The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

17 MIHS Athletes to Continue Sports in College

Brooks Kahsai
On Athlete Signing Day, senior Emily Guedel makes her decision to play Water Polo at Biola University official.

Seventeen students in the MIHS Class of 2022 will participate in Division I, II or III athletics next year. Read a bio of each student below: 

Garret Rogan, Football, Villanova University

Garrett Rogan is heading to Villanova University in the fall to play for the Villanova Wildcats. Rogan, who started two years on Mercer Island’s varsity football team, will be taking his talents to Pennsylvania to play Division I football. “My visit on the last weekend of January pretty much summed up every reason why I wanted to go there,” Rogan said. “It was… the love that the coaches had [and] how good of a program and education it is.” Villanova competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision and is coached by Mark Ferrante, who is in his 5th season as the Wildcats’ head coach. Though he played on both sides of the ball his senior season, Rogan will be playing defensive back at Villanova. “I’m excited to meet my new teammates and hopefully play a little bit… yeah I’m just excited to be introduced to the next four to five years,” Rogan said.

Jack Varney, Baseball, Paradise Valley Community College

Set to play for Paradise Valley Community college in Phoenix, Jack Varney looks to continue his baseball career. “I’ve been playing since I was four so I have always wanted to continue playing baseball my whole life, it’s just surreal seeing it all happen now,” Varney said. “The sport is definitely a legacy to my family, my cousin, uncle, and dad all played in college so that definitely set the bar high for me, but it also helped having them there with me helping me through my own baseball career.” Varney will be playing center field next year. 

Emily Guedel, Water Polo, Biola University

Senior Emily Guedel has committed to Biola University to continue her academic and athletic career as a collegiate water polo player. “I have been playing water polo for ten years…my favorite memories are traveling to California for the Junior Olympics with my club team,” Guedel said. Although she will miss the countless relationships that she developed through water polo, Guedel looks forward to the new opportunities that collegiate water polo will provide her with. “I want to be the best athlete I can be and take water polo as far as I can,” Guedel said. “I am excited for the new experiences and enjoying the sport that I love for another four years.”

Ethan Evans, Golf, Duke University

Boys Golf captain Ethan Evans will continue to drive his talent towards Duke University this fall. Evans picked up his first set of clubs at just six years old, and currently plans to keep swinging them for much longer. Although Evans is ready to prioritize academic prowess at Duke, he still plans to focus on golf, and even considers pursuing the PGA Tour after college. However, from school to sports, it’s difficult to avoid burnout. “I’ve had moments where I’ve considered stopping [golf] because it gets really tough… I overcome some of those lows by taking time off,” Evans said. Getting prepared for Duke, there won’t be many changes in Evans’ game, but rather he plans to perfect his current skills. “I don’t think I really need to change anything about my golf game, I’ll just keep working on it, and I want to be getting more physically and mentally prepared for it,” Evans said.

Evan Humphrey, Crew, University of Pennsylvania

Evan Humphrey is excited to continue her rowing career at the University of Pennsylvania next year, after rowing for almost five years while growing up in Seattle. After starting crew in the fall of her eighth grade year, Humphrey has various experiences that come to mind regarding her favorite memories while rowing. “It’s so hard to choose just one [memory] … but regionals and nationals 2019 are definitely my favorite races … [despite being] the underdog, we ended up qualifying for nationals and placing 7th in the country,” Humphrey said. “I am definitely going to miss my teammates … and I will miss getting to … see the Seattle skyline from the lake everyday.” Although PA. will be an adjustment to Humphrey and her lifestyle, “There are so many things [she is] looking forward to, but above all [she is] excited to have the chance to be a part of a competitive and growing team and explore a new city.”

