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From Spartan to Leatherneck

Gibson Yost, Editor in Chief

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On August 1st, 2018, senior Max Slavens announced his commitment to Western Illinois University to play baseball. Though some of you may know him as the starting quarterback for Pleasant Valley High School’s football team, he is also a star on the baseball field.

The 5’10” shortstop played an amazing junior season with the Spartans. Known for his quick feet and strong arm, Slavens was a valuable recruit for Western Illinois. As one of the best players in the MAC, he received a lot of attention from colleges during his junior year and toured many campuses.

Slavens says he first made a connection with the coaching staff because of Pleasant Valley’s assistant coach Derek Stecklein, who graduated from Western Illinois. When asked why he chose Western Illinois, Slavens said, “I really connected with the coaches and the college is not too far, so my family can come watch games. I also really liked the size of the campus, not too big but not super small.”

Western Illinois is an NCAA Division 1 school in the Summit League. In this league, Slavens will travel near and far to play other high level teams like Dallas Baptist and South Dakota State. He has yet to decide a major, but looks forward to enjoying his first couple years playing his favorite sport at the highest level possible. “I look forward to connecting with new teammates and seeing how I will play at the collegiate level,” says Slavens.

Head baseball coach at Western Illinois, Ryan Brownlee, began coaching there in 2012. He joined Western after nine seasons at the University of Iowa as an assistant and as the Hawkeyes’ recruiting coordinator. During his years at Western, Brownlee has had countless successes. As of 2016, he led the leathernecks to 71 victories, the fourth highest total in program history. In his first year, Brownlee led the team to 19 victories, the most wins ever for a first year head coach at Western.

Before Slavens officially makes the move to Western Illinois, he still has one season left with the Spartans. Slavens says he does not know how Pleasant Valley will play this year, but he hopes for a successful final season. Slavens’ teammate Andrew Schiltz says on behalf of the team, “I feel like he made a great choice because I know a lot about the program there and I think they can do a lot for him.”

 

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From Spartan to Leatherneck