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The Activities Matter - Student Spotlight Blog

January Student Spotlight

Hayden Huddleston

Hayden Huddleston is a senior at Woodland High School. A sharp-shooting basketball player and talented golfer, Huddleston is one of the WIAA’s Activities Matter Student Spotlights for the month of January.

“Hayden is known for three-point shots,” said Woodland’s Athletic Director Paul Huddleston. “The big deal about him earning WIAA Athlete of the Week was that during that week our team went 3-0 and he hit 17 three-pointers in three games, including seven versus Mark Morris. It was the first time our boys team had EVER beaten Mark Morris.”

Huddleston’s 23 points lead the Beavers to a 59-46 victory over their historically tough opponent, Mark Morris. He also racked up double-digit point totals in wins against Ridgefield and Kelso scoring 16 and 18 points, respectively.

“Keep on working hard and you’ll get your time to shine,” said Huddleston when asked about his on-the-court mentality.

The four year player had to work to rise through the ranks and made his way onto the varsity squad in his junior season. As his performances this season have shown, Huddleston’s hard work is paying off. It has made him a force to be reckoned with on the court and a leader to his teammates.

“He’s not going to say much, but he’ll go out there and knock down shots,” said Woodland Head Coach Jason Buffum.
In addition to his success on the court, Huddleston is also an exceptional golfer. He has made it to the State Championships four times and has received first team all-league honors three times. Huddleston completed his final regular season of golf for the Beavers this past fall and will compete in the spring State Golf Championships on May 24-25.

“I just like the competitiveness and growing as a team,” said Huddleston about the importance of being involved in sports and activities.

When he isn’t studying, golfing, or working on his jump shot , Huddleston loves to fish along with anything else that allows him to be outdoors.

Huddleston plans to attend Central Washington University next fall. He says that he will miss the small town feel of his community and Woodland’s supportive fans the most when he leaves for school.

For now, Huddleston will be focusing on finishing his senior basketball season strong. The Woodland Beavers (10-7 overall, 5-4 league) are currently battling through the remainder of their regular season-schedule and hope to make a post-season run.

Najeli Ruiz

Najeli Ruiz is a junior at Chiawana High School in Pasco. A member of the Riverhawks’ bowling team and actively involved in music, Ruiz is one of the WIAA’s Activities Matter Student Spotlights for the month of January.

Ruiz earned WIAA Athlete of the Week honors after leading her team to a 4-0 victory against their rival, Richland, with scores of 146 and 198, a personal best on the season. Her career high is a 247. Ruiz has been bowling since seventh grade, and decided to go out for Chiawana’s team during her freshman year.

“I never thought I’d be good at a sport, or that I’d be on varsity for anything,” Ruiz said. “The first day I walked in as a freshman, I thought it was a casual thing. I was bowling 40s, 50s, 60s, and the girls on varsity are bowling 200s, 180s, I was like ‘How do I do that?’ I look at it now and I am so glad I joined the team.”

“She has a desire to get better and learn,” said David Gussenhoven, Chiawana’s bowling coach. “To see her transition from freshman year to now has been incredible because of her work ethic.”

"You have to have a clean mentality," said Ruiz. "Maybe you had a rough day at school or at home, but bowling is the one place you come and you can forget about everything and just focus on your one task. It is nice to have somewhere you just go and do what you love."

In addition to bowling, Ruiz participates in Chiawana’s music programs. She is in the marching band, plays trombone in jazz band, and flute in wind ensemble. Outside of school, Ruiz recently auditioned and was accepted to join The Columbians, a drum and bugle corps.

“I have so much going on, it’s awesome,” Ruiz said. “I love being involved in so many things; you learn a lot and gain a whole different perspective. Without activities, school would be very black and white, very boring.”

Ruiz is involved in the classroom as well, with a 3.7 cumulative GPA. Aside from band, math and science are Ruiz’s favorite subjects and she is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field in the future. 

Ruiz and the Riverhawks' just missed out on a State Bowling Tournament berth, finishing third at the Mid Columbia Conference District Championships. The WIAA State Bowling Championships will be held February 5-6 at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Park.



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January 2016

1/31/2016 January Student Spotlight

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