Kaleb McGary arrived wearing his father’s 20-year-old Stetson cowboy hat and a pair of cowboy boots, looking like he just got off the set of “Bonanza.”
Monike Sarte slipped through the library door with a red-colored zip-up football jacket covering his thick frame but having a striking appearance that could belong to a three-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion.
Apart, the two Fife High School seniors looked like they came from different worlds. Together, they formed what will go down arguably as the best defensive-line tandem in school history.
They sat together one last time Wednesday at a table, both signing their national letters of intent to play college football.
McGary, the 6-foot-8, 285-pounder known as “Big Country,” kept with his commitment announced two days earlier and signed with the University of Washington as one of the Huskies’ top in-state recruits.
Sarte (6-1, 290), the reigning Class 2A heavyweight wrestling champion, signed with Eastern Washington University.
Watching these two behemoths go at it on a daily basis was certainly one of Fife coach Kent Nevin’s true pleasures.
“They’ve always supported each other, helped each other but competed against each other,” Nevin said. “They knew by going against each other, they made themselves better. It was exciting to watch.”
It’s probably natural to bond with somebody close to your stature when you’re the new kid in town. So when McGary moved to Fife from Battle Ground two years ago, he immediately struck up a friendship with Sarte.
“And he had a much bigger stack of (recruiting) mail than I ever had,” McGary said.
That changed over the past 12 months. McGary, who enters UW as a defensive lineman, received more than a dozen of NCAA Division I offers, including ones from Arizona State, California, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, Wisconsin and Washington State University.
He was down to the Huskies, Cougars and Wisconsin – and gave an oral commitment to new UW coach Chris Petersen on Monday afternoon.
“Petersen’s got a good class his first year,” McGary said. “I think we can do some pretty cool things at the UW.”
Eastern had a need for linemen, and Sarte fits the bill. He can play on either side of the ball.
“I feel like I can get myself a starting spot,” Sarte said. “It is going to be a challenge going back and forth, but in the end, it’s about who wants it more.”
There is a possibility the two could face off as soon as next season. The Huskies host EWU to start 2014.
Other stops around the Sound Sound:
Not minding smaller crowds at Federal Way: Keenan Curran had a feeling the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl parade through downtown Seattle might steal a bit of his signing-day thunder.
“We have 60 students in my first-period class,” Curran said, “and today, there were six.”
The quarterback and safety was the highest profile of five Federal Way signees as a News Tribune All-Area and all-state safety. The others were teammate Jay-Tee Tiuli (EWU), three-time Class 4A girls swimming champion Kenna Ramey (Pacific), track standout Hannah Cunliffe (Oklahoma), and boys soccer player Ben Willis (Gonzaga).
Curran initially gave an oral commitment to San Jose State in early January. Two weeks later, after his recruiting trip to Colorado Springs, Colo., he reversed field and chose Air Force.
Curran will report for basic training in Colorado Springs this summer, then enter the United States Air Force Preparatory Academy as part of a class of 65.
It serves almost as a redshirt season, even though the prep-academy team will play games against national junior colleges.
With Curran’s dynamic personality – he was a team captain as a senior – it’s not hard to see why he is headed off to a military academy.
“I feel like I am a pretty disciplined person,” Curran said. “People always talk about, ‘You are going to get yelled at, it’s going to be hard, there is going to be basic training’ – those are things part of me looks forward to. You’ve got to be disciplined in life. There are going to be times when people are going to yell at you and times you are not always comfortable with your situation, and you have to adapt.”
Bellarmine Prep holds own parade ... of 10 signees: Volleyball star Courtney Schwan sat at the front of a long table for the school’s signing-day ceremony Wednesday morning.
At the end of it was Lions’ receiver Garrett McKay.
It was almost symbolic to the order in which these seniors made up their minds what colleges they would be accepting scholarships from – and McKay was the last one to choose.
McKay, an All-Area receiver in 2013, had varying attention from Ivy League schools, Portland State of the Big Sky Conference, Central Washington and even regional NCAA Division III programs.
Montana Tech, an NAIA program, came into the process late, but McKay visited the campus last weekend with his father, Shawn, and signed with the Orediggers on the spot.
“My dad always told me it’s not necessarily about how big you go,” McKay said. “Some people … go (NCAA) Division I, but then they go to a team that isn’t a good fit for them. It is about finding a school that is a good fit for you.”
Meanwhile, Hannah Derby – the reigning three-time Class 4A girls 400-meter champion – narrowed her choices to UW and Arizona, a pair of Pac-12 Conference programs.
