LINDBERGH HIGH SCHOOL
Sam Nehren is a junior at Lindbergh High School and is the at the center of November’s Student Spotlight.
Nehren is the quarterback for Lindbergh’s football team and the shortstop for the baseball team. In week six of this season, Nehren was recognized for his contribution to the team’s 45-27 victory against Foster HS. Nehren completed 19 of 24 passes for 313 yards along with six touchdowns. Last year he received honorable mention all-conference for his performance as the Eagle’s shortstop.
Described by Coach Matt Leamer as a mature, tough, dedicated and “all around amazing kid", Nehren is all about winning and building relationships on the field while focusing on school and family off of the field.
“Sam is an excellent football player but what separates him from others is his dedication in the classroom," Leamer said. "Sam is a student first and an athlete second and because of that, Sam is becoming the best student/football player he can be."
To paint a picture of his dedication this season, Leamer explained that Nehren has been playing with an injured knee since week two of the football season. As the junior quarterback, Nehren refused to sit because he didn’t want to let his seniors down. With surgery on the horizon, Nehren was in tears the day before one of his last games with this particular group of teammates.
When asked why playing for the Eagles matters to him, Nehren once again touched on the beauty of relationships in sport.
“I love winning, but most importantly getting a chance to build those connections with my teammates’ that will last a long time is something I like a lot about playing this game,” Nehren said.
With an older brother playing football at George Fox University and another remaining local, Nehren spends his time outside of practice and games with his family and friends while also maintaining his 3.5 GPA.
Although Nehren will most likely not be able to play at the start of his senior season, there is no doubt he will be with the team every step of the way.
“Without sports I think high school wouldn’t be the same as it is now,” Nehren said.
“That’s where I create relationships with my teammates and without that I don’t think I would be friends with most of them at all.”
COUPEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
Mia Littlejohn is a Junior at Coupeville High School and is at the center of November’s Student Spotlight.
Littlejohn is a three-year varsity letter winner in basketball and soccer. She has been basketball captain for the last three years, was voted best offensive player and made the Olympic League all-conference first team during last years league champ season. On the soccer field she was Rookie of the Year in 2013 and is currently the only player (male or female) at Coupeville to score a goal against rival, South Whidbey – and she scored twice.
Coupeville Wolves soccer coach Troy Cowan knows her accolades extend beyond the field.
"She is currently ranked No.2 in the state in goals, No.3 in points and No.1 in the hearts of all of her teammates and in every member of our small community of Coupeville, Washington," Cowan said.
"Mia Littlejohn deserves this honor because she never quits believing in herself or her teammates."
Growing up around an older brother who played sports, and now a younger sister who plays as well, Littlejohn feels like taking chances and participating are in part due to the impact made by her siblings. Notably, the favorite part of her senior season of soccer? Playing with her sister, who is a sophomore for the Wolves.
"My most memorable moment during this season has to have been the game where my sister and I both scored one goal, and we both assisted each other," Littlejohn recalled. "That day and the game was just all around amazing."
Up at 5:30 a.m. on game-days, Littlejohn preps with a shower, oatmeal, pump-up music and a slightly more serious demeanor for the day. After school, she is dressed and ready to go before all the rest.
Beyond sports, Littlejohn is a proud community servant. She donates her time to many organizations including; Friends of Ebey, Coupeville Chambers and Spin Café (a restaurant for the homeless).
A result of hard work and discipline, Littlejohn significantly raised her GPA over her years at Coupeville. However, her work is not done yet. Littlejohn is focused on continuing to make progress with the end goal of getting into a good college.
"Ultimately, Mia’s sheer determination and desire to improve as a player, person and teammate have transformed this young lady into a humble superstar," Cowan said.
Humble indeed, Littlejohn was thankful for her family, coaches and her time playing sports.
"They give me something to look forward to after the responsibility of school work and social aspects of the day," Littlejohn said.
"It makes me feel like I am a part of something great."