Sequim High School senior Gabrielle Happe, center in white, signs her letter of intent to play soccer at Edmonds Community College next year. Happe is joined by Sequim girls soccer head coach Derek Vandervelde, left center, Sequim athletic director Dave Ditlefsen, center right, and a number of her friends and soccer teammates. Happe will be joined at Edmonds by Port Angeles soccer player Lucah Folden.

Sequim High School senior Gabrielle Happe, center in white, signs her letter of intent to play soccer at Edmonds Community College next year. Happe is joined by Sequim girls soccer head coach Derek Vandervelde, left center, Sequim athletic director Dave Ditlefsen, center right, and a number of her friends and soccer teammates. Happe will be joined at Edmonds by Port Angeles soccer player Lucah Folden.

PREP SOCCER: Sequim’s Gabby Happe signs to play at Edmonds CC

SEQUIM — A key component to Sequim High’s girls soccer squad that qualified for state 2A tournaments in back-to-back seasons, senior Gabby Happe is set to continue her exploits in college.

Aaron Howe, Edmonds Community College women’s soccer coach, recruited Happe to play for the Tritons, and Happe signed her letter of intent last week.

“I’m excited and nervous,” Happe said after putting pen to paper. “Aaron’s a newer coach there and he’s really excited about this year, and that energy is exciting and makes me want to play there.”

The Sequim girls soccer team enjoyed a strong season in 2019, finishing third in the Olympic League and going to the state 2A tourney. A big part of the Wolves’ successes, including a 9-3 second half, was having Happe on the back line. The technical center back regularly stepped up and cut short attacks before they could become dangerous and helped make the team function better as a whole.

Happe said that she’s hoping to be named as Howe’s freshman captain next season; he told her he wants leaders from both groups of student-athletes, she said.

“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better at helping bring the team together [as a leader] in the last year,” Happe said. “That’s something I want to keep doing and keep getting better at.”

Location also played a factor, she said. Edmonds is far enough away to give her a new experience but close enough to Sequim that she can get home easily if she needs to.

“I’m excited for her and the opportunities she’s going to have,” Sequim head coach Derek Vander Velde said of his now-former player.

“It’s a different game and a different level, so I’m excited to see how she adapts and grows,” he said. “She’s going to do great.”

Happe is the third player to sign with a college in Vander Velde’s four-year tenure as Sequim varsity coach. Normally he plays an active role in getting his players recruited, but said that wasn’t necessary this time.

“This was all on Gabby and coach Howe,” Vander Velde said. “I didn’t have to reach out or put together video packages or anything; he actually came and saw her on his own.”

Howe has been with Edmonds Community College since March 2019. The Tritons struggled in his first season, finishing 1-15-1.

Edmonds CC plays in the North Division of the Northwest Athletic Conference, which includes Peninsula College. Joining Happe at Edmonds will be Port Angeles soccer player Lucah Folden.

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