Oddly, it was on her recruiting trip to Tucson, Ariz., where she decided she wanted to commit to the Huskies. It helped that another national recruit – Anna Maxwell, of San Lorenzo Valley High School (Calif.) – was on the visit with her, leaning the same way.
“That was definitely helpful,” Derby said. “We decided (to go to UW) together.”
Franklin Pierce sackmaster headed to Ellensburg: It wasn’t all that long ago when Franklin Pierce’s Brett Carter was mentioned as one of the state’s top football recruits for 2014.
Then something awful happened – Carter, a linebacker, broke his leg two days before the start of the 2013 season.
It has been a long road back for the Cardinals’ standout, who returned this season to again lead the SPSL 2A in sacks. He signed with Central Washington on Wednesday as part of new coach Ian Shoemaker’s first recruiting class.
“It was a comeback year for me, I guess,” Carter said.
And it was a theme reiterated throughout Carter’s signing-day ceremony in the school’s cafeteria.
The injury – a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula in the left leg – robbed Carter of much of his vertical jump. But after working out with speed coach James Lawrence in the past year, he has increased his straight-line burst.
Carter will likely be a hybrid linebacker/defensive end for the Wildcats.
“Breaking my leg kind of helped me,” Carter said. “I had to work hard to get back and play football.”
THE STATE’S FOOTBALL SIGNEES
Where the state’s football players signed:
- Aberdeen: Kaleb Levao, EWU.
- Auburn Riverside: Kevin Thomson, UNLV; Drew Wallen, CWU.
- Bellarmine Prep: Garrett McKay, Montana Tech.
- Bellevue: Budda Baker, UW; Shane Bowman, UW; Marcus Griffin, Arizona; Marcel Lee, Western Oregon.
- Bethel: James Moore, CWU.
- Bothell: Peter Fisherkeller, Portland State.
- Camas: Drew Clarkson, Oregon State; Zach Eagle, EWU; Reilly Hennessey, EWU.
- Cascade of Everett: Randin Crecelius, Portland State; Josh Smith, South Alabama.
- Chiawana: Grady Graff, CWU; Deion Singleton, WSU; Alex Weber, Air Force; Joey Zamora, Western Oregon.
- Coupeville: Nicholas Streubel, CWU.
- Curtis: Calvin McLain, WSU.
- Eastlake: Drew Lewis, UW.
- Eastside Catholic: Moni Ioane, CWU; Elisha Pa’aga, CWU; Markell Sanders, WSU.
- Ellensburg: Ryan Secondi, CWU.
- Enumclaw: Samuel Fisher, CWU; Chandler Streuli, CWU.
- Evergreen of Vancouver: Brody Bagnall, Air Force.
- Federal Way: Keenan Curran, Air Force; Jay-Tee Tiuli, EWU.
- Ferris: Cole Karstetter, EWU.
- Fife: Kaleb McGary, UW; Monike Sarte, EWU.
- Foss: Patiole Pesefea, EWU.
- Franklin Pierce: Brett Carter, CWU.
- Freeman: Jordan Rose, Idaho.
- Gig Harbor: Reese Carlson, Montana; Owen Taylor, EWU.
- Gonzaga Prep: Jack Hunter, EWU.
- Graham-Kapowsin: Luke Asbjornsen, CWU; Nate Harden, Eastern Oregon; Teague James, Eastern Oregon.
- Heritage: E’lon Mack, Western Oregon; Antonio Pulido, Southern Oregon.
- Kamiak: Henderson Belk, EWU.
- Kamiakin: Kylle Robertson, CWU.,
- Kent-Meridian: Quincy Carter, CWU.
- Kentwood: Terence Grady, EWU.
- Lake Stevens: Evan Miksch, Montana.
- Lakes: Caleb Lyons, Montana.
- Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls: Coleton Collins, Idaho State.
- Lynden: Jalani Phelps, EWU.
- Mariner: Curtis Billen, EWU.
- Marysville-Pilchuck: Dante Fields, CWU; Alexander Gray, CWU; Jake Luton, Idaho; Deion Stell, CWU.
- Mead: Jonah Jordan, EWU.
- Meridian: Spencer Blackburn, EWU.
- Mount Si: Bradly Christensen, Western Oregon; Nick Mitchell, Oregon State; Jack Nordby, Western Oregon.
- Mount Spokane: Stu Stiles, EWU.
- Mountlake Terrace: Devante Downs, California.
- Newport of Bellevue: Conner Baumann, EWU; Drew Sample, UW.
- North Central: Marcus Saugen, EWU; Jimmy Weigel, Montana Tech.
- O’Dea: Jack Flor, Air Force; Jarius McDade, Northern Arizona; Nathaniel Proctor, Western Oregon; De’Juan Ransaw, CWU.
