The spring sports season might be a blank slate, but that hasn’t stopped 11 White River High athletes from agreeing to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Making the biggest jump with be Jackson Gibbon, who will be joining the track and field program at Kansas State University. The Wildcats compete in the Big 12 Conference, a powerful, Division I member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Despite the name, the conference consists of 10 institutions: the universities of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Christian, Texas Tech and West Virginia.
Gibbon had advanced to the state track and field meet as a junior, competing in both the shot put and discus. He has also made a name for himself in the hammer throw, an event not included in prep meets but featured in independent venues. Last spring, Gibbon had the third-best throw in the state in that event.
The other Hornet leaving the state will be infielder Marissa Dolson, who will be taking her fastpitch talents to Park University in Arizona.
Park University originated in Missouri but has expanded to 41 campuses in 22 states. Dolson is headed to the campus in Gilbert, Arizona, where Park University launched an athletic program in 2019. After playing as an independent program during the 2019-20 academic year, the university announced membership in the NAIA and California Pacific Conference (Pac West) starting in 2020-21.
The Hornet fastpitch program also will be represented by catcher Solina Still, who will stick close to home and play for Pierce College, and pitcher Marissa Bartels, headed to Columbia Basin College.
The White River baseball team is sending five players to collegiate programs. Headed to the four-year St. Martin’s University squad is infielder Braeden McNally. A trio of Hornets – Matthew Trudgen, catcher Konner Brockelman and Hunter Smith – have signed with Grays Harbor College. Robbie Vandegrift will be heading to Skagit Valley College.
Austen Mitchell, a midfielder and team captain, has played his last soccer for the Hornets and has signed to play with Edmonds College.
Additionally, one more athlete from the winter season will continue her playing days.
Having wrapped up a hoop career with the always-successful White River girls basketball team, Sam Fiedler will next suit up for Centralia College.