Area's prep standouts make college choices

Prairie's Corral inks with Washington

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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The Prairie colors had to go for a day.

Heather Corral and Kelsey Asplund’s purpose Wednesday demanded purple.

Corral signed her letter of intent to play women’s basketball at the University of Washington, while Asplund is headed to New Mexico Highlands University, a Division II basketball program that also sports purple.

They were two of many Clark County high school athletes who signed on the first day of the early signing period for many college sports. Football, soccer, and track and field athletes must wait until February.

Basketball players were free to sign beginning Wednesday, prior to the first day of practice for their senior seasons of high school.

Jordan Chatman of Union was planning to sign with Brigham Young University’s men’s program. Caleb Dressler of Evergreen inked with Hawaii.

One Division I signee from the region already graduated from high school. Hockinson’s Joshua Hall is attending St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, a prep school, in Wisconsin. He signed with Cal Poly.

Baseball players also could sign.

Austin Barr, a catcher from Camas, was to sign with Stanford. Another catcher, Clint Coulter of Union, has had dozens of Division I offers. He said Tuesday night that he plans on making his decision before the end of the early signing period, Nov. 16.

Baseball signings are always interesting because athletes talented enough for Pac-12 scholarships often have the choice of foregoing college to turn professional once they finish high school.

In volleyball, Columbia River’s Grace Boyer-Quick was expected to sign with Seattle University.

Meanwhile, Treneisha Doyle of Hudson’s Bay and Keisha Kennedy of Evergreen said they will be playing for Lewis Clark State College volleyball in Idaho.

Corral and her best friend Asplund signed together at a ceremony at Prairie High School.

“When Heather knew I was interested (in New Mexico Highlands) she said, ‘You gotta go there. We’ll wear the same colors,’ ” Asplund said.

“Isn’t that perfect?” Corral asked.

Asplund said she enjoyed her time in New Mexico. At a visit to a store near campus, random fans of the program came up to her.

“They said, ‘Oh, you’re one of the recruits? We hope you like it here.’ I loved it it,” Asplund said.

Corral had announced her intention to sign with Washington in October.

“It’s surreal. You commit, and you know where you’re going, but when you sign your name on the paper, it’s official. There’s no going back,” she said.

Corral becomes the second member of her family to become a Pac-12 athlete. Older sister Ashley plays basketball for the University of Southern California.

“It’s a lot different,” Heather said. “I saw my sister go through it. That was awesome. To do it myself was really exciting.”

Hall, in a telephone interview from Wisconsin, said he made the right decision by opting for prep school rather than go straight to college this fall.

“It’s given me an extra year to physically develop. I’ve put on about 10 pounds,” Hall said. “I’m also taking some college classes. If I had to re-do it, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It’s been an awesome experience.”

Hall, The Columbian’s All-Region player of the year last season, said he will finish the school year at St. John’s before enrolling in summer classes at Cal Poly.

Chatman will become the second member of his family to play basketball at BYU. His father, Jeff, was a standout in the 1980s. Jordan said that was not a factor in his decision. BYU was just the right fit for him.

Jordan was set to have signed Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s really exciting because of all the hard work I’ve put it,” he said. “To play Division I has always been my goal. To actually have it be here is exciting.”

Dressler liked what he saw when he visisted Hawaii.

“I loved the school, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the coach,” Dressler told The Columbian last month “I said, ‘This is it. This is where I’m going to play next year.’ ”

The Columbian will publish the names of any athletes signing to continue their careers in college, even smaller programs. Athletic directors, coaches, or parents should contact us at sports@columbian.com with signing information.