After a banner year on the football field and a stellar attempt at the state championship title, not only did Lake Stevens Vikings’ four team captains make it to the semi-finals but now they will be moving to Central Washington University together.
Quarterback Jake Nelson along with Linebacker Korey Young and Wide Receivers Christian Gasca and Brady Pahukoa sat together last Wednesday, February 1 in the Lake Stevens High School library and signed their letters of intent together, just the way they used to play football – as a team.
The four best friends will be spending the next five years together at school and on the football field, this time at Central Washington University.
Lake Stevens High School Athletic Director Ed Bailey introduced the boys and their families as they all sat around tables at the head of the library, papers in hand.
“These are four wonderful boys going to a wonderful school,” Bailey said. “I can’t remember this ever happening before.”
LSHS Coach Tom Tri too was impressed that his four team captains are getting the opportunity to continue playing together.
“It’s a pretty unique experience to have four players able to continue to play together,” Tri said. “If you stay the course, you will all go far.”
Kate Reardon, a member of CWU’s Board of Trustees asked the boys to continue to remember their roots in both Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, asking them to return after completing their educations. She also is excited to watch them all play together for her alma mater.
“I know you guys will miss your Friday night games, but Saturday morning games are even better,” Reardon said.
Pahukoa is excited to head east with his friends and fellow teammates and hopes he can continue to focus on his high school education as he continues to wrap up his senior year.
“I’m comfortable with the place,” he said regarding CWU. “I’ve gone to several camps there and a lot of my coaches have graduated from there. I’ll get to be with a lot of my friends, including these guys.”
Nelson, who has played as a starter on the Viking team for the past three years, was contacted early by CWU coaches. He plans on earning his degree in Sports Management as well as playing for the Wildcats.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” Nelson said. “It’s a great school with great coaches. They really wanted me and I knew that was the place to go.”
Korey Young already has ties to CWU. His father played football in Idaho with CWU Head Coach Blaine Bennett.
“It’s a perfect fit and Coach Bennett worked with my dad,” Young said. “They have a great team and the chance to win a title. I have a great opportunity there.”
“This is all pretty crazy and I am very happy to be able to play with these guys for the next five years,” Christian Gasca said. “I’m happy to be a Wildcat and I’m always going to be a Viking.”
It’s very seldom done, but these four school leaders and best friends will be continuing their education and their lives together for at least four more years. Lake Stevens will continue to support these boys and will be watching those Saturday morning games.
“Wow, this is really a great moment and we are very proud of each of you,” Lake Stevens School District Superintendent Amy Beth Cook said. “We wish you the best in your future endeavors.”