Governor Aufranc, Baseball, Pacific University

Governor Aufranc is committed to playing baseball at Pacific University in Ore. Aufranc, who is a captain this year alongside Jack Varney and Kaden Wu, will be headed to Forest Grove, Ore. in the fall to play baseball at the Division III level. Though his playing time remained at a minimum this season due to a shoulder injury and a broken leg, Aufranc remains enthusiastic about playing baseball at the next level. “Honestly, I’m excited for everything,” Aufranc said. “I’m excited to play, I’m excited to see a new thing and see what college is like but I’m really excited to just be on the field and really play at a high, competitive level,” Aufranc said. Though drawn to Pacific for various reasons, the coaches Aufranc met with highly influenced his decision.“When I talked to the coaches they seemed very personable, like my high school coach, and that’s something [I] seriously looked for when I was looking for a team,” Aufranc said. As Aufranc looks towards his future, he sees the possibility of transferring from Pacific to a Division I school. “I’m definitely looking forward to just seeing what I can do at Pacific and then if things work out there then see where I can go.”

Jett Mai, Baseball, Pacific University

Twelve-year Mercer Island Baseball veteran Jett Mai will continue his game in college at Pacific University in Oregon. “It’s definitely an honor being able to play the sport I cherish so much in college,” Mai, who started playing baseball when he was 6, said. “It means a lot to me whether it’s the friends I have made over the years or the skills I have picked up.” Mai will be playing 2nd baseman for Pacific university in Ore. next year and looks to elevate his game even further.

Molly Seneker, Swimming, Smith College

Molly Seneker will continue to swim at Smith college after swimming for 11 years, ending her high school career as one of the team captains. “The high school team provided me with a lot of opportunities in regards to friendships and all that. As a captain also, it has provided me with a lot of great leadership opportunities and things for me to learn,” Seneker said. Seneker is additionally excited for the community to be made on the team. “Smith doesn’t have Greek life so I think it’s nice that I’ll be able to have an instant community that I’ll be able to connect with just right off the bat,” Seneker said. “Getting to know one another and making connections based on the sport is really cool.”

Halen Otte, Baseball, Whitman College

Halen Otte will move onto the next chapter of his baseball career. Otte has been playing baseball for 12 years and he will continue to play at Whitman College. To him, Baseball is more than just a sport. “It keeps me on track with other things like school and it makes me not doing other dumb things. It’s kind of like a second home,” Otte said. After an exciting senior year season of going 13-5 he is ready to move on. Although Whitman wasn’t his top choice, he is very excited to see what these next years hold and to continue playing the sport that he loves.

Jakson Winn, Swimming, Colorado School of Mines

Jakson Winn started his swimming escapade in the eighth grade as a fluke after an injury which swimming was recovery for. This led to him joining a competitive swimming team at OCA, where he’s been a part of the team for over four years. “It started off kind of rocky, because most of the people who are in that team have known each other basically they’re entire lives, but after a couple months I felt like I was part of the team, and now, they feel like my family,” Winn said. Winn’s favorite memory of swimming is a tie between highschool state and his senior sectional meet in Ariz., since they were his last two big short course meets. He’s chosen Colorado School of Mines with the focus of academics and still being able to swim alongside it. 

Ben Moughon, Volleyball, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Ben Moughon will continue his volleyball career at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. Moughon will be the first male student from Mercer Island to attend college to play volleyball. “We were just looking up schools that were best for engineering and happened to have volleyball and Wentworth is at the top of the list,” Moughon said. “So, we applied there, I got in… I stayed with the team and played with them and I loved it so.. that’s why I decided to go.”

Cooper Gersch, Soccer, Whitman College

Cooper Gersch is headed off to Whitman College to play soccer and study either sports psychology or physical therapy. Soccer has been an integral part of Gersch’s life since he was 4, when his parents encouraged him to start playing the game. He has loved the sport ever since, particularly in moments like when his team State Cup at age 11, or when the boys varsity soccer team went undefeated last year. Gersch is looking forward to continuing his athletic and personal development after graduation. “I’m just looking forward to playing with a new group of guys and at a more competitive level, and then of course just meeting new friends and making connections for the rest of my life,” Gersch said. 

