Signing Day: Federal Way school district athletes ink letters of intent

Federal Way High School seniors Jaleecia Roland (left) and Meron Simon are introduced by Eagle track and cross country coach Jean Licari during a ceremony at the school Thursday. Roland and Simon signed letters of intent to compete next fall at the University of Washington.  - Casey Olson/The Mirror
Federal Way High School seniors Jaleecia Roland (left) and Meron Simon are introduced by Eagle track and cross country coach Jean Licari during a ceremony at the school Thursday. Roland and Simon signed letters of intent to compete next fall at the University of Washington.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

Troy Peterson is truly going to be thrown into the college experience. The Todd Beamer High School senior midfielder will be heading across the country to South Carolina to play soccer.

Peterson signed a national letter of intent Wednesday morning to attend the College of Charleston. It was the first day recruits in sports like football, soccer, track and field could ink with universities.

"I have been talking with them for a while," Peterson said. "They have a good soccer program and it's on the beach. I felt, for soccer, it was the best place for me."

Peterson was the 55th-ranked recruit in the nation by and a four-star selection in the Class of 2011. Charleston has developed into one of the better soccer programs in the South. The Cougars advanced into the second round of the NCAA Tournament in the fall, before falling to top-ranked Louisville.

Peterson has been an all-league and all-city player after all three of his seasons at Beamer. He was also named first-team, All-State during his sophomore and junior seasons. Peterson currently plays on the Seattle Sounders FC Academy Team, which is 10-2-0 on the season.

"Troy is a tremendous two-way central midfielder who can set the tempo of a match," said Charleston head coach Ralph Lundy. "He has the ability to get forward and score goals and does well in possession also. He is a tremendous addition to our program and I look forward to him coming this fall."

Peterson finished with six goals for Beamer last season as a junior and tallied an amazing 15 goals and 13 assists during his sophomore year. The 6-foot, 170-pounder also considered Washington, Seattle University, Santa Clara, San Diego and Stanford, among others.

"The College of Charleston impressed me because of its friendly atmosphere, great coaches and academics," Peterson said. "I have a feeling that the soccer program is going to do big things. I'm looking forward to making a difference and being a part of something special, while fulfilling my academic needs."

Other Federal Way signees:

Jaleecia Roland — The Federal Way High School senior is one of the best all-around athletes in the area and Roland will be taking those talents to the University of Washington.

Roland inked her national letter of intent Thursday to compete on the University of Washington track and field team in the fall. The 6-foot Roland is the all-time Federal Way record-holder in the high jump and triple jump.

"It's the school of my dreams," Roland said. "I've been thinking about going there since I was a freshman."

As a junior, Roland finished second in the high jump at the 4A State Track and Field Meet with a leap of 5-foot-7. She finished sixth in the triple jump with a leap of 37-5 3/4. Washington coaches have also stated that they would like to see Roland compete in the heptathlon in college, which includes the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200, long jump, javelin and 800.

Roland is also a key contributor on the No. 1-ranked Federal Way basketball team. She recently returned to the Eagles after sitting out the last half of last season and first half of this year because of a heart condition.

Roland was forced to give up the sport just 11 games into last season after doctors found a hole in her heart. She also sat out the first 13 games of this season for the Eagles before doctors cleared her to get back on the court.

"(Doctors) let me do track last year because there is less running hard," Roland said. "They just wanted to take some extra time and make sure everything was OK. It's great to be back playing basketball."

On the court, Roland was averaging 6.2 points and 10.4 rebounds a game last year and is scoring nearly five points a game in her five games this season.

Meron Simon — The Federal Way senior will compete on the University of Washington cross country and track teams starting in the fall. Simon inked his letter of intent at a ceremony Thursday morning at Federal Way.

"I came to the decision about a week ago during a run," Simon said. "I just decided it was the right place for me."

Simon might be the most improved distance runner in the state this year. As a junior, he finished 71st at the state cross country meet. In the fall, Simon ended up in ninth place. He will run the distance events for the Federal Way track team, starting later this month.

"My summer workouts were as hard as anyone else," Simon said. "I made a huge jump. I was training 80 miles a week. The (Husky) coaches think that I can still improve a lot more."

Simon also led the Federal Way cross country team to the 2010 Class 4A State Cross Country Championships. The Eagle boys finished up in 13th place overall.

Simon was also looking at Washington State, Eastern Washington and Gonzaga.

