Former Hawks Soaring High


Liam Bradford, Sports Editor

The graduating class of 2021 at Lakeland High School had many star athletes, multiple of which are currently playing sports at the collegiate level. Those included are Ammon Munyer, Katy Ryan, John White, Sam Feusier, Noah Haaland, Jalen Skalskiy, and Abbey Neff. 


Ammon Munyer: 


Ammon Munyer was a top-tier athlete during his time at Lakeland, and it was clear from the beginning of his high school career that he would be a star. Munyer played football, basketball, and track all four years of high school and stood out among the rest in each of his sports.


Munyer’s primary sport was football which also happened to be the sport in which he earned several Division 1 scholarship offers. As of Feb. 3, Munyer was officially committed to Weber State University as a tight end for the Wildcats. The Wildcats are a highly successful school in the FCS and have held an in-conference winning percentage of .833 since the start of the 2019-20 season.


However, Ammon Munyer decided to take a road that not many athletes would have the courage to take: he decided to temporarily hold off on playing college football straight out of high school and committed himself to a mission. Munyer is currently staying in Guatemala, where he only has access to technology once per week. He stayed in Nueva Concepcion and was recently relocated to Cerro Serchil.


Munyer plans to return from his trip in June 2023 and play football at Weber State for the Wildcats and return to his dominance at tight end. His father, Jacob Munyer, who is also a teacher and coach at Lakeland, mentioned that he is extremely taller than the average Guatemalan. 


Katy Ryan: 


Katy Ryan was the only female athlete of the 2021 class for the Lakeland Hawks who is currently playing at the Division 1 level. Not only is Ryan playing for the Washington State Lady Cougars, but she has a crucial role in the success of her team, despite only being a freshman. 


During her time at Lakeland, Ryan played volleyball, basketball, and track and received a scholarship to Washington State for volleyball. She said that her favorite volleyball game of her high school career was the 2020 state championship game against Middleton. Ryan explained that she started sports at a young age and has always enjoyed pushing herself to improve. 


Ryan explained that since starting college, she has dedicated a lot of time to volleyball and needs to be very intentional about time management due to all of the classes she has to miss for volleyball. 


When asked about her experience at Lakeland, Ryan said, “All of my coaches and teammates have contributed for sure. It was really special to have such a talented group of girls in my class in high school that stuck together from middle school to the end of high school. Right now, my whole life takes place in the dorms, classrooms, gym, and dining hall, so it doesn’t quite feel like the real world yet. There is definitely a cool sense of independence that is different from being in high school.” 


Mr. Ryan, a math teacher at Lakeland and Katy’s father, and he also agreed that his favorite game of her high school career was the same as hers, the state championship win over Middleton. Mr. Ryan also mentioned that her potential has always been present, but her sophomore year specifically was when he realized that she had the opportunity to be a very special player. He also emphasized that her high school teammates were some of her best friends, and she enjoyed the opportunity to play with them for so many years. 


When asked about what it takes to be a college athlete, Mr. Ryan said, “One thing I think Katy learned early on about managing all her activities is: it’s difficult, and there’s no time to whine or complain about it, you just have to put in the work and get it done.” 


The Washington State Cougars currently sit at 16-8 and hold the 21st spot in the AP poll top 25 rankings. 


John White: 


John White was a star football player and wrestler for the Hawks. In his senior season, White was featured as the starting running back for the Hawks on the gridiron. He shined especially bright on the wrestling mats as he secured himself a spot on the Southern Oregon Raiders wrestling team, where he is currently competing in the 197 lbs weight class. 


White plans on going into physical therapy for a career but is currently enjoying life in Ashland, Oregon as a Raider. When asked about his college experience so far, White said, “It is nice being away from home and seeing new things and meeting new people, but I miss it up there.”


White added that his favorite match from his high school career was his semifinals match at state. 


When asked about John White, former teammate Duke Williamson said, “He was always here before everyone and had an insane love and dedication to the sport. He always gave it everything through the ups and downs. His mental game was always a step ahead of everyone else and is the reason why he is now a college athlete.” 


