Quality athletes signing with quality programs

Local standouts sign letters of intent to colleges across the country

Olivia Hood has known for years exactly where she was going to play college lacrosse.

Josh Bottelberghe did not fully understand what it meant when he chose a college to continue his excellent swimming career.

They were two of the many athletes throughout Clark County who are signing letters of intent this week, the first signing period of the 2017-18 academic year.

Hood, a senior at Mountain View, made her choice toward the beginning of her sophomore year. Wednesday, she made it official, signing with Arizona State University.

 

Olivia Hood of Mountain View has signed her letter of intent to play lacrosse at Arizona State. She told the Sun Devils two years ago that she was signing with them, and she never wavered on that decision. Photo by Paul Valencia
Olivia Hood of Mountain View has signed her letter of intent to play lacrosse at Arizona State. She told the Sun Devils two years ago that she was signing with them, and she never wavered on that decision. Photo by Paul Valencia

 

She attended a camp on campus two years ago. She was on her way home when she got a message from another party that the coaches there wanted her to call them. She did, and they made her an offer.

“Two or three days later, I accepted,” Hood said.

“Sun. Sun. People. And Arizona State is an up and coming program,” she explained.

Since then, she said she has had other offers but Hood never wavered.

Earlier this fall, she returned to Arizona State for her “official” visit.

“The same as when I fell in love with it,” Hood said. “The Division I level I dreamed of playing at.”

Hood, who has been playing lacrosse for 12 years, was introduced to the sport by her dad, who is from the east coast where the game was more popular.

“I love it. It’s something that has a special place in my heart,” Hood said.

Bottelberghe, a senior at Columbia River, signed with the University of Notre Dame to swim for the Irish. Yes, THE Notre Dame.

 

Jacob Hjort, left, and Josh Bottelberghe were honored at a signing ceremony at Columbia River High School. Bottelberghe, one of the top swimmers in the country, signed with Notre Dame. Hjort will play basketball at Western Oregon. Photo by Paul Valencia
Jacob Hjort, left, and Josh Bottelberghe were honored at a signing ceremony at Columbia River High School. Bottelberghe, one of the top swimmers in the country, signed with Notre Dame. Hjort will play basketball at Western Oregon. Photo by Paul Valencia

 

“When I first committed (this past summer) I didn’t fully understand what it meant,” Bottelberghe acknowledged. “As time went on, more and more fans have come up to me.”

Notre Dame has alumni associations throughout the country, throughout the world. Once a part of the Irish, always a part of the Irish.

“I started to realize how big of a deal it was,” Bottelberghe said. “I felt really lucky that it’s part of my future.”

His coach at Columbia River, Alyssa Manlow, said it is very possible Bottelberghe will excel even beyond college swimming. He is that talented, with that much potential That would mean swimming for Team USA, the Olympics.

“There are plenty of other people thinking about the same thing,” Bottelberghe said. “I’m certainly going to train my hardest to get there.”

Columbia River held a signing ceremony Thursday morning for Bottelberghe and basketball standout Jacob Hjort, who will be playing for Western Oregon University.

“I’ve talked to my coaches and my parents about this day ever since I took basketball seriously in the sixth grade,” Hjort said. “To actually follow through is overwhelming. It’s just remarkable that it’s happening.”

Columbia River basketball coach David Long said Hjort is not the fastest and not the best athlete in Clark County, but through his work in the gym, Hjort became the best basketball player in Southwest Washington.

“He’s going to go down as one of the greatest shooters in school history,” Long said.

Elsewhere throughout the county, Union High School announced that Keith Lobis has signed with Gonzaga for golf and Maleya Burns will play softball at Angelo State in Texas.

Washington State announced the signing of Sam Lauderdale, a pitcher from King’s Way Christian. Lauderdale helped the Knights win the Class 1A state title last spring.

Skyview softball’s Abby Fischer signed with Oregon State, according to her coach.

La Center announced it would have a signing ceremony Thursday for Saige Keep, a baseball player who is headed to Colorado Mesa, and Molly Edwards, a basketball player who will be going to Arizona Christian.

This is the first part of the early signing period. For the most part, athletes from sports other than football and soccer can sign in November. Football and soccer players can sign in February.

Note: ClarkCountyToday hopes to have an extended list of athletes who will play for four-year programs. Athletic directors, coaches, parents, please e-mail Paul Valencia at paul.v@clarkcountytoday.com

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About The Author

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Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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