Indian stars Jones, Maller sign on for more
Four more years.
That's what two of Scappoose High's finest senior student-athletes now have to look forward to.
Four more years to compete in their favorite sport and study the subjects that most interest them.
Emma Jones will be heading to Portland State in 2020 to play soccer and study environmental engineering.
Brisyn Maller will go to Western Oregon University in Monmouth for track and field and biology, with a specific career path as an anesthesiologist in mind.
Jones and Maller put pen to paper during a Monday lunchtime letter-of-intent signing ceremony in the Scappoose auditorium. Then it was back to class, and to the first official practices in their winter sports — which will have Jones on a wrestling mat and Maller in the swimming pool.
Jones is likely to report to PSU this summer to get acclimated at the urban school with more than 27,000 total students. She'll start competing for a role with the Vikings, who have talked to her about playing an outside back position on defense but also have let her know nothing is set in stone for anyone on the squad.
Jones is excited for the chance to play at the NCAA Division I level.
"I worked really hard and I got this opportunity," she said.
She first began really dreaming about college soccer after making the Westside Timbers club team at the end of fifth grade. At Scappoose, she was part of four playoff teams that posted a combined record of 40-18-5.
Jones said she likes what she sees in the Portland State program and coach Katie Burton, whose Vikings are 18-35-2 in three seasons and will have all but a handful of players returning from a 4-15-0 season that gave the Viks the sixth and final Big Sky playoff spot.
"The girls on the team are really nice, and also competitive, which I like," Jones said.
What also made it a perfect fit for Jones was what the school offers in environmental engineering.
"I have a passion for the environment," she said.
Jones returns to Scappoose wrestling as the 110-pound runner-up in the Northern Division and fourth-place finisher at state.
"I just want to do my best and have fun in my last season," she said. "We have a lot of additions to the team, and I'm really excited about that. It's been really cool to see the women's wrestling program grow to where now there's something like 20 girls signed up."
Then comes track. Last season, Jones won the Northwest Oregon Conference 300-meter hurdles and took second in the 100 hurdles, then ran sixth and fifth, respectively, at state. She also was on two relay teams that went to state, including the 4x100 foursome that placed seventh in Class 5A.
The hurdles are Maller's specialty, and he has a couple of specific goals in mind for this spring.
"I want to break the school records in both hurdles," he said.
He figures that after starting on defense in soccer this year and then swimming in the winter season and doing some early track conditioning, "I'm so ready for it."
Maller swept the NWOC hurdles titles last season and placed fourth in the state in both events. His best times of 15.15 seconds and 39.79 already have him position to help Western Oregon and compete in NCAA D-III, where the longer race expands to 400 meters, though.
Maller said he likes the approach of the WOU track program and of coach Mike Johnson, who has run Wolves track and field and cross country for 16 years and had 15 conference title teams.
"I like that they really focus on explosive, speed work, which I really enjoy," he said.
Maller's parents both attended Western Oregon, with his father majoring in computer science and getting a minor in math and his mother going into education.
Maller plans to study biology.
"Last year, I took a college class in it and loved everything about it," he said.
He's interested in anesthesiology, especially after having gone through some surgeries while growing up and nothing that "the anesthesiologists were always the nicest people, the smartest people, the most talented."
In swimming, Maller said he especially likes the backstroke and breaststroke and enjoys alternating between the 100-yard back and 100 breast in meets for Scappoose, while being willing and able to swim in other events as well.
He said he's happy to have his college decision out of the way.
"It's a relief," he said. "It's one less thing to worry about in senior year."
Maller and Jones said they are both glad to not be going too far away from home and are grateful for their time at Scappoose.
"It's just the people here," Maller said. "All the friends I've made are so amazing and so supportive. That's the best part about Scappoose."
"It's just the community," Jones said, "the teachers and friends and friends' parents and the administrators who really care about each student."
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