Wide receiver Jamere Austin joins Jacks for ’17 season

By Skye Hopkins
Flapjack staff

The Lumberjacks newest football recruit Jamere Austin is a 22-year-old junior who traveled up here from SoCal’s San Fernando Valley this Spring Semester. He is majoring in communications at HSU and is beyond excited to play in the 2017 fall season.

“I bought a plane ticket but didn’t know which school I was going to,” Austin said. “I went to the airport and decided to come to Humboldt.”

Humboldt State was not Austin’s first choice when it came to continuing his football career but now that he is here, his positive mindset is helping him make the best of it. He started his college career at Los Angeles Pierce College where he played wide receiver. Considering a handful of the boys were from Austin’s hometown, he was excited to play with familiar faces. On another note, the coach that Austin originally spoke with before joining the Pierce Bulls left before the season even began, leaving several of the players a little confused.

“First season was bad,” Austin said. “We went three and seven.” In other words, they lost three games and won seven.

With Pierce’s reputation of getting several players to higher division football schools, Austin was only ready for the next season. He worked hard during the summer with close to “no off days.” His sophomore year, they ended up going 5 and 5.

“We were a good team,” Austin said. “But things got sad.”

He described his sophomore year as the year that changed his head with football for the better. His views and ideas around the game itself were clearer and his technique sky rocketed. During week 6 of this same year, Austin received his first offer and within a few weeks he was up to 16 Division II offers. He committed to Lindenwood University in Missouri a little after the season ended. Through second semester of sophomore year, Austin received several more offers and ended up recommitting to Southeastern Louisiana, a Division I school. However, the admissions department was on edge about fully signing him in because of a stats class that had to be completed. Unfortunately, he did not end up passing the class. He was lucky enough to get a chance the retake the class, but with no luck his spot was passed on during the annual recruiting process.

“I knew it was time to start back up,” Austin said. “So I wrote a little letter explaining my situation and posted it on social media.”

He picked up roughly ten Division II offers, and with only one week to decide he narrowed it down to Humboldt State and Midwestern State in Texas.

After spontaneously deciding to make the trip to Humboldt, Austin was on campus speaking with Head Coach Rob Smith before he knew it. However, for Austin is seemed like if it was not one thing, it was another. Humboldt’s admission office did not approve his acceptance. It took three weeks for Humboldt’s administration and coaching staff to inform Austin that he would not be able to continue his classes for the 2016 Fall Semester.

With yet another detour, Austin began to feel extremely discouraged. He was already settled in to the small town, the positive energies of HSUs campus, and the welcoming manners from his teammates and coaches. Having to start over or even take a few steps back once again was not on his agenda.

“Honestly, I started crying,” Austin said. “It just didn’t make sense. They told me I could come here, so I came. And then just like that, I had to go back home.”

Austin’s roommate, Johnathon Charles, was not too happy about his denial either. They had just moved into their two-bedroom house on P Street in Arcata. Charles could no longer look forward to playing his third college football season with his old friend Jamere Austin.

“Man was I bummed out,” Charles said. “My boy had to go all the way back home with no football in sight and I was stuck in a two-bedroom house with no Jamere.”

Through those first few discouraging weeks spent back in the San Fernando Valley, Austin altered his focus and began to work rather than practice.

“I was on a grind,” Austin said. “A money grind. But in the back of my head I still saw Humboldt.”

Austin was not ready to only work and not play. He attended the Jacks away game against Azusa Pacific in September and kept in touch with the coaches, especially the wide receiver coach Nick Williams. Ex-roommate Joc was extremely happy about seeing Austin at a 2016 season game.

With more time off and room to improve, Austin continued to work and picked up a few more offers. The same day he was offered by Division I Double A School Southern Illinois, he received a call from Humboldt State.

“When are you coming back?” Humboldt’s football staff asked.

Austin was stuck between another warming welcome from Humboldt and a Division I offer from Southern Illinois. He knew the recruiting process would be long with Illinois but he wasn’t sure if Humboldt would let him in again. He had less than a week to make a decision and after making a list of the pros and cons, Austin sent his letter of intent to Humboldt State University.