Avery Salisbury — The Todd Beamer High School senior will join former Titan teammate Mackenzie Hickel on the Boise State soccer team in the fall.

Salisbury, a senior defender, had another stellar year for the SPSL South Division champion Titans. She was named the SPSL South Player of the Year after leading the Beamer defense to an amazing 12 shutouts on the season.

Salisbury finished with two goals and four assists for the Titans, who lost to Puyallup at the West Central District Tournament.

Salisbury was also named to the first-team 2010 All-State Girls Soccer Team, which was voted on my high school coaches throughout Washington.

"I like all the spirit at the school and the girls on the team are really nice," said Salisbury, whose sister Jordan plays soccer at Seattle U. "I was kind of interested in (Seattle), but I was leaning toward Boise all along. I really like their soccer program."

Boise State finished the 2010 season with a 8-10-3 overall record while playing in the Western Athletic Conference.

Sean Ugo Okoli — The Beamer senior officially inked with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons Wednesday. The PARADE All-American has been playing the last year with the Under-18 United States National Team and has been on trips to Europe and Asia with the squad. He recently returned from Israel.

As a junior, Okoli led Beamer with seven goals and into the state playoffs after finishing second in the SPSL South.

But Okoli missed Beamer’s state quarterfinal loss to Federal Way because he was traveling to Portugal to play with the National Team.

As a sophomore, Okoli was a first-team, All-State selection after scoring 22 goals and dishing out nine assists. Okoli also plays for the Sounders FC Academy Team, along with Peterson.

Okoli is ranked as a four-star recruit by and No. 49 overall in the Class of 2011.

Wake Forest has developed into one of the best soccer programs in the country. The Demon Deacons’ 2010 roster also included Danny Wenzel, who is a redshirt sophomore from Federal Way. Wenzel has captained the U-17 US National Team and was named to the national all-freshman teams by Top Drawer Soccer, Soccer America and College Soccer News in 2008. He redshirted last year because of injury

Kayla Lipston — The Decatur senior inked with the Central Washington University soccer team Wednesday. Lipston is a 6-foot goalkeeper who will leave Decatur with 12 letters — four each in soccer, basketball and softball. She is the second Gator girl to accomplish the rare feat.

"I really liked the campus," said Lipston, who sports a 3.82 grade-point average. "It's the prefect size for me. I visited four or five times and the coach had been looking at me for a long time."

Lipston led the Decatur soccer team to a 12-6-1 record during the fall. She posted a shutout in the first round of the 2010 state playoffs and was named first-team, All-SPSL South as a junior. The Gators advanced into the Class 3A state quarterfinals.

"We have followed Lipston for a couple of years," said head coach Michael Farrand. "Her size, in terms of her height and range in the goal, will be good for us. We need to continue to improve upon our goalkeeping and we want and expect her to come in and compete for the starting goalkeeping job."

The Wildcats ended the 2010 season with a 4-9-1 record in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play, which placed them sixth. Central lost five seniors from the 2010 squad, all of which were midfielders or defenders.

Taylor Miller — The Beamer defender inked with the Northwest Nazarene soccer team Wednesday. Miller anchored the Titan defense that finished without a loss to win the SPSL South title.

Beamer pitched 12 shutouts during the regular season before losing to Puyallup at the West Central District Tournament. Miller finished with one goal and two assists.

Northwest Nazarene is located in Nampa, Idaho, which is about 25 minutes from Boise and they play in the Greater Northwest Athletic Conference.

Dominique Maxie — The Beamer senior is one of the fastest players in the SPSL and his football career will continue at Central Washington. The 5-foot-8, 165-pounder is set to play wide receiver in college.

At Beamer, Maxie won a state championship in the 4x100 relay and will look to add another one this spring. On the football field, Maxie had four touchdown catches and also rushed for a pair of touchdowns.

"The main thing I liked at Central was the family atmosphere," Maxie said. "The whole campus seemed like a close-knit family."

Maxie was also an All-City selection as a defensive back his season. He had one interception and numerous pass break ups.

Central plays in the Division II Greater Northwest Athletic conference.

Taylor Northern — The 6-foot-6, 260-pound offensive tackle also inked a national letter of intent to play football at Central Washington. Northern helped lead Beamer to the playoffs for the first time and joins a class of 21 signees for Central.

"I liked Central because everybody was real close out there," Northern said.

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