Lake Stevens High School seniors take sports to next level

Athletes’ dedication to their sport pays off as they’re offered the chance to play at the college level


Courtesy of Samaya Morin

Lopes Up: Senior Samaya Morin signs to play beach volleyball at Grand Canyon University. “I’m so excited for the next four years,” Morin says, “I’ve dreamed of this since I was five!”

Many athletes begin playing their sport at a very young age and continue until they decide to stop playing or until they have to stop playing due to cost or time commitment. For most, that means year-round leagues and more often than not, participation on more than one team.

In order to compete at a collegiate level, athletes have to be the best of the best out of everyone in the nation. However, every player has opportunities to play on teams at various levels. Many athletes who are looking to compete in college choose to play for club teams that travel to find more rigorous competitors. These teams often cost a lot of money, which an athlete is often looking to gain back through athletic scholarships to offset the cost of college.
Getting to the college level is not an easy feat by any means, and athletes put hundreds if not thousands of hours into practice time. Senior Tatum Smith knows this dedication first hand.

“Before committing, the workload of practices and tournaments was very heavy. I was traveling out of state at least once a month to compete along with two to three volleyball practices a week, as well as training in the weight room around 3+ times a week. It was all worth it in the end though,” Smith said.
Smith signed to the beach volleyball team at Concordia University and isn’t one to shy away from hard work.

“I have definitely always wanted to play in college!” Smith said.

In many cases, the amount of work required to play at the collegiate level is what separates players from that experience or from stopping at high school. Another thing that separates the two is the experiences in college. By playing at the collegiate level, many sacrifice their time that would otherwise be spent with friends or relaxing. Max Moenoa, a senior who will be playing football at Central Washington University next year, disclosed how he envisions his college years.

“My college experience is a little different in that I will have a lot less downtime to hang out with friends and do homework. At times when people have time to study and do school work I might be at practice or in the weight room. So all in all, it’s just more dedication because it’s not just school, but it’s the athletics part as well,” Moenoa said.

Like Moenoa said, athletes also have to make time to balance their athletics with their school work. Even with their commitment to their sport, athletes still have to choose a school that will work well for them academically, socially, and geographically. Senior Delaney Riddle, who is going on collegiate softball, was able to find a college that fit her needs perfectly while still allowing her to pursue sports.

“I committed to North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I chose my school based on the community the school had, the sizes of classes, and if the school had a positive dynamic around the campus. At NCU everyone knows each other’s name, and the teachers take the chance to get to know each and every student. It was just such a positive place that I wanted to be around,” Riddle said.

There are many other students committed to colleges for sports at Lake Stevens High School besides these three. Every athlete deserves to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication to their sport. These commitments don’t come easy and aren’t just handed out, each athlete had to put most of their time and effort into their sports for many years.

The Lake Stevens community congratulates these athletes on making their dreams become reality and wishes them the best of luck on their upcoming collegiate seasons!

Nathan Fleischmann – Concordia University Irvine, swimming

Michael Gordon – Shoreline Community College, baseball

Dominic Gray – Everett Community College, baseball

Cameron Hunter – Montana Tech University, football

Tanner Jellison – University of San Diego, football

Emma Owen – Portland State University, cross country

Delaine Polly – Seattle Pacific University, soccer

Jordan Ross, Pacific Lutheran University, soccer

Carson Schoenwald, Pacific University, soccer

Karli Tri – Western Washington University, volleyball

Cullen Vietor – Spokane Falls Community College, soccer

Samaya Morin – Grand Canyon University, beach volleyball

Tatum Smith – Concordia University, Irvine, beach volleyball

Max Moenoa – Central Washington University, football

Delaney Riddle – North Central University, softball