A pair of White River High seniors recently signed national letters-of-intent, formalizing their plans for collegiate athletic competition.
Amanda Lance and Ashley Sutherland will graduate in June and head off to four-year institutions in the fall of 2015. Lance has signed with Western Washington University and Sutherland will be heading out of state, to the University of Arizona.
Lance is starting her fourth year as a varsity performer with coach Chris Gibson’s basketball program. She has helped the team remain a league, district and state power. A season ago, Lance shared Most Valuable Players honors in the South Puget Sound League 2A after helping lead the Hornets to the state tournament.
Now a senior, Lance is coming off a season in which she averaged 14 points, three assists and four rebounds per game.
In picking Western Washington, Lance will be joining another successful program.
WWU graduated just one senior from last year’s 19-10 team that won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament championship after placing second in the regular-season standings, and reached the first round of the NCAA Division II West Regional.
Since 1990, Viking coach Carmen Dolfo has directed the Vikings to 17 20-win seasons, ninth all-time among NCAA II coaches, and 21 post-season appearances.
Western Washington University was ranked No. 21 in the USA Today Sports Preseason Top 25 Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll. The Vikings split their first four contests this season.
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Sutherland, an elite swimmer, provides a different story than most high school athletes.
White River does not field a swim program and Sutherland has bypassed the opportunity to turn out with Enumclaw, as other classmates have done. Instead, she focuses on her involvement with the King Aquatic Club, a move that has yielded great dividends.
Her best times in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle exceeded those posted by this year’s Washington state champions.
The University of Arizona obviously is happy to have landed the highly-regarded recruit.
Brandy Collins, a Wildcat assistant coach who is in charge of recruiting, provided the following statement: “Ashley is the No. 1 sprinter from Washington. She’s improving quickly. She’s 5’10, all muscle, with a deep passion for Arizona. Ashley knew she wanted to be a Wildcat since recruiting started.”
Sutherland also is highly touted on the swimswam.com website, which described her as “a rock-solid sprinter with some height and some long-term potential.”
The Arizona women’s program recently kicked off its 2014-15 season, looking to continue a run of success. Last year’s Wildcat team placed eighth at the NCAA championships and 10 swimmers and divers earned 26 All-America honors.