Cedarcrest Athletes Sign on National Letter of Intent Day
Typically, on the first Wednesday every February, thousands of prospective future collegiate athletes step into their high school offices, clutching a piece of paper and a dream. On this particular day, known as National Letter of Intent Day, students make athletic commitments to schools around the nation, declaring their intent to attend and play sports for the colleges of their choice. For many, it validates the years of hard work and dedication. For others, it means what was once a dream is quickly becoming a reality.
This year, three Cedarcrest High School students, from the class of 2017, signed their National Letters of Intent and our Communications Coordinator, Mike Ward, had the chance to talk with: Bri Devereaux (Track & Field), Maddie Nixon (Fastpitch/Softball), and Nik Reierson (Soccer). Eager to graduate, they will soon travel around the country, taking their intellect and talent to the next level.
BRI DEVEREAUX (Lewis & Clark University, Track and Field)
Bri, it’s great to meet you. How did track and field become a passion for you?
My mom, actually. She went to college for track, she got a scholarship and she went to the University of Idaho, and I started track in sixth grade at Tolt (Middle School) and it just went from there.
What are your events? What do you do?
I am a sprinter and my main event is the 400m. Well, really it's mostly the 4 (400m) and the 2 (200m), but sometimes, the long jump as well.
How did you get started at Tolt? Did you know what you wanted to do early on or find your events later on?
Okay...so...honestly, I never really liked long distance, and so I didn’t run the 400 until I got to Cedarcrest. But pretty much I ran the 100 and the 200 at Tolt.
What do you love about running and track and field in general?
Track and running, they are ways for me to help get through a bad day sometimes. Running really can help me gets things off my mind, and while it’s not always fun training, it is so worth it in the long run.
How did you select Lewis & Clark?
It started when I got an e-mail over the summer from their coach and we were able to set up a time for me to go on a recruiting trip. I got to meet some of the girls already on the team and I got to see their dorms and we went to a basketball game together and I really had a lot of fun. They showed me the facilities on campus and we talked about all the different options available there.
Was this a school you were considering or did they come out of kind of nowhere?
Yeah, it was a surprise and honestly, I didn’t even know who they were until they e-mailed me. (Laughs). I was considering some bigger schools, but then they came along and they had a really great offer. I realized, after visiting, Lewis & Clark would be a really good fit for me.
Are you nervous? Is any of this overwhelming?
Well, yeah - It is really nerve-wracking, but I am super excited, but also really nervous - it’s a far-away place and a new place and I’ll have new friends and a new track family. I think it will be really fun though, since I have already met a number of the girls there. It should be a really good experience.
How did it feel signing the Letter?
I just thought, “Wow. I’m done now.” (Laughs).
Have you thought about what you want to study or is that still open-ended at this point?
I have wanted to go into the medical field for awhile and so I have an interest in a pre-nursing program, but I also have an interest in pursuing ultrasound technology. I know it can change and I’m alright with that.
When do you leave, when does this all begin for you?
Freshmen orientation is August 18 and it seems pretty early to me. I thought I was going to have more time but it’s coming up really quick!
MADDIE NIXON (University of North Dakota, Fastpitch-Softball)
Congratulations on your signing.
Thank you so much.
When did softball become a big part of your life?
I always grew up watching my brother play and then I started playing when I was 8 years old. I always have had this passion for it and I knew I wanted to play it in college, so back when I was pretty young.
Have you played other sports or did softball find you and then you were hooked?
I liked other sports as well, I have played a couple other sports. but softball is so unique. You fail so much and yet, you get to learn so much. Baseball and softball is such a mental game, you learn so much of yourself and I love the nature of it being a team sport.
It is interesting you mention "failure" because a great batting average means you have only hit the ball 30 percent of the time.
What made you choose University of North Dakota or did they choose you?
A little bit of both. My junior year I went to a camp there on an unofficial visit and I just knew. I went to lots of other camps and visited with other coaches at different universities but I really liked Coach Stevens (Jordan Stevens), who will be my head coach at UND, as well as really liking the girls and the teammates and their program and their goals as a program.
