Meridian senior Max McGuinn will still be calling signals, and in the end, that was a deciding factor in his decision to sign a National Letter of Intent to play football at the University of Puget Sound next year.
"I got a couple of offers to play linebacker," McGuinn said in a phone interview. "But I really wanted to pursue playing quarterback. UPS liked the idea of me playing there, and that was huge for me."
McGuinn said he had offers to play defense for Simon Fraser and Cal Lutheran, but the Loggers were the only one that saw him behind center.
It didn't hurt that Trojans offensive coordinator Patrick Ames is a UPS alumni, either, McGuinn said.
The Loggers, who went winless and finished last in the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference last fall, run a spread, no-huddle offense that McGuinn thinks will fit him just fine.
"At Meridian we ran multiple formations," said McGuinn, who was selected first-team All-Northwest Conference on both sides of the ball for Meridian last year. "We ran a lot more shotgun last year, which should help me. I enjoyed having time to scan the field and make pre-snap reads."
McGuinn passed for 1,841 yards and 20 TDs and rushed for 396 yards and six more scores last year in helping the Trojans reach the first round of the Class 1A State Playoffs.
McGuinn said he plans to major in Kinesiology while attending the Tacoma school and use that to follow his father into a career in firefighting.
In fact, for his senior project, he arranged for a ride along with the fire department last week.
"It was a great experience," McGuinn said. "My dad's been a firefighter for 26 years. To see what he does on an everyday basis working was amazing. It's something you have to experience first hand to understand. ... We got a couple of exciting calls. We had one house fire. I learned a lot from the communication standpoint and all the rules and orders that flow through the captain."
- DAVID RASBACH
RICHARD TO LEARN FROM BROSIUS
If you're going to learn the game, you might as well learn it from a World Series MVP.
Bellingham senior pitcher Matt Richard will get that opportunity, as he committed to play baseball at NCAA Division III Linfield College, which is coached by 1998 World Series MVP Scott Brosius.
"He's just about the most humble World Series MVP you'll ever see," Richard said. "He has no ego or anything like that. He's just a down to earth guy - real personable. He's that father figure every kid wants to play for and be with for four years."
The fact that Brosius, a Linfield alum, is coaching the top-ranked team in the nation and a squad that just wrapped up the Northwest Conference title didn't hurt Richard's decision, either, as he selected the Wildcats over Chapman University, Willamette University and a couple other junior college options.
"Knowing they have a solid offense gives you a lot of confidence as a pitcher," Richard said. "Their two best pitchers are young, so I'm going to be able to learn from them. Just as a pitcher, knowing that they'll put up a lot of runs is really comforting, and once again, they have a great coach to help me grow through my four years there."
Richard entered Friday, April 26, with a 5-2 record and a 3.89 ERA. He said his fastball is topping out around 83 to 85 mph, and his changeup has greatly improved this year, as he has struck out 34 and walked only 13 in 41 2/3 innings of work.
The left-hander said the Wildcats have asked him to focus on the weight room between now and the time he steps on the McMinnville, Ore., campus, where he plans to major in Exercise Science and follow his father's footsteps to become an EMT.
"I liked the program there - it is nationally renowned," Richard said. "I loved Linfield - the campus, the coach, the program. Everything was perfect for me."
- DAVID RASBACH
MCINTYRE TO DOUBLE UP
Meagan McIntyre won't be the first college athlete to compete in more than one sport. Most collegiate cross county runners also run track and field in the spring.
But cross country and softball?
That's what McIntyre, a senior three-sport athlete at Sehome, plans to do next year when she attends Scripps College, an all-women's school in Claremont, Calif., that competes athletically along with nearby Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd College as Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the NCAA Division III Southern California Interscholastic Athletics Conference.
"I had been talking to the softball coach," McIntyre said in a phone interview. "She had seen my skills video and we had talked about me playing if I was accepted. ... I was actually contacted by the cross country coach, because on my application I said that I ran cross country. He asked me if I wanted to run for them, and I decided I did."
She'll end up running for a pretty good team, as the Athenas finished third at the Division III National Championships last fall.
McIntyre actually wasn't a varsity runner for the deep Sehome girls' team, but she placed 11th at the Northwest Conference Junior Varsity Championships with a time of 22 minutes, 9.3 seconds.
