adjust to the Princeton-style of offense his uncle likes to run.

"It will be a lot slower, that's for sure," Cyr-Moore said "He mostly recruited me for my passing, not because of scoring or breaking someone down one-on-one. I'm working hard on my ball handling and being able to run sets and have the offense go through the high post."

Moore, who was a big part of Sehome's defense, should find the Warriors' three-quarter court press trap to his liking, though.

Westmont was ranked fifth in the NAIA last season, but lost in the first round of the National Tournament.

Moore said he is planning to major in Psychology in hopes that he can become a police officer.

- DAVID RASBACH

GUIDROZ MAKING AN IMPACT FOR SQUALICUM

Squalicum boys' soccer player Gabe Guidroz is quietly making a name for himself as a force in the Storm's attack.

Guidroz can be lost in the mix of Squalicum front line talents, given the Storm tout six players who have scored three or more goals, but coach Joe McAuliffe has certainly noticed Guidroz's stellar play.

"Gabe is smooth and surprisingly quick," McAuliffe wrote in an email. "If he continues to develop as he has these past three years, he will be one of the most effective forwards in the league next year."

He's proving his worth this season. Guidroz's six goals and four assists are both team highs.

McAuliffe also said Guidroz makes an impact on the game every time he's on the field.

ANDREW LANG

HOYOS EARNS BIG WIN AGAINST TOP OPPONENT

Bellingham girls' tennis player Bella Hoyos epitomizes the phrase 'success starts at the top.'

Hoyos, Bellingham's No. 1 singles player, has led the Red Raiders to an 8-0 record with a 2-0 NWC mark.

She most recently beat Sedro-Woolley's Pauline Mosch, who coach Steve Chronister billed as one of the league's top players, 6-1, 6-2, during a conference match.

Hoyos is perfect this season with an 8-0 singles record.

"Bella had a good win against one of the top players in our conference," Chronister wrote in an email. "Her stroke production and concentration were outstanding."

- ANDREW LANG

SMITH ENJOYING FIRST-YEAR SUCCESS

Sehome girls' tennis freshman Lauren Smith has wasted no time making her mark in the high school ranks.

Smith hasn't allowed a single game win outside of a 6-1, 6-1 win against Burlington-Edison's Jessica Maskell back on Friday, March 22.

She owns a 7-0 record mostly playing in Sehome's No. 2 or No. 3 singles positions.

"Lauren has stepped into our program and made huge contributions at matches and practices," Mariners coach Bonna Giller wrote in an email. "She is a part of a very young varsity team and fits beautifully. Her focus at practice and matches is quite impressive for a freshman. I am expecting huge things from her before her high school career is over."

Luckily for Giller, Smith has three more years to play.

- ANDREW LANG

Reach DAVID RASBACH at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2271.

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