Local athletes sign letters of intent
A pair of Lake Oswego's most talented athletes made some Pac-10 schools very happy on Wednesday when they signed their letters of intent. Lakeridge track standout Samantha Berryman signed on at the University of Arizona while Lake Oswego safety Jay Matthews committed to Washington State University.
Berryman is one of the most prolific athletes in Lakeridge history. She is most known for achievements on the track where she has won 10 district championships and will go for more this spring.
But she also excelled on the soccer field. Berryman will now focus on track year-round and, because of her versatility, she was recruited heavily for the heptathlon.
In high school, Berrman has excelled at the sprints and jumping events but, in casual practices, she has also showed potential in the javelin. For the heptathlon, Berryman will participate in the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin and 800 meters.
'I'm really excited about the heptathlon. I think I'm the most nervous about the 800 meters. That's the hardest event in track,' Berryman said.
Berryman received attention from dozens of schools but fell in love with Arizona during her visit to the campus.
'The weather is perfect for track and it's a real college town. Everyone on campus was really nice and excited. The best part is being in the Pac-10 so I can come back to Oregon and compete,' Berryman said.
She will begin training in the fall and will compete in both the indoor and outdoor seasons on the team. At Arizona she will be surrounded by some of the nation's top coaches and top trainers.
'I'm looking forward to focusing on track full-time to see what I can do,' Berryman said.
In her time at Lakeridge Berryman was occasionally hampered by injuries, the most serious was a tear of her ACL but she is healthy heading into her final high school track season and is hoping to pick up a few more accolades.
'I hope to win at least one event this year (at state). Hopefully I'll set some PRs and stay healthy,' Berryman said.
Matthews was one of the more unheralded reasons for the Lake Oswego football team's success this season. The athletic safety shored up the team's strong secondary and, with each passing week, he received more attention from some of the country's top collegiate programs.
Matthews is the latest in a long line of Laker football players who have gone on to play Division I football.
'I played with guys like Lomax and Maher and Gabe Miller and really looked up to them,' Matthews said.
WSU appealed to him because of the program's strong staff and its commitment to become one of the elite teams in the Pac-10.
Matthews was considering Oregon State, Stanford, Portland State and Northern Arizona but when he made his official visit to Pullman, the Cougars quickly jumped to the top of his list.
'They have great coaches and when you're on campus you can just feel the excitement. It's a football town,' Matthews said.
Another factor in his decision was how actively Washington State pursued him. Very shortly after he made his visit, he was offered a scholarship.
'They pulled the trigger really quickly and made it clear that they wanted to have me,' Matthes said.
He believes that he will be able to contribute to the team as a freshman and won't need to redshirt.
Playing football as the collegiate level has long been a goal for Matthews and while he would love to eventually play at an even higher level, he is focused on helping the Cougars in the immediate future.
'Football's been my life and I've been dreaming about this. My first goal is to show up to camp in good shape,' Matthews said. He is also excited about being in the Pac-10 where he will defend against some of the nation's top receivers.
'You always want a challenge like that. It's great to stay on the West Coast to compete against Oregon and Oregon State,' Matthews said.
Lake Oswego baseball standout Michael Wesner also signed his official letter to play for Oregon State next year. He had previously given the Beavers a verbal commitment.
Wesner will join a team featuring Lake Oswego graduate Mike Stutes and the Beavers will be attempting to win their third straight College World Series championship while competing in the competitive Pac-10