Sam Feusier: 


Sam Feusier is a 2021 graduate who played football and wrestling during his time as a Hawk. Feusier is not currently attending college but is contemplating wrestling for North Idaho College next year. He plans to start school in January to become EMT certified. In the meantime, Feusier is currently working as a butcher at Super 1 Foods. 


His favorite moment of his high school career was his state finals match for wrestling. He mentioned that although he didn’t win, it was a close match and one of the most brutal matches he had ever been faced with. Feusier claims to be very positively impacted by the coaches he had in high school, specifically Dave Quimby, Zach Horsley, Tim Kiefer, Brain Etchison, Rob Edelbute, Bob Hickman, and Jerome Long. 


Feusier described that he was originally a soccer player but started football because his dad suggested that he is built like a football player. He says he started wrestling because, in 8th grade, Mr. Cushman told Feusier that if he didn’t sign up for the wrestling team, he would fail him in typing class. 


Like many on the list Feusier, agreed that being in the “real world” was a weird adjustment, but he said that he is getting the hang of it. 


Noah Haaland: 


Noah Haaland was a superstar basketball player for the Hawks last season and is now playing in Santa Maria, California, for Allan Hancock Community College. As of right now, Haaland is in the starting lineup in just his freshman season. Haaland explained, “Since starting college, having to live by myself was a big adjustment, remembering to eat enough to play college sports was especially tough at first. Also, not having a car for the first few months was something I had to get used to as well.” 


The 6’8” prodigy was one of the best players for the Hawks during his senior season. In the district series between the Hawks and the Moscow Bears, Haaland dropped over 30 points in two of the three games, and Jalen Skalskiy scored 32 points in the one game that Haaland didn’t reach 30. Haaland added that his favorite games from high school were each of the battle for the paddle games. 


Unlike several professional athletes, success didn’t happen overnight for Noah Haaland and was not a surprise to him or his family when it came. He claims to have always expected success from himself in basketball because his father, Dale Haaland, was a center for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who also played professionally. 


Haaland also mentioned that he is hoping to come back and watch a game or two during Christmas break, which will undoubtedly be a pleasant surprise for old teammates and acquaintances of Haaland. 


Skalskiy: Jalen Skalskiy was one of two dominating 6’8 forwards for the Hawks last season, along with Noah Haaland. Skalskiy brought a lot of strengths to the table for the team, none bigger than his constant swagger and confidence that drove the Hawk’s energy and motivation all season in the 2020-21 season. 


Skalskiy says his mom originally drew his interest in basketball when she bought him a basketball and ever since then, he has been hooping with some style. Skalskiy and Haaland drew in particularly large crowds to Lakeland home games last season, which is to be expected with two 6’8 superhuman basketball stars flying around the court. At times it seemed like the lengthy Hawks offense was using the rim as a children’s jungle gym for 48 minutes, explaining the fair share of publicity that reached coach Stockwell’s team. 


Skalskiy was born and raised in Idaho, having lived in Moses Lake and Rathdrum. Unlike some on this list, Skalskiy felt very strongly that adult life is far better than high school, mainly due to a lack of high school drama. Skalskiy did mention, however, that he absolutely loved playing basketball at Lakeland and his favorite game was the home game against Post Falls in his senior season. 


“It’s crazy on the court in college… you have to know every play or you aren’t playing, plain and simple. It differs a lot from high school because all of the guys in college are way taller and I’m not the tallest one anymore,” Skalskiy said, referring to the difference between college and high school basketball. 


Abbey Neff: 


Abbey Neff is currently attending North Idaho College, where she plays volleyball. As well as Katy and William Ryan, Abbey agreed that her favorite game of her high school career was the state championship game against Middleton. 


When asked if she misses high school since graduating in June, Neff said, “While I definitely have my moments of missing high school, I have loved being in college so much that I don’t ever look back. I am much more independent in college and have a lot more freedom. I loved high school, but college is better for me, personally. Going a level higher and becoming a college athlete is the main reason I love college so much. I stepped into college with an already-established family that I am so grateful for.”


Neff explained that she dedicated many years to sports and grew to specifically love volleyball and worked towards a college career in volleyball. She also described that the transition from high school to college was relatively smooth, but it was harder to transition academically because college is mostly about teaching yourself. She admitted that it took her a while to get adjusted to the different styles of education.