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RECRUITING: Olive, May ink with Wyoming, several others also sign with colleges
Wyoming is a long way from Federal Way, in terms of distance and lifestyle. But for Federal Way High School seniors D.J. May and Uso Olive, the state will be their home for the next four or five years.
The duo inked their national letter of intents Wednesday morning to play football for the Wyoming Cowboys in front of friends and family at Federal Way High School. Fellow Federal Way senior Jordan Pulu also signed to play at Eastern Washington University.
"This is a first since I've been here," said longtime Eagle head coach John Meagher. "This is the first time we've had three student/athletes sign Division I letters of intent. It's a really big deal."
Wyoming is fresh off its second bowl appearance in the last three years under head coach Dave Christensen, who is a former player and graduate assistant at the University of Washington. So Christensen, along with assistant coaches and UW graduates Chris Tormey and Pete Kaligis, have a connection to the Northwest and it showed by his 2012 recruiting class. Olive and May will be joined by three other Washington players at Wyoming.
"When we hired Chris Tormey, there were a number of coaches he had contact with and relationships with that we wanted to benefit from," said Christensen. "Chris has spent a lot of time during his career recruiting in the Northwest. Coach (Pete) Kaligis has done a great job up there the last three years, and with my contacts there we felt like it was an area that we could be effective. We also feel it is an under-recruited area and an area that we can put more emphasis. We were able to sign five quality players in that area in this class. We'll continue to do that. I think the transition for kids from that part of the country to Wyoming is an easy one."
The Federal Way football players were joined by several other district athletes to sign Wednesday, the first official day kids could ink with college programs.
Over at Thomas Jefferson, quarterback/defensive back K.W. Williams will play football at Idaho State, state champion swimmer Amber Cratsenberg will attend Virginia Tech and all-around athlete Lindsey Dahl will run track at the University of Montana. Decatur senior Abby McFaul will play soccer at Saint Martin's University, as will Federal Way's Madison Campbell.
Jordan Pulu, Eastern Washington football
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound middle linebacker had originally committed to Washington State. But after Paul Wulff was fired, Mike Leach and the new coaching staff pulled Pulu's scholarship offer. That's when Eastern came into the picture, who had an inside track in Pulu's recruitment. His older brother, Andru, is a defensive lineman for the Eagles.
“He already weighs more than 230 pounds, so he’s going to be a big linebacker for us," said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. "His brother is here, so Jordan already feels close to this group and feels at home. We’re extremely lucky to sign him because he had the skill level and skill set to garner attention from bigger schools. But he loved what we do here. To have a player who runs and hits as well as he does carrying that much weight is hard to find and is unique. He’s another young player who will have an impact right away.”
Pulu was a first-team, all-state selection and was named the South Puget Sound League South Division’s Linebacker of the Year by the coaches. He led Federal Way in tackles his senior season with 61.
After winning the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision national championship in 2010, the Eagles finished 6-5 last season.
Uso Olive, Wyoming football
Olive, a 6-foot, 300-pound defensive tackle, was originally headed to Portland State, before switching to Wyoming. Olive visited the Laramie campus two weekends ago, along with May.
Wyoming finished 8-5 overall and a third-place finish in the Mountain West Conference with a 5-2 record behind national powers Boise State and Texas Christian.
Olive was a first-team, all-state selection as a defensive lineman. He also might be the strongest player in the state of Washington. Olive can bench press 455 pounds.
D.J. May, Wyoming football
May had another impressive season for the Eagles running the ball. On the season, the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder, tallied 1,288 yards on just 123 carries, including 21 for touchdowns despite missing two games because of a rib injury. He was a first-team, All-SPSL South selection for the second year in a row and first-team, all-state.
As a junior, May finished the season with 1,310 yards with 11 touchdowns on the ground and two more receiving.
K.W. Williams, Idaho State football
Williams had an electric season for Thomas Jefferson as a quarterback. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder led the Raiders into the postseason for the first time in the school’s history after leading the SPSL in rushing yards with 1,282 in nine games.
