Ashland High all-state guard Rory Blanche, who helped the Grizzlies advance to the state quarterfinals in March, has signed a letter of intent to attend Western Washington University in the fall.




The 6-foot-5 shooting guard will receive a two-year academic scholarship plus a three-year full ride athletic scholarship to play for the Vikings.




"I went on a recruiting trip there [Bellingham, Wash.] and I really liked the campus and all the coaching staff and players were really nice to me," Blanche said. "I really enjoyed it."




Blanche, who signed the letter of intent last week, averaged 20 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 56 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range as a senior. He was named the Southern Sky Conference Player of the Year, was an all-state selection and was picked to play in the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Summer Classic.




Blanche also excels in the classroom. Ashland High's 2007 salutatorian carries a 3.99 GPA and is a four-year honor roll student.




The Vikings, who compete at the NCAA Division II level, finished 11-15 last season, their first losing record since the 1997-98 campaign. They compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.




"It's something that I've been working toward for a long time so I'm really excited to play at the next level," said Blanche, who was also recruited by Southern Oregon University, Oregon Tech, University of Portland and San Francisco University, among others. "It's been a goal of mine for a long time."




Blanche, who plans to major in either engineering or pre-medicine, also is encouraged by the style of play Western Washington plays.




"They play a really fast-paced game," he said. "They have a lot of guards, a lot of athletic players, so they look to get up and down the court."




Blanche added that he will likely redshirt his freshman season.




Sports editor Joe Zavala can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or joe.