It was another great day to be a Fishermen Fanatic.
In a ceremony that schools the size of Astoria High don't often see, two Fishermen athletes made it official Wednesday afternoon, signing and faxing off national Letters-of-Intent with two Pac-10 schools.
And just to make Oregon and Oregon State fans on the North Coast happy - one will be a Duck, and one will be a Beaver.
Astoria senior Laura Bobek will head to the University of Oregon, where she will compete as a thrower for the women's track team; while senior Jordan Poyer made his intention official to play football at Oregon State.
The two athletes signed their ceremonial letters shortly after 1 p.m. in front of an all-school assembly Wednesday in the Astoria High School auditorium.
Poyer is a "grayshirt" and will not be eligible to play for OSU until 2010, although the possibility still exists that he could play next season. It's also possible that Poyer could end up signing a professional baseball contract, depending on if and when he is selected in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft.
At this point, "I'm not sure," Poyer said of the baseball option. "It depends on if they're going to pay for my college. I would still have four years of eligibility if I get drafted. I think that's what (former Oregon quarterback) Dennis Dixon did.
"The commitment that I would have to make to play professional baseball would be tough."
Coaches at Oregon State have said "if I get drafted and that's what I want to do, great. They'd still want me back when I'm done playing. It's good to hear that."
In addition to the colleges that were seeking Poyer for football, MLB teams including Florida, Boston, Houston and Baltimore have all contacted or scouted Poyer.
"The Marlins have been recruiting me pretty hard, and I've received some stuff from the Red Sox," he said. "They're coming here Friday to watch me throw. And the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles have seen me play. I'm not sure how that process will go."
One thing is certain for Bobek - she will be competing next year for the Ducks.
"I'll probably start off with the hammer throw, because everybody says I look like a hammer thrower," she said. "I don't really know what that means, but I've tried it and worked out with a coach. It's crazy - that's all I have to say about the hammer."
? Irony No. 1: Bobek would have chosen to attend Oregon State, if the Beavers' relatively new track team had a program for throwers; while Poyer had dreams of playing at Oregon.
"I would have gone there (Oregon State) because I want to be a vet," Bobek said, referring to OSU's outstanding College of Veterinary Medicine program.
Poyer - who has played twice in nonleague games at Autzen Stadium in Eugene - said, "Oregon did recruit me a while ago, and when we played there last year I was thinking, 'man, I really hope this isn't the last time I play here.' Playing in that type of venue was great.
"Their football facilities are insane. It's like you're going on vacation to some nice hotel," he said. "But I'm happy. That had nothing to do with my decision. Facilities are facilities, and weights are weights. You still have to lift to get stronger and faster."
? Irony No. 2: Poyer finished his prep football career at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, and Bobek will finish her upcoming track season at Hayward Field in Eugene, most likely with two more first-place medals around her neck.
"I hoped to be there one day," Bobek said of Hayward Field, after throwing at the legendary venue in three previous state meets. "I had dreams of competing there later in life, so it will be great.
"Hayward is amazing. I went down for the Olympic Trials and got to see all that. It will be a lot of fun to compete there."
Meanwhile, Poyer and the Fishermen won the 2008 state championship at Reser, where Poyer ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in Astoria's title victory over Banks.
"The very first time I ran out on that field to do warm-ups, I was thinking it might be possible that I could be playing here next year."
The Recruiting Process
Bobek made visits to Iowa State, the University of Arizona and Oregon, and "decided that the University of Oregon was the better place for me," she said. "The coaches, the facilities ... Eugene is Track Town USA.
"It was a real hard decision. The coaches played a big role in it. I've known (Oregon throws coach and former Olympian) Lance Deal for the last four years, and also Hayward Field was a big factor. It's a real nice place to compete."
Poyer had narrowed his choices to Idaho, Portland State and Oregon State.
Portland State made a big pitch, as legendary coach Jerry Glanville paid a visit to Astoria High School to meet with the state's Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.
But life in the big city just didn't appeal to Poyer. Small-town Corvallis had a better feel.
"It feels like home when I go there," he said. "I've been there so many times, I've built a relationship with the coaches, all the players I've met are really nice to me ...
