Former Westview, Westside Christian star Jacob Sturtevant did it all for both schools

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview's Jacob Sturtevant made a name for himself by sticking to some of the Metros best wide receivers such as Alohas Maurice McSwain and Southridges Jordan Morgan.

On a given Friday afternoon last fall, some of Westside Christian High’s student body might have been a tad confused with Jacob Sturtevant’s choice of wardrobe.

There, walking the halls of WCH was Sturtevant draped in a No. 22 white or red Westview football jersey tucked into a pair of blue jeans, as is a time-honored tradition for high school football players to do on gamedays. For some of the WCH freshmen unaware of Sturtevant’s exploits, the sight probably seemed somewhat odd, an Eagle wearing Wildcat attire. After all, Sturtevant was a standout on the track for WCS, regularly starring in the sprints and team relays for the Eagles while making appearances at the 3A track and field state championships. So, if it wasn’t a Halloween costume, or a Freaky Friday-themed day for spirit week, just why on earth was Sturtevant repping the ‘Cats?

Being that WCS doesn’t have a football team, Sturtevant spent four years dabbling as a shutdown, all-league defensive back for Westview during the fall — the closest public school to where Sturtevant lives — and a fleet-footed, state-caliber sprinter for WCS in the spring. The atypical double duty took on even greater significance considering how Sturtevant embodied each school so impressively on the athletic scene. Both teams Sturtevant competed for, benefited and were better off because of his ability.

“It was really cool to do it that way,” said Sturtevant. “I really enjoyed having the two different atmospheres there with the intense 6A football versus the little more laid back track at the 3A level. It was a cool change of pace. In football, I was going up against these incredible athletes, a lot of them who went onto play college, while in track, we were out there having fun.”

Get after it

From September through November, Sturtevant would hop into his car every day when the bell rang at WCHS around 3 p.m., and beat the periodically gnarly Beaverton traffic across town to Westview to watch film and practice. With some kids, Westview football head coach Greg Fisher said, a coach might worry about a traveling player showing up on time and being motivated enough to show up every day. Not Sturtevant, however. Fisher said he’d venture out to the gridiron and Sturtevant — his lockdown corner and go-to wide receiver — would be right there alongside his teammates, pads on and helmet strapped, ready to get after it.

“(Sturtevant) was so mature and so consistent about his attendance, behavior and communication that it was almost like having another coach on the staff,” said Fisher. “He was that good for us. He’s not an overbearing personality, and he would pretty much just blend in with these guys. It wasn’t a big change because he was one of the guys.”

Going from attending class at WCS to putting on the pads for Westview, wasn’t the same as say an unheard of homeschooler getting dropped onto a high school team. Sturtevant lives five minutes away from Westview High, grew up playing in the Wildcats’ youth football league and spent his summers working out with his fellow teammates.

Sturtevant made two completely different groups of friends, one he went to school with and who actually came to watch their classmate on Friday nights, and the other a flock of football players who he’d played pigskin with since fourth grade. It helped, Fisher said, that Sturtevant was the epitome of a team player, the kind of glue guy that holds squads together.

“He’s the best kind of kid,” said Fisher of Sturtevant. “He was solid as any high school player comes, the kind you could count on, on both sides of the ball. He’s that character kid that every team needs. He’s not flashy, but he just makes plays. He always took on the best receiver from the other team and pretty much shut him down. He’s got a really bright future because he’s that kid that everyone wants on their team.”Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sturtevant starred on both sides of the football for Westview last season, doubling up as a wide receiver and all-league defensive back.

One-man show

When spring rolled around, Sturtevant switched his Westview football getup for an Eagle track suit and lent his speed to the WCS boys’ track team, who leaned on Sturtevant’s closing speed to finish sixth overall as a team at the 3A track and field state championships. Admittedly, Sturtevant said he would’ve rather run for Westview because of the school’s size and the high-quality athletes it faces. Yet, Sturtevant was a one-man show for the Eagles, winning the 400-meter dash, while anchoring WCS’ 4X400 relay and notching a second place in the 4X100 relay and a fourth place in the 200-meter on the hallowed grounds of Hayward Field.

“It was a fantastic experience,” said Sturtevant. “It was fun working with my teammates on the relays all year, and then finishing it with a gold medal was awesome. Hayward was just a great place, one of my favorite places to compete at.”

