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College notebook: Columbia River alum Alex Harris set to receive one more prep soccer honor after stellar freshman season at Cornell

Sydnee Boothby signs to run for Washington State cross country

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor
Published: January 9, 2024, 6:17pm
2 Photos
Columbia River senior Alex Harris poses for a portrait Wednesday, June 7, 2023, Columbia River High School. Harris is The Columbian&Igrave;s All-Region boys soccer player of the year.
Columbia River senior Alex Harris poses for a portrait Wednesday, June 7, 2023, Columbia River High School. Harris is The ColumbianÌs All-Region boys soccer player of the year. (Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The outstanding soccer talent Alex Harris showed at Columbia River High School has only gotten better in college.

This weekend, Harris’ high school past will be honored in the wake of a Cornell University freshman season that was among the best in the nation.

Last month, Harris was named United Soccer Coaches High School Boys Player of the Year for 2023. He will travel to Anaheim, Calif., to receive his award on Saturday.

At Columbia River, Harris was a two-time Washington Gatorade High School Player of the Year.

As a senior, Harris scored 76 goals in 24 matches to lead the Rapids to their first state title since 2018.

Though this weekend’s award will honor Harris, he was quick to share credit.

“I’m definitely most proud of winning the state championship with my teammates,” Harris said. “It was a thrill to bring that title back home to River.”

Harris finished his high school career with a school-record 134 goals, believed to be among the most in Washington state history.

Harris hasn’t slowed down since arriving at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. The forward’s 12 goals in 15 matches led all freshmen nationwide and set a school record for most goals by a first-year player.

“The speed of the game is definitely faster,” Harris said. “There’s a lot more of playing with your back to the goal. That’s different than in high school, where you make a run and get past defenders.”

Harris had four game-winning goals, converted all four penalty kicks he took and led the Ivy League in all major goal-scoring statistics.

“What helped me adjust the most is always having the mentality of ‘just compete,’ ” Harris said. “Even when things aren’t going well, just keep competing.”

A unanimous selection as Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Harris was named National Freshman of the Year by Top Drawer Soccer.

Cornell finished the season 8-4-3.

After graduating top in his class at Columbia River, Harris is enrolled in the College of Engineering at Cornell with a focus on industrial engineering.

Balancing sports and academics is something Harris has mastered since his days at Columbia River, where he was a Scholar All-American in addition to a soccer All-American.

“It comes down to time management,” Harris said. “I don’t have a lot of free time, but the time is there to do everything I need to succeed.”

Boothby signs with Washington State

After becoming the first Clark College woman to win a Northwest Athletic Conference cross country championship, Sydnee Boothby is headed to the NCAA Division I level.

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Last week, Boothby signed to run at Washington State. The 2023 Washougal High School grad is joining a team that finished 13th in the NCAA West Region this fall.

Boothby set several Clark College records as a freshman. She recorded the fastest 5,000 meters in program history when she ran 17 minutes, 20.4 seconds at the NWAC Southern Region Championships in Roseburg, Ore.

Boothby set a Chambers Creek course record when she won the NWAC title in 17:57.7 on Nov. 11 near Tacoma. She became just the fourth woman to break 18 minutes at the conference championship race.

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