Maddie O'Connor and Annie Alvarado have known each other since they were 5 years old. They played AYSO together, then on rival club teams, before they reunited at Corona del Mar High.
As the two prepare for the stretch run of their final season with the CdM girls' soccer team, they each made a big decision regarding their future after high school on Wednesday.
In the next stage of their lives, they won't be on the same team.
Alvarado and O'Connor still shared a special moment as they signed national letters of intent with the UCLA and UC Santa Barbara women's soccer programs, respectively. Wednesday was the first day high school seniors could sign a national letter of intent with a college in football, soccer, track and field, cross country, men's water polo and field hockey.
Alvarado and O'Connor, two of 11 local athletes that signed on Wednesday, had been looking forward to this day since they were kids.
"We've always been all about soccer, talking about where we're going to play college soccer," said Alvarado, a midfielder. "We're both extremely competitive and I believe that's what has pushed us and why we've gone far."
Alvarado and O'Connor are trying to lead the Sea Kings to their third straight Pacific Coast League title. They have two matches left this week before the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs begin next week.
O'Connor had a couple of other teammates, from the Newport Beach-based Slammers club, sign as well. Maddie Bauer, a Newport Beach resident and Mater Dei student, and Savannah Levin, a Newport Beach resident and Tarbut V'Torah student, are bound for Stanford and USC, respectively.
The rest of the local seniors who signed national letters of intent include Newport Harbor's Paige Tennison (UCLA women's cross country), CdM's Kyle Trush (UC Irvine men's water polo), Estancia's Cassie Stevenson (Cal State San Marcos women's golf), Newport Harbor's Andrew Silvers (USC men's water polo), and three Newport Beach residents from Mater Dei, Tommy Padia (UC Berkeley men's soccer), Jon Walters (USC men's water polo) and JC Genova (Portland State football).
Tennison won the CIF Southern Section Division II girls' cross country title and placed fourth at the CIF State Division II finals.
Trush helped the CdM boys' water polo team advance to the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. He earned first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division 1 and first-team All-Pacific Coast League accolades.
Stevenson qualified for the CIF Southern Section individual girls' golf final.
Silvers, Stevens and Fink each played a key role in the Newport Harbor boys' water polo team reaching the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. All three made first-team All-Sunset League.
Walters keyed the Mater Dei boys' water polo team's CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship run.
Genova, a defensive back, helped Mater Dei reach the CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division football title game.