Area players start trying to catch college coaches' eye

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 19, 2013 

While members of the Class of 2013 continue to walk across the stage to get their diplomas and announce where they plan to compete in college next year, a group of Whatcom County underclassmen tried to catch the eye of college recruiters earlier this month.

A trio of Squalicum football players and a pair from Sehome participated in the Nike Football SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Recreation and Quickness) Combine on June 8 at Tigard High School in Portland, Ore..

The camp was the last of 13 held nationwide, testing high school football players in four tests - 40-yard dash, vertical jump, 20-yard pro agility shuttle and the powerball toss - to help them in their dreams of moving on to play in college.

A day later, they went down to Eugene, Ore., for the one-day Nike Training Camp.

For Sehome senior to be Daniel Ziegler, the Portland combine actually was the second time he participated in a combine. He also tested March 9 in Los Angeles, where he ranked 30th among the 1,543 athletes in attendance by scoring an 88.23.

In Portland, Ziegler upped that score to a 90.36, ranking him 29th among the 519 players at that combine and ninth among running backs.

"I was happy to raise my number," Ziegler said. "I didn't boost it near as much as I wanted, though."

Ziegler boosted his shuttle run score from 4.31 to 4.15 and his power ball scored from 33.0 to 33.5, but saw his 40 time drop from 4.65 seconds to 4.67 and did not match his 36.1-inch vertical jump from March with his 34.4-inch jump.

"It was a really good experience," said the 5-9, 158-pound Ziegler, who likely will play quarterback for the Mariners this fall. "There were some really good coaches there that had played in the NFL. I learned a lot. ... It was fun to compete with some really good players."

One of those players he competed with is sophomore to be Taylor Rapp, who scored a 93.00 to rank 23rd overall and fifth among running backs at the Portland camp.

Rapp, a 6-foot, 191 pounder, ran a 4.87-second 40, scored 4.15 in the shuttle run, 37.5 in the power ball and had a vertical jump of 30.4 inches.

Rapp's older brother, Austin, plans to walk on at Washington State this fall.

Squalicum junior-to-be running back Nick Manchester scored a 75.78 at the combine, ranking him 77th overall and 20th among running backs.

"It was an OK score," Manchester said. "I'm just trying to get my name out there for the college scouts to look at and get better at running back. ... It was kind of intimidating to be honest. But it was good to have other good running backs out there to push me to get better."

Manchester ran a 4.80-second 40, scored 4.33 in the shuttle run, 32.0 in power ball and had a 29.4-inch vertical leap.

Classmate Clark Hazlett tested as a quarterback and scored a 55.59 to rank him 264th overall and 27th among signal callers.

"I was a little disappointed in my score," Hazlett said in a phone interview. "I feel I now have more incentive to drive myself and make sure I'm even more prepared for next year. My 40 time wasn't what I was looking for, but I know I can do better."

Hazlett timed 5.10 seconds in the 40, while scoring 4.72 in the shuttle, leaping 23.8 inches and scoring a 34.5 in the powerball.

Storm senior-to-be Joel Jensen scored a 52.17, which ranked 299th overall and 18th among offensive linemen. Jensen ran a 5.37-second 40, scored 5.16 in the shuttle and 32.5 in the powerball and had a 21.1-inch vertical.

The two days in Oregon were just part of a long weekend for the Squalicum trio, which also participated at the Northwest Elite Camp in Mercer Island on the way down to the combine.

"It was really great," Jensen said. "I got coached by some of the best coaches in the country. ... I learned a lot of handwork and foot movement for the offensive and defensive lines."

Jensen said he hopes to bring some of the drills he learned at the camp back to Bellingham to help he and his teammates prepare for this fall.

"It was exciting to go out and compete with some of the best quarterbacks from throughout the Northwest," Hazlett said. "There were like 700 kids at Mercer Island, but I was able to sneak my way to the front of the line so that I could get in a couple of extra reps. It's hard to get looked at by a coach there, but you can really help yourself become a better player if you listen and learn and try to catch their eye."

Manchester and Hazlett actually went to another camp in Boise, Idaho, last weekend, as they try to make the most of the summer camp schedule.

"It's all about getting better," Manchester said. "There's a high level of intensity at these camps, because everybody wants to catch the coaches' eye."

WSSCA ALL-STATE SOCCER

No Whatcom County players were selected to the first team of the Washington State Soccer Coaches Association 2013 all-state team this year, but Bellingham did place three players on the Class 2A second team.

Forward Conlon Kiffney, midfielder Brad Dale and goalkeeper Auden Schilder all appeared on the team, which was released on Monday, June 17. Kiffney led the Red Raiders with 16 goals and added nine assists, while Dale had a team-high 45 points on 15 goals and 15 assists. Schilder posted 12 shutouts and helped Bellingham allow only 0.57 goals per game and reach the state quarterfinals this year.

Sedro-Woolley defender Oded Camacho was a 2A honorable mention selection , but no other Northwest Conference players were honored.

Thomas Jefferson's Isidro Prado-Huerta (Class 4A), Hazne's Sam Bunnell (3A), Archbishop Murphy's Josh Bartley (2A) and Chelans Elezar Galvan (1A) were selected their respective classification's most valuable players.

V'DOVEC TO PLAY IN ALL-STATE GAME

Blaine junior-to-be wing/forward Taylor V'Dovec has been selected to play in the 17th Annual Washington/Northern Idaho All-State Girls' Basketball Games on Saturday, June 22, at Hub Sports Center in Spokane.

V'Dovec, who averaged 12.3 points and 8.5 rebounds while blocking 35 shots last year, will play for the West 1A All-Stars, which will face the 1A East All-Starts at 3:30 p.m. The B All-Stars Game will be at 1:30 p.m., while the 2A/3A All-Star Game will be at 5:30 p.m.

Reach David Rasbach at david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com or 360-715-2286.

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

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