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Two NV High athletes headed to Linfield College for sports and academics

The Pioneer purple of Nooksack Valley High School will stay with Carson Linville and Evan Neitling as they transition to play college athletics at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

The two Nooksack Valley seniors signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and athletic endeavors at the private Division III college outside of Portland. And they’re doing it in different sports and with decisions that were made apart from each other.

“I didn’t even know Carson was thinking about Linfield until about a month ago,” Neitling says.

Linville says both seniors figured out that Linfield was near the top of their respective lists and started talking about the school together before making their respective final decisions.

Linville will play golf at Linfield, while Neitling plans to play both football and baseball.

“For me, I was looking at Division III schools I could play sports at in Oregon because I really like Oregon,” Neitling says. “Linfield has a good football team and I applied there, and the football recruiting coach wanted me, and the baseball coach said to come down for a camp. I really like the campus and it has what I want to do for academics (exercise science).”

Linville, who also plans to study exercise science at Linfield, was recruited by Linfield to play golf. “We toured a lot of schools in Oregon,” he says. “I loved the campus a lot, the coach a lot and the practice facility. It immediately went to one of the top two schools I was picking between.”

Located southwest of Portland, the campus is in the Willamette Valley, a short drive to either Portland or the Oregon coast.

The draw of Oregon was strong for both players, especially Neitling who has plenty of family in the Portland area. “I have been down there my whole life,” he says. “And I just love that area and that it is close to home. I can drive home any time or visit family an hour away.”

Linville likes the idea of a more temperate weather climate than Whatcom County, allowing him to hit the golf course more often.

As he enters his final season of golf for the Pioneers, Linville’s goal is to have the Nooksack Valley team send multiple athletes to state — it happened for the first time in school history last season — and make a run at the state title. Next year, at Linfield, he’ll be one of about 10 athletes vying for one of the five travel roster positions.

Neitling knows that handling two college sports and a full course load will be a challenge, but he aims to budget his time well and make it happen. “It will be difficult,” he says, “but I’ll be able to handle it.” The wide receiver will start his Linfield athletic career in mid-August with the football team and then transition to play outfield or shortstop for the baseball season. 

Linfield competes in the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference that comprises of five schools in Oregon and four in Washington, with the closest to Whatcom County being the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University, both in the Tacoma area.