“Everything was right,” Austin said. “Not too much trouble to get into. I knew it was a small spot where I could focus and get things done.”

With over two years of ups and downs through the recruiting process, Jamere Austin was proud to announce his commitment to Humboldt State with excitement to play in the 2017 fall season.

Wide receiver coach Nick Williams was thrilled about the newest addition to their offensive team. Several Jack coaches witnessed Austin’s passion and motivation for football and did not want to miss the opportunity of having him on the team.

“We really wanted Jamere,” Coach Williams said. “We needed him to be here.”

Austin has been able to continue his football and academic career at Humboldt during the Spring Semester and will be returning with enthusiasm for the upcoming Fall Semester. He has been maintaining good grades as well as working hard in hopes of keeping his vibrant presence as a player of the Lumberjacks. He is expected to do extremely well during this upcoming season and several classmates, professors, and family members are excited to see how far he has come and what he has to bring to the table.

“Jamere brings a great energy to not just the wide receiver group, but the team as a whole,” Williams said. “He is a natural football player and his foot is always on the gas. I like that he is just so excited to be here. He physically, mentally, and emotionally puts everything into anything he does.”

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Chaotic schedules keep athletes juggling school, training, competitions

By Nicholas Vasquez
Flapjack Chronicle

The life of a college student is daunting, in that students today are asked to balance schoolwork, staying in shape, and maintaining a social life on an everyday basis.  On top of all that, some students travel from all over the country to attend school, which means having to make new friends and get acquainted with a completely different than they are accustomed to in most cases.  This is especially true with Humboldt State University, as it is in an especially unique area that is far different than other colleges (in California especially).

HSU is no exception to this issue, as athletes across campus are taking offense to it.  One person in particular that is flustered with their schedule is freshman track and field thrower DeReginald Walker, who pursues a history degree.

“We as athletes are asked to do a lot,” Walker said.  “Not only with practice though. We have to do additional work in the weight room, and we travel for meets almost every weekend.”

This leaves little time during the day for homework and going to class, which has led to a very stressful semester for Walker.

“It is definitely stressful trying to balance everything at one,” Walker said.  “I am trying to focus on reaching my full potential in throwing, but at the same time I am working on keeping my grades up so I do not get yelled at by my mom.”

It is certainly remarkable that students such as Walker can succeed under the pressure that is put on them.  Without being able to relieve stress on a daily basis due to a wild schedule, it is important to make sure to find something to distract from reality as much as possible.  Walker accomplishes this by spending as much time as he can with his friends in Redwood Hall, which is where he lives.  Nothing strikes fear into a man more than a mother’s angry voice though.

“The environment at Humboldt definitely helps out a lot,” Walker said.  “I think I would probably go crazy if I wasn’t surrounded by a group of friends that can take my mind off of everything like the people here do.”

Athletes do not get the same social opportunities as regular students as well, making their college experiences seemingly less enjoyable. However, in order to play a sport at the collegiate level, these student-athletes have to possess a vast appreciation for their sport and a competitive spirit that is rare to find in the average student attending college.  However, these attributes are often not enough to power these athletes through the obstacles thrown at them, as they are expected to attend every practice, perform extra work after practice, go to the gym, attend all of their classes, and maintain a reputable Grade Point Average.

This raises a question: ‘How do athletes accomplish all of these things?’  The answer is not simple; as different kids have different methods to cope with the stress that comes with attending college.  Most student-athletes have that one go-to activity that they rely on as a stress reliever.  For freshman student-athlete Brailee Vandenboom, that activity is binge-watching shows on Netflix.

“My schedule makes me very stressful,” Vandenboom said.  “But what gets me through the day is the fact that I know that after I’m done with everything, I can go to my room and watch one of my favorite shows on Netflix.”

Another issue with the busy schedules of these athletes is the scheduling of classes, as they have to plan around their practices and make sure that they have enough time to get their extra work in.  Not only that, but there are certain classes that they absolutely need, and it is hard to schedule those classes in the limited time they have.  Although they do have priority registration, it is still a disadvantage to have several hours of the day taken up by non-academic activities, when the main goal of most of these athletes is to obtain a degree in four years or less.

