High School Sports

Three UW-bound athletes highlight county’s 2016 class

Sehome safety Taylor Rapp celebrates after scoring against Cascade Christian during a football game Saturday, Sept. 5, at Husky Stadium in Seattle.
Sehome safety Taylor Rapp celebrates after scoring against Cascade Christian during a football game Saturday, Sept. 5, at Husky Stadium in Seattle. The Bellingham Herald

National signing day came and went with little buzz from athletes around Whatcom County.

There were no major signing ceremonies, no last-minute decisions on where seniors would compete this fall. By no means, though, is that an indicator of the 2016 class’ talent level.

Far from it.

In fact, this year’s crop of Whatcom County seniors contains some of the best top-end talent in recent memory, and all eight Division I commits had solidified their athletic futures before signing day Wednesday, Feb. 3.

The list of Whatcom County D-I bound athletes includes Lynden Christian’s Kara Bajema (volleyball), Ferndale’s Rose Compton (volleyball), Bellingham’s Ben Doucette (track and field), Squalicum’s Kim Hazlett (soccer), Bellingham’s Nick Nolan (golf), Sehome’s Taylor Rapp (football), Bellingham’s Austin Shenton (baseball) and Lynden’s Jordan Wittenberg (baseball).

Of the eight, Rapp, Bajema and Shenton are headed to the University of Washington. Rapp, however, has already enrolled at UW and, after having signed his binding financial-aid agreement in October, on Wednesday was formally introduced as an integral piece of the Huskies’ 2016 class.

Rapp, who measures in at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, was listed as one of the state’s top football recruits and was ranked by ESPN the nation’s 25th best safety.

“Taylor Rapp from Sehome High School, big-time safety, super athletic,” UW defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. “What I like about Taylor is he plays with extreme toughness. He is very, very athletic.”

Bajema and Shenton also are highly-touted prospects.

The argument could be made Bajema, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter, is the best volleyball player to ever come through Whatcom County. She’s guided the Lyncs to back-to-back Class 1A state championships, was selected 1A All-State Player of the Year and averaged 6.16 kills per set her senior season.

“Kara has the size, athleticism and arm strength to be a point scorer for us in the Pac-12,” UW volleyball coach Keegan Cook said in a press release. You don’t find players like that in Washington every year.”

Shenton, who made his commitment official in November, is also a rare talent for Whatcom County. He’s projected to play third, first or left-field for the Huskies baseball team and could contribute right away.

“Austin will be a major force in the middle of our batting order from the time he arrives on campus,” UW baseball coach Lindsay Meggs said in a tweet. “He is an RBI machine who has the chance to be an All-Pac-12 player as a freshman. This guy can swing it.”

While most of the county’s signings came before Feb. 3, Ferndale offensive lineman Nick Bartel just recently signed his letter of intent to play for Division II Western Oregon, giving the county its third football recruit with Lummi’s Jonathan Casimir signing to play for Santa Barbara City College.

Athlete

School

Sport

Ezra Arneson, Lyn.

Western Washington

Golf

Kara Bajema, LC

Washington

Volleyball

Nick Bartel, Fern.

Western Oregon

Football

Olivia Berkan, NV

Everett CC

Softball

Derek Campfield, Mer.

Shoreline CC

Baseball

Jonathan Casimir, Lum.

Santa Barbara CC

Football

Rose Compton, Fern.

Columbia

Volleyball

Ben Doucette, Bel.

Idaho

Track and Field

Kim Hazlett, Sq.

Portland

Soccer

Paige McAtee, Bel.

Whatcom CC

Soccer

Amy Jo Murphy, NV

Corban

Cross Country/ T&F

Nick Nolan, Bel.

Gonzaga

Golf

Arlissa Oettel, NV

Everett CC

Softball

Taylor Rapp, Seh.

Washington

Football

Noah Rawls, NV

Bellevue

Baseball

Kyle Sandstrom, Fern.

Lower Columbia CC

Baseball

Kyler Schemstad, Fern.

Shoreline CC

Baseball

Austin Shenton, Bel.

Washington

Baseball

Tim Soares, MB

Masters College

Basketball

Sterling Somers, Lyn

Seattle Pacific

Basketball

Jordan Wittenberg, Lyn.

Seattle

Baseball

Ernie Yake, Sq.

Mesa CC

Baseball

Cassidy Zylstra, NV

Everett CC

Softball

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