Wildcat girls make school choices

Three Mount Si senior athletes signed national letters of intent Nov. 9 to play college sports next school year.

Leading the list is softball pitcher Kandis Clesson. Clesson, who has led the Wildcat fastpitch program to postseason appearances in each of her first three years on the softball team, including the remarkable runner-up finish at state as a sophomore in 2004, signed with Idaho State University. Kandis liked what the Bengals had to offer. "Well, the coach (Larry Stocking) contacted me, and I decided to go take a visit there, and I went, and I just loved the school. It's a great environment. Stocking was amazing," Kandis said.

The Bengals will be fielding a softball team in 2007 for the first time in 24 years, so there will be a lot of unknowns to consider. Kandis' father Gary Clesson was looking for a lot more in a college choice for his daughter. "I wanted her to go to a school where she could play competitively, play early, and play a lot, but also go to a competitive program with a knowledgeable coach, and I wanted it to be a school where, if for some reason she didn't end up playing softball for four years, she could stay there and get a great education," Gary said.

The Big Sky Conference, of which Idaho State is a member, doesn't offer softball at the conference level, so it appears, according to both Kandis, and a news release on the school's Web site, that the school may play as an independent out of the gate. While the schedule won't be available until late 2006 at the earliest, it can be assumed that if the school does play as an independent school, the schedule will likely include a lot of West Coast opponents from the Pac-10, Mountain West and WAC conferences, in addition to smaller schools from the Northwest and intermountain regions.

Kandis has not yet declared which degree she will be pursuing. "I still have no idea, and that's another reason why I like the school, because it has a wide variety of options to choose from; so that was a bonus," she said.

Idaho State's campus is located in Pocatello, Idaho, in the eastern part of the state.

The Eddings twins, Tara and Chelsie, also signed letters of intent. The two, who are girls hoops stars at Mount Si, will be on rowing teams at separate schools on both sides of the United States: Tara at University of Miami (UM); and Chelsie closer to home at Gonzaga University in Spokane.

Both Tara and Chelsie, who are students in the sports medicine/training program at Mount Si, are looking at getting degrees in those areas in college. For Tara, there were a lot of factors in choosing UM. "I want to go there because the team seemed to be really inviting, and they had a lot of things that I was looking for in a team, and it's like rowing in paradise," Tara said. As for Chelsie, Gonzaga provided two things she liked. "I like Gonzaga because it's a smaller school," Chelsie said, then added, "It's only three and a half hours away from home, so I can come home when I want."

Their mother, Susan, let them make the call on their college futures.

"I let them make that decision," she said. "It had nothing to do with me. I showed them a lot of opportunities available to them and let them decide. They'll be the ones going, not me."

The twins have only been rowing for two and a half years through the Sammamish Rowing Association, so through a lot of hard work they will be following in the footsteps of the Brevicks, Karin and Amy, both rowing collegiately at Washington State after great careers as Wildcat basketball players.

"We had no idea that they would fall in love with this sport like they did. We had no idea that they'd excel at it, but I think a lot of the reason they excel at it is because they do love it, and they dedicated themselves completely to the sport," Susan said.

The University of Miami, known as the Hurricanes, is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, while Gonzaga, known as the Bulldogs or "Zags," is a member of the West Coast Conference.

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