Welcome to Highline College Athletics
Home of the Thunderbirds
The 2017/18 sports year at Highline College saw the Women’s and Men’s Soccer team take home championships, the Women’s Tennis team taking second place in the NWAC Championships, and the Men’s Wrestling team having two All-Americans and winning the National Academic Championship. The Women’s Basketball team, with a new coach and new approach, surprised everyone by making the playoffs. The Women’s Volleyball and Softball teams also made the playoffs. The Men’s Basketball team had a rare down year while the Women’s Golf team, in only its second year, continues to improve.
See Team Season Summaries below photos.
The Year in Photos
Winning its first championship since 2014, Highline defeated Whatcom 1-0 behind the tournament MVP goalkeeping of Akili Kasim and a goal by Dane Evanger at 58:39. This was the second championship for Head Coach Steve Mohn and his third overall at Highline (one as a player). The team finished the season at 14-1-3 with a league leading 11 goals allowed on defense. Ryley Johnson (15 goals) and Adama Kante(14 goals) led the T-Birds with 15 goals, with Mohamed Jeylani leading with eight assists. Julian Tafolla in goal led the league with a .50 goals against average, allowing only three goals all year.
The team brought home Highline’s first women’s soccer championship with a 1-0 overtime win over the Peninsula College. It was tournament MVP Jewel Boland, Highline’s top goal scorer, playing with a heavily wrapped left leg, who hit a rocket from 20 yards that caromed off the top crossbar into the Peninsula goal at 1:06 into overtime. The victory was possible only after Highline defeated Clark 4-3 in a semi-finals shootout. Highline finished the season at 18-0-2 and as the only undefeated team in the league. It had 99 goals scored (2nd in league) and an astounding league leading 5 goals allowed in 20 matches.
The team had another successful season, on the mat and in the classroom, under Head Coach Scott Norton. In addition to Emmanuel Daigbe and Liam Corbett taking All-American honors, Highline wrestlers Austin Lister and Jacob Mendoza also participated in the national tournament. And just as importantly, the team won the National Academic Championship with a 3.34 overall grade point average, the fourth time it has done so, more than any other school in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Considering that the team began the season with seven freshmen and a new head coach in Daimen Crump, making the playoffs at all was a huge success for the program. Defying expectations of maybe winning three or four games all season, the team played hard, even while at times playing shorthanded with injuries leaving only seven or eight available players. A surprising season opener win over Olympic College was followed by a string of losses, with the team going 3-9 in its first 12 games. Then the season turned, as the players got to know each other and the freshmen starting to assert themselves, with Highline closing out with an 8-7 record, and 11-16 for the season, 7-7 in league play. It’s a start, with Head Coach Crump already signing five new student-athletes for the upcoming season.
The 2017/18 season turned out to be one of unfulfilled expectations as a young but talented Thunderbirds team, expecting at least a trip to the playoffs, fell short with a season record of 11-17 and 6-8 in league play, tied for 4th place in the NWAC West Division and finishing one game out of a playoff spot. There were highlights from the year, including the promise of returning freshmen David Harris, Coby Rothwell, Steffun Singleton, and Travis Rice, the four players who led the team in minutes played for the 2017/18 season. Their return, along with a solid recruiting class and redshirt freshmen, could quickly return the Thunderbirds back to their winning ways.
A young Highline team, with seven freshman and three sophomores, used a late season run to make it to the playoffs before bowing out in the first round. After a rough start to the season, the fact that the team made the playoffs at all was in itself a success. Facing a steep learning curve, and after losing 14 of its first 21 matches, the T-Birds went on an 11-1 run from October 13 to November 3, good enough for a 10-4 record in league play and a tie for second place in the NWAC West Division. For the season, Highline ended at 22-21. Head Coach Chris Littleman has letters of intent from seven new student-athletes to join the program.
In its second year of existence, the team once again finished second in the NWAC to Bellevue in what has turned out to be a quickly developing rivalry. The 2018 NWAC Women’s Tennis saw Highline’s Samantha McElwain winning the #4 title over Kathleen Nolan of Bellevue. It was McElwain’s second singles championship. Amila Gogalija (#1) and Celeste Andreotti (#2) finished second in singles matches, and teamed to finish second in #1 doubles. McElwain teamed with Miriam Cabrera took second in #2 doubles. Danielle Mendoza (#5) and Cora Padilla (#6) finished third in singles.
