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Track leads Newberg with seven college signees
Newberg High School track and field has been producing college athletes pretty much on an annual basis even going back before current coach Brandon Ramey's tenure.
But for the past several seasons now, it seems like the program is turning out whole classes of collegiate runners, jumpers and throwers each spring.
The class of 2018 numbers seven strong, which may be a new high under Ramey, but just as unique for the program was holding a single signing ceremony to celebrate Cole Alteneder, Kyle Charbonneau, Ashley Korb-Doty, Bryon Morris, Savanna Salmons, Davis Smith and Hunter Whitehead all together.
"They are all tremendous athletes and even better kids, which is what makes those signing days so cool and makes it easy to work with them to find a college for them," Ramey said. "They're not only great at track and have had success on the track, but they're leaders in the school, they're Newberg Senior Athletes of the Year, they're Carolyn DeCrevel Award winners. Those are the kids that I have the pleasure to be around for the majority of the year."
Charbonneau, a middle distance runner who will compete at Grand Canyon University, was the only one in the group to have already held a signing ceremony and Ramey thought it would be fitting to recognize them together.
"It's nice to have a big group come together and show what they've done for us as Newberg track and field and what they've done for the community and school," Ramey said. "That group is probably if not the most successful one of the most successful groups to come through Newberg High School in track and field."
Alteneder, who has been a standout in the hurdle and relay events for NHS nearly his entire career, also signed with a Division I school, opting to join the Idaho Vandals.
George Fox University was the most popular destination, not surprisingly, as the Bruins are not only a popular choice for NHS graduates overall, but the track programs are also closely linked. That includes do-everything Davis Smith, whose dad is the Bruins' coach and a regular at Tiger practices and meets.
Like his dad, Davis Smith appears headed for a career in the decathlon after excelling in the pole vault, high jump, triple jump and on Newberg's relay teams. George Fox has developed one of the most consistent multi-event programs at the NCAA Division III level and will also benefit from the addition of Korb-Doty, who has demonstrated expertise in the hurdles, the pole vault and several jumping events, most notably the triple jump.
Joining them will be sprinter Byron Morris, who will also play football for the Bruins despite missing most of his senior season on the gridiron due to injury.
Salmons, who will compete in cross-country and track, will also compete at the DIII level after opting to attend Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Rounding out the group is sprinter Hunter Whitehead, who is headed to NAIA Corban University in Salem.
"It's cool that it gives those kids an opportunity to compete in college athletics, which is fun and rewarding and hard. It's kind of emblematic of where we're at as a program. We have kids that compete at the district level, state level, so it's fun to watch."
Although a much younger program, the Tigers girls lacrosse team has also been sending a steady stream athletes to the college level, including three more this fall.
Kylie Duey, Miranda Piros and Sydney Thatch will be competing at the DIII level, too, as well as against one another in the growing Northwest Conference after Duey opted for Linfield, Piros picked Willamette and Thatch chose George Fox.
Duey will join her sister Kylie Duey, a junior who starts in goal for the Wildcats, along with Newberg grads Epi Roldan and Natalie Sanchez, who will be sophomores, in McMinnville.
"Natalie actually started the same year as Kylie and Josie, so they were an eighth grader, a seventh grader and a sixth grader on the original middle school team," Newberg coach Terry Paskett said. "Now they're all on the same team, along with Epi."
With former Tiger Hayley Hensley at Pacific, all four NWC schools in Oregon will feature at least one player from Newberg.
With twins Derek and Jacob Maiben headed to Division II Western Oregon and Brandon Ferris joining the team at Clackamas Community College, the Newberg baseball team also produced three college players in 2018.
In all, 23 NHS athletes from 14 different sports (including dual-sport athletes like Morris and Salmons) will continue their careers at the college level this fall.
That includes several high-level recruits, like Oregon State-bound wrestler Tristan Osborn, Santa Clara water-polo goalie Grace Kavanagh and swimmer Tina Childress at St. Francis in Brooklyn, New York.
Soccer standouts Nic Carsh (Carson-Newman) and Maggee Hodgdon (Minnesota-Crookston) will both compete at the Division II level, while girls rugby captain Brooke Nichols will play at Montana State, which competes in a Division I club league.
Tennis star Matt Weiler went the Division III route and will joint Pacific, while volleyball's Payton Thompson will be a middle blocker at Clackamas Community College.
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