"I was never really thinking cross country," McIntyre said. "I barely even decided to do it in high school. I tried a couple of runs over the summer my freshman year, and I really liked them, and I liked the girls on the team. I really liked coaches Kevin (Ryan) and (Mark) Kerr, and I really enjoyed their program. That was what kept me running, and they helped me develop a running lifestyle."
That lifestyle obviously translated well over to softball for McIntyre, who also played basketball for the Mariners.
She ended up hitting .430 with 13 RBI and stole 26 bases as a junior, earning her second-team All-Northwest Conference honor.
McIntyre said she expects to play either second base or outfield for the Athenas, though she had a 10-10 record as a pitcher last year.
"I guess it could be challenging doing two sports, because I'll need to try to stay in running shape during the softball season, and during cross country I want to stay sharp with throwing and hitting," McIntyre said. "I'll need to do a lot of cross training."
But McIntyre said the real reason she chose Scripps over Occidental College and American University is because of the academics the school offers.
The senior, who is in the running to be a valedictorian at Sehome with her 4.0 GPA, said she plans to major in International Relations.
"I really like the opportunity they will give me with academics," she said. "When I went there to visit, I felt at home. I clicked with a number of people I met, and it was the perfect place for me."
- DAVID RASBACH
TARLETON TO RUN TRACK AT CLAREMONT
McIntyre won't be the only former Mariner heading to Southern California and competing for the Athenas.
Classmate Hanna Tarleton plans to attend Claremont McKenna College and run track for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps next year.
"I had a cousin that went to Claremont, and I went down there and watched a basketball game down there, and that was probably the first time I thought about going there," Tarleton said in a phone interview. "I saw how much he liked it, and I talked to a number of his friends about how much they loved it and enjoyed being there. When I was weighing all the schools I was thinking about, one really stood out."
Tarleton said she chose Claremont over Occidental and Whitman, as well as a couple of other schools, but Claremont was always her "dream school."
"They have great academics, great location and great sports," Tarleton said. "It had everything, and I think that's why it stood out so much."
Not only did Tarleton choose a school, but she also chose to run track over soccer, as she starred in both for the Mariners over most of the past four years.
She said she plans to focus on running the open 400 meters and 400 hurdles in college.
"I like being exhausted after races," she said. "The 300 hurdles (in high school) and 400 take it all out of you. I like that feeling you have of having to give everything you've got in races like that. You've got to lay it all out there, and you're tired after running races like that."
Tarleton entered Saturday, April 27, with the Northwest Conference's fastest time so far this spring in the 300 hurdles (45.33 seconds). She is also an integral part of Sehome's relays, helping the Mariners place second at the April 19 Northwest Conference Championships in the 4x100 and 4x400.
Tarleton said she is undecided on a major, though she has an interest in the sciences and physical sciences.
"I'll look at what classes I enjoy next year and take it from there," she said.
- DAVID RASBACH
HOYOS FINDS PERFECT MATCH AT WHITWORTH
Over most of the past four years, there's been little doubt who the best high school girls' tennis player in the Northwest Conference was.
Not only did Bella Hoyos win Class 2A state doubles championships as a freshman and sophomore, she placed third in the singles draw last year as a junior. She's off to a 13-0 start this spring.
But Hoyos said she faced a difficult decision about whether to continue playing the game competitively next year in college.
"I was debating between Whitworth and UC (Colorado) Boulder," Hoyos said. "I knew I wasn't going to play Division I tennis. They don't even have a tennis team at Colorado - it's a club sport there. I definitely didn't want to base where I went to school off tennis. My main goal was academics and then playing tennis."
In Whitworth, Hoyos found she will be able to marry both aspects.
She announced her plans to attend college and play for the Pirates in the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference.
"Whitworth has a good health sciences program, which will allow me to go into physical therapy or athletic training, which is what I wanted," Hoyos said. "It was too perfect for me to be able to get the academics I wanted and be able to play some Division III tennis."
Hoyos said staying relatively close to home also was a benefit of the Spokane-area campus.
Hoyos said she was also impressed with the tennis program at Whitworth, which placed third in the Northwest Conference this spring and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament.
"They take academics really serious, and they're supportive of each girl doing well individually," Hoyos said. "That was really important to me. They have a great team dynamic. I got to practice with them when I visited, and I went to one of their first matches this season. They work awesome as a team. ... I'm so excited to go there. I love tennis, and I wanted to continue playing in college. I'm excited I get to keep playing, but at the same time, it will be a little lower key than if I were to play Division II or Division I tennis."