Williams was the first-team, All-SPSL North quarterback and the division’s offensive back of the year. He also became the third quarterback in SPSL history to rush for 1,000 yards and throw for 1,000 yards during the season. He finished with 1,111 yards with 11 touchdowns. In total, he accounted for 26 touchdowns in nine games.
Williams took a recruiting visit to the Pocatello, Ida. campus last weekend. Idaho State plays in the Big Sky Conference and finished last season just 2-9 overall. The Bengals are looking at Williams as a defensive back.
Jordan Wernet, Azusa Pacific football
The massive Decatur lineman inked his national letter of intent to play at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif. Wednesday. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive lineman missed his senior season for the Gators after suffering an ACL knee injury during a practice game in the preseason.
Wernet was an All-SPSL 3A selection during his junior season and was being heavily recruited by Division I programs before the injury.
He also received offers from Humboldt State, Central Washington university and New Mexico Highlands. Wernet was also offered by the University of Wyoming but the coaching staff pulled the scholarship following the injury.
Azusa Pacific opens the 2012 season, its first year as a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, with a Sept. 1 visit to UC Davis, which competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. The Cougars have a 10-game conference schedule, which runs 10 consecutive weeks beginning Sept. 8 at defending GNAC champion Humboldt State.
Lindsey Dahl — Montana track
Dahl is easily the best all-around athlete in Federal Way and will compete on the University of Montana track and field team. Dahl has competed in multiple events at the state track and field meet and been a first-team, all-state soccer player two years in a row.
Last spring, Dahl qualified for state in three individual events. As a junior, she finished in eighth place in the triple jump with a leap of 35-7, third in the javelin with a toss of 131-11 and ran the 300-meter hurdles.
In soccer, Dahl finished this season with an amazing 28 goals and five assists for TJ in just 18 matches. As a junior, Dahl finished with 20 goals and four assists to lead the SPSL. She had six multi-goal games, including three hat tricks.
During her career, Dahl scored a grand total of 63 goals for Jefferson, including nine as a freshman and six as a sophomore.
Montana competes in the Big Sky Conference.
Amber Cratsenberg — Virginia Tech swim
Cratsenberg made history during her swimming career at TJ. The Raider senior became the first swimmer in the rich history of the state of Washington to win individual state championships in all four freestyle events.
Cratsenberg added the 200- and 500-yard free titles to her trophy case last season at the Class 4A Girls Swimming and Diving State Championships inside the King County Aquatic Center. The two state titles gave Cratsenberg five during her stellar TJ career.
Cratsenberg’s first state titles came during her sophomore season when she swept the 50 and 100 freestyle events in impressive fashion. She added another 50 free title last year as a junior.
But this year, Cratsenberg chose to get away from her comfort zone in the sprint freestyle events, and turned her attention to the two longer events as a senior.
Cratsenberg was tested by Stadium’s Felicity Cann in the 200. Cratsenberg won the race in a time of 1 minute, 50.01 seconds to edge Cann’s time of 1:50.94. Cratsenberg’s time was good enough to earn her automatic All-America status in the event. She had a little easier time in the 500 free, winning in a time of 4:57.55.
Virginia Tech, which is located in Blacksburg, Virg., competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference and are one of the better academic colleges in the southern portion of the United States.
Abby McFaul — Saint Martin's soccer
McFaul, who also plays basketball and softball at Decatur, was a huge factor in leading the Gators into the Class 3A state soccer tournament for the second year in a row. McFaul was the second-leading scorer for Decatur with four goals and five assists. She had a hat trick during a 5-0 win over Lakes and scored a key goal during the Gators’ 2-1 win over Kennedy Catholic in a loser-out, sub-district game.
McFaul was a second-team, All-State selection as a junior when she scored 13 goals.
Saint Martin's finished 4-12-2 last season and 4-10-0 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Madison Campbell, Saint Martin's soccer
Campbell is a senior defender and will join her older sister, Molly, on the Saint Martin's soccer team. Campbell was picked by the coaches in the SPSL South as a first-team defender after Federal Way was able to shut out four opponents during the season.