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTOS: DAN BROOD - Jacob Sturtevant won the 400-meter dash at the 3A state track and field championship this year and helped the Westside Christian boys track team place sixth overall.

Sturtevant was at the center of Westview’s titanic turnabout, helping guide a team that finished 3-7 each of the senior’s first three seasons to a 7-4 clip, a first-round playoff berth and third place in Metro. After years of frustration and discontent Sturtevant and the same teammates he’d played with since he was 8 years old, came together and rallied the Wildcats into an overturning team that took the legs right out from under the likes of Southridge and Beaverton.

“Our senior class said, ‘We need to change this. This isn’t how we want our legacy to be’,” recalled Sturtevant. “We put the hard work in the offseason. We had a good group of dedicated guys. It was definitely a pivotal year. We were able to completely turn around the program, and now I think everyone at Westview has a much more optimistic view of the future. This past year was really good for the program as a whole, helping us move forward from being mediocre at best to being a contender in Metro.”

Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Westside Christian's Jacob Sturtevant was a standout in the sprints for the Eagles boys track team, winning state titles in the 400-dash and 4X100 relay.

Standing strong

Arguably, Sturtevant faced the most formidable competition of his career, regardless of high school or college, while playing defensive back for four years in Metro. Squaring off with Division One wide receivers such as Southridge’s Jordan Morgan, Sunset’s Jeff Bieber and Aloha’s Maurice McSwain, Sturtevant was steady and stifling, often getting the best of the talented pass catchers with canny smarts and crafty technique. Never more apparent was Sturtevant’s skill than his toe-to-toe bout with Morgan, when the future Arizona Wildcat was held to just three catches and no touchdowns on the night. On the game’s final play, a two-point try with Westview clinging to a 42-41 lead late in the fourth, Sturtevant locked into Morgan and stood strong enough for long enough to disrupt Southridge quarterback A.J. Woodin’s timing on the throw, which sailed over Morgan’s head, handing Westview a program-shifting sort of triumph. Sturtevant not only blanketed Morgan that day, but he also scored two touchdowns on offense and added an interception of Woodin in the first half.

“That was the highlight of the year for me,” said Sturtevant. “It’s a lot of fun going up against really high-quality athletes like that, and being in such an exciting game was just really cool. I’ll never forget that game. It was a fantastic senior year for me.”

Sturtevant’s senior season was punctuated with a berth in the Les Schwab Bowl in June and an open invitation to join the Whitworth University football team this fall, which he accepted. Sturtevant looked at various smaller schools such as George Fox and Azusa Pacific, but fell in love with Whitworth’s campus and the overall atmosphere and environment during a campus visit. Currently, Sturtevant is on a “biology academic track” at Whitworth with aims of possibly becoming a physical therapist or occupational therapist.

Immediate impact

Just two weeks into his freshman season at Whitworth, Sturtevant has already made an immediate impact. During a preseason scrimmage against The College of Idaho, the 5-foot-10 corner came down with an interception and made a handful of plays in extended action that impressed the Pirate coaching staff. Known for his stellar ball skills as a Wildcat, Sturtevant hopes his ball-hawking display against Idaho can help him make Whitworth’s travel squad as a freshman, whether it’s being on special teams or backup at cornerback.

“It was fun to get back on the field and compete for the first time in a while,” said Sturtevant. “Everyone is just so much bigger, stronger and faster, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. I’ve realized it’s definitely a big step up, but I think I’m ready for that challenge. I think I’ll be able to compete here at some point.”

Only half of Whitworth’s entire team makes the travel squad, so Sturtevant said he wouldn’t be disappointed at all if he wasn’t originally selected. At the end of the day, with three years of eligibility left (D3 athletes aren’t allowed to redshirt due to NCAA stipulations) and two of the Pirates’ top corners graduating, there’s ample time and opportunity for Sturtevant to excel at the collegiate level. And, in contrast to his illustrious high school career, Sturtevant won’t have to switch school colors when it’s time for track season, seeing that the college freshman will also sprint for Whitworth.

Long-term, Sturtevant wants to start at some point during his football career, and on the oval, he’d like to reach the Division Three National Championships.

“If I keep improving and working hard, I think that’s an obtainable goal for me my junior and senior year,” said Sturtevant.

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