Siblings among local grads competing in college sports

Tori Nickerson competes for Linfield College in the breaststroke. - Photo courtesy of the Linfield College athletic department
Tori Nickerson competes for Linfield College in the breaststroke.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Linfield College athletic department

There’s a family flavor in the link between local high-school graduates and the winter collegiate athletic scene.

Two sets of siblings are among the former Oak Harbor and Coupeville high school athletes who are competing this season collegiately.

Oak Harbor brothers John and Price Hu swim for the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., while sister Ciara competes for the University of Chicago.

The Coupeville King brothers -- Kyle, a senior at the University of Oklahoma, and Tyler, a sophomore at the University of Washington --­ just finished their indoor track seasons.

John Hu is putting the finishing touches on an outstanding swimming career at Stevens. For the fourth year in a row, he was named Eastern College Athletic Conference championship Swimmer of the Meet after winning three events and helping Stevens claim its third consecutive title.

He also earned Swimmer of the Meet honors at the Upper New York State College Swimming Association/Empire 8 conference meet Feb. 20-23, again winning three events, including the 200-yard butterfly in a meet record (1:50.95).

The Ducks took first for only the second time in school history, also winning in 2009-10.

Hu piled up wins, pool records and NCAA cuts throughout the dual-meet season. A more detailed account of his career at Stevens, which includes six school records, will be featured in a future edition of the Whidbey News-Times.

Sophomore brother Price placed third in the 400 individual medley, seventh in the 200 butterfly and 21st in the  14-team NYSCSA/Empire 8 meet.

Ciara’s impact at the University of Chicago was immediate. At the University Athletic Association conference meet Feb. 13-16, the freshman placed third in the 200 individual medley in a school record 2:06.66, second in the 400 IM and seventh in the 200 butterfly as the Maroons placed third as a team. She is currently ranked in the top-10 in Division III in the 400 IM and is in line to qualify to compete at the NCAA championships later this month.

Coach Jason Weber said, “Ciara is one of the hardest and most dedicated swimmers on the team and deserves all the credit for her outstanding performances so far this season.”

Ciara racked up numerous firsts during the regular season, including setting a pool record in the 200 butterfly (2:05.96) in her first collegiate meet.

One of her best meets was the 11-team Chicago Invitational when she won the 400 individual medley and 200 breaststroke as well as swimming on the victorious 800 free relay team.

Kyle King is completing his eligibility at the University of Oklahoma after running three seasons for Eastern Washington University. At the Razorback Classic Jan. 25, King ran the 3,000 in 8:12.09, the 10th-best indoor time in Sooner history.

His top finish of 2013 came at the Martin Invitational in Norman, Okla., Jan. 19 when he finished second in the mile (4:17.09). His time is seventh best among Sooners in 2013.

At the Husky Classic at the University of Washington Feb. 9, the Kings both ran the 3,000, with Tyler getting the better time, 8:07.38 in section 2. Kyle finished 19th in section one in 8:12. Tyler’s time was best for the UW in the event this season.

Tyler finished 12th, first among Huskies, in the 5,000 in 4:21.44 at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor championships Feb. 23 and 24.

Oak Harbor’s Tori Nickerson, a sophomore swimmer at Linfield College (McMinnville, Ore.), helped the Wildcats place seventh in the Northwest Conference meet Feb. 8-10.

Nickerson and teammates placed fourth in the 200 free relay and seventh in the 200 medley relay. She posted Linfield’s fastest time of the year in the 200 individual medley (2:20.11) while placing 18th in the conference meet. She was also 16th in the 100 breaststroke and 21st in the 200 breaststroke.

Linfield assistant coach Reid Kimura said, “Tori had a great season, despite having some injuries down the stretch. Tori worked hard to improve her speed and back half of her race and always seems to run other swimmers down at the end. We have high expectations of Tori over the next two years as she will be counted upon to contribute in and out of the pool.”