- Olympia: Mitch Fettig, EWU.
- Prairie: Tyler Grant, CWU.
- Pullman: David Ungerer, Idaho.
- R.A. Long: Skylen O’Brien, Western Oregon.
- Skyline: Kilton Anderson, Fresno State; Reggie Long, CWU.
- Spanaway Lake: Joe Martin, Idaho State.
- Steilacoom: Josh Lewis, EWU.
- Tahoma: Elijah Suka, CWU.
- Timberline: Asan Neil-Evergin, EWU.
- Tumwater: Jayden Croft, CWU; Christian Cummings, CWU; Nick Foerstel, EWU; Gabe Gleizes, Western Oregon.
- Union: Leon Siofele, CWU.
- W.F. West: Alex Cox, Montana State-Northern; Tanner Gueller, Idaho State; Bowe McKay, Montana State-Northern; Bryan Moon, Montana State-Northern.
- Wenatchee: Isaiah Brandt-Sims, Stanford; Dillon Sugg, CWU.
- Wilson: Isaiah Simpson, CWU.
- Woodinville: Andre Dillard, WSU; Alek Kacmarcik, EWU.
|Madi Adams||Bonney Lake||Soccer||Montana|
|Tanner Amell||Curtis||Lacrosse||Adams State|
|Brodie Bordeaux||Bellarmine Prep||Golf||Saint Martins|
|Alex Brydson||Curtis||Lacrosse||Adams State|
|Cody Burell||Bonney Lake||Baseball||Big Bend CC|
|Ashleigh Cade||Bonney Lake||Soccer||Louisiana|
|Logan Christianson||Sumner||Baseball||Bellevue CC|
|Madison Clarkson||Aub. Mtview||Soccer||Utah|
|Delene Colburn||Aub. Mtview||Softball||Montana|
|Lauren Crimi||Auburn Riverside||Soccer||Arkansas State|
|Hannah Cunliffe||Federal Way||Track||Oklahoma|
|Hannah Derby||Bellarmine Prep||Track||Washington|
|Tysen Fischlin||Sumner||Baseball||Columbia Basin CC|
|Brody Fitzsimmons||Bonney Lake||Soccer||Bellevue CC|
|Taiki Green||Bonney Lake||Baseball||New Mexico|
|Michael Gretler||Bonney Lake||Baseball||Oregon State|
|Keana King||Bethel||Soccer||Edmonds CC|
|Jordanne Laky||Emerald Ridge||Soccer||California Baptist|
|Shane Hanon||Peninsula||Baseball||Skagit CC|
|Sierra Holloway||Emerald Ridge||Volleyball||Lower Columbia CC|
|Jenna Holtz||Bellarmine Prep||Soccer||Santa Clara|
|Hayley Hustead||Bellarmine Prep||Track||South Dakota|
|Kash Koltermann||Bonney Lake||Baseball||Bellevue CC|
|Joey Lucchesi||Auburn Riverside||Lacrosse||University of Tampa|
|Michael Lucchesi||Auburn Riverside||Lacrosse||University of Tampa|
|Joey Mack||Bonney Lake||Soccer||Saint Martins|
|Bailey Martoncik||Tahoma||Soccer||Central Washington|
|Dawit Mengistu||Tumwater||Cross country||Montana|
|Johnnise Moore||Life Christian||Volleyball||Central Washington|
|Gordon Nelson||Bonney Lake||Lacrosse||Lindenwood|
|Christian Parsons||Sumner||Baseball||Lower Columbia CC|
|Chanelle Pederson||Bellarmine Prep||Soccer||Montana|
|Kenna Ramey||Federal Way||Swimming||Pacific|
|Caleb Riggs||Peninsula||Swimming||Birmingham Southern|
|Hayleigh Ryneski||Bonney Lake||Soccer||Evergreen State|
|Emmi Seelbach||Auburn Riverside||Soccer||Central Washington|
|Jared Sinsheimer||Bellarmine Prep||Track||William and Mary|
|Tristyn Smith||Emerald Ridge||Volleyball||Southern Idaho CC|
|Kathy Thomas||Franklin Pierce||Soccer||Middle Tennessee St.|
|Viktoriva Vasina||Aub. Mtview||Soccer||Central Washington|
|Sophia Wagner||Aub. Mtview||Soccer||Univ. of Chicago|
|Ben Willis||Federal Way||Soccer||Gonzaga|
|Bryce Winkler||Olympia||Soccer||Colorado St-Pueblo|
|Gabby Wiltse||Peninsula||Water polo||Cal-State Bakersfield|