Six Peninsula High School athletes have inked commitments to various colleges across the country.
While Gig Harbor High held a signing-day ceremony on Feb. 5, Peninsula will not hold one until mid- to late April. Peninsula athletic director Phil Willenbrock wrote in an email that a possible date is April 23.
The athletes are: Gabby Wiltse, water polo, Cal State Bakersfield; Caleb Riggs, swimming, Birmingham Southern College; Alaina Morgan, fastpitch, Menlo College; Kelly Anderson, volleyball, Corban University; Shane Hanon, baseball, Skagit Valley College; Robert Kassargian, baseball, Pacific University (Forrest Grove, Ore).
Swimmer Caleb Riggs is the only one who plans to leave the West Coast. He has committed to Birmingham Southern College to swim.
Riggs lived in Alabama for a year when he was younger, and he said he wanted to return. While he originally looked at the University of Alabama, he wanted to explore other options in the state.
“I just wanted to look and see what other schools were in there,” Riggs said. “I saw, they’re (NCAA Division III), and they have a breaststroker that goes like 55 (seconds), so I was like, oh, they’re actually a faster D3, so I looked at them, and I started talking to them. I went and visited, and I just really liked the campus and the school. It was awesome.”
Riggs reflected on his high school career and said swimming has been a big part of his life during the past four years.
“It’s just been fun,” he said. “It’s been really exciting. It’s been a really big part of me for high school.
“It’s helped me a lot actually,” he added. “It makes swimming more fun.”
Riggs couldn’t pin down a specific memory as his favorite, but he pointed to the various relays with which he’s been involved.
During the West Central District III meet on Saturday, Riggs was part of a dominant 200-yard freestyle relay team that took first place. Three of the four members of the relay team are seniors.
“All our relays (are my favorite memories), pretty much,” Riggs said. “At leagues, and state, and districts last year. Our relays here today (Saturday). Whenever we come together as a team and race, and everyone steps up, that’s the best.”
Shane Hanon, who plays in the middle infield for the Peninsula baseball team, plans to stay close to home. He has committed to Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon.
For Hanon, the decision came down to the connection he felt with head coach Adam Roberts and his philosophy.
“He’s pretty offensive-oriented; defense is just, ‘Get the job done,’ ” Hanon said. “If you hit, you play. His view on hitting, it’s more gap to gap, not as much situation stuff. He said people are too worried about getting on video and breaking down swings. He said, ‘Just get out there and hit.’ I really like that, because that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Hanon batted .350 last season and thinks he will fit in nicely at Skagit Valley. He had the option to go to either Gig Harbor High or Peninsula High, and chose the latter.
“Mr. Weymiller (Pete, the PHS head coach) has been there a lot of my life,” Hanon said. “He’s helped me become the player I am. It’s very homey. It’s definitely my school.”
Hanon said his favorite baseball memory so far came during his sophomore year, when the Seahawks played in the state tournament.
“It was special,” he said. “I was the youngest guy. I thought that state meant a lot. It was cool to be with the older guys, seeing what it took to be there. That helped me develop.”
Hanon added that the team has a relaxed atmosphere, and the guys like to joke around with each other frequently.
“Everyone has been a joker,” he said. “It’s been all fun. It’s hard to pick a memory. We picked a new one every game and practice. It was a lot of fun to be around with those guys.”Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.