The early National Letter of Intent signing periods in November for basketball and in December for football get the bulk of attention from the national media.
But the start of the regular signing period for spring sports is no less important to the student-athletes who made their commitments public on Wednesday.
Lewis and Clark had eight athletes sign on the dotted line in a ceremony held in the school’s library before class.
Two members of the Tigers’ girls basketball team that finished as State 4A runner-up this season made their decisions public. Shooting guard Kaylee Bishop signed with George Fox and forward Dominique Arquette signed at Eastern Arizona.
Arquette was named All-Greater Spokane League second team and Bishop received honorable mention.
The pair joined league MVP Jacinta Buckley (UNLV) to make three college-bound players off the same team.
Bishop, who wants to study nursing, and Arquette, who will be looking into a criminal justice major, said now that a little time has passed, the sting of a six-point loss in the state title game has worn off enough to gain a bigger perspective on the experience.
“I’d never trade it for anything,” Bishop said. “I’ll never get to do anything like that again, really. All these people that I’ve been playing with, I’ve been playing with them for forever. And so it was a great memory and it sucks that we couldn’t, you know, come out on top, but it was a great experience.”
“Although we didn’t win, I was super proud of us,” Arquette said.
“It was one of the best times of my life in basketball. I was super disappointed about (losing) that first week after we didn’t win. But looking back on it now, barely anyone can say they played in the state championship game.”
Both players felt that the Tigers’ long run at state was beneficial to them in their hopes of playing in college.
“I was getting kind of nervous at the end (of the season) that maybe my basketball career would be over,” Arquette said. “But the (Eastern Arizona) coach, he texted me and called me. He said, ‘You’re a super good player. You’ve been under the radar for a while, and I want to get you somewhere bigger.’ So I was really excited about that.”
“Right when I stepped on campus (at George Fox) I felt really welcomed,” Bishop said. “And I loved the environment there. And all the people and all the teammates are so great. I’m so excited to be a part of that program.”
LC offensive lineman Thomas Ehring stayed local – he committed to play football at Whitworth. He’ll be joined there by classmates Camryn Gardner, who signed for soccer, and track and field star Leah Rodriguez, who also committed to the Pirates.
Ehring, who plans to study secondary education and biology, felt the fit at north side institution was enticing.
“Honestly, for me a huge part was the faith aspect,” he said. “I met all the coaches – (head) coach (Rod) Sandberg, (offensive line) coach (Andrew) Faaumu were super awesome guys and it just felt like the right program to go into.”
He said he had a couple of other options, but the chance to stay local didn’t hurt.
“Of course, mom and dad fully loved that aspect of it,” he said.
Ehring took pride in LC’s success on the football field this season. The Tigers went 7-3 overall and finished third in the GSL 4A at 5-2. They qualified for the district playoffs before being ousted by Mid-Columbia Conference top seed Chiawana 31-14.
“We hadn’t a winning season before this year in the previous three years I’ve been here,” he said. “And so being part of that was huge. And then go into a program like Whitworth, they’ve established that (winning culture) and it’s even more exciting.”
Two LC student-athletes took a little less common approach to reaching their goals of playing a sport at the collegiate level.
The GSL and the state’s high school athletics governing board, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), don’t sanction lacrosse as a varsity sport – yet – despite a number of schools participating at the club level.
The sport is popular along the East Coast and is growing nationwide. Nearly 90 Washington high schools participate in the club sport, with Lewis and Clark joining Gonzaga Prep, Central Valley, Mead, Mt. Spokane, Ferris and West Valley with local programs.
Schauer, who played football and basketball when he was younger, picked up lacrosse in the seventh grade. Even at that age, he told his parents he was going to play lacrosse in college. He said playing club and on a summer travel team led to colleges getting interested in him.
“I got to go to Las Vegas and play in a college recruitment tournament down there,” he said. “And so that really helped open up all these doors to be able to get recognized.”
Schauer was a four-year starter on the LC team and participates as a referee for youth leagues.
Once he visited campus in California, he was hooked.
“It’s absolutely beautiful,” the biochemical engineering student said. “I think I’m gonna have an amazing four years there.”
Sanders started playing lacrosse in grade school but never thought it would lead to college.
“I never saw that happening,” he said. “But I’m glad that it did.”
Sanders, a midfielder who plans to study biology, tore an ACL and missed his junior season but used a network of resources and recruiting tournaments to get recognized.
“The school does a great job.” he said. “They do everything they can to help us. And we’re really grateful for that.”
Lewis and Clark: Kate Picanco, track and field (Carroll College); Mitchell Sanders, lacrosse (Dominican University); Joe Schauer, lacrosse (Dominican University); Thomas Ehring, football (Whitworth); Camryn Gardner, soccer (Whitworth); Leah Rodriguez, track and field (Whitworth); Kaylee Bishop, basketball (George Fox); Dominique Arquette, basketball (Eastern Arizona); Sydney Ward, soccer (Central Washington).
Mt. Spokane: Ashton Cathey, softball (Clackamas CC); Jerry Twenge, basketball (Whitworth); Blake Haney, wrestling (Grand View).
Mead: Jonathan Baird, football (BYU); Syi Campbell, football (Pacific Lutheran); Cameron Crawford, wrestling (Simon Fraser); Katherine McEuen, volleyball (Carroll College); Zane Mularski. golf (University of La Verne); Cami Culp, golf (Embry Riddle); Sarah Frahm, soccer (Cal State Eastbay); Sadie Bocook, softball (Community Colleges of Spokane).
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