Conner Warick was sold when he visited Oregon State University. If the Beavers’ football program gave him a chance to join their roster, he’d accept.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound lineman from Timberline High School announced his decision to join the Beavers as a preferred walk-on earlier this week via Twitter.
“I was blessed to receive an amazing opportunity to continue my education and football career at my dream school, and I just can’t pass it up,” Warick wrote.
Warick verbally committed to Central Washington University in January, but decided to flip on Monday. He was at the center of five Timberline players participating in National Signing Day on Wednesday afternoon, sporting Oregon State gear.
“When I went on my visit there, it was just super comfortable,” Warick said. “I felt like I really belonged there, and I just felt like if I went there, I’d have the most fun (during) my college days.”
Warick also cited the mechanical engineering program offered in Corvallis as part of his decision.
He is the second Timberline player to walk on at Oregon State in the past two years, following Jaelen Bush, who redshirted for the Beavers in 2017.
“He’s going to be like my upperclassman,” Warick said. “I can’t wait to play with him again.”
Warick is projected to join the Beavers as a defensive end. He was a two-way standout for the Blazers his senior season, earning first-team all-state honors on the defensive line after compiling 54 tackles (21 for losses), six sacks and two blocked punts — including one he returned for a touchdown.
He was an honorable mention all-state selection as an offensive lineman, finishing with 51 pancake blocks for an offense that averaged nearly 230 rushing yards per game. He was also named the 3A SSC lineman of the year and an Olympian All-Area selection.
Warick is the only local player this season to head to a Pac-12 program. He said Oregon State’s coaches have a solid plan for him, and he feels he can follow them through the process.
“They said I can make an impact on their team,” Warick said.
EASTERN COACH PRAISES HARTSOCK
Olympia’s Corbin Hartsock inked his commitment with Eastern Washington University during the early NCAA signing period in December, after missing his senior season with a knee injury.
Eastern coach Aaron Best spoke highly of the 6-foot-5, 235-pound defensive end on Wednesday, noting his versatility.
Hartsock, a former Olympian All-Area player and 4A SPSL first-team selection, tallied 66 tackles (18 for losses) and nine sacks as a junior, and matched up against Division I talent like former Graham-Kapowsin offensive lineman Foster Sarell, who is now at Stanford.
Hartsock has often noted his appreciation for EWU holding true to their offer through his injury, and Best echoed that Wednesday.
“He knew we were there from the start,” Best said. “That’s how we recruit. ... We did not waver. A kid that long, he has position flexibility and is a moster size-wise, and is able to play a lot of different positions.
“He’s going to start at defensive end, and we are hoping to get him cleared and ready, preferribly when fall camp is going on.”
Chase Bowes hopes to be wrapping up Michael Barnes in the backfield in the coming years.
The Timberline teammates signed with different NAIA Frontier Conference football programs — Bowes with College of Idaho and Barnes with Montana Tech — after suiting up together during their youth and high school careers.
“I’m going to look forward to that game for sure,” Bowes said. “I’ve always played with him, now I get to play against him. That will be fun.”
Bowes, an all-state offensive lineman, is projected to join the Yotes on the defensive line. He was also an Olympian All-Area selection and 3A SSC first-teamer as a senior.
Barnes is the reigning Olympian All-Area player of the year, and heads to Montana Tech as a running back. He rushed for 1,200 yards and 10 TDs on 201 carries his final season.
He was the 3A SSC MVP, an all-state selection as a defensive back (61 tackles, four interceptions at safety) and an all-state honorable mention pick as an all-purpose player.
WOLVES TO WILDCATS
The Black Hills soccer duo of Bella Brown and Sydney Lowe is headed to Ellensburg. Both girls signed their letters of intent with Central.
“After our last high school game together I was kind of sad because we didn’t know if we were going to play in college together,” Brown said. “When we found out we were, I was so happy.”
The duo follows in the footsteps of Lowe’s older sister Whitney, a Black Hills product, who is a senior at Central.
Sydney Lowe is the reigning Olympian All-Area player of the year. A two-time All-Area selection, the forward finished her senior season with 28 goals and 14 assists, and was voted the 2A Evergreen Conference offensive player of the year for the second consecutive season.
Brown, a midfielder, is a two-time All-Area selection and four-time 2A EvCo first-teamer. She recorded seven goals and 16 assists as the Wolves finished league play with a perfect 10-0 mark.
Both players helped Black Hills reach the state playoffs twice during their careers.
“We have this special bond on the field, we just know where each other are,” Lowe said. “We get to do that next year.”
Lowe got to know some of CWU’s current players through her sister, and said she likes how the Wildcats play together as a unit.
“I like the competitiveness,” Brown said. “Every time I’ve talked to coach, he talks about how much they compete every day in practice and games. They’re a successful program, and i think it’s a really cool opportunity I get to play there.”
Staff writer Todd Milles contributed to this report.