Former Yelm Student Athletes Pave Their Way at Whitworth

By Jacob Dimond /
Posted 4/5/22

Derrick Platt and Peyton Gendron graduated from Yelm High School in 2019, and each committed to play at Whitworth University. Now in their junior year of college, the two Yelm alumni are nearing …

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Former Yelm Student Athletes Pave Their Way at Whitworth


Derrick Platt and Peyton Gendron graduated from Yelm High School in 2019, and each committed to play at Whitworth University. Now in their junior year of college, the two Yelm alumni are nearing graduation.

The duo left their mark at Yelm High School, through sports, their leadership abilities and their academic prowess. Platt was a standout in both football and wrestling. On the gridiron, Platt was named South Sound Conference Defensive Player of the Year in his senior year of high school, and received all-area honors from The Olympian and Tacoma News Tribune.

Gendron, like Platt, was named to the all-SSC team his senior year of high school, and was featured in The Olympian’s All-Area football team.

Platt and Gendron have each excelled in the classroom throughout high school and college. Gendron is majoring in business marketing, and sports a 3.8 GPA at Whitworth, while Platt is majoring in business with a concentration in marketing.

Platt and Gendron, who competed in football last fall for Whitworth, said the culture at Yelm taught them how important a family environment can be in a locker room.

“The friends I have made through football will forever be in my life and have drastically impacted who I am,” said Gendron. “Both Yelm and Whitworth have brought me friends that push me the extra mile, challenge me to be better both mentally and physically, and motivate me to be the best version of myself.”

Platt added, “The people around me make me feel safe to be who I am and do what I want. It is so important to surround yourself with people who you want to be like because they will rub off on you and make you who you are. The connections I’ve made throughout high school and college through sports will also be the people at my wedding one day, which is extremely special.”

Both athletes shared many coaches along the way. But coaches Jason Ronquillo and Todd Cordova at Yelm High School impacted Platt and Gendron in ways that go beyond football.

“I’ve been fortunate to have numerous coaches throughout my life that have left a huge impact on me. Some of those coaches include Coach Ronquillo and Coach Cordova from Yelm, and Coach Sandberg from Whitworth,” said Gendron.

Platt agreed, noting both Ronquillo and Cordova have taught him many life lessons and showed him the importance of unity and brotherhood, “not only on a football team but as a community.”

Even three and a half years after their last high school football game, both athletes look back on one particular moment which they will never forget.

“The most memorable moment at YHS was making the state playoffs my senior year. The support and love we received from the community of Yelm was amazing and something I have never felt before,” said Gendron. “I watched the entire community come together to support our team. (It’s) something I will never forget.”

Perhaps, the highlight of the 2018 season was Yelm’s shocking win over the Lakes Lancers. Quarterback Kyle Robinson threw a go-ahead touchdown with less than 20 seconds to play. Gendron and Platt each played giant roles in the Tornados defense that shut down the Lancers.

“The most memorable moment for me at YHS was making it to the quarterfinals my senior year with my brothers,” Platt said. “Especially beating Lakes and hitting a backflip after one of the craziest games of our careers, and the love from my family and friends after the game.”

Both of the Whitworth athletes hold lofty goals for their futures.

“At some point in my future I want to own my own functional fitness gym to help develop young athletes of all sports,” said Gendron. “I would also like to graduate with a 3.8 GPA or higher.”

Platt said he plans to further his real estate career and wants to buy some rental properties once he has enough money to do so.

“I would also love to coach youth football and wrestling later on down the road,” Platt said.

The duo has been nearly inseparable since their sophomore year of high school, and have built a lifelong friendship which spans back to one thing: Yelm football.

Gendron has since moved on from playing football at Whitworth, but will continue his education at the university. Platt looks to continue contributing for the Pirates as a linebacker in 2022.

Platt had a strong 2021 season, totaling 45 tackles with two and a half sacks to add. The ex-Yelm linebacker has appeared in 21 games for the Pirates over three seasons, totaling 76 tackles, and scored a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery against Willamette in October of 2021.


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