“It was definitely difficult for me to schedule my classes this year,” Vandenboom said.  “There is so much to account for, and I didn’t realize it until I actually started school.”

Another issue for athletes is having to carry their equipment around to their classes, as often times they do not have time to drop it off somewhere before class.  Junior track and field runner Corey Berner worries about this daily, as he lives off campus and therefore cannot travel to and from his house multiple times throughout the day to drop his equipment off.

“The worst part for me is having to worry about how I smell during class,” Berner said.  “I sweat a lot, and I hate smelling bad after practice.”

 

Jaye Washington jumps for greatness at Humboldt State

By Nicholas Vasquez
Flapjack staff

Jaye Washington is from Torrance, California, a small beach town in Southern California that is approximately 40 minutes away from Los Angeles.  Instead of being loud and instilling his confidence through his words, he chooses to do it with his actions.  Being a Division II athlete of any sort is definitely something that is worth bragging about, and Washington prefers to take the high road, which says a lot about him as a person.

A lot of football players coming into high school have their minds set on being under the bright lights of a Division I football stadium, but many do not realize their limitations until it is too late.  They think that football is the only chance they have to get away, and as a freshman, Washington had this on his mind.

“When I was a freshman, I was football motivated,” he said.  “My main sport was football.”

Going into high school track and field was an afterthought for him; but that would change.  Washington started running track in the spring of his freshman year at North Torrance High School in order to stay in shape and better himself for football.  Little did he know, track would become his niche not very long after.  In about a year after joining the track team, he was placed on the varsity squad as a sophomore, and he never looked back from there.

“I started running track my freshman year just to stay in shape,” he said.  “But towards my sophomore year I started making strides and ended up making varsity.”

Washington is an all-around athlete, as he played two sports during his time in high school and was versatile in both.  He played running back and wide receiver in football, and in track he participated in the long jump and the triple jump.  He has a long list of accolades in high school: 4th place at the Redondo Nike Invitational in 2014, 3rd place in the triple jump at the South Bay Championships in 2014, 2nd in long jump and 1st in triple jump at the Pioneer League Finals in 2014, 4th in long jump at the Louis Zamperini Meet in 2016, and 5th in long jump and 1st in triple jump at the South Bay Championships in 2016.  The 19-year-old is not complacent with these accomplishments, however, as he looks to make his mark at HSU and add to an already impressive legacy. 

“My main goal at HSU is to break the triple jump record,” Washington said.  “I feel that if I continue to work hard and get extra work in, I have the opportunity to do it.”

Even then, he thought that track was just a cool sport to be good at, and he had not really thought about pursuing it at the collegiate level.  This mindset is not uncommon, as track and field definitely does not possess the glamour or flash that football has, not only in high school but at the collegiate level as well.  As a result, many high school student athletes over pursue football over the sport that they are just as good at (or even better at in some cases), track and field. 

Track and field is not a contact sport, making size an unimportant component in it.  Washington realized this towards the end of his high school career, as he started to perform better in track than he was in football, which caused him to think about the bigger picture and realize what his true calling was.  Washington’s close friend and teammate, Mario Simpson, took notice to this as their high school careers progressed.

“Jaye was always a solid football player,” Simpson said.  “But around our junior year I realized how good he was on the track.”

Simpson continued to explain how amazed he was with his buddy’s performance in track.

“I always knew Jaye was athletic,” he said.  “But when I saw him on that track for the first time, I was thinking to myself, “Damn, that boy can move.””

Simpson is not the only person who noticed this talent, as he started to get recruited for track and field during his senior season.  Humboldt State saw his talent, and the rest is history.

“Humboldt State has a great track and field program,” Washington said.  “They are giving me the opportunity to succeed and I really appreciate that.”

Washington’s teammates have been noticing how his diligent work during and even before and after practice has taken his craft to the next level. 

Fellow teammate Parker Irusta in particular has seen a big improvement from him.

“Jaye has been a huge asset to our team,” Irusta said.  “He is a monster on the track, but it is his work before and after practice that really sets him apart from other people in his event.”

