Standing at 6-2 and packing 300 pounds of power, West Valley's Nick Haviland is one of the most elite athlete's in the Yakima Valley.

But if you were to ask him his greatest accomplishment, it wouldn't be the first-team all conference awards, or the record setting weightlifting numbers, or even the multiple scholarship offers.

"My goal in life is to help others, that's what I've loved most about high school," said Nick Haviland.

Ever since his junior year, Haviland has been an active leader in West Valley's special education program.

"The program partners students with our special needs classes', and I was offered a chance to help in the P.E. class. It's the thing I've loved to do most. As I got into it, I realized this is what I wanted to do."

It wasn't always supposed to be this way however.

Nick Haviland is perhaps most recognized for his impact on the football field. He has multiple first team selections to his name, and was an integral part of West Valley's state football team.

Haviland seemed destined to be a college football player
Haviland seemed destined to be a college football player

"When I first got to West Valley, (West Valley coach) Dan Eyman introduced me to Shane Lemieux (now starting guard for Oregon). Shane took me under his wing, and showed me how it's done."

Despite being tucked away in the Yakima Valley, Haviland's numbers and accolades were becoming hard to ignore.

Haviland squats 605 lb prior to his senior year
Haviland squats 605 lb prior to his senior year

Multiple recruiting website's were starting to pick him up, including Northwest Preps Report, BeRecruited, and NSCA Sports.

Not long after, the offers started coming in. First Simon Fraser, followed by Puget sound and Missouri Valley.

But in the back of his mind, Haviland wasn't sure this is what he wanted to do.

"It was something I wanted to keep playing, until I started thinking about the possibility of rugby," said Nick Haviland on his new mind set.

Haviland picked up rugby his sophomore year. He plays for the Yakima Griffins, an elite club team that travels the state playing teams like Wenatchee, Seattle, and Spokane.

Despite picking up rugby very, Nick Haviland had the intangibles to be a rugby star
Despite picking up rugby late, Nick Haviland had the intangibles to be a rugby star

"There's no high-school affiliated rugby, so kids from all over the valley come to play for the Griffins. We've got guys from Selah, Toppenish,and a lot from West Valley. A lot of football players have made rugby their second sport."

After CWU saw his ability on the rugby pitch, they immediately made him an offer. This left Nick Haviland with a decision.

He could continue playing college football, he could play rugby for CWU, or he could even just focus on his academics (Haviland has 3.7 GPA).

But ultimately, the decision was made easy by his desire to be a special education teacher.

"I love the campus at Central, they have a highly touted special education program. I've taken some college credit at West Valley, and I'm on track to get my masters degree in five years."

You combine that with CWU having one the best collegiate rugby teams in the world, and it's no wonder why Nick chose this path.

Nick Haviland has been a mainstay in the West Valley community. He played an astonishing seven sports during his 18 year run! His commitment to CWU is something the whole community can be apart of.

Micah Chen:

Twitter: @micah_chen

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