Lauren Hudson was chosen as a first-team all-state soccer player this year by the Washington State Soccer Coaches Association. She will play next year at Seattle University. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Lauren Hudson was chosen as a first-team all-state soccer player this year by the Washington State Soccer Coaches Association. She will play next year at Seattle University. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Central Kitsap athletes sign on to colleges

Wood will play for Puget Sound, Welborne for Central Washington, Hudson for Seattle U

SILVERDALE — Three Central Kitsap athletes recently finalized their college commitments as part of a celebration held at the high school on Feb. 7.

Football players Reece Wood and Darickus Welborne will attend University of Puget Sound and Central Washington University respectively while soccer player Lauren Hudson will head across the sound to Seattle University.

Wood, a four-year starter at center on the Cougars varsity football team, was characterized by head coach Mark Keel as a heart-and-soul type who was always ready and willing to outwork his opponents.

“He’s not the biggest guy by any means, he’s not the strongest guy by any means,” Keel said, but “there’s not going to be anybody that’s going to outwork him.”

While offensive linemen are among the most important positions in football, their work often goes unnoticed or underappreciated as the eye naturally wanders to those at the “skill” positions. However, when it came time for the coaches to gather to make their all-league selections, Wood’s presence and talent at his position always made him stand out.

“Everybody knew No. 55 at Central Kitsap,” Keel said.

Hudson has always been destined to be a goal scorer, and, in fact, she scored 70 of them during her four years at Central Kitsap.

Head coach Vicky Webb knew it as soon as she saw Hudson play, watching her unleash rockets at unsuspecting goal keepers while still in seventh grade at Ridgetop Junior High School.

After three years at forward, Hudson moved to the midfield this past season in a role similar to the one she will play in college. Despite her move away from the goal, Hudson was still an offensive leader, scoring 19 times while adding three assists, and her performance earned her a spot on the Washington State Soccer Coaches Assocation’s all-state first team.

“She has always been respectful, kind to her coaches and teammates. She was willing to do anything to help her team be successful,” Webb said.

Welborne, one of the leaders of the Central Kitsap football team’s defense, signed his letter of intent privately earlier in the day. He collected four interceptions this past season, including a 72-yard touchdown, which helped the Cougars pull off an upset against Peninsula and keep their playoff hopes alive.

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com.

Reece Wood, a four-year starter at center for the Cougars will play football at University of Puget Sound. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Reece Wood, a four-year starter at center for the Cougars will play football at University of Puget Sound. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)