A pair of Ocosta athletes will be staying close to home when their college athletic careers begin.
Kristi Raffleson and Mercedes Denny have both signed on to play locally at Grays Harbor College next season.
Raffelson will play both soccer and softball for the Chokers next season with Denny joining her Wildcats teammate on the pitch for Grays Harbor.
“Kristi is a real exciting player and is wanted by every woman’s sports at this college,” Grays Harbor women’s soccer head coach Dave Brown said. “Her name is helping us draw good players and she has a great reputation and I’m really impressed with her.
“Mercedes is a solid person and we expect good things out of her. She’s smart, works hard and wants to develop herself.”
The two joined former Ocosta soccer teammate and current Chokers midfielder, Adrianna Huerta, at a signing ceremony at the Grays Harbor Gymnasium on Thursday.
“I’m really excited to play with some of my old teammates and some of my current ones,” said Raffelson, who plans on studying to be a nurse practitioner in oncology. “It’s awesome to have so much local support and just knowing I’ll have all this support behind me through college.”
Denny, who Brown said is versatile and can play a number of positions on the soccer field, was grateful for the opportunity to play college athletics.
“Growing up in a small community, at a small school, I never really thought that I would ever get to play sports in college,” said Denny, who plans on going into musical theatre after college graduation. “It’s pretty cool that someone saw me play and said, ‘I want you on our team.’”
Like Raffelson, the outpouring of support from the dozens in attendance on Thursday was meaningful to Denny.
“It means the world to me to have so many of them here,” she said. “I didn’t know all of them were going to be here and seeing them here, it makes me feel very loved by my community knowing that they were the ones that helped me get to where I am right now.”