Wildcats making waves in college spring sports

Several Mount Si High School graduates are playing college baseball and softball or competing in track and field at small four-year colleges and community colleges all over the Northwest.

Six ex-Wildcat baseball players are playing college ball this spring. This list is led by utility man Aaron Svarthumle, a senior this season on the team at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., near Portland. Former Mount Si starting pitcher Bryce Kaestner is pitching for the University of Puget Sound (UPS) this season where he is a junior. Both schools are members of the NCAA's Small-college Northwest Conference.

Two ex-Wildcat pitchers are playing for schools in the rival Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Redshirt freshman Nick Harpel, who graduated in 2002 from Mount Si, is pitching this season for Central Washington University in Ellensburg, while Alex VanOeveren, who graduated last year from Mount Si, is a freshman this season at Northwest Nazarene in Idaho.

Two other ex-Mount Si players who graduated last year are playing community-college ball. Pitcher Ian Opsal will be competing for Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) in Salem, Ore., while infielder Jordan Lettau is among a large number of players playing for Big Bend Community College's team in Moses Lake. Opsal is one of only three Washingtonians competing for LBCC baseball this season.

A former Wildcat softball star, Rachel McNaul, is a second-year player this season as a converted shortstop at Bellevue Community College. McNaul was the Wildcats' catcher when she played at Mount Si.

According to these schools' Web sites, there are three ex-Wildcats competing in track and field this spring. Pacific Lutheran University's mens team in Tacoma includes two ex-'Cats, senior Dan Haakenson and freshman Steven Johnson. On the womens team at Western Washington University in Bellingham is junior Ashley VanOeveren.

The Valley Record will work to keep you updated periodically on these athletes' college efforts throughout this spring season. If you are a parent of a college spring sport athlete - baseball, softball, track, tennis - who competed in that sport at Mount Si but is either not listed here or is competing for a school outside of the Pacific Northwest, e-mail Valley Record sports writer Rhett Workman at to ensure that athlete is covered as well.

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