Dillon Chaney and Kendra Kapotak signed on to compete in college athletic programs this month. Theirs were the first signing ceremonies held in Dillingham High School in seven years.
Dillon Chaney has wrestled since he was three years old. Last December, he won the state championship in the 152-pound weight class. Now he has signed on to compete at the collegiate level.
Chaney will be wrestling with the Southern Oregon University Raiders in Ashland, Oregon, this fall. He started to consider college wrestling when he was a junior in high school.
"Freshman, sophomore year, I wasn't great, so it wasn't something that was on my mind," he said. "But once I started winning more, and placing higher at state, and then eventually winning state, that's when I kind of figured maybe I could do this past high school. Glad it got to happen."
Chaney follows in the footsteps of his coach Willie Savo, who also wrestled at SOU. Chaney said he is nervous to compete at a higher level. But he's also excited.
“Working through high school wrestling is something I’ve been working for – it’s wrestling past high school, and it’s awesome that I get to,” he said.
The seniors graduated on May 17. A few days later, Kendra Kapotak marked the beginning of her next athletic endeavor, signing a letter of intent to play as a Lady Thunderbird on the Highline Community College basketball team in Des Moines, Washington.
"I'm freaking stoked," she said after the ceremony.
Earlier that week, Kapotak had visited the campus and met her future teammates.
“After I met the girls, that’s when I realized I wanted to sign with Highline," she said. “They’re super goofy and funny and really open, and that’s what I want."
Kapotak has participated in athletics since elementary school and has played basketball for Dillingham’s Lady Wolverines throughout high school. At the signing ceremony, basketball coach Lindsay Layland described Kapotak’s athletic career thus far, saying she has been a stand-out player.
“She received many alternate team selections and recognitions, consistently ranked among the top 10 in the state of Alaska for points and rebounds, and averaged nearly a double-double in her senior year, achieving a career high of 26 points in one game. Kendra is a two-time all-state team recipient and had three state tournament appearances in her four years,” Layland said.
Kapotak received an athletic scholarship to attend Highline and plans to pursue a certification as a personal fitness trainer.
At the signing ceremonies, both Chaney and Kapotak thanked their coaches, teammates, teachers and families for their continued support and encouragement.
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