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SIGNING DAY: Five Federal Way High School seniors sign with Division-I programs
Another year, another big-time party at Federal Way High School on National Signing Day.
The Eagles had five student-athletes ink national letters of intent Wednesday inside the school’s less-than-packed cafeteria. Wednesday marked the first day high school students in several college sports, most notably football, could sign with colleges.
Federal Way football players Keenan Curran and Jay-Tee Tiuli, along with five-time state swimming champion Kenna Ramey, track star Hannah Cunliffe and goalkeeper Ben Willis all signed Division-I scholarships during a ceremony that just happened to be smack dab in the middle of the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl Parade downtown, which was attended by over 700,000 people.
Curran will play defensive back at the United States Air Force Academy and the massive Tiuli will play on the line at Eastern Washington.
Ramey will swim at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., Cunliffe will run track at the University of Oklahoma and Willis will play soccer at Gonzaga University.
Last February, a school-record eight kids signed with colleges from Federal Way High School and four of them hailed from the highly-successful Eagle football team.
Players signing Division-I, full-ride scholarships is nothing new for the Federal Way High School football program and longtime head coach John Meagher. The Eagles have turned into a factory for developing college athletes in recent years.
In 2012, three Federal Way players from Federal Way signed scholarships.
The Eagle defensive back was all set to play at San Jose State, before visiting the Colorado Springs campus of the Air Force Academy. Curran had earlier given a verbal commitment to San Jose State.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound safety led the entire South Puget Sound League in interceptions with six. Curran had other Division-I offers from San Jose State, the Army, Idaho, Wyoming and Yale.
Curran was recently named to the Associated Press's 2013 Washington All-State first team as a defensive back after leading the Eagles to the state semifinals for the first time since 1976. Federal Way lost to eventual-champ Chiawana. He was also the SPSL Defensive Back of the Year, named All-Area by The News Tribune and to the Star Times Team by the Seattle Times.
Curran was also the Eagles's starting quarterback, throwing for 646 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season, which even included 342 in one game. Curran also racked up 1,516 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns to finish with 2,162 yards of total offense.
The Air Force Academy finished 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the Western Athletic Conference. It was the first time in the program's history that the Falcons lost 10 games in a season.
According to Scout.com, Curran is the 107th-ranked safety in the nation and a three-star recruit.
Curran also helped the Federal Way track and field team win the 2013 Class 4A state championship. Curran won the state championship in the triple jump.
The massive Tiuli continues the pipeline of Federal Way football players signing with Eastern Washington. There are currently five Federal Way High School graduates on the Eagles's roster.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder was a first-team, All-South Puget Sound League South Division selection on both sides of the line. Offensively, the tackle opened up huge holes for Curran and Chico McClatcher, helping the duo rush for well over 3,000 yards. Defensively, Tiuli finished with four sacks to lead Federal Way.
With the most prolific offense in school history, Eastern rolled to a 12-3 record in the 2013 season, including the school’s first ever perfect 8-0 run through the Big Sky Conference. The Eagles have now won the league title seven times in school history and have made 10 appearances in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.
The Eagles broke 48 school, 23 Big Sky and 12 FCS records during the 2013 season. Eastern, the 2010 NCAA Division I Champion, advanced to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs for the third time in the last four years. Eastern’s season came a game short of the title game, as Towson rallied for a 35-31 victory over EWU on Dec. 21, 2013, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.
“He’s a bit of a late bloomer, but he jumped off the film as a senior," said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. "He has incredible ability to move people. He plays with a lot of balance, a lot of natural strength and athleticism. And he’s doing it carrying over 300 pounds. I think the sky could be the limit for Jay-Tee because he made such incredible progress from his junior to senior year in high school. The jumps we’ll see in the future could even be that much greater. He comes from a great program at Federal Way, where we’ve had a ton of success signing a number of their players. Coach John Meagher and their program have had a lot of success, and we love to get those players and continue that pipeline, so to speak. Jay-Tee has the ability to play defensive line, but the plan is to play him on the offensive line and let him go to work."
Federal Way High School senior Kenna Ramey finished up one of the best swimming careers in the history of the state of Washington during the fall. She will swim at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.
Ramey added two more individual state titles to her already-full trophy case by winning the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly at the 2013 State Girls Swimming Championships. The two titles were Ramey's fourth and fifth during her career for the Eagles.
Ramey's state championship time as a senior in the 50 free was the second-fasted ever recorded in state history. Ramey won the race in a time of 22.96, which was also an automatic All-American time.
It was the third consecutive year that Ramey has won the 50-yard title. Her performance broke the Class 4A meet record of 23.17, set 23 years ago by Mercer Island’s Megan Oesting. The state record was set in 2008 by Mount Rainier's Leona Jennings during the Class 3A meet. Jennings swam a time of 22.92.
Ramey followed up her massive performance in the 50 free with her second-straight championship in the 100 butterfly. Ramey dominated the butterfly with the fifth-fastest time in Class 4A history.
Ramey will join Decatur High School graduate Kelsey Crowder at Pacific. Crowder is a sophomore.
The Federal Way senior will play goalkeeper at Gonzaga University in the fall. Willis didn't play for Federal Way as a junior last spring to concentrate on playing for the Sounder FC Academy team.
But Willis was a star for the Eagles as a freshman and sophomore.
As a sophomore, Willis finished with an astounding 11 shutouts during the season. Willis also scored a pair of goals for Federal Way during a 12-0 blowout of Bethel. Willis and the Eagle defense allowed only nine goals during the entire season.
As a freshman, Willis was a first-team, All-SPSL South Division selection by the league’s coaches. He helped the young and inexperienced Eagles advance into the West Central District Tournament. Federal Way allowed only 20 goals during the entire season.
Gonzaga finished 10-6-3 overall during the 2013 season and was 5-4-3 in the West Coast Conference.
The Federal Way senior will be a sprinter at Oklahoma after putting together one of the best youth résumés in the United States. Cunliffe finished up in fourth place at the 200 meters at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships in Ukraine for 16-17 year olds.
During the 2013 outdoor season, Cunliffe ran a personal-best time of 11.38 in the 100 meters and ran a 23.10 in the 200. To put it into perspective, Curtis' Kennadi Bouyer won the 4A title in the 100 meters in 11.96 and ran a 22.84 to win the 200 at the state meet.
Cunliffe will be the overwhelming favorite to win state titles in both the 100 and 200 during the upcoming high school track season.
After being homeschooled, Cunliffe enrolled at Decatur as a freshman. But an incident with a Gator teammate ended with Cunliffe being spiked. She left Decatur and returned to being homeschooled as a sophomore.
But Cunliffe returned to public school before her junior year, when she enrolled at Federal Way. However, the WIAA ruled her ineligible for the track season because of transfer rules.