Local athletes commit to colleges

July 2, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Liberty High School honored four graduating student-athletes at a special ceremony in April.

By Christina Corrales-Toy Liberty High School seniors (from left) Russell Boston, Nate Jarvis, Sarah Bliesner and Trevor Sytsma smile while listening to coaches talk about their high-school careers at a special Signing Day ceremony April 15 in the Liberty library.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Liberty High School seniors (from left) Russell Boston, Nate Jarvis, Sarah Bliesner and Trevor Sytsma smile while listening to coaches talk about their high-school careers at a special Signing Day ceremony April 15 in the Liberty library.

Runners Sarah Bliesner and Trevor Sytsma, as well as football players Russell Boston and Nate Jarvis, announced their commitments to continue their athletic careers at the college level.

Bliesner and Jarvis will each stay local, heading to Seattle University and Pacific Lutheran University, respectively, while Boston will attend college in Ohio and Sytsma will make his way to Pepperdine University.

Meanwhile, Hazen quarterback Nolan Hoover announced over Twitter that he will join Jarvis at PLU.

Sarah Bliesner — Seattle University

Bliesner was an integral part of Liberty’s evolution as a cross-country powerhouse.

A four-year varsity runner on both the cross-country and track teams, she steadily improved every year.

As a freshman, Bliesner was a member of the Liberty cross-country team that took eighth at state. The very next year, the girls team made history, winning its first KingCo title, and finishing fifth at state.

In 2013, the girls ran faster than the year before, shaving about 20 seconds off the 2012 squad’s team average. Despite its improvement, the 2013 team finished sixth at state.

That was also the year Bliesner showed great toughness, battling through injuries to finish races during the postseason.

The Patriots finally made it to the podium this past year, earning third place and picking up what was the programs’ first state trophies. Bliesner placed 19th overall, crossing the finish line in 19 minutes, 37.55 seconds.

Bliesner also was a member of the Liberty basketball team. She will run cross-country and track for the Division I Redhawks.

Trevor Sytsma — Pepperdine University

Just as the Liberty girls cross-country team evolved into a KingCo force, the Patriots’ boys team steadily improved through the years, and Sytsma was a big part of that.

Sytsma was the top senior on this year’s cross-country team, helping lead the team to its third-place state trophy — its first in program history. He finished 27th overall at state in 2014.

He also starred on the 2013 Patriots squad that was the first Liberty boys cross-country team to qualify for the state competition in Pasco. The team finished ninth overall that year.

Sytsma, also a four-year varsity runner on both the cross-country and track teams, will run for the Division I Waves in Malibu, California.

Russell Boston — College of Wooster

Running back and safety Boston dealt with nagging injuries that kept him off the field for a lot of his senior campaign.

Still, he received honorable mention All-League honors at running back for the times he did suit up in 2014.

Boston put together an All-League career with the Patriots, buoyed by a junior season in which he led KingCo 3A/2A in all-purpose yards with 1,028.

In 2013, Boston was named to the All-KingCo first team on defense, and second team on offense.

“He’s one of the best I’ve ever had,” head coach Steve Valach said of Boston in 2014. “What you see on the field, that doesn’t even compare to who he is as a person.”

He will play Division III football at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

By Greg Farrar Nolan Hoover, Hazen High School senior quarterback, fades back and looks for a receiver Aug. 20 during the Highlanders’ first fall football practice of the 2014 campaign. Hoover will continue his football career at Pacific Lutheran University.

By Greg Farrar
Nolan Hoover, Hazen High School senior quarterback, fades back and looks for a receiver Aug. 20 during the Highlanders’ first fall football practice of the 2014 campaign. Hoover will continue his football career at Pacific Lutheran University.

Nate Jarvis — Pacific Lutheran University

Jarvis, a Liberty lineman, is following in Valach’s footsteps, suiting up for Pacific Lutheran University.

The All-League center anchored the Patriots’ offensive line for the past three years, improving every season.

In 2014, his play earned him the KingCo 3A/2A Lineman of the Year, along with first-team All-KingCo offense honors.

During the spring, you can find Jarvis playing lacrosse, where he is a valuable member of the Liberty lacrosse team.

Valach, Liberty’s longtime coach, also played college ball at PLU, under legendary coach Frosty Westering.

Jarvis will suit up for the Division III Lutes in the fall.

Nolan Hoover — Pacific Lutheran University

Hazen High School quarterback Nolan Hoover announced over Twitter that he will play football at Pacific Lutheran University.

Hoover is one of four quarterback recruits the Lutes are bringing in this fall.

“This incoming class of student-athletes is a very talented and special group of young men,” PLU head coach Scott Westering said in a statement. “We are so excited to have them and their families join our EMAL (Every Man a Lute) Football Family.”

As a three-sport athlete, Hoover excelled on the gridiron, in the pool and on the diamond while with the Highlanders, earning all-league honors in football, swimming and baseball.

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