Joe Zhang, Swimming, University of Chicago

Joe Zhang will be joining the swim team at the University of Chicago in the fall. He’s been swimming since age 4 and competitively since age 6. He currently swims at the Bellevue Club. “I’ve met the [UChicago] swim team, I’ve met the coaches. I feel like that’s where I want to be, seeing how fast the people are. Those are the set of people I want to go get faster with,” Zhang said. Zhang feels that he will have a good balance of swimming and academics at UChicago. “Meeting the swimmers, they told me how they were able to balance swimming with academics,” Zhang said.

Sophia Dondisch, Fencing, New York University

Years of hard work paid off for Sophia Dondisch when she committed to furthering her fencing career over the next four years at New York University. She looks forward to working with their fencing coach as well as pursuing her artistic interests at Tisch School of Arts. “Being able to be at Tisch and study what I’ve wanted to study for my whole life and also be able to compete is the best outcome of my whole college decision,” Dondisch said. “My favorite part of fencing [is] the community and just training,” Dondisch said. “I train almost everyday of the week so it’s very nice to go and train and have my best friends around me constantly.” Spectators will be able to watch Dondisch in the 2022-2023 NYU women’s fencing season. 

Brett Fitzwilson, Football, Macalaster College

After playing football for the MIHS football team throughout high school, senior Brett Fitzwilson has decided to play for the Macalester Scots next year.  “For me, football has always been a thing I’ve enjoyed. But, I realized shortly after my senior season ended that not only is it a fun sport, it’s a great way to meet people with common interests, it helps keep structure in your days, and it builds a sense of confidence in oneself. So, I decided that I would try my best to pursue the college level, and am thrilled to have the opportunity,” Fitzwilson said. After seeing the Scots in action himself at MAC and appreciating the atmosphere and team encouragement, Fitzwilson decided to choose Macalester for his upcoming season. It’s important to have a goal for yourself before college, and Fitzwilson says his personal goal for the next year “is to keep a good mental headspace. It’s a lot of commitment playing a sport in college, so I need to above all else keep my mental state healthy with good habits, on the field and off the field.” 

Kaden Wu, Baseball, Belmont University

Kaden Wu will be heading to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. in the fall to play for the Belmont Bruins Men’s Basketball Team. Wu has been planning to pursue baseball on a collegiate level since he first started swinging the bat. “It’s always been my dream of playing Division I baseball as a kid, so just gettin’ to do that finally is definitely exciting,” Wu said. Wu doesn’t only find baseball to be a great game on the field, and he finds his love for the sport is off of the field. “I’ve gotten to make a lot of my best friends in my life through this sport… I think the relationships you get out of the sport are my favorite thing [about it].

Nathan Illiuc, Soccer, Southwest Baptist University

Nathan Iliuc will be heading to Missouri in the fall to play soccer at Southwest Baptist University. The Southwest Baptist Bearcats compete at the NCAA Division II level and in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Iliuc, who has been playing soccer since he was around seven years old, completed a walk-on trial for the Bearcats before deciding to commit to the team. “I am Christian, and my faith played a role in my life, and that’s one of the reasons why I picked this university because it’s private and Christian,” Iliuc said. “They also have a very good pre-med and biology program.” Iliuc played competitive club soccer for PAC as well as playing for the high school team his freshman and sophomore years. “I’m really excited to play. I am of course excited to study but I’m excited to get to know new people [and] hang out with the players a lot,” Iliuc said. 

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About the Contributor
Brooks Kahsai
Brooks Kahsai, Multimedia Team/Lead Photographer
Brooks Kahsai is an MIHS Senior and four-year member of The Islander. In previous years, he has served as a staff writer, Back Page Editor and the Photography Editor. This year he is excited to return as The Islander’s Photography Editor. Outside of school, Brooks is a dedicated member of the Black Student Union, and he enjoys photography, coding, singing and spending time with friends.

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    ZoyaJun 11, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    great articles everyone!!!