Sports

Cole makes his choice, decides on Eastern

Former South Kitsap High School standout running back Ryan Cole has chosen Eastern Washington University as his new home.

Cole, who announced last month that he would be transferring from Oregon State University at the end of the winter quarter, will enroll at Eastern in April and play football for the Eagles.

“He said he had decided to go to Eastern,” South football coach D.J. Sigurdson said. “He said he felt like it was the best place for him to be.”

Sigurdson, who coached Cole at South, talked with the former two-time all-state running back last week.

At that time, Cole, a 2002 South graduate, had said he would transfer to either Eastern or Idaho State, but considered Montana State.

Calls to the Cole’s cell phone over the weekend were not returned.

Steve Fenk, the interim director of the OSU sports information office, confirmed that Cole had asked for and had been given a release from his scholarship and was free to contact the three schools mentioned.

Rich Rasmussen, an assistant coach at EWU in charge of recruiting, said NCAA rules prohibited him from talking about any prospective transfers until they were enrolled in classes.

Cole is not expected to enroll at EWU until April.

Cole played two full seasons for the Beavers after redshirting his freshman year.

Last year, Cole rushed for 210 yards on 80 carries and scored twice for Oregon State. He also caught 10 passes for 77 yards.

During Cole’s freshman year, he ran just 15 times for 82 yards.

By transferring to Division I-AA school, Cole can play during the 2005 season and will have two years of eligibility remaining. Had he decided on a Division I school, Cole would have had to sit out this season and would have just one more year remaining.

EWU is on the same quarter class schedule OSU uses and Cole could be enrolled in classes in April and be eligible to participate in spring football, Sigurdson said.

The Eagles went 9-4 last year and advanced to the second round of the I-AA playoffs but lost both of their running backs to graduation.

“I’m excited for him,” Sigurdson said. “For me, it’s neat because he will have a chance to go in and prove himself.”

Cole may also be running behind another former all-state player from South. Chris Anderson, a 2004 grad, has switched positions and will enter spring football second on the depth chart at fullback, a position he played in high school.

Anderson was an all-state linebacker at South but decided to move to fullback in order to better his chances of getting playing time.

Anderson played linebacker on the Eagles scout team last year.

• Kipperberg places sixth at nationals: Derek Kipperberg, a former South Kitsap standout, placed sixth last weekend at the NJCAA Wrestling National Championships held in Rochester, Minn.

Kipperberg, who won a state title at South in 2002, moved up a weight class for the tournament and took sixth at 149 pounds. He had been ranked No. 1 in the country at 141 pounds but moved up to accommodate requests from his North Idaho coaches.

Kipperberg won his first three matches to reach the semifinals but lost his next three to finish sixth.

North  Idaho finished second as a team.

Kipperberg will no look to move to a four-year school to finish out his college wrestling career.

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