Local athletes level up with college commitments
The fall signing period saw dozens of local high school seniors make declarations about their college plans, all involving a future in athletics.
Schools recognized their athletes whose achievements will elevate them to the next level in their sport.
Laguna Beach High, which held an on-campus ceremony, celebrated college scholarships at Division I or Division II programs for 11 athletes.
The strength of the Laguna Beach girls’ water polo program, which was a finalist in the CIF Southern Section Open Division and CIF State Southern California Regional Division I playoffs last season, was reflected in its four signees at the Nov. 9 presentation — Jordan Schneider (Michigan), Lauren Schneider (USC), Lauren Short (Villanova) and Cleo Washer (Brown).
Eva Travis, an outside hitter for the Breakers, signed with the UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball program. She had transferred in from Aliso Niguel, where she won the CIF Division 2 title with the Wolverines as a junior.
Newport Harbor has asserted its dominance in the pool, winning the most recent section titles in the top division for both boys’ and girls’ water polo. The Sailors edged out JSerra 10-9 for the Open Division title on the boys’ side on Nov. 12, just three days after Finn Genc (UC Santa Barbara) and Ben Liechty (UCLA) signed their National Letter of Intent.
The Sailors’ list of committed athletes sported additional CIF champions, including goalkeeper Anna Reed (USC) and attacker Avery Montiel (Stanford) for girls’ water polo, as well as outside hitters Jake Read (Loyola Chicago) and Luca Curci (UCLA) for boys’ volleyball.
“It’s just a testament to these individuals,” Ross Sinclair, who coaches the boys’ and girls’ water polo teams at Newport Harbor, said of his players who signed. “They’ve put in a lot of work, not just the four years that they’ve been here, but before that, in age-group [play], and not only taking care of their abilities in the pool and as athletes, but also being great students on campus.
“I’m really happy for them. It’s a lot of hard work that they’ve put in, their parents have put in, the program’s put in, so it’s a really neat honor for them. It should be really exciting and also just the beginning for them. I think all four are going to have great, great college careers beyond this.”
Corona del Mar had 14 seniors commit to play their sport in college, including midfielders Gavin Gossen (Stevenson University) and Scott Westrick (Providence) and defender Colin Hebble (Delaware) of the Sea Kings’ boys’ lacrosse program. The Sea Kings defeated Foothill for the Division 1 title last year.
Two Daily Pilot Softball Dream Team selections in Fountain Valley corner infielder Makenzie Butt and Huntington Beach center fielder Sophia Knight signed with Boise State.
Fountain Valley’s TJ McDonnell, who won a CIF Masters title and placed third in the state at 182 pounds, signed with the Oregon State wrestling program. Marina’s Mika Ikemori, a five-star tennis recruit who reached the final of the CIF Individuals tournament as a junior, has committed to UC Davis.
“It’s such a weight lifted off my back,” McDonnell said of making his college decision. “I’m definitely most excited to compete now without the stress of wondering what’s going to happen and where I’m going to go. Now, I can go out there and have fun and let it fly. That’s definitely the most exciting part.”
Below is a list of the local athletes who have signed or committed as of the fall signing period:
CORONA DEL MAR
Aubrie Anderson, Brown University women’s water polo
Milan Bever, University of San Diego women’s swimming
Chloe Bohuslavizki, University of Nevada, Las Vegas women’s diving
George Bruening, UC Santa Barbara men’s volleyball
Emily Cloherty, UC San Diego women’s water polo
Sarah Decker, Brown University women’s water polo
Francesca Garcia, San Diego State women’s lacrosse
Gavin Gossen, Stevenson University men’s lacrosse
Colin Hebble, University of Delaware men’s lacrosse
Makena Macedo, San Diego State women’s water polo
Maggie Schalow, University of Virginia women’s swimming
Jillian Schlom, Michigan women’s water polo
Jordyn Warner, Texas Christian University women’s diving
Scott Westrick, Providence College men’s lacrosse
Brandon Winokur, UCLA baseball
Makenzie Butt, Boise State softball
Tim Grack, University of San Diego baseball
JJ Gray, Oberlin College men’s basketball
TJ McDonnell, Oregon State wrestling
Alan Ton, West Point men’s tennis
Jonathon Yu, Cal Poly boys’ track and field
Zach Bettino, USC men’s water polo
Grace Brehm, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee women’s swimming
Dean Carpentier, USC baseball
Chloe Griffith, Tennessee Tech women’s golf
Aidan Espinoza, UCLA baseball
Emma Francisco, Cal Poly Humboldt softball
Sophia Knight, Boise State softball
Carson Lane, University of Nevada, Las Vegas baseball
Madeleine Scarth, Michigan women’s water polo
Wyatt Thomas, Biola baseball
Colby Turner, San Diego State baseball
Ralph Velazquez, Arizona State baseball
Jana Jocic, UC San Diego women’s swimming
Colin Kidd, New Jersey Institute of Technology baseball
Griffin Naess, Cal Poly baseball
Cadence Peery, Cal Poly Humboldt women’s track and field
Jordan Schneider, Michigan women’s water polo
Lauren Schneider, USC women’s water polo
Lauren Short, Villanova women’s water polo
Katelyn Smith, UC Davis women’s tennis
Eva Travis, UC Santa Barbara women’s volleyball
Cleo Washer, Brown University women’s water polo
Brooklyn Yelland, Boston College women’s volleyball
Emmi Burdine, Sweet Briar College field hockey
Samantha Esparza, Idaho State women’s soccer
Mika Ikemori, UC Davis women’s tennis
Makayla Mathis, Eastern Kentucky University softball
Michela Banta, USC crew
Laine Briggs, Pepperdine women’s volleyball
Luca Curci, UCLA men’s volleyball
Finn Genc, UC Santa Barbara men’s water polo
Ben Liechty, UCLA men’s water polo
Avery Montiel, Stanford women’s water polo
Quinn Perry, Cal Poly women’s beach volleyball
Sarah Porter, Fordham crew
Jake Read