"I really liked Portland State," he said. "All the coaches there are great. But I didn't like looking up at huge skyscrapers every time I walk out the door and not knowing where I was. That was a minus. I don't like living in the big city."
The recruiting process in general, Poyer said, "is crazy. I swear I told just one person I had committed to Oregon State, and then the whole world knew. Then I'm getting calls left and right from people I don't even know."
The final decision "really came down to my parents saying 'you do what you feel like doing. You're going to have to live there.' It all came down to exactly what I wanted to do."
The Pac-10 Challenge
"The show on Wednesday is not by mistake," said Astoria Athletics Director Howard Rub. "They're both up for it."
The challenge of playing in one of the nation's premier conferences "is going to be tough," Poyer said. "People think that college athletes just have a cakewalk, but playing at that level, with school going too ... it's going to be tough."
The step up in competition will also be an eye-opener.
"This isn't the Cowapa League," Poyer said. "(The players) are from big schools in Texas, California ... it's going to be a dogfight to compete for those starting spots."
But one thing Astoria fans know about Poyer: "I love challenges," he said. "I'll take a challenge any day. If someone is better than me, then I'm going to work hard to be better than them. I'm not going to sit back and wait to be that second-string player and wait for my turn to come.
"I'm going to be working hard every day to become that No. 1 player and play at the level above where they're playing. It's going to take a lot of hard work, but I'm capable of doing that."
After four years of making a name for himself as a quarterback, the Beavers will have Poyer lining up on the other side of the ball, at safety.
The game itself will "be a lot faster," he said. "That's one adjustment that I will have to make. I'll have to be a lot faster and a lot quicker. It's going to be a lot different playing just defense, but I feel I can make plays on either side of the ball."
The realization that he may have to sit out a year will be tough.
"It is, but it isn't," Poyer said. "I'm still only 17, and I don't turn 18 until April. Most of those guys are 21, and I'll just be a little 18-year-old. It won't hurt me, sitting out a whole year."
The Beavers "offered scholarships to 25 kids, and I'm 26 out of 25," Poyer said, resulting in a grayshirt, which means Poyer's eligibility would start in January of 2010.
"But the chances of playing (in 2009) are still 50-50," he said. "A kid from Oklahoma (Tramaine Thompson) recommitted from Oregon State to Kansas State, so that could move me up, come August.
"I'm hoping that happens, but if it doesn't, I won't be disappointed. It basically means I will enroll in January. I can't go lift with the team, but I can watch them practice and go to film sessions - they just can't talk to me about any of it."
Poyer said the safety position "is a great spot for me.
"I can't wait to learn the defense and the techniques," said Poyer, who plans to major in education and minor in communication. "I really want to go down in August and pick up on a lot of it. I'm sure the playbook will be a foot thick and I'll be up nights studying it."
Bobek's coaches with Astoria - Bob Ellsberg and Lynn Jackson - have all the confidence in the world in their young thrower.
"To accomplish what Laura has, it's a big deal," Jackson said. "I'm not her specialty coach, but to see all the work that she's put in, she deserves every bit of credit that comes her way. She's soft-spoken and she doesn't go for the limelight much.
"I'm quite confident that she will do well," added Jackson, who was a javelin thrower at Brigham Young. "When you look at 45-10 - which is what her high school (shot put) mark is - if she can get up to 46, 47 or 48 this year, when you start getting into the upper 40s, even at the Division 1 level, you're going to make an impact pretty quickly.
"What's really encouraging is the event that she hasn't done yet - the hammer," he said. "With her footwork, explosion and speed, that could end up being her event."
Meanwhile, there's work still to be done for both Bobek and Poyer at the high school level.
Bobek is a heavy favorite to win more state titles in the spring in the discus and shot put, while Poyer is finishing out the current basketball season, and will have a big role in Astoria's state title hopes in baseball.
Bobek is Astoria's school record-holder in several weight lifting categories, as well as the discus, but still doesn't hold the school record in the shot put. Kam Johnson still has that one, but not for much longer. Bobek will likely need just a few throws to get the mark.
"Kam still has the school record for the shot, but I'll get it this year," Bobek said. "I'm throwing it right now."
Speaking for both the Duck and the Beaver, Poyer said, "We'll both live out the senior year, and I'm sure we'll miss it when we're gone."