Kittitas Secondary School Athletic Commits

+The+senior+class%2C+proud+of+their+classmates%2C+poses+for+a+picture+after+DeKoning+and+Hudson%E2%80%99s+signing.+Their+official+signing+was+on+Jan.+25+in+the+secondary+school+Commons.+Miller+will+also+have+a+signing+in+the+near+future.

The senior class, proud of their classmates, poses for a picture after DeKoning and Hudson’s signing. Their official signing was on Jan. 25 in the secondary school Commons. Miller will also have a signing in the near future.

It is no secret that Kittitas Secondary School has had many great athletes come and go, but this year, there are more than usual; currently three seniors that are officially committed to colleges for athletics for a wide variety of sports. Justin Hudson will be attending Yakima Valley Community College next year to play baseball, Taylor DeKoning will be attending George Fox University in Oregon for volleyball and track, and Autumn Miller will be attending Pierce College for softball.

While Hudson just signed with YVC in February, his experience with playing baseball dates back to when he was very young.

“[I have played baseball] since I was in kindergarten,” Hudson said. “I played little league and was on the all-star team four times.”

While baseball is going to be a major part of Hudson’s life, he plans to stay focused on school to get a successful start to his future career, although he is a bit nervous.

“I plan to go into construction management,” Hudson said. “I am nervous about taking college classes. I didn’t do [R]unning [S]tart.”

Hudson is excited to start his baseball career, and wants to continue playing aftercollege if possible.

“I am excited to play competitive baseball,” Hudson said. “YVC has a great baseball program and I am excited to be a part of it. I want to play for a D1 school and play for as long as I can.”

Not only is Hudson excited to move on to college baseball, but his many supporters, including Kittitas Secondary School head baseball coach Eric Sorenson, are also looking forward to it.

“I’m excited for Justin to be a Yak! It’s a top program in the NWAAC and he will have the opportunity to keep playing for championships. I’m gonna miss him as a person and getting to watch him grow daily throughout the year. But super excited he is close so we can go watch him play!” Sorenson said.

As one of Hudson’s biggest supporters, Sorenson also has some advice for him that may be very beneficial.

“My advice for Justin playing at the next level is to put in the extra time and effort. College baseball is a job, and it’s a really fun job,” Sorenson said. “But it’s a lot of hard work. If you put in the time and effort the reward is well worth it!”

While Hudson’s coaches think very highly of him, he is also a role model to many of his teammates who will miss him dearly.

“Hud has a swing like no other,” senior Wyatt Stickney said. “His natural talent set him apart from everyone to begin with and his hard work carried his game that much farther. I’m excited for him! It’s great to see any fellow [C]oyote play a sport at the next level, but when it’s your best friend it makes it that much sweeter. I’m still waiting on my shirt though.”

DeKoning, on the other hand, is committed to both volleyball and track, but her main focus will be volleyball. DeKoning has been participating in both sports for several years.

“This is my sixth year playing volleyball and my fourth year doing track,” DeKoning said. “I plan on playing volleyball for four years in college.”

DeKoning has a lot of love for the sports she is playing, especially volleyball, and is eager to begin practicing at George Fox University in early August.

“I have had a lot of supporters throughout my volleyball career,” DeKoning said. “My parents, Daniel Robertson, my high school coach, Isreal Valencia, my first coach, and many great teammates that have made me better. I am most excited about going to George Fox while playing my favorite sport, meeting many new friends, and bonding with my new teammates. I am most nervous about leaving my family and friends here.”

As DeKoning continues to progress in her skills in these sports, her love for the game only grows.

“I loved this sport because it was a great team sport,” DeKoning said. “I love the team atmosphere and how we all work individually to make the team work.”

DeKoning’s coaches at Kittitas Secondary School are proud of DeKoning’s hard work and dedication to these sports.

“I’m so excited for Taylor,” Kittitas Secondary School head track coach Calah Kulm said. “She earned a volleyball scholarship so getting to participate in track and field, too, is the icing on the cake. I’m thrilled for her. She works extremely hard on her event and listens to advice from her coaches. Taylor is naturally athletic, but she’s also naturally competitive within herself. That pushes her to do her best and be her best.” 

Kulm is not the only coach that is proud of DeKoning; her volleyball coaches are proud of her, as well.

“One might assume that the thing I will miss most about Taylor is what she did on the court with offensive scoring, because no one will fill the shoes she is leaving behind volleyball wise,” head volleyball coach Daniel Robertson said. “What I will miss most is that she is the perfect mixture of fun and competitive. She is full of energy and joy, and her attitude is infectious. Lastly, as a floor captain, she was the perfect advocate/ambassador for me with players and referees.”

Not only do coaches admire DeKoning, but so do her teammates who have been playing beside her for years.

“[I admire] her want to strive to compete at a higher level in high school, which motivates other athletes around her to do the same,” junior Jillian Provaznik said. “[What I am going to miss most about her is] her hugs, and her companionship between both volleyball and track.”

Miller has signed to Pierce College for two years and although softball does not begin until spring, she will begin practicing soon after classes start in September, which she is both excited and nervous about.

“I am most excited to have another step up in competition with this new team,” Miller said. “I am nervous to have completely new teammates to get to know.”

While Miller is looking forward to playing college softball, she also has educational plans for her future that she is looking forward to pursuing.

“I do not plan on playing more after [P]ierce unless I get a good offer from another school,” Miller said. “I plan on transferring to a school that has the major I would like to pursue. I plan to transfer to a university with a[n] investigative journalism major or minor.”

Miller has been greatly influenced by a few important people in her life who have driven her to improve and keep pushing herself to better her skills.

“I have played softball since about 4th grade, but I really started to love the sport when I played with my Kittitas team,” Miller said. “My dad has really pushed me hard and inspired me to be the best I can be in softball.”

Miller’s younger teammates on the Kittitas softball team will miss playing with her and being around her during the season.

“Autumn is humble and a hard worker, and she is a good role model for other players,” junior Cassidy Gay said. “I’m going to miss her humor and being able to play with her on the field.”

Kittitas Secondary School head softball coach Nate Phillips is looking forward to watching Miller move on to the next level, although hearing about her commitment caught him by surprise at first.

“It think it is awesome that she is going to continue to play,” Phillips said. “Totally caught me off guard because the last I had heard she was just moving forward with school. She has worked hard to get here and great to see her getting an opportunity. Autumn is steady and consistent. Just going about her business. I am going to miss her sly smile and knowing that there is more to Autumn than meets the eye.”