- DAVID RASBACH
VELTHUIZEN SELECTS TRINITY CHRISTIAN
Lynden Christian senior Cody Velthuizen had an area of the country picked out where he wanted to attend college.
"I grew up there (in the Midwest)," Velthuizen said in a phone interview. "We moved here when I was younger, and I thought it would be neat to go back. I have family in Grand Rapids (Mich.), and I thought it would be nice to be close to them."
Velthuizen ended up selecting Trinity Christian in Palos Heights, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, where he plans to run cross country and track. He chose the Trolls over Calvin College in Grand Rapids and Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Trinity is an NAIA athletic program that competes in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
"The scholarship they gave me definitely helped," Velthuizen said of his decision. "But I really liked the community, too. It's a smaller college, which is exactly what I was looking for."
Velthuizen said he also was intrigued by the prospect of running for the Trolls, especially after he got the opportunity to room with an athlete that went on to become an All-American last spring.
"I really liked the team aspect there," he said. "I felt really welcome there. It felt like that was where I was supposed to be. They were really helpful answering all my questions, and it was nice they gave me a scholarship."
Velthuizen currently owns the Northwest Conference fifth-fastest Class 1A time in the state in the 3,200 meters with the 9 minutes, 50.77 seconds he turned in at the Northwest Conference Championships. He also owns a 4:41.27 in the 1,600 this spring and competed at the 1A State Championships as a junior as a member of the Lyncs' 4x400 relay.
Velthuizen also placed 13th in his third straight trip to the 1A State Cross Country Championships last fall with a time of 16:35.8 and was 15th at the Northwest Conference Championships.
Velthuizen said he plans to major in Exercise Science as he begins to work toward a career as a physical therapist.
"This is an opportunity I'm really looking forward to," Velthuizen said. "It feels good to have it under my belt. It was pretty stressful finding where I wanted to go, but I think I'm going to a great school and get an opportunity to continue running for a strong program."
- DAVID RASBACH
IMPERO, BILLS TO PLAY VOLLEYBALL AT WCC
Ferndale's Grace Bills and Nooksack Valley's McKenzie Impero, two of the most athletic volleyball players in the Northwest Conference, will share the court together next year at Whatcom Community College.
Both have signed to play for the Orcas under new coach Angie Smart.
Bills, who stands around 5-foot-8, 5-9 but has tremendous leaping ability, played both middle blocker and outside hitter at Ferndale and was the team's kills leader the second half of the season. Impero was a first-team All-Northwest Conference outside hitter and was the Pioneers' kills leader.
"I'm really excited," Bills said during a phone interview. "There is always a chance to improve the more you play."
Ferndale coach Patti Hoelzle spoke glowingly about Bills' athleticism, saying she believes the Ferndale senior has the ability to eventually transfer to a four-year university.
"She is super strong and athletic, really works hard and is willing to do anything she can to get better," Hoelzle said. "All of her potential has not been tapped."
Ferndale has been a pipeline of sorts for WCC volleyball. Former Golden Eagles Kathryn Bailey and Karley Eggert played for Whatcom last year. Bills is the latest addition.
"I'm really excited to play with Karley again," Bills said.
Impero was deciding between Wenatchee Community College or Whatcom. She chose WCC largely because of the close proximity to home.
Impero gives the Orcas a four-year varsity player who has an intense love for the game. She was a difference maker on the outside at Nooksack Valley and is regarded as an extremely hard worker.
All signs point to Impero playing the same position at Whatcom.
"I actually had a meeting (with Smart) I would say, like, three weeks ago," Impero said. "We kind of got to know each other and where she worked in her past and all that stuff. Just talking to her makes me really excited. It seems like it's going to be a good year."
Impero, who said it was never an option to not play collegiate volleyball, is using her time at Whatcom as a launching pad to a Division II or D-I university.
"I'd like to move on no matter where it is," Impero said. "I would hope for a D-II school and maybe D-I, but right now I'm focused on working hard and making the most of these two years so I can go on and play."
Impero and Bills have faced each other plenty during their high school careers. Both said they're looking forward to playing together.
"I'm really excited," Impero said. "I've played against her in high school and against her in club. I don't know her, but the time I've seen her she stands out. It's pretty exciting to get together."
- ANDREW LANG