So you chose them but when did they make the commitment to you?
That same camp actually when I walked on for the first time. I verbally committed about three weeks later.
As all of this starts to become a reality, how does that feel?
I just feel very fortunate and blessed to be able to go to my first choice for a school, not just academically but also athletically.
How did it feel signing the letter?
That was just...(smiles, pauses)...I think about everything I worked for and everything I have been working up to. It was just fun to officially sign after giving a verbal commitment my Junior year.
Have you made a decision on what you will want to be studying or is that still up in the air at this time?
I am majoring in athletic training and will get a minor in athletic coaching.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
To still be involved in softball somehow. Maybe be an athletic trainer, involved in speed and conditioning, but definitely somehow connected to training or coaching.
Is there a moment where you just knew that this would be your future?
My sophomore year, I had a really bad season on my select team and I really didn’t know what my future was going to hold after that. I went to a different select team (The Sundodgers, coached by Shawna Wright), which had a whole bunch of former University of Washington players. And there was a distinct moment for me where we were doing a lot of conditioning, and it was after we were in trouble for not doing something right. We were taking part in a push-sled drill and my group just couldn’t even do it. And the entire team rallied after us and it was the realization that people were putting team first and helping each other before anything else. And I realized that a “team first” mentality was what I was missing with my other teams. What’s funny is that it wasn’t even playing softball, it was conditioning and that's where everything totally clicked for me. The Sundodgers is one of the biggest reasons why I stuck with softball and will be playing in college.
NIK REIERSON (Seattle Pacific University, Soccer)
Congratulations on signing! How did you decide on SPU (Seattle Pacific University) as the school to sign with?
Thanks so much. I know that SPU (Seattle Pacific University) has a really powerful soccer program, and is highly regarded within the Seattle area. I wanted to stay local so my family could come and watch me play. Plus, I know the coach pretty well and I reached out to him and he came and saw me play.
We have some graduates that play there.
Chris Cole graduated from here and plays there, yeah. (Cole graduated from Cedarcrest in 2014)
Soccer is your passion, but do you play other sports?
I play for Crossfire Academy now so I am not allowed to play other high school sports, but as a Junior, I played football, basketball, and soccer.
When did you start playing soccer? And did other sports start for you around the same time?
When I was 5 or 6 years old, I played with the YMCA and just kind of tried to do everything and basketball and soccer were definitely my favorites because they are so fast and required you to be pretty athletic.
Talk about the process of applying for colleges, especially when you have a sports background, and how that all factored into your decision-making?
I knew that I wanted to play college sports so, before I would go and play in a tournament, I would look at a list of which college coaches would be attending and research the schools and figure out which ones I might be interested in. I would e-mail them and reach out to them and some were kind enough to come and watch me play, and we would kind of go forward from there. I would also go on visits and kind of talked with my family about everything. I took all these factors into consideration and then made a decision based on that.
Where there any other schools on your radar?
I was talking to the University of Washington and Western (Washington University) as well, but it kind of came down to SPU being the best fit for me personally.
How did it feel to open up that letter telling you that you were accepted?
I don’t know (smiles...), it just felt like my hard work was finally paying off, for all of that to come into this dream that I had since I was a little kid to play a college sport.
The moment you signed that Letter of Intent was kind of a big deal. Did it sink in at that point?
Yeah it just made it really official. I had verbally committed but that doesn’t technically mean anything, so once I signed the National Letter of Intent, with all that fine print on it, it was pretty cool.
Have you thought about a field of study when you get to school or is that still to be determined?
It’s still a little bit to be determined, I love working out and how the body works and health sciences, so I am thinking of going into exercise science or pre-med.
Project this out a couple of years. What do you see in the future?
I have a dream of playing pro, so I’m hoping to get to SPU and get to work and have a good four years and hope to make some connections with some pro teams around the area. If that doesn't work out, if I got an exercise science major, I could maybe open my own gym or get involved with the school, becoming a sports trainer. I want to stay involved in sports, as it is really is such a huge part of my life.