Blaine senior wrestler Jon Stewart was one of the key components in the Borderites claiming a state championship this past winter, finishing with a second-place medal at the Mat Classic.
Now the wrestling-crazed, soon-to-be Blaine graduate is heading to a place where he truly belongs.
Stewart signed a national letter of intent Wednesday, May 28, to wrestle for NAIA school Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa - a state that's a wrestling hotbed.
"I'll feel like normal," said Stewart in a phone interview of living in a more wrestling-intense culture. "A lot of people don't have the same attitude as me. I get frustrated when guys don't come in for offseason training. Going to Iowa, I know wrestling is the sport over there. They all live it. There's 23 colleges in Iowa that wrestle, so I won't have to travel far."
Stewart signed his NLI in front of Blaine's student body, he said. The senior wrestled at 160 pounds last winter and compiled a 32-7 record with six pins.
Stewart began receiving interest from colleges after he submitted a highlight video to NCSA - a collegiate recruiting service that allows colleges to more easily find athletes.
He narrowed his choices to Williams Baptist College in Arkansas, Montana State University-Northern or Waldorf. Stewart took recruiting visits and decided Waldorf was the place for him.
"I was really happy," said Blaine wrestling coach Craig Foster, in a phone interview, when he heard the news. "He was leaning toward the military, but got some interest in wrestling. It's fun to see. There's just not much scholarship money for wrestlers unless you're a three- or four-time state champion, but he has so much upside. He's been in the weight class and working hard, so he is going full bore."
Stewart said he has high expectations for his college career, and also added he's improved quite a bit since last season ended.
During his visit he wrestled a few of guys on the team and did real well, he said, so much so that he's elevated his goals and what he thinks he can accomplish.
"I have high hopes for myself," Stewart said. "I want to be a four-time all-American. That second place (at state) really hurt my feelings. I don't want to be No. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; I want to end No. 1."
BELLINGHAM GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD WINS ACADEMIC TITLE
The Red Raiders put together a strong performance last weekend during the Class 2A-3A-4A State Track and Field Championships, finishing in third place with 45 points.
Alyssa Porter led Bellingham with a title in the 100 meter, a fourth-place finish in the 200, a state title as a member of the 4x100 team and a second-place finish running a 4x200 leg.
Only two teams performed better than Bellingham, but the Red Raiders proved in the classroom they were the best in the 2A as Bellingham was awarded an academic state championship with its 3.788 grade point average.
Red Raiders listed on WIAA's state meet heat sheets were Mia Hodges, Katie Bauer, Annie Waddell, Mary Dyrland, Emma Brice, Hannah Bradley, Katie Linton, Leah Veldhuisen, Hattie North, Crystal Cochrane, Ellie Kindlund and Porter. The WIAA lists 20 athletes contributing to the state title.
Bellingham's principal is Jeff Vaughn, athletic director is Chad Larsen and the team is coached by Bill McClement.
SQUALICUM GIRLS' TENNIS WINS ACADEMIC STATE TITLE
The Squalicum girls' tennis team put together a strong season, finishing with a 7-7 overall record. In the classroom, though, it truly excelled, winning an academic state title with a 3.873 grade point average.
The WIAA listed the Storm as having 10 participants on the team.
Squalicum's principal is Keith Schacht, athletic director is Patrick Brown and the Storm is coaches by Joe O'Brien.
LC'S KASEY LUNA SIGNS WITH SKAGIT CC
Lynden Christian pitcher Kasey Luna helped the Lyncs earn a state berth this spring, and now the senior has signed a national letter of intent to play for Skagit Community College next season.
Luna compiled a 23-7 record in the circle her senior year with a 2.90 ERA. She also had 75 strikeouts.
At the plate she hit for an impressive .456 average, had 17 RBI and 30 runs scored.
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