Seven Yelm athletes sign to continue athletic careers in college


By Jacob Dimond

To conclude the 2024 athletic calendar year, Yelm High School celebrated seven seniors who signed their commitment letters, or National Letters of Intent (NLI), to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.

Surrounded by friends, family, coaches, and classmates, the seven athletes were officially honored on Wednesday, June 5, inside the YHS commons.

Four YHS track and field athletes signed to continue their careers at the next level, with Jordan Lasher signing to Montana State University in Bozeman, Chloe Baublits signing to Whitworth University in Spokane, Shay-Lah Squally signing to Olympic College in Bremerton and Ki Neir signing to Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland.

“We are so proud of all three of these gals, as well as Jordan Lasher, for their hard work, which has translated into helping pay to further their education. Their lives will forever be impacted by the sport of track and field and the doors it has opened for them,” girls head track and field coach Shannon Gubser said. “We are grateful for their leadership for those that come behind them because they are modeling and making a way for others to do the same. We wish them all of the success as they enter new communities, travel the country and maybe the world, and educate themselves in preparation for their continued impact through their degrees and careers.”

Gubser added that Squally will pursue a career in nursing, while Neir will pursue a career in teaching, and Baublits will pursue a career in business management and marketing.

YHS girls softball outfielder Elissa Dewees will officially join Saint Martin’s University’s softball team after signing to join the program at the high school’s ceremony. YHS softball head coach Lindsay Walton described Dewees as a high-character athlete, adding she’s kind, determined and expects her teammates to show the same qualities.

“On the softball field, this girl is everything. I would compare her very closely to Ally Choate, one of the best softball players to ever come through our program. I’d put Elissa right up there with Ally. She’s a strong leadoff, a real good hitter. She can hit for power. She can play a small game, and her speed is out of this world,” Walton said. “I think she’s going to do great things at Saint Martin’s. They’re very lucky to be getting someone like her. She puts in so much time off the field — not just high school or club ball. Her character is amazing.”

YHS girls basketball senior guard Lilli Williams signed to continue her hoops career at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon. During her senior season at YHS, she finished fourth in scoring in the South Sound Conference.

“[Bushnell] pushes character,” former YHS girls basketball coach Jennifer Sleeman said. “Lilli leads quietly and by example. Her character is obvious in her daily testimony on the court.   Even if she wasn’t playing, she was serving her teammates. We talked about her not only feeding her teammates to show off their skills, but that she needed to also eat — meaning she needed to make sure she did her part in scoring. She’s a very selfless point guard and very basketball smart on the court.”

Senior YHS bowler Miranda Hunt signed to play for the Bethel University bowling team. At the WIAA’s 3A state championship bowling championships in February, Hunt placed 21st out of 100 bowlers from around Washington. Coach Averie Ford said the senior was a great athlete to have on the team in her first year as head coach.

“Unfortunately, I only had Miranda for a year because I just got into coaching. Before I knew Miranda, I asked the previous coaches some questions about the team. They kept talking all about Miranda,” Ford said. “She wasn’t afraid to humble herself in front of her teammates or other coaches by asking for help. I’m super proud of her for her leadership, the quiet leadership. I can’t wait to hopefully visit and watch [her] in some bowling tournaments in Tennessee.”