Five Wildcats sign on the dotted line
February 7, 2013
By Michele Mihalovich
For four of the Mount Si senior athletes set up to sign their letters of intent to commit to a university, it was an easy decision. For one of them, it was a bit more difficult, and he stayed up all night before coming to the decision just a few hours before the early morning signing Feb. 6.
Trent Riley not only tore up the gridiron this season — breaking the school’s record for most touchdowns, but he’s also a basketball standout, leading the KingCo conference with the highest average points per game.
Choosing whether to play football or basketball at the college level was “definitely a hard decision because I really like playing both,” he said.
He said that because the football team had such a good year – making it to state for the first time in school history — helped him set his sights on football.
“And to get three offers for football, I guess I did something right,” Riley said.
Portland State (D1AA), Idaho State (D1AA) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (D1) were all trying to snatch up wide receiver Riley.
Riley said he’d whittled it down to Portland and UNLV, but he kept going back and forth between the two all night.
Both are great teams. One is closer to home, and one is the holy grail for a high school football player looking to land at a D1 school.
Riley said he spoke with both coaches that night, asking what they expected from him, and he weighed the pros and cons, trying to decide the best fit for him.
In the end, he went with his gut and signed on the dotted line with UNLV.
But, as he sat at the table with the four other athletes in the school’s commons with parents snapping photos of the big moment, Riley said his hand was still a bit shaky.
“It’s a big deal, signing away four years of your life,” he said.
Four more athletes
Wildcat football kicker Cameron Van Winkle had no such qualms. He’s always wanted to be a University of Washington “Dawg,” and officially signed his letter of intent Wednesday after a verbal commitment last June.
Van Winkle is so excited to get started there, he’s graduated early from Mount Si, is taking an online class at UW and if everything goes according to plan, he should be practicing with the Huskies in April, he said.
Signing with the University of Minnesota Duluth was also an easy choice for wide receiver/defensive back Hunter Malberg.
His mother Janine grew up in Duluth and so he has lot of family there, including his grandfather, who has been traveling the 2,000 miles every weekend during football season to watch Malberg play in Washington.
Grandpa’s commute to watch Malberg play home games will be just 10 minutes, said Janine.
Other signers included right tackle Tyler Rutherford, who is heading to Central Washington University this fall, and soccer player Miranda Rawlings, who also signed with UNLV.
Football coach Charlie Kinnune said after the signing event that, “it was a great day for Wildcat football for sure.
“These student athletes put themselves in this position because No. 1, they were academically in a position to get accepted to their respective universities, and No. 2, they are extremely talented and have the potential to get better.”
About Riley’s decision, Kinnune said, “Trent pushed his decision all the way to the end. He had many sleepless nights working through the decision. He was extremely mature about this and took his time. In the end he balanced academics, coaching and facilities. UNLV was the winner of his services.”
Kinnune said the Feb. 6 signings were a record for Mount Si, but also said another six to seven athletes will be signing on as walk-ons or with D3 commitments.