Sports

RECRUITING: Beamer's Megan Huff headed to Hawaii; Several others also sign with colleges

Todd Beamer senior Megan Huff will sign her national letter of intent to play volleyball at the University of Hawaii on Wednesday.  - File photo
Todd Beamer senior Megan Huff will sign her national letter of intent to play volleyball at the University of Hawaii on Wednesday.
— image credit: File photo

Megan Huff is heading to paradise in the fall — literally.

The Todd Beamer High School senior will play volleyball next year at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. The 6-foot-2 Huff will officially ink her national letter of intent on Wednesday in a ceremony at Beamer.

"I'm pretty excited," Huff said of the full-ride scholarship. "It's been a long process. I've really taken a lot of time researching and I know this is the right fit for me."

Huff was a four-year starter at Beamer. During her senior season, Huff led the Titans in kills with 212 and aces with 54. She was a first-team, All-South Puget Sound League South Division selection for head coach Pat Taitano, who also went to the University of Hawaii.

Huff also plays club volleyball for the powerful PSVBA 17-under National Team. Huff helped the PSVBA squad win the prestigious gold medal in the Patriot Division at the 2013 Girls Junior National Championships in Dallas last summer.

The University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine volleyball team is currently ranked 12th in the nation. Hawaii is 18-4 on the season and sit in third place in the Big West Conference, one of the best volleyball league's in the nation.

Huff visited the Honolulu campus last month and came away impressed by the coaches and facilities at Hawaii.

Since 1997, the Rainbow Wahine have led the nation in home game attendance, with a cumulative average of more than 6,800 fans per match. The program is the second-largest source of financial income for the University of Hawaii athletic department, behind only the school's football program.

The team has won four national championships. The Rainbow Wahine won at least a share of the regular-season conference title from 2001 through 2011. In addition, the program has made 31 NCAA postseason appearances out of the last 32 years, only missing the 1992 NCAA tournament. Hawaii has produced Olympians, All-Americans and five individuals have been named National Player of the Year since 1983.

Hawaii is coached by Dave Shoji, who has been the head of the program since 1975. Shoji is the winningest Division I women's volleyball coach and a member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

"The coaches are known for developing professional volleyball players," Huff said. "And my goal is to be a pro volleyball player."

Huff also took official visits to the University of California Irvine, University of San Francisco, New Mexico and the University of Oregon. She also took numerous "unofficial" visits to other schools.

Her plan is to get a medical degree and work for the organization Doctors Without Borders. The international medical humanitarian organization provides assistance in more than 60 countries to people whose survival is "threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters."

Huff will also be one of the top basketball players in the state this season. As a junior, she helped the Titans win the program's first-ever South Puget Sound League South Division championship with a 15-1 record.

Huff led Beamer in scoring and rebounding and was a first-team, All-SPSL South selection by the league’s coaches. She averaged 14.3 points a game and had a high game of 30 during a win over Emerald Ridge. But Huff’s best game might have come in the SPSL Championship against top-ranked Mount Rainier, when she scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Huff and the rest of the Titans will be a legitimate candidate to bring home Beamer's first-ever basketball state championship. Beamer will return its entire starting lineup from a  season ago. It's still up in the air whether Huff will play basketball at Hawaii.

"Every other schools wanted me to also play basketball," she said. "I might do that at Hawaii, but it's just so competitive there in volleyball, that I want to do everything I can to get better."

Other student-athletes to sign letters of intent Wednesday:

• Scott Sunitsch, Beamer — The left-handed pitcher signed his national letter of intent to play baseball at Washington State University. Sunitsch will join former Beamer teammate Matt Bower and Federal Way grad Nick Tanielu on the Cougars' roster.

“Scott pitches with an attitude and has an edge about him that we love,” said WSU pitching coach Gregg Swenson said. “He will bring a very competitive mentality to our program and shows great desire to be the best. He has bought into our program from day one.”

As a junior, Sunitsch had a strong all-around season for the Titans. At the plate, he hit .362 with 15 RBIs, 12 runs, three doubles and two home runs. On the mound, Sunitsch was 2-3 in seven starts with a 4.24 ERA. He struck out 42 in 34 2/3 innings pitched. He was an All-SPSL South second-team selection as a pitcher last year.

The Cougars finished 23-32 last season and were 9-21 in the Pac-12 Conference.

• Janson Junk, Decatur — The right-handed pitcher will continue his baseball career at Seattle University in the fall. Junk officially inked with the Redhawks Wednesday, along with his Decatur teammate Chris Carns.

As a junior, Junk finished 4-3 for the state-bound Gators with an impressive 2.77 earned-run average. Two of his three losses coming to state champion Auburn Mountainview.

The hard-throwing right-hander tossed three complete games in 53 innings of work. He was a second-team, All-SPSL 3A selection and struck out 47. Junk also hit .308 with six RBIs and six runs at the plate.

• Chris Carns, Decatur — The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder also signed with Seattle University on Wednesday. The Redhawks finished last season 21-33 in just their fourth season after returning to Division I baseball.

As a junior, Carns turned into the Gators' ace during a season that saw Decatur win its first state tournament game since 1989. Carns finished 7-3 with a 3.00 earned-run average and threw four complete games. He threw a complete-game shutout during a 2-0 win over state-champion Auburn Mountainview at the West Central District Tournament. Carns, right-hander, also struck out 73 hitters in 58 1/3 innings and allowed only 47 hits all season. He also hit .262 with 22 RBIs, 20 runs and two home runs at the plate.

• T.J. Byrne, Jefferson — The outfielder will also play baseball next fall at Seattle University. Byrne finished the 2012 season for the Raiders with a .362 batting average, with nine RBIs, 17 runs and one home run. He also had nine stolen bases.

• Mitch Stewart, Federal Way — The two-time state singles tennis champion inked with the powerful University of Washington tennis team Wednesday. Stewart was joined in the Huskies' recruiting class by California native Jake Douglas.

“I’m ecstatic about signing Mitch and Jake,” said UW head coach Matt Anger. “With the way these two work and compete, the sky is the limit for us during their careers here at Washington.”

Stewart is currently ranked third in the United States by the U.S. Tennis Association and is fifth according to Tennisrecruiting.net. He was the 16-and-under champion at the National Clay Court Championship sand finished third at the National Hard Court Championships in 2012. Stewart was a doubles champion at the 2013 Spring National Championships.

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