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Ryker Fortier, Maddie Kennedy-Colson, Dylan Philip and Victoria Zimmerman made it official Wednesday.

The Ellensburg High School seniors signed collegiate letters of intent to continue their athletic careers with Bellevue College baseball, Yakima Valley College fastpitch softball, Montana State University women’s basketball and Western Oregon University fastpitch softball, respectively, at Ellensburg High School.

Fortier, a shortstop and second baseman interested in physical education, math and coaching, was an All-Central Washington Athletic Conference first-teamer in the spring before he helped the Bulldogs football team to 5-4 overall and 4-2 CWAC records at quarterback and defensive back this fall.

“I’m naturally excited that he’s playing baseball but, if he’d chosen, he could definitely play football,” Ellensburg football coach Jeff Zenisek said. “When we put that football in his hands, he was a weapon for us, and he did a great job with leadership and all that, and we’re truly going to miss him. We wish him the best of luck. He’s a first-class individual and first-class athlete. When he said he wanted to be a P.E. teacher and a coach, he made my heart even bigger.”

Bellevue College baseball, also nicknamed the Bulldogs, played to a 22-10 record in a shortened season and ranked in the top 50 junior college teams according to Prep Baseball Report.

“Ryker’s probably one of my favorite kind of players when it comes to performance, because he not only has talent and works hard and gives you good effort, but he has that grit and fire,” Ellensburg baseball coach Todd Gibson said. “He’s been really good in these hard times with COVID to show leadership, and I like the way he treats his family and the way his family treats him. Some of the strengths that come with that fire are that he’s one of the best baserunners I’ve ever coached, and that’s instinctive: He taught himself that, he knows that it takes a lot of hard work and he’s a great defensive player, so I think Ryker will have quite the success at the next level.”

Kennedy-Colson, a first-team all-CWAC pitcher and first baseman as well as a basketball forward/post, will join a Yaks softball team that finished with 8-18 records overall and in the 36-team Northwest Athletic Conference in spring.

“Just to be able to stand up here with these great athletes, we’ve seen them all excel in whatever they do, whether it’s in the classroom or out on the field or court, and Maddie and Dylan I’ve had for years now, whether it was in AAU or now here at the high school,” said Ellensburg girls’ basketball coach Jeff Whitney, the defending CWAC Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year. “This is a great day for them because they both work hard, they’re both dedicated, they’re both talented and they’re both great people, and for me that’s a huge thing: We want great people in our whole program. It’s built around that and now they’re seniors, so this is going to be the season that they get to step up and take that role on.”

Philip, a point guard, shooting guard and soccer forward, helped the Ellensburg girls’ basketball team to 9-2 overall and CWAC records in the spring and a second conference championship in a row, and was an all-conference first-teamer the last two seasons.

She also improved her single-season Bulldogs girls’ soccer scoring record to 43 goals, which smashed Jordyn Arlt’s 28 set in 2015, as she found the back of the net once in the first half for her 11th-seeded side and again in the second half of a 3-2 first-round WIAA Girls’ Soccer Class 2A State Championships overtime penalty-kick loss to sixth seed West Valley Wednesday at University High School in Spokane Valley.

Division-I Montana State went 17-7 and 13-3 in the Big Sky Conference and reached the Big Sky semifinals in 2020-21.

“All the schools they’re going to are getting great people to help build their programs,” Ellensburg softball coach Greg Olin said. “For Maddie and V, they both put a lot of extra time in, and of the athletes who come to us you kind of expect some of them to lead by example, and both these girls do that: They both spend a lot of time on their own, they’ve done extra things to try to better themselves on the athletic field, and you just see them grow on the athletic field and as people and leaders, it’s a huge thing for our program.”

Zimmerman, a speedy right-hander who has batted left since she was a sophomore, plays center field and second base, and pitches.

She batted .512 in 41 spring 2021 appearances with a .623 on-base percentage and an .805 slugging percentage for 21 hits, three doubles, three triples, a home run, 12 RBI, nine walks and 25 runs scored, according to her Evolution Recruiting profile, and was named an all-CWAC first-teamer.

Zimmerman and the Bulldogs girls’ soccer team held opponents to 16 goals and pitched 10 shutouts through 19 games, put together 16-3 overall and 11-1 conference records, took second in the conference tournament and reached Class 2A state for the fifth time since 2009 in search of their first such championship.

Division-II Western Oregon softball came up 14-17 overall and 9-11 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, playing to third in the conference championships this spring.

“Dylan and V, when I think of most of my memories of soccer and coaching, you guys are in them,” said Bulldogs girls’ soccer coach Jim Engeland, who noted that Philip’s goal was to go undefeated last year and to make it to state and win Offensive Player of the Year this year — which he said she did as she became the Central Washington Athletic Conference MVP this fall — and that Zimmerman’s nickname is ‘V-fense’ as she became last year’s CWAC Defensive Player of the Year. “Part of the success of our team this year was her leadership on the back line, and I’ve seen her really grow in those leadership roles at center back and holding it together and connecting with her goalkeeper.”

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