As high school graduation nears, a fresh batch of Panthers and Spartans signed letters of intent to play their sport of choice at the collegiate level.
On May 27, Bonney Lake High School offered a lunchtime ceremony honoring four student athletes.
First to be highlighted was Rachel Hansen who has been swimming since she was 6 years old.
Hansen committed to Trinity Lutheran College in Everett.
She said not many schools in Washington have a swim program but Trinity Lutheran does.
Hansen added she chose Trinity because of its smaller class sizes and campus and because its psychology department ranks fifth in the nation.
Following college graduation, Hansen said, she hopes to earn a doctorate and go into the field of clinical child psychology.
Lauri Clark, Hansen’s mom, was present at the ceremony.
Clark was visibly proud of her daughter and her achievements and said “she has worked really hard to be accepted to a college and I can’t say how proud I am of her.”
Next up for the Panthers was quarterback Isaiah Weed.
Weed has been a two-year starter for Bonney Lake and led the team to the playoffs during the fall season.
He has accepted and committed to play football at Minot State in Minot, N.D.
Weed said when deciding where to play, he chose Minot State because he likes the coach, city and campus.
He has been playing football since he was 7 and has never played a position other than quarterback.
And that apparently will not change at the collegiate level, as Weed said he will continue to play quarterback.
“It’s all I know and have ever played,” he said.
While attending Minot State, Weed will be studying business and, more specifically, marketing.
A number of family members were present during the lunchtime ceremony and his mom, Tara Weed, said it is “very exciting to watch him live out his lifelong dream.”
The third student athlete to commit was Vegas Casey.
Casey will attend St. Martin’s University with a full-tuition scholarship to play volleyball.
Casey has not played volleyball very long, just the past four years.
Prior to volleyball, her sport was soccer.
Aside from playing college ball, Casey will be studying psychology at St. Martin’s.
She said she chose St. Martin’s because she really liked the coach and added the campus is “really nice.”
Her mom, Brenda Casey, said the family is excited.
“She has worked extremely hard and it’s paying off,” Brenda Casey added.
The final Panther honored was Haley Wells.
Wells has been a two-sport athlete at Bonney Lake, participating in both soccer and cross country.
She has committed to run cross country at New Mexico Highlands.
She chose New Mexico Highlands, she said, because the university has a “really strong criminal justice program and I want to go into the FBI.”
She added, the program at the school works closely with the FBI headquarters in Albuquerque.
After deciding what school best suited her career goals, Wells said she chose cross country because it was a “better fit for me.”
She said she did try out for the soccer team and said she “won’t be able to just give up playing soccer.”
Another option for Wells, sports-wise, at New Mexico is the chance to pinch run for the softball team.
She said another cross country runner does that and the softball coach has already offered Wells the same opportunity.
Her parents, John and Michelle Wells, were in attendance during the May 27 ceremony and both said they are not only proud of their daughter athletically but also academically.
They said Wells will graduate from Bonney Lake High with honors.
Her parents said they are also proud of her for choosing a career field and sticking with it.
John Wells added that they are proud to have two student athletes playing at the collegiate level.
For the Sumner Spartans, six girls soccer players signed their letters of intent earlier this year.
But joining them are five other student athletes.
Anna Hurd will be playing basketball and participating in track at Pacific Lutheran University.
Riley Bruil will play basketball at Linfield College in Oregon.
Gage Whitehead has committed to play baseball at the University of Las Vegas and both Joey Muscarnera and Johnny Staley will play baseball at Clark College.
Sumner High School Athletic Director Jeff Baines said that Jamie Lange – who had committed to the University of Puget Sound to play soccer – also will play basketball.
Aside from those who have formally signed letters of intent, both Bonney Lake and Sumner have a number of student athletes who will walking onto college teams in the fall.