Husky alums get back in action at college level

Benny Westcott

A wave of Sweet Home athletes have moved on to the college ranks including those who have signed letters of intent just in the last two years.

But there are plenty more. So, how are they doing? The New Era takes a look at how former Sweet Home High School student athletes competing in sports in the post-COVID 2021-22 season at the collegiate level have fared:

Ally Tow (Class of 2018)

Tow, a junior outside hitter at Corban University in Salem, registered 2.14 kills per set on the 2021 Cascade Collegiate Conference championship volleyball team.

The Warriors finished 30-3 overall, heading to the NAIA Final Site for the sixth straight time, and ended the season in the Top 16. Corban broke its program record for wins in a season (30) and the conference record for wins in conference play (20).

Bethany Gingerich Schmidt (2018)

Schmidt, a senior in track at George Fox University in Newberg, finished 20th in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Division III track and field championships in Geneva, Ohio. Schmidt won the event (1:01.17) at the Northwest Conference championships, and ran a leg on the winning 4×400 relay (3:59.74) as well.

Keenan Holly (2018)

Holly, a senior wide receiver at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, played in eight football games, finishing the season with 47 yards on five receptions and two carries for 22 rushing yards. On defense he recorded three solo tackles and one assisted tackle. He had one reception for 20 yards and one carry for 21 rushing yards against Whittier College in California on Sept. 18.

The Pioneers, who compete in the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference, finished the season at 3-6.

Haley May (2018)

The Corban University junior competed in eight golf tournaments for the Warriors, shooting a low round of 86 three times throughout the season.

Marissa Kurtz (2019)

Kurtz, a sophomore wrestler at Southern Oregon University (Ashland) competed for the Raiders at 116 pounds. Southern Oregon, which competes in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, finished second in the NAIA National Invitational and went 9-2 overall on the season.

Megan Hager (2020)

Without doubt one of the greatest swimmers ever to exit the Sweet Home program, Hager finished her sophomore year at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.

Hager placed in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events at the 2022 Mountain West Swimming & Diving Championship, held Feb. 16-19 at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

She also helped the 400 and 800 freestyle relays set school records at the MWCs and was part of the 200- and 800-meter relays that earned all-Mountain West honors with third-place finishes.

Hager set personal bests in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.40 and the 200 freestyle at 1:50.53, a Phil Hansel Invitational (Houston, Texas) mark that ranks eighth all-time.

Travis Thorpe (2020)

Thorpe was a redshirt freshman wrestler last season at Southern Oregon, which finished 19th at the NAIA Championships and went 5-6 overall on the season.

Casey Tow (2020)

Tow, a sophomore at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., finished third in the heptathlon at the Patriot League Indoor Track and Field Championships, held Feb. 27 at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., with a score of 4,801.

He also took third in the 60-meter dash at the event with a time of 7.18, and second in the high and long jumps, clearing 1.82 (5-11½) and 6.83 meters (22-5), respectively.

He threw the javelin 53.44 meters (175-4) for fourth place at the San Diego Collegiate Challenge, held March 11 at the University of California-San Diego, then followed with a third-place 400-meter finish at 50.88 and a fourth-place performance in the long jump at 6.43 meters 21-1¼ during the March 26 Navy Spring Invitational at the Naval Academy.

Lance Hanson (2020)

Hanson, a sophomore at George Fox, placed fourth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.22 at the Westmont Collegiate Classic, held March 26 at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. (He also helped the 4×400 relay to 10th in 3:46.79.) He finished sixth in the 400 hurdles at 1:02.04 at the March 5 Linfield Erik Anderson Memorial Icebreaker in McMinnville and ninth at 1:01.98 at the April 22 Northwest Conference Championships at Baker Stadium in Tacoma, Wash.

Teja Abbott (2021)

Abbott, a freshman at Bushnell University in Eugene who also was a member of Sweet Home’s state championship volleyball team, played on Bushnell’s inaugural beach volleyball team.

Matches consist of teammate pairs competing against opponent pairs, with the results going toward an overall team score. Abbott went 2-14 individually, going 1-3 from the team’s four spot and 1-11 from the team’s five spot.

The Beacons, who compete in the NAIA’s Cascade Collegiate Conference, went 1-15 on the season.

Samantha Hutchins

Shelbey Nichol

Graci Zanona (2021)

The three Linn-Benton Community College freshmen, coming off a senior high school season in which they helped the Huskies win their first-ever state volleyball championship their senior season, then turned around and contributed to the Roadrunners’ first-ever Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball title for LBCC. The Roadrunners went 32-2 overall on the season.

Nichol, an opposite hitter, was sixth on the team in kills with 120. Libero Graci Zanona had the fifth most digs on the season with 128, and setter Savannah Hutchins racked up the third most assists with 271, plus 104 digs of her own.

Jessy Hart (2021)

Hart, a freshman at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, finished fifth in the 400 at the GNAC Outdoor Track and Field Championship (58.17) and helped the Wolves to a fifth-place finish in the 4×400.

Bailee Hartsook (2021)

At Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Hartsook, another alum of Sweet Home’s state champion team, racked up 196 kills for the Wolves’ volleyball program, including a season-best effort of 19 against Biola University (La Mirada, Calif.) in September 2021.

Two months later, she posted 15 kills in two consecutive games, against Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa, Idaho) and Central Washington University (Ellensburg). The Wolves, who compete in the NCAA’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the Division II level, finished with a 4-21 record, with a post-COVID roster of two juniors, seven sophomores and eight freshmen – all but one of whom are expected to return in the fall.

Katie Robeck (2021)

Robeck started 15 games as a freshman goalkeeper for Hesston College in Hesston, Kan., accumulating a 73.8% save percentage with 107 on the year. She allowed 38 goals.

The Larks, who compete in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, went 2-14-1 overall.

Aiden Tyler (2021)

Western Oregon University redshirt freshman Aiden Tyler will be a redshirt freshman quarterback this coming season for the Wolves, who went 4-6 last year.