Work ethic is a big priority for Washington, on the track and off.  He is not just going to college for athletics, as he is also looking to obtain a degree in Kinesiology.  He says that as an athlete, he is interested in becoming a personal trainer in order to be able to work with athletes once he finally hangs up his spikes.

“Track is obviously a big priority for me at this point in my life,” he said.  “But I need to have a backup plan and be prepared for when I am not going to be able to perform any more, so I want to continue to work in the field of sports in a different aspect.”

Chigi Anderson beats odds playing high school football

By Uche Anusiem
Flapjack staff

It is only a select few who get the chance to extend their football careers, and current junior at Sonora High School Chigi Anderson, 17, is trying to be in that select group of football players who get a chance to play at the collegiate level.

“Ever since I was a freshman I’ve always wanted to earn a scholarship to play college football, cause it just means that I’m another step closer to my dream of make it to the NFL,” said Anderson.

Anderson is 6’2 and weighs 185 pounds. He’s a junior with one more year of high school ball to play left and is very driven and focused. Earning All-League honors and currently being recruited by various universities, he is one of the most talented players in his conference. During another interview with Anderson’s football teammate, current junior also at Sonora High School, Robert Hernandez, 17, credited Anderson for his talent and value to the team.

“Honestly, he’s like our best player,” Hernandez said. “And sometimes it like we don’t know what we would do without him. I’m just happy he’s on our team because no one wants to have to play against him.”

Located in Orange County, Southern California, Sonora High is one of the smaller high schools in County.  Anderson described the struggles of trying to gain recognition at a smaller known school compared to other power house programs around the area.

“I think it’s definitely harder to gain recognition when you play at smaller school, like those were some of the things I was worried about when I first came here,” he said. “But I just knew I had to pray and work hard.”

Anderson works out and practices five days a week, Monday through Friday, while also playing on an offseason travel team on weekends. The team plays against other skilled athletes and travel to different parts of California and even different states as it they get opportunities to meet college scouts and gain more recruiting interest.

With such a busy schedule at only 17 years old, what does he do in his free time?

“Homework and sleep,” Anderson said. “And if I’m lucky get chance to get some Madden or 2k(video games) in. It’s like a nonstop grind, it never ends. But honestly I like it this way because I’d rather be busy, plus I’m working toward something you know?”

Anderson’s older brother is a Cal State Fullerton science major, Andy Anderson, 23.

“He’s been playing football since he was a little boy, from like around 7 or 8 years old,” Andy Anderson said. “He’s always liked playing football, probably cause he’s real good at it too. And I salute cause I know Chigi works hard.”

Chigi Anderson had a good season last fall but his team did not. Does he think that team success affects an individual’s recruitment process?

“Honestly we had a bad year team-wise,” he said. “I think we only won 1 game this season. Yup we went 1-9 this season, it was all bad man.”

A winning team attracts scouts looking for talented players.

“I feel like team success does affect a player’s recruitment to an extent,” he said. “Because people don’t talk about teams that always lose. They talk about the winners, and obviously if a team is winning a lot of games there’s probably a high chance that they have more talented players, bringing more interest from scouts.”

One of Anderson’s football coaches Dustin Stafford, 26, is the current assistant coach for the Sonora Raiders. Stafford agreed that Anderson is a valuable player.

“He’s definitely one of the better players we have on the team, and he proves it every game,” Stafford said. “The kid is a special talent and he’s only getting better. Even though we had a poor season, He was still able to continuously make plays for the team when needed.”

Turns out that playing at one of the smaller high schools on a losing team has not stopped Anderson. He currently holds two football scholarship offers from University of Wyoming and University of Las Vegas Nevada. He is still being recruited by multiple schools and awaiting offers from schools, including UCLA, University of Washington and the University of Utah.

Being recognized and recruited by such prestigious schools feels good, Anderson said, and it is a step in the right direction.

“It feels good to get what you work so hard for,” Anderson said. “And what makes it better is it only makes me closer to my dreams of one day playing in the NFL. I just have to keep working.”