Coupeville’s Rachel Weinstein, who trained with the Oak Harbor High School swim team, currently competes for the University of Redlands (Redlands, Calif.).

The sophomore had her most success swimming on Bulldog relay teams, helping the 400 medley squad to third in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference meet Feb. 17-19. As a team, Redlands placed third.

She was also 18th in the 200 breaststroke and 25th in the 500 free at the league meet.

During the dual meet season, Weinstein took part in four winning relay swims. Individually, she won the 200 breaststroke in a tri-meet at La Verne Jan. 26, and she was second in the 200 breast and third in the 100 breast at Pomona-Pitzer Jan. 19. Weinstein recorded a season-best (2:31.75) while finishing second in the 200 breast against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Feb. 2.

Coupeville’s Dylan Tack runs indoor track at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, N.Y.) and placed 15th at the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships in the 500 meters in 1:07.54 March 1. The time was a personal record and good enough for 12th best all-time at the Academy. Earlier in the season, he ran the fourth fastest 600-meter time (1:25.16) in USMMA history.

He joined three other teammates to set a Landmark Conference record in the distance medley relay (10:33.87) at the Fasttrack Challenge in New York City Feb. 16. At the Landmark Conference meet Feb. 14, he was fifth in the 400 and earned all-conference honors by placing second in the 4x400 relay (3:30.54).

During the regular season, the 4x400 team ran a 3:28.09, fastest indoor time in Landmark Conference history.

Coach Greg Lott, noting the freshman's achievements, said, "Tack had a stellar season for the Mariners."

Oak Harbor’s Shantae Young, competing for Washington State University, finished 13th in the triple jump in 36-11 at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship meet in Seattle Feb. 23.

The junior picked up a triple jump win at the Idaho Open Feb. 16 in 38-02, the top mark for a WSU jumper this winter.

She also has the Cougars’ fifth-best indoor long-jump mark of 17-9 3/4.

Coupeville’s Cody Peters and Oak Harbor’s Jessica Denmon compete for the Evergreen State College (Olympia) basketball teams.

Peters, a 6-6 junior, was a leader on the Geoducks’ stat sheet.

He was first in free throws made (66), free throws attempted (102) and defensive rebounds (109). Peters ranked second in scoring (10.3 points per game), total rebounds (145), blocked shots (15) and minutes played (691); and fourth in three-pointers (21), steals (19) and field goal percentage (38.6).

Five times he led his team in scoring, hitting a season high 24 against Lewis-Clark State Dec. 7. The 24 points was one shy of the team’s individual high for the season.

Like Peters, Denmon finished among her team’s statistical leaders.

Though only 5-6, the junior led the Geoducks in offensive rebounds (77) and was second in total rebounds (163). She was also first in three-point percentage (26.2), free throws made (56) and steals (44).

She ranked second in three-pointers attempted (61), three-pointers made (16), free-throw percentage (76.7), assists (43) and minutes played (803). Denmon was third in scoring average (8.8) and was Evergreen’s high-point producer three times, once hitting 13 at Concordia Feb. 2.

Coupeville’s Jason Bagby, a 6-4 sophomore basketball player at Yakima Valley Community College, helped the Yaks (10-4, 20-8) to a second-place finish in the Eastern Division.

Yakima opens the Northwest Athletic Association of Community College championship tournament today against Clackamas (16-12).

Bagby scored 64 points, with a season high of 12, for a 2.78 average. He also collected 35 rebounds, 17 steals and six blocked shots.

Yakima head coach Ray Funk said, “It’s been fun having Jason in the program for the past two years. He’s the product of a great family and I can’t say enough about their selfless support of the program.

“(Jason’s) been a key program guy and one who’s always ready when called upon. He has a strong work ethic and makes things happen with his effort and energy.”

Mike Washington Jr., the basketball career scoring leader for Oak Harbor High School, is now playing at Princeton University. The 6-3 freshman has appeared in nine games for the 14-9 Tigers and has yet to score but has grabbed three rebounds.

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