Although struggling most of the year, the Thunderbirds did well enough to ease into the NWAC Softball Championships, falling to Edmonds and Centralia in the first round to end its season. The team finished 19-26 for the season and 13-19 in league play. Hailey Clark, as a freshman, led the team on offense with a .335 batting average and a team leading 55 hits, 18 doubles, 52 runs batted in, and 8 home runs (tied with Rosie Delrosario). Fellow freshmen Kiana Kingsley and Alexis Royal also had fine years. It was sophomore Rosie Delrosario who handled most of the pitching duties, starting 26 games and recording 165.1 innings on the mound.
The third year program continues to develop under Head Coach Steve Turcotte, with the team being led this year by the play of freshman Jenna Muller and sophomore Ruby Lampkey. This year the team participated in nine events, with two of them at Highline’s home course of Twin Lakes in Federal Way. The team will welcome three new recruits for the 2018/19 season.
2018 Highline College Athletics Banquet
The Highline College Athletics Department held its annual honors banquet on June 6 to highlight and recognize Highline student-athletes for special accomplishments. In addition to the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams being celebrated for their championships, individual student-athletes received the following awards:
Academic Athletes of the Year
Sammie McElwain – Women’s Tennis
Neil Green – Men’s Basketball
T-Bird Pride Award
(Those who best exemplify a T-Bird on the field, in the classroom, and in the community)
Desmond Hudson – Men’s Basketball
Rosie Delrosario – Women’s Softball
Athlete of the Year
Amila Gogalija – Women’s Tennis
Austin Wallace-Lister – Men’s Wrestling
Award Winners (Left to Right): Sammie McElwain , Amila Gogalija , Desmond Hudson ,
Neil Green , Austin Wallace-Lister , Rosie Delrosario
Athlete of the Year (Men)
Austin Wallace-Lister – Men’s Wrestling
Captain of the T-Bird Wrestling team and named its MVP, Austin posted a 28-0 Junior College Record. His only losses were to Division-1 opponents. He made the quarterfinals of the Reno Tournament of Champions. Austin became NJCAA West District Champion and the #2 seed at the National Tournament. He recently placed 5th in the U.S. National Open at the Senior Level, and is currently training for the World Trials this June in Greco-Roman style wrestling.
Athlete of the Year (Women)
Amila Gogalija – Women’s Tennis. Amila was undefeated in league matches both at #1 singles and #1 doubles. She won as the #1 player against three opponents at four-year college programs. In addition to being recognized as NWAC “Player of the Week”, Amila was named All-Conference First Team both singles and doubles. She took second place at the NWAC Championships in both #1 singles and #1 doubles. Amila is moving on after one year on a scholarship to California State – Stanislaus (Turlock, CA).
Academic Athlete of the Year (Female)
Sammie McElwain – Women’s Tennis. Sammie graduated with a 3.93 GPA and an A.A. degree (Geology emphasis), and while at Highline served as a peer tutor and completed upper level and advanced math courses. She will continue her studies and playing at Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA), majoring in Geology with a possible minor in math.
T-Bird Pride Award (Women)
Rosie Delrosario – Women’s Softball. Rosie has been the team leader, both on and off the field for the past 2 years. She is an example of how to balance school, work and sports while always holding the highest standards for herself. Softball Head Coach Jason Evans said of her: “She was the team leader like we have never had before, always encouraging those around her to rise. She has an amazing work ethic and is mature beyond her years. I am confident Rosie will be successful in all she chooses to do in life and will always have a home here to come back to. She is an amazing athlete but yet an even better person.”
Academic Athlete of the Year (Men)
Neil Green – Men’s Basketball. Graduating with a 3.63 GPA and an A.A. Degree (Business Emphasis). Neil will be moving on to to Notre Dame de Namur University, NCAA D2 in Belmont, CA. In addition to basketball, he will be working on his Bachelor’s degree in business, with an interest in sports apparel design.
T-Bird Pride Award (Men)
Desmond Hudson – Men’s Basketball. Desmond has overcome tremendous obstacles to graduate with an A.A. degree. He volunteers on campus with Unified Sports (promote inclusion through sports by teaming students with and without disabilities) and is a member of the Umoja Black Scholars program. According to Men’s Basketball Head Coach Che Dawson, “Desmond is truly a testament to maximizing his potential by taking every opportunity seriously and doing his best to make others proud of his accomplishments. Desmond has always been an outstanding worker, teammate and student-athlete.”