Bayley Gochanour doesn’t know exactly what the future will hold for her at Pacific Lutheran University.
But, one constant that’s been part of her life since she was a first-grader will remain: tennis.
Gochanour and seven other former Falcons are continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level. They include: Gochanour, Kinsey Eager (crew, University of Washington), Connor Antich (baseball, Lane Community College), Megan Drake (basketball, Pacific Lutheran University), Bailey Forsyth (track and field, Pacific Lutheran University), Anton Klein (golf, Florida Atlantic University), Kacie Hanson (fastpitch, Edmonds Community College) and Chase Barthlett (football, The College of Siskiyous).
Gochanour, who reached the bi-district championships all four years for the Falcons, is excited and nervous to play for the Lutes. She grew up playing under Karyle Kramer, the Falcons’ tennis coach, and developed friendships with the other girls who also enjoyed the sport. In the fall, she’ll have a new coach, new teammates and a new school. But, she’s accepting the unknowns as part of the journey. She also knows she’ll face tougher competition and will be challenged in new ways.
“I think it will be a good experience,” Gochanour said. “I’m just planning on going in very open minded.”
Gochanour has experience as a singles player, but was especially fond of playing doubles when she and her teammate Mary Zisette reached the bi-district tournament two years in a row. She plans to continue playing doubles for the Lutes. Gochanour said the Lutes graduated six seniors, and there’s a chance she could fit into the varsity squad of 10 players. But, there’s also the possibility that she won’t make varsity and won’t compete as a freshman, which is a scenario that Gochanour believes could be beneficiary.
“I think I would be OK with having a non-competing year and getting used to the program,” Gochanour said.
Eager is in a boat of her own as she prepares for crew at the University of Washington. While her former classmates have years of experience to rely upon before the fall, Eager does not. In fact, she’s never rowed a day in her life. But, Eager’s experience as a state qualifying swimmer in November 2016 and a cross country runner are considered strong suits in the rowing world.
“They usually look for people who are swimmers or cross country runners,” Eager said. “I actually do both.”
Eager said her swim coach at Kamiak, Chris Erickson, used to be a recruiter for the swim team at the University of Washington. He contacted the rowing team’s recruiting coach, who then sent Eager a letter of commitment and a chance to join the squad.
Eager is likely to follow a similar path as former Falcon and current Gonzaga rower Kale Reichersamer, who was also a first-time rower when he joined the team as a freshman in 2015. Eager said Reichersamer provided words of encouragement and advice about the sport, which has helped boost her confidence.
Eager will join a program that is highly competitive; Washington’s women’s crew team won the NCAA Division I national title in May.
“I’m really nervous about that,” Eager said. “I’m also just really excited.”
Eager’s preparation will include running, weight lifting and other forms of cardio. She won’t be hitting the rowing machine too much because her coaches said it could lead to negative consequences with her form.
“Honestly, for the first year, I don’t even know what to expect,” Eager said. “I don’t know where I would be and how I would fit in with the team. Overall, I want to get into the flow of rowing and figure it out. I’m going to go into it and work my butt off.”
When Antich joins Lane Community College’s team in Eugene this fall, it will be the culmination of a lifelong dream to be a college athlete. He will also join former Falcon standout Charlie Patterson who is currently on the team. Antich, a first-team all-Cascade Conference infielder this spring, plans to continue playing as an infielder for the Titans. He said his base running ability and speed could make the difference his freshman year.
“I want to come in and start and help them win games,” Antich said. “…My strength is definitely getting on bases.”
Antich has been playing summer ball for a select team and hits the gym on a regular basis. He hopes to eventually transfer to a four-year university and continue playing baseball.