It's been a much longer route than Sehome alum Tanya Haggen expected, but she's finally ready to begin her collegiate soccer career with a four-year program in California.
Haggen, who graduated in 2010, originally committed to play for NCAA Division I St. Mary's during her junior year at Sehome.
But before she left for California, some medical issues arose.
"I ruptured my spleen when I was in eighth grade during a soccer game," Haggen said in a phone interview. "I thought I was fully healthy and back, and then my senior year I got hit really hard in my stomach playing in another game for Sehome. For whatever reason, it caused some problems, and I started fainting in stressful situations. Even being on the soccer field, I felt dizzy.
"I talked to the St. Mary's coach about it, and he obviously wanted what was best for the program. He wanted to know I was ready to go 100 percent that August. I couldn't guarantee him that."
But nearly three years later, that's a guarantee Haggen feels she can make to the University of Redlands (Calif.) women's soccer program.
While working her way back to health, Haggen spent her freshman season playing for the Whatcom Community College women's program. Doctors gave her a clean bill of health after she went six months without fainting.
"Yoga really helped me recover from all my health problems," Haggen said. "I played for Whatcom to keep playing, but even then, I felt like I wasn't playing to my full potential. I was holding back a couple of times."
Haggen decided to take a year off from soccer.
"I wasn't sure if I would keep playing soccer, but I knew I was ready to get out of Bellingham and try something new," Haggen said.
That something new ended up being Santa Barbara City College, thanks to the advice of a friend that had a good experience there.
Haggen ended up trying out for the school's soccer team and made it, though she decided to red shirt.
That experience allowed her to work herself fully back into shape and play against a number of players from different countries, while at the same time checking out other collegiate soccer programs in California.
Haggen said she looked at the University of San Diego and Cal State Santa Barbara, as well as a number of the schools that play against Redlands in the NCAA Division III Southern California Interscholastic Athletic Conference, but she found the Bulldogs had everything she wanted.
"It's what fit me best - the social situation, the business department and the soccer team," she said. " I even know a few people there, so that will be great."
Included among the people Haggen already knows at Redlands is former Northwest Nationals teammate Kinslee Isaman from their days of playing club soccer together in Edmonds.
Taking the Division III route also guarantees Haggen three more years of playing eligibility should she want to use it.
The Bulldogs have been a historically strong program in the SCIAC, and Haggen said she expects to fit in nicely as either an outside midfielder or forward.
To get ready for this fall, Haggen is training and playing with the WSA Rapids women's team in Bellingham.
"I feel like I'm ready to go," Haggen said. "The only thing I'm really worried about is that it's usually around 110 degrees down there when practices start, but I feel physically ready."
Haggen said she also is looking forward to deciding what area of business she wants to major in, though she is leaning toward Marketing.
LEENSTRA REPRESENTS UNITED STATES
Willamette University graduated senior Madisyn Leenstra (Sehome) was selected to the 2013 USA Division III women's volleyball team for its trip to Brazil, which wrapped up Wednesday, June 19.
Leenstra had a breakout senior season with the Bearcats, leading the team with 284 kills, 829 total attacks and 3.0 kills per set and became the first Bearcat in eight years to earn first-team All-Northwest Conference honors.
The outside hitter was one of 12 Division III players selected to the U.S. all-star team, which played matches in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over the past week.
Oregon State senior men's golfer Matt Rawitzer (Squalicum) was selected to the Pacific-12 Conference All-Academic second team after posting a 3.36 grade-point average in Sociology.
Rawitzer played in 11 of 13 tournaments for the Beavers this year and had a scoring average of 74.59.
He tied for 38th at the NCAA Division I Regional at Tallahassee, Fla., with a three-round total of 219 (70-74-75). The Beavers missed qualifying for the national championships by just 1 stroke.
DHANANI HAS BIG DAY
Third baseman Kyle Dhanani (Blaine) had a huge day for the San Rafael Pacifics on June 7, going 4 for 6 with a three-run homer in the first inning of an 18-2 win over the East Bay Lumberjacks at Laney College in Oakland, Calif.
Dhanani, who previously played in the Milwaukee Brewers' minor league system, entered Wednesday, June 19, third in the first-year independent Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs with his .407 batting average (24 for 59). He had 11 RBI and three home runs and scored 19 runs.
B.C. LIONS CUT FITZGERALD
Dedensive back J.T. Fitzgerald (Bellingham) was among 11 players cut Saturday, June 15, by the Canadian Football League's B.C. Lions, as the team reached 65 players by the Sunday, June 16, deadline.
Fitzgerald, who played at Rocky Mountain College, received an offer to go to camp with the Lions after a strong showing at an open tryout earlier this year in Seattle.
FRIDAY FINISHES 11TH AT NATIONALS
University of Oregon senior Becca Friday finished 11th in the women's 1,500 meters at the NCAA Division I National Championships on Saturday, June 8, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Friday turned in a time of 4 minutes, 20.85 seconds.
The Ducks placed third overall, behind national champion Kansas and Texas A&M.