Category Archives: Sports

Player profile: Grant Balvanz

By Keenan Gray

Profile M

As a senior in high school, Grant Balvanz began attending Whatcom Community College through the Running Start Program, with a plan of transferring to Western Washington University for a finance major, after receiving his Associates Transfer Degree.

Currently a sophomore at Whatcom, Balvanz is a guard for the men’s basketball team, and is in his final quarter.

He has received interest from Multnomah University, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school located in Portland, to play basketball next year.

Continue reading Player profile: Grant Balvanz

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Player profile: Gabriella Edison

By Keenan Gray

Gabriella Edison
Gabriella Edison

Gabby Edison had no intentions of continuing her athletic career after high school. She planned to attend Western Washington University as an accounting major.

However, taking a whole year off from playing basketball and volleyball made her realize how much she missed playing these sports. Continue reading Player profile: Gabriella Edison

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Men’s soccer wins North Conference Title

By Kaila Cove

The Whatcom men’s soccer team has won the North Conference title, a competition between regional community college soccer teams.

The team has defended this championship title for the second year in a row.

Bakary Dibba, a forward on the Whatcom men’s soccer team, is satisfied with the way his team played, “We played extremely well, and that’s why we got the win at the end.”

Whatcom soccerLucas Leiberman, number six, keeps control of the ball at Orca Feild during a match

Dibba believes the team could win the conference next year because, “the team will be really strong and the chemistry is already there as well.” He hopes to play for Whatcom again next season.

Dibba gives credit to the team’s head coach, Jason Jorgensen, for the success in the game, “The coach contributes in everything as he’s the one who makes us wake up at 5 a.m. to practice all that is to get us better and prepared for our opponents.”

During the conference, Whatcom had won 11 games, tied one, and lost three. The team this season has scored 52 goals.

Jorgensen said, “It occurred with the boys having focus, determination, and knowing what was on the line. They played some of the best soccer in all the NWAC and that day displayed why they are one of the best teams in the country.” Jorgensen says that Whatcom men’s soccer is ranked 12th out of all the community colleges in the nation.

Jorgensen hopes that the team is able to reclaim the North Conference title again next year. He says it will “depend on what the players do in the off season and the new group of players coming in for 2019.”

During this game, Whatcom had the help of a guest, 9-year-old Tyson Barksdale. “He gave the pregame and halftime speech that helped propel the team to the win. Barksdale was given this experience as part of Whatcom’s participation in the 2018 Rotary Auction where he was gifted “Coach a Day” for Whatcom men’s soccer team. He kept it simple and said, ‘go out there have fun and do what you do best.’ At half time he said ‘you guys are doing great… keep it up,’” said Jorgenson.

Whatcom beat Shoreline in the title, winning game with a score of 8-0.


Midfielder Bekele Dowtry dribbles the ball down the field while facing an opponent

A midfielder for Shoreline, Babucarr Cham, said, “My team played really bad.” He said that most of the team’s key players were injured.

“Unfortunately Shoreline had not won a game all season up to that point and were playing their last 2018 game,” Jorgensen said.

“My opponents are really good, and they had a complete squad,” Cham said. He felt the title winning game was very intense.

Jorgensen said, “We just try to install our knowledge and give back the lessons we learned in our years. The rest is up to the team come game day.”

“They push themselves daily to be the best, and this in itself helped each player in the program contribute not only to the conference winning game but the entire season,” Jorgensen said. He explained that each player on the Whatcom men’s soccer team has helped contribute to the success of this season by bringing a unique dynamic that makes this team whole.

In the end on Nov. 11, Whatcom ending up losing in the NWCA championship game with a score of 0-2.

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Whatcom soccer heads to playoffs

By Kaila Cove

The Whatcom men’s and women’s soccer teams are doing well this year— both teams have earned themselves a top position in the playoffs in the NWAC division.

These Whatcom teams encourage students to come out and support them as they head into the playoffs.

Women’s Soccer:

Kiley Clark, the captain of the women’s soccer team, says the team has been “playing very well and has been winning.” The team has won nine games, tied seven, and lost one.

The women’s team has changed their lineup, which has helped them win.

“We changed up our lineup which caused our defense to be stronger than it was before,” Clark said.

“I do think we will make it into the playoffs,” Clark said. “Right now we are in second place, so we will be moving on to the playoffs.”

Future women’s soccer games will be added to the NWAC conference website.

Men’s soccer:

Bakary Davis, a forward on the Whatcom men’s soccer team, said, “These last couple of games we have been doing good.”

The men’s soccer team is placed first in their division.

“We have gotten much better throughout the season because the more games we play and the more we practice together and hang out outside the field our chemistry grows even more,” Dibba said.

