Ellensburg High School seniors Max Burnum and Bryce Messner are continuing athletics at the collegiate level.

On Wednesday at EHS, the two signed their letters of intent as Burnum will be playing baseball at Williston State College in North Dakota, and defensive lineman Messner is staying local, signing with Central Washington University football.

“Bryce is a multisport athlete for Ellensburg High School. The Messner name is going to live on for a long time here. People know who Bryce Messner is,” said EHS athletic director Cole Kanyer. “Max contributions to Ellensburg High School don’t just stem from athletics. (He’s) involved in school activities, ASB.

“Both great young men. Never in trouble, always trying to be successful, competitive in everything they do. Really excited to see these guys continue participation at the next level.”

Williston State College is a two-year junior college that vies in the Mon-Dak Conference.

Burnum’s playing time was limited last season, only recording 25 at-bats with three hits and one run scored. But the hard-throwing righty did get a few opportunities on the mound.

He pitched in five games (started in two) and threw a total of 11.1 innings. He carried a 0.62 ERA (one earned run) and struck out 25 batters. He carded a 2-0 win-loss record.

With the Bulldogs losing Tyler Polacek and now Hunter Gibson who’s set to miss the entire 2020 season because of a knee injury, Burnum could see a lot more innings.

“He’s always been a kid that’s been behind some pretty good kids in our program, EHS baseball coach Todd Gibson said.

Gibson praised Burnum for his work ethic, mentioning that after summer baseball concluded, Burnum was sending him texts on how he can improve heading into his senior season.

“I saw Max play last summer against our kids and went up and shook his hand afterward, just told him how good he looked and how much he improved,” Gibson said.

Messner was a stalwart for the Bulldogs upfront. For his senior season, he racked up 10 sacks along with 15.5 tackles. Four of those sacks came in the 27-14 win over Quincy. He also had eight tackles for loss.

“It’s pretty exciting, “Messner said of signing with CWU. “I’m really happy I signed there and looking forward to playing there as well.”

Messner said he had a few offers from Division III programs and Eastern Oregon (NAIA). But being able to compete in his home town in a bigger school with better competition was appealing.

He attended CWU’s summer camp and according to Messner, he was awarded defensive line MVP and that put him on the Wildcats radar.

“It was a blessing for me to be able to work with an athlete like that,” EHS head coach Jeff Zenisek said of having Messner for his first season coaching at Ellensburg. “I’m excited for him, I’m excited for him to be a Wildcat. Not a better university in the nation, there really isn’t.”


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