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Newport Harbor High honors athletes going on to next level

Newport Harbor High School held a signing day ceremony for senior student-athletes on campus on Friday.
Newport Harbor High School held a signing day ceremony for senior student-athletes on campus on Friday. From left, Olivia Giolas, USC water polo; Eliana Gottlieb, Oregon State softball; Brendan Read, Pepperdine volleyball; Eli Liechty, UCLA water polo; Joelle Rothbard, San Diego State lacrosse; Gabrielle Babin, Clemson rowing; Miya Meskis, Cal rowing. Not shown in photo but present were Bella Tobin, Southern Methodist rowing, and William O’Neill, USC baseball.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Newport Harbor High School held off until the end of the week to celebrate its athletes going on to the next level, but it was worth the wait for the athletes that participated.

The fall signing period began on Wednesday, but Newport Harbor was a rare school that honored its athletes with an in-person, albeit brief, ceremony on Friday.

“It was good to be in person and to see everyone there, have the people watching,” said Eliana Gottlieb, who signed with the Oregon State softball program. “That felt great, especially with going back to school, it’s good to be able to see everyone again and kind of start to return to how things are.”

Gottlieb, who previously committed to the University of Minnesota, said that she is excited to be playing for Beavers head coach and former Olympian Laura Berg.

Aquatics was well represented among the Sailors signing or committing. Olivia Giolas, a center, signed with the USC women’s water polo program. Eli Liechty will be headed to UCLA for men’s water polo.

“I’m stoked,” Giolas said. “When I got the opportunity to talk to USC, and when I officially committed and now signed, I [knew] that was a program that I really wanted to be a part of. I wanted to play water polo really at the highest level possible, and I knew that that program would take me up and be able to provide that for me.”

Newport Harbor High School held a signing day ceremony on Friday.
Some of the students present at Newport Harbor’s signing day are, from left, Joelle Rothbard, San Diego State lacrosse; Gabrielle Babin, Clemson rowing; Miya Meskis, Cal rowing, and Bella Tobin, Southern Methodist rowing.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Then there were rowers Gabrielle Babin (Clemson), Miya Meskis (Cal) and Bella Tobin (Southern Methodist University). The Newport Aquatic Center products were coached by Garrett Pickard.

“Definitely a lot of excitement,” Babin said. “I would say we’ve all worked really hard for this. Women’s rowing gets recruited a lot, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard.

“I’ve been rowing with them for the past four years, and they are some of the hardest working girls I know. It’s definitely been a fight, and I’m so proud to be a part of the women’s rowing here at Newport Aquatic Center and get to know all of them and really work hard.”

Brendan Read had his only season of varsity volleyball to this point cut short by the pandemic. The Pepperdine-bound libero gained inspiration from watching the 2019 Newport Harbor team that won the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title against Manhattan Beach Mira Costa, saying, “That set the standard.”

Newport Harbor's Brendan Read is headed to Pepperdine to play volleyball.
Newport Harbor’s Brendan Read is headed to Pepperdine to play volleyball.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Setter Joe Karlous, a captain on that team, was a big reason why Read chose Pepperdine.

“He’s been such a big role model for me, so I think that played into why I wanted to go to Pepperdine,” said Read, who also plays for Balboa Bay Volleyball Club. “I want to play under his leadership, and I also really like the coaching staff there.”

Reese Bodas, a high-scoring striker, signed with the Boise State women’s soccer program. Joelle Rothbard is headed to San Diego State for women’s lacrosse, and Will O’Neill signed with the USC baseball program.

Newport Harbor girls’ golf coach Scott Tarnow said Friday that Cathy Tong, who won the CIF Individual Southern Regional tournament last year, is signing with Cal State Monterey Bay.

Newport Harbor High School held a signing day ceremony on Friday.
Some of the students present at Newport Harbor’s signing day ceremony are, from left, William O’Neill, USC baseball; Olivia Giolas, USC water polo; Eliana Gottlieb, Oregon State softball, and Brendan Read, Pepperdine volleyball.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

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