Athletes make their futures official, sign with colleges

Students from White River, Sumner, and Bonney Lake are ready for the next step in their education and athletics.

Bonney Lake’s Brooke Nelson, a two-way standout on the softball diamond, signed last week to play for the University of Washington. In this photo, she delivers during the opposing game of last year’s Class 3A state championship. File photo by Kevin Hanson

Bonney Lake’s Brooke Nelson, a two-way standout on the softball diamond, signed last week to play for the University of Washington. In this photo, she delivers during the opposing game of last year’s Class 3A state championship. File photo by Kevin Hanson

Top-notch athletes from area high schools locked up their collegiate futures last week, signing a National Letter of Intent during campus ceremonies. The first allowable day for LOI signing was Nov. 14 for high school seniors.

Prep athletes will scatter far and wide to participate in a variety of sports. Here’s a look at what has been reported so far.


Brooke Nelson, easily one of the most decorated players in recent memory, made it official: she signed a scholarship offer and will head north to the University of Washington. Nelson has been on the Husky radar for some time, having offered a verbal commitment to the UW following her sophomore season.

The numbers she has posted during her first three seasons in a Panther uniform show why she was coveted by the Pac-12 institution. She started with a bang, earning league Player of the Year honors as a freshman, then repeated the honor following her sophomore and junior seasons. To cap her junior campaign, Nelson had a complete-game victory that landed the Panthers a Class 3A state championship; at the plate, she launched three home runs during the four-game state tourney.

Brendan Chaowanapibool will head for the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, having committed to wrestle for the Air Force Academy. As a cadet-athlete, he will land in Colorado Springs, Colorado, develop under the tutelage of coach Sam Barber and compete in the Big 12 Conference.

With a season remaining, he has already built a stellar wrestling resumé. He’s a two-time Class 3A state champion, having won Mat Classic’s top honor last season at 113 pounds and as a 106-pound sophomore. He had burst on the local wrestling scene as a freshman, taking sixth at the state tourney in Tacoma. His success has helped build an impressive Panther program that won the 3A state title two seasons ago and placed second last year.

Payton Schelin, a standout for the Panther soccer team, will take her skills to a Nebraska pitch. She signed on with Doane University.

Doane is a private college of about 1,100 students in Crete, Nebraska. The Tigers are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and compete in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.


Jaylin Borden will jump to the collegiate stage, having signed on to play soccer at Arizona State University. The Sun Devils, from their Tempe campus, compete in the Pacific-12 Conference.

Borden was a first team all-South Puget Sound League 4A selection as a junior and was honored as the league’s Defensive Most Valuable Player. That followed on the heels of a sophomore campaign that saw her named to the second team.

Ellie Salisbury signed her letter of intent Friday, locking up her future as a basketball student-athlete at Northwest Nazarene University. The Idaho institution is the reigning champion of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, which includes local teams from Central and Western Washington universities and Seattle Pacific.

Marie LeGallo will become a cadet-athlete and play soccer at The Citadel. The Charleston, South Carolina, military academy competes in the Southern Conference at the NCAA level.

Mitchell Hutter has a season remaining with the Spartan soccer program, but has already set his sights on the program at Western Washington University. He inked his letter and will head to Bellingham in the fall.

Following his junior season in a Sumner uniform, the midfielder was a first team, all-league selection, as voted by coaches in the South Puget Sound League 4A.

Also ready to sign on with a collegiate program is Spartan baseball player Grant Sherrod. Next fall, he will head for Lower Columbia Community College and join the Red Devils.

Lower Columbia, located in Longview, Washington, is a traditional power among Pacific Northwest junior colleges and sports a history of sending players on to the Division I ranks.

Sherrod, a second baseman, was named a first team all-South Puget Sound League performer following both his sophomore and junior seasons.


During a Friday afternoon ceremony in the school commons, Nate Moore signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Northern Colorado and wrestle for the Bears.

With a season of Hornet wrestling still remaining, Moore has already made an indelible mark on the White River program. He’s a two-time state champion, having captured the Mat Classic title at 152 pounds a season ago and at 140 pounds as a sophomore.

At the close of last season, Moore was a first team all-league selection and was further honored as co-Athlete of the Year.

The University of Northern Colorado, located in Greeley, is an NCAA program and competes in the Big Sky Conference.

Also keeping their playing days alive are a trio of Hornet baseball players. Joe Flanigan and Jacob Selander will be heading to the Tacoma Community College diamond while Brock Keller will suit up for Centralia College.

Flanigan was a first team all-league infielder following both his sophomore and junior seasons. Keller was a second team infielder as a sophomore and a first team pitcher last spring. Selander garnered honorable mention as a pitcher following the 2017 season.

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Sumner High’s Ellie Salisbury will head to Idaho and the campus of Northwest Nazarene University, where she will play basketball for the Nighhawks. Submitted photo

Sumner High’s Ellie Salisbury will head to Idaho and the campus of Northwest Nazarene University, where she will play basketball for the Nighhawks. Submitted photo

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