Diego Sanchez led win over Sonoma Seawolves

By David Crowfield II
Flapjack staff

Rugby is a true team sport, no matter how good one player is, he can’t do anything, without the help of his teammates. Diego Sanchez is a 21-year=old forward for the Humboldt State Mens Rugby team. Sanchez has been playing Rugby since he arrived at HSU in 2013. Rugby was brought to Sanchez’s attention during his freshman year, while he was walking through the quad and a couple of member of the team was tabling. His interest was stuck as he approached the table. Within a months span, Sanchez was out at practice. Now, let’s jump to present day.

Sanchez is a valuable part for the Jacks mens rugby team. He leads the team emotionally, physically, and mentally. Sanchez has seemed to master the fullback position.

“I have gotten better over the years,” Sanchez said. “I plan on getting even better because I’m going to keep training until I learn every position and that way I’ll be able to impact the game even more.”

Sanchez’s work ethic has shown in the way that he leads and plays. On March 11, in a tough, standstill match the Jacks performed well in conditions that most teams would fold in. Many would consider the match a Humboldt classic because of the weather conditions. The players took the field as the crowd yelled in anticipation of the match. The ball was placed for the kicker. When kicked, though the crowd howled, the ball was still heard by everyone as it was kicked into the air. Sanchez caught the ball. He took the ball up the field, and as he ran his hardest, he dodged the opposition as they threw their bodies at him. As he ran, he saw the triezone in front of him. The crowd yelled in excitement for Sanchez, who was fearlessly dodging the Seawolves. He broke one tackle and then another. As he was about to break free and just as he thought he  avoided all that there was, he was abruptly side-blinded by a Seawolf that was not seen in the corner of his eye.

From the beginning of the match, the Jacks were pounding the Seawolves and had many chances to score, but failed to do so. During this intense match, Sanchez and his teammates had high hopes of dominating the opposing Seawolves.

“Many of us thought we were going to be the first ones to score a trie,” Sanchez said. “That wasn’t the case.”

The Seawolves scored in the last minutes of the first half scored, leaving the score 7-0. At the half Sanchez appeared to tell his team what they need to do better. Dalvine Jones, a teammate of Sanchez, gave a brief description of what was said by Sanchez.

“We played dismal and nonchalant in the last 10 minutes, looking as if they did not prepare all week,” Jones said. “Passes were dropped, tackles were missed, and no one was rucking like we wanted to win the half.”

In the second half the Sanchez and the Jacks came out hitting hard, running fast, and playing like they had something on the line. They scored with in the first five minutes, but failed to make their extra point kick. At this point in the game the score was 7-5. The Seawolves scored two more times and the Jacks appeared to fall off.

James Ball, a former HSU rugby player, has been attending HSU’s rugby games since he graduated in 2010. Ball knows many of the the current players on the team, and he gave pointers and insight to Sanchez when he first started playing. Ball had a lot to say about how Sanchez has grown over the years.

“Diego has gotten better,” Ball said. “He needs to keep the intensity up if he wants to continue to be a leader and compete for a championship.”

Ball believed that Sanchez could rally the Jacks come back effort for the win. The faith that Ball had in Sanchez and the Jacks seemed to  be good faith because they turned it up a notch at the 60th minute and scoring 20 unanswered points to secure the win. After the game, Coach Vince Celotto, who has been Sanchez’s coach for the past three years, gave his team a motivational speech and delivered Sanchez the game ball.

“I am so impressed with our rookies and new recruits filling our needs on the field,” Celotto said. “Diego, you were all over the place today. Keep it up because your making us stronger. And for that, I would like to award with the you the game ball.”

Receiving the ball is a high honor for the teams player of the week. Although, Sanchez’s success is a testament to his talent, he would not have gotten to where he is today without the help of his teammates. He will need to continue to rely on them, as they prepare for the playoffs.

On April 1, the Jacks will travel to Vallejo to compete in the playoffs. In order for the Jacks to win, they will need  the continuing leadership from Sanchez, to practice patience, communication, tackling, and simply executing their game plan. All of these things can help the Jacks secure a playoff win and a potential shot to travel to Pittsburgh, Pensilvania for a shot at the championship.