Faced with yet another challenge, a far better result for WSU senior center Riley Sorenson

THE FAMILY that has endured so much in the last seven months was facing another serious challenge. Washington State fourth-year senior center Riley Sorenson was suddenly dealing with a major health issue -- and the real possibility he might be forced to miss time or possibly even sit out this season, confirmed through multiple sources. But this time, there would be far better news.

The 6-4, 330-pound Sorenson was diagnosed with testicular cancer this summer. The Spokesman-Review first reported the news.

The Sorenson family has been devastated by heartbreak this year. In January, father Bart passed away at age 49 following a heart attack while in El Paso for the Cougars' Sun Bowl game, and two months ago mother Susan, died after being diagnosed in late 2015 with stage four cancer. Almost immediately after his mom passed away, Sorenson’s health issue appeared.

Sorenson, from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., has started for the Cougars the last two seasons and earned all-conference honorable mention honors in 2015. He is a Rimington Trophy watch list candidate this season, awarded to the country's best center.

After surgery to remove the testicle, Sorenson was faced with the prospects of chemotherapy which would have almost certainly forced him to use his redshirt this season.

But after meeting with a specialist in Seattle the week before WSU’s fall camp was set to begin, and with the specialist saying chemo was not necessary, Sorenson made the decision to forego chemo and begin his senior campaign alongside the rest of his teammates in Lewiston this past Saturday.

The WSU coaches heard about Sorenson’s surgery when they were in California for a satellite camp in June. They traveled en masse by bus to Rancho Santa Margarita to surprise Sorenson with a visit.

If Sorenson wouldn’t have been able to play this season, the decision by Sam Flor, his understudy the last two seasons, to pass up his final year of eligibility would have loomed large. Flor, who graduated from WSU in May, started four games and played in 25 for the Cougars over the past three seasons.

That would have meant Noah Osur-Meyers, Carlos Freeman and B.J. Salmonson would likely have been the front runners to start at center if Sorenson had needed to sit out. Osur-Meyers came out of spring ball in April as No. 2 on the depth chart behind Sorenson.

Sorenson has two younger siblings, Will and Elizabeth. He was high school teammates with Cougar receiver River Cracraft at Santa Margarita High before coming to WSU.

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