Local high school athletes celebrate on signing day

Newport Harbor's Aidan Elbettar, left, Carter Mathisrud and Michael Morrison participate in Wednesday's signing day event on campus.
(Photo by Andrew Turner)

Newport Harbor High honored three senior athletes on campus Wednesday in a signing day ceremony.

After Newport Harbor advanced to the Division 9 semifinals in football, the Sailors will have two players attempting to extend their playing days. Safety Michael Morrison committed to the University of Chicago, where he also plans to play men’s lacrosse.

Sailors offensive lineman Carter Mathisrud is also joining the University of Washington as a preferred walk-on player.

Morrison, who will be majoring in physics, believes that the publicity of players going on to play at the next level will help the Newport Harbor football program continue to grow.

“It’s super exciting just because we usually don’t have that much success in the sport, the years that I’ve been here for football,” Morrison said. “Also with us doing really well in the playoffs, people like Carter and me going to college for the sport is really going to help the football program in the future.”

Newport Harbor also celebrated Aidan Elbettar, who did not partake in the Sailors’ fall signing day event after making his decision to join the UCLA men’s track and field program the night of Nov. 13.

Huntington Beach brought plenty of pomp and circumstance to its signing day festivities inside its gym on Wednesday.

The Oilers had 32 athletes, including those who committed in the fall, participate in the event, with one joining from the Midwest.

Wearing a Kansas State shirt, Oilers quarterback Brady Gardner held up his phone to show the crowd Christian Moore via FaceTime when athletic director Melissa Vandenbosch called his name.

Moore, a 6-foot-3, 228-pound tight end, signed with Kansas State on Dec. 18, the first day of the early national signing period for football. He graduated early to begin practicing with the Wildcats.

Huntington Beach had its baseball and softball teams advance to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals last season, and those teams were well represented on Wednesday.

Jag Burden (Cal), Tyler Conant (Long Beach State), Brady Malpass (Azusa Pacific), Jake Vogel (UCLA) and Thomas Babineau and Ryan Navarro (Cal State San Marcos) had all committed to play college baseball in the fall. One-by-one, they threw up a “shaka” hand gesture in a show of unity as their names were called.

“We planned that out,” Vogel said. “That’s been a big thing on our team. We thought it was funny. We have a little surfer kid on our team who always does it, so we just thought it was funny. We love the shaka.”

Conant, a pitcher who transferred in from Long Beach Millikan, will be playing his college baseball close to home.

“I’m excited for the new coaches in the baseball program and [to] see how everything works out,” Conant said of becoming a Long Beach State Dirtbag. “I live in Long Beach, so it’s right around the corner from my house. It should be really fun.”

Daily Pilot Softball Dream Team Player of the Year Grace Uribe, a pitcher committed to Texas A&M, is one of five Huntington Beach softball players who plan to play in college.

Uribe said it was “good to feel the love” from those in attendance at the ceremony. She particularly enjoyed the moment when Moore was brought into the event by phone.

“He’s such an amazing guy, and we’ve actually gotten really close this year,” Uribe said of Moore. “I think it was really cool that they were able to FaceTime him so that he could still be a part of it because he worked really hard.”

Huntington Beach girls’ soccer had five players make commitments in Hannah Armendariz (Belmont Abbey College), Makenna McGill (Washington State), Maddie Phantumabamrung (Cal State Fullerton), Gabriella Rizzo (University of San Francisco) and Cina Wilson (Cal State Dominguez Hills).

Defensive end Brandon Bova, who led the Oilers with 11 sacks, will continue his football career at Claremont McKenna College.

Corona del Mar had center Tanner Tomlinson commit to the Western Colorado football program.

Fountain Valley distance runner Maddie Jahshan will compete for the Concordia University women’s track and field program.

Edison had Abby McCollam (UC Santa Cruz) and Kelli McKay (Life Pacific University) committed to their colleges’ respective women’s soccer programs.

Ocean View outfielder Shane Hoodman will continue his baseball career at the University of Northern Colorado.

The Seahawks have also had Kimberly Alvarez-Torres commit to the Vanguard University women’s cross-country program.

Below is a list of local athletes who have committed through Wednesday:


Tanner Tomlinson, Western Colorado football


Abby McCollam, UC Santa Cruz women’s soccer

Kelli McKay, Life Pacific University women’s soccer

Ryan Swank, Elmhurst College lacrosse


Maddie Jahshan, Concordia women’s track and field


Hannah Armendariz, Belmont Abbey College women’s soccer

Brandon Bova, Claremont McKenna College football

Malia Cockrell, Iowa State softball

Elaina Davey, San Jose State women’s water polo

Elizabeth Lovat, Iona College women’s water polo

Makenna McGill, Washington State University women’s soccer

Louis Penaflor, Northern Arizona University men’s lacrosse

Maddie Phantumabamrung, Cal State Fullerton women’s soccer

Gabriella Rizzo, University of San Francisco women’s soccer

Kaitlin Tsukamoto, Dixie State University women’s golf

Emily Tucker, Concordia women’s water polo

Cina Wilson, Cal State Dominguez Hills women’s soccer


Carter Mathisrud, University of Washington football

Michael Morrison, University of Chicago football


Kimberly Alvarez-Torres, Vanguard women’s cross-country

Shane Hoodman, University of Northern Colorado baseball


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