SK seniors commit to college on Letter of Intent Day

Alyssa Nystrom, Jason Skolnik, Collin Monagle, Brady Steiger and Justin Moore participated Wednesday in South Kitsap High School’s signing day celebration. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Alyssa Nystrom, Jason Skolnik, Collin Monagle, Brady Steiger and Justin Moore participated Wednesday in South Kitsap High School’s signing day celebration.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

National Letter of Intent Day featured few surprises at South Kitsap.

Most students who took part in the celebration at the high school Wednesday already signed with their respective schools during the fall.

Soccer players Justin Moore, a forward, and Jason Skolnik, a midfielder, were the exception.

Moore, who was described as “the best captain we’ve had” by former coach Eric Bergeson last spring, signed with Western Washington. He also received interest from Seattle University and Oregon State.

“I like the area up there,” said Moore, who hopes to pursue a pre-medicine major. “It was just the all-around feeling.”

Moore, who scored 12 goals and added four assists last season, plays forward at South, but said the Vikings could play him at several positions. Western Washington finished first in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with a 7-1 record and were 11-5 overall.

Skolnik signed to play at Northwest University, an NAIA school in Kirkland. He expects to play center back for the Eagles, who finished 4-8 in Cascade Conference and 6-10-2 overall.

“I was looking at some smaller NAIA schools where I can kind of get my feet wet and transfer to a bigger one after a few years,” said Skolnik, who hopes to pursue a teaching degree. “The school was a good fit because it’s closer to home than other schools I was looking at.”

A year ago, all six athletes participating in South’s signing day were girls soccer players. Defender Alyssa Nystrom, who committed to the University of Montana last summer, was the only one this year.

She said she was excited to finally complete the recruiting process when she faxed her letter of intent at 7 a.m. on signing day.

“The whole city is about the college,” said Nystrom, who plans to major in pharmacy. “That’s what I really wanted in a college.”

Pitcher Collin Monagle and third baseman Brady Steiger both made their commitments nearly a year ago and signed their letters of intent during the fall, but decided to partake in the celebration as well. Monagle, a right-handed pitcher, signed with the University of Washington. He’s rated as the third-best prospect in the state’s 2009 class by Baseball Northwest.

He said he selected the UW over an offer from Oregon State because “they gave me the best offer.” Monagle also cited the familiarity of the UW campus, where his summer team, Chaffey Baseball, plays. He also likes how UW coach Ken Knutson has developed pitchers, including 2008 National League Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum, who plays for the San Francisco Giants.

Monagle had surgery to repair a torn labrum during the offseason that might prevent him from pitching for South this season. He didn’t start a game last year because of shoulder problems, but had 22 strikeouts and a 3.23 ERA in 21 2/3 innings for the Wolves in 2007.

“It’s coming back strong,” said Monagle, explaining that Knutson honored his scholarship despite the injury. “I’m throwing about 50 percent off the mound now.”

Teammate Brady Steiger signed with cross-state rival Washington State University. Steiger, who chose WSU over Oregon, was named to the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association Class 4A first team in 2008. A third baseman, he hit .418 with five home runs and 23 RBI, while being named MVP of the Narrows League Bridge Division. Steiger was Baseball Northwest’s No. 13 prospect in the state for the 2009 class.

“It was just the best fit for me,” said Steiger, who hopes to pursue a business major. “I really like the area out there and the coaches, and they gave me the best chance to start.”

UW and WSU play three times every season in the Pac-10 and both are excited for another opportunity to compete against each other.

“We’ve played together since we were 13 years old,” Monagle said. “It will be nice to finally face each other.”

Another spring athlete who signed during the fall was Ally Johnson. The Wolves’ shortstop signed to play softball at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She hit .410 with two doubles, two triples and a team-high 11 RBI last year.

“It feels good,” said Johnson, who’s looking at a business or education major. “I can just relax — I don’t have to worry about it.”

Johnson said she was spotted while playing in a New Jersey tournament for the club Washington Lady Hawks team. She plans to play third base in college.

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