Jordan Wittenberg admitted he felt a little stir-crazy when Lynden’s baseball season came to an end this spring.
The Lions fell short of a district tournament berth, and with roughly a month until the summer baseball season Wittenberg found himself left without a sport to quench his competitive nature
As a sophomore, Wittenberg’s football, basketball and baseball seasons extended deep into the postseason. He played for a state title this fall in football and helped Lynden’s basketball team reach the regional round of state.
For nearly two years, the Lynden junior didn’t have more than a week off from sports during the school year.
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“I always want to be doing something, and I love being active, but it’s always a grind every single day,” Wittenberg said in a phone interview. “This past (baseball) year didn’t end to well, so I had some time off. I was going crazy. I was hitting, throwing the football around to keep myself from going nuts.”
Wittenberg’s passion for sports and competition has been evident in his play since he began playing varsity ball on Lynden’s baseball team during his freshman year.
After assembling a standout sophomore campaign, one that earned him The Bellingham Herald’s All-Whatcom County Boys’ Athlete of the Year award, Wittenberg arguably engineered an even better 2014-15. Not surprisingly, he earned the recognition again, after he took on new roles, put up big numbers in 2014-15.
Wittenberg’s year started on the gridiron where he flourished into one of the best wide receivers in the state. He also offered the Lions a lockdown cornerback and displayed electrifying kick-returning ability.
He advertised his hands, speed, blocking ability, strong route-running and run-after-catch while amassing 1,476 yards and 14 touchdowns on 87 receptions. His yardage and catch total were school records.
“Football, coach Kramme pulled me into the office and told me I need to be a leader for the team and show a good work ethic for the upcoming players in the program,” Wittenberg said. “We lost a lot of guys. I was one of the few returning starters, and we had to get through it and show the younger kids what it was like to be varsity players.”
Wittenberg was a unanimous first-team All-NWC 2A/3A pick at wide receiver and a first-team choice at defensive back. He was a first-team Class 2A All-State selection and helped the Lions reach the 2A state title game.
“It was an honor,” said Wittenberg of his all-state selection. “Every high school kid wants to get recognized for a great season. All the hard work and the time in the weight room really paid off.”
Wittenberg’s rise to a leadership role was emblematic of his entire year.
During basketball he played the most minutes of his career with senior Trey Shagren missing the season. He adopted the defensive-stopper role and averaged 6.9 points per game. Wittenberg helped Lynden, which received a brutal draw facing Mark Morris in the state regionals, to an 18-6 record and a state berth.
“It was different this year,” Wittenberg said. “Most of the year I was guarding the best player on each team, and I really took that to heart knowing I didn’t score a lot.”
During baseball, he was one of the only returning starters and was relied on to provide an example for all the new varsity ballplayers.
Wittenberg again proved to be one of the best in the Northwest Conference, earning a first-team All-NWC selection. He was one of league’s best hitters and expanded his role to pitching after playing only shortstop his sophomore year.
The Lions’ baseball club finished 7-11 overall, but Wittenberg certainly did his part.
“We got really, really close this year,” Wittenberg said of playing with a team made up of nearly entirely new faces, “closer than any other team I think I’ve been on. We’ll do really well next year and play good baseball.”
Reach Andrew Lang at 360-756-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Sports Blog at bellinghamherald.com/sports-blog. Follow him on Twitter at @BhamSports and on Facebook at WhatcomCountySports.
Athletes of the Year
For the 10th year, the Bellingham Herald is proud to celebrate Whatcom County high school student athletes with its All-Whatcom County teams. A look back at the athletes selected All-Whatcom County Boys’ Athlete of the Year:2005-06: Jake Locker, Ferndale
2006-07: Chris Bolt, Lynden
2007-08: Andrei Lintz, Meridian
2008-09: Casey Locker, Ferndale
2009-10: Blair Bomber, Lynden
2010-11: Zach Slesk, Meridian
2011-12: Josh Kraght, Lynden
2012-13: Josh Kraght, Lynden
2013-14: Jordan Wittenberg, Lynden
2014-15: Jordan Wittenberg, Lynden