The men’s soccer team has been waking up early every morning and showing up for 5 a.m. practices, along with another practice that occurs later in the day.

Dibba says the team is doing “everything in our power to win every single game we can.”

“We are definitely going to the playoffs because we have been putting in the work,” Dibba said.

He thinks the team has the opportunity to win their divisions conference, if they keep up the good work and stay consistent.

They have won 12 games, tied three, and lost four.

Dibba encourages people to come out and support men’s soccer because “it really means a lot to see people supporting us.”

Jason Jorgensen, who is Whatcom men’s soccer head coach, says his team has had a very successful season. “We only have one loss in league play and have clinched a playoff spot already for hosting.”

“The boys have scored 11 goals in the last 3 games. They lead the league in conference play with shots 205, shots on goal 126, corner kicks 69, and third in goals scored,” Jorgensen said. The team feels the pressure of having to uphold their competitive reputation from last year.

They have been preparing for these playoff games by “training, eating nutritional food, light weight lifting, plenty of water, and intense trainings,” Jorgensen said. These steps of preparation are used as a daily routine for these athletes to try to perform their best when it comes to game time.

“Confidence and belief in their abilities to be the best in the NWAC is key,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen said, “They are the most talented team to date.”

“Seeing their improvement, their drive and become a more complete student athlete is what makes coaching fun and exciting at WCC,” Jorgensen said.

Kealaula Keliikoa, a sophomore the men’s soccer team, said, “I think one thing we’ve done really well is recognize our strengths as a team and build from there while also trying to strengthen our weaknesses, week in and week out.”

Keliikoa has high hopes that his team can win the division.

“I think it would be a good idea for people to come out and support WCC Men’s Soccer because we have pride in our play and we play for the community, so the support only inspires us to play harder and better every time,” Keliikoa said.

Whatcom men’s soccer next games will be on updated on the NWAC conference website.

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Whatcom signs new athletes

By Felix Zavisubin

Fourteen student athletes have signed a letter of intent to join Whatcom Community College sports teams in the 2018-2019 academic year.

The signees include seven for women’s soccer, three for women’s basketball and four for men’s basketball. Twelve of the 14 commits attended Washington high schools, two athletes are coming from Alaska.

“We start internally and work outward,” said Chris Scrimsher, Whatcom Athletic Director. “[Whatcom County] is our first target area.” 

According to Scrimsher, the recruiting process relies on the work of the Whatcom coaches who attend high school games and build relationships with local coaches and athletes.

“I was recruited by the [head coach] for soccer at the end of my senior year,” said Lyla Pagnotta a women’s soccer player at Whatcom. “[She] had been my coach for club soccer during my first couple years of high school so we knew each other pretty well.”

The Northwest Athletic Conference determines a geographical area where schools in the conference are able to actively recruit student athletes and offer scholarships.

According to Scrimsher, schools are not allowed to offer scholarship dollars to athletes from high schools outside of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Hawaii, Utah and Wyoming.

“We can offer up to 65% of tuition,” Scrimsher said. “Each coach has a discretion of how they want to split that up.”

According to Scrimsher, each sport is given an NWAC mandated number of monetary awards to give out. Each of the awards can be split between multiple athletes or given entirely to one.

Whatcom competes with all other NWAC schools when recruiting athletes. In addition to the monetary aspect, there are a variety of other factors athletes must consider when deciding what school to attend.

“I chose Whatcom because I was really impressed by their commitment to their players,” said women’s soccer signee Peyton Schwinger in a Whatcom press release.

Whatcom’s commitment to student athletes manifests itself in a variety of ways. According to Scrimsher, Whatcom is one of the premier community colleges in the NWAC because of it “state of the art” facilities and quality educators.

“The facilities at Whatcom are definitely better than any other school in the conference that we visited to play against,” Pagnotta said.

According to Pagnotta, the gym and turf field at Whatcom are unique, as most schools in the conference had muddy grass fields and old dark weight rooms.

“Whatcom sets the bar pretty high both athletically and educationally,” Schwinger said.

Schwinger will join a women’s soccer team that went 9-5-1 in conference and advanced to postseason play in 2017.

According to Scrimsher, Whatcom judges the success of the athletic programs by looking at individual athletes graduating and moving to the next level, as well as team records.

“If we’re successful and we place them at the next level, then that was a good decision for them to come to Whatcom,” said Scrimsher.

Whatcom had a number of athletes from the past year go on to continue their careers at universities, and sent men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams to postseason play.

“I would definitely recommend playing sports at Whatcom to a high school athlete because it gave me opportunities to meet lots of new friends and people and continue to play at a high level and get better,” Pagnotta said.



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