By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
MUKILTEO — Ten Kamiak student-athletes formally announced their intentions to play at the college level at a signing party at the high school on Wednesday.
Tyri Bethea and Gabe Meshesha plan to attend Wayne State College and play football, Andy Crosby is headed to the University of Puget Sound to play baseball, Joey Davis is going to Lewis &Clark State College for track and field and cross country, Brandon Gustafson to Everett Community College for baseball, Chris Hatch to Western Washington University for golf, Emma Makela to University of Texas-San Antonio for soccer, Tomislav Smith to Central Washington University for track and field and cross country, Liam Sosinsky to Cornell University for swimming and John Stupey to the University of Maryland- Baltimore County for swimming.
For these students, announcing their intentions to enroll in college and play sports is the culmination of years of hard work.
“I’ve been playing football since I was five,” Bethea said. “I really started taking it serious my sophomore year of high school Ever since then I’ve just been weight lifting, running and agility stuff, all types of stuff to get here.”
It’s a big move for Bethea and Mesesha — Wayne State is located in Michigan.
“There are mixed emotions with him going so far away,” Bethea’s father Hassan Bethea said.
While it is certainly tough to say goodbye to their kids, all of the parents expressed pride in what their children have accomplished.
“I’m so proud of her because her commitment matches her work level,” Makela’s mother Kim Makela said. “She has worked so hard ever since she was tiny and she has always been so passionate about the game of soccer that it’s nice to see the right fit for her. I’m excited for her. I’m going to miss her. I think it will be harder on me than it will be on her. But in the end, I’m just really, really proud of her.”
Signing National Letters of Intent also means that the athletes can cross one more big decision off their checklist in an already busy senior year.
“It’s a relief that I’ve finally got here,” Makela said. “I’m really proud of myself. I’ve wanted to go to college and play soccer. I’ve had that dream since I was like five or six and now that it’s finally becoming a reality it’s really awesome. It’s also sad because I know that all these years that I put in hard work, it’s all finally coming to an end, which is a good thing and I’m excited to look forward to what happens in the future.”
In the past at Kamiak most of the NLI signings have taken place individually. This year, was a unique experience to get 10 students together on the same day to be recognized for their accomplishments.
“I really appreciate my school recognizing the achievement of being able to go and participate in athletic in college and I really think it is a cool thing that they did,” Sosinsky said. “I really appreciate being able to see all the other athletes that have signed with a school because Kamiak is a big school and we don’t necessarily have the chance to recognize each other’s accomplishments in the hallway every day.”
Of the 10 athletes honored on Wednesday, six different sports were represented and many of them are multi-sport athletes.
“We are trying to bring back an atmosphere of multi-sport athletics and not being a singleton athlete,” Kamiak athletic director Sean Monica said. “So it was really cool that we have so many athletes in that group that do play multiple sports and that they are as a class or as a group of nine or 10 that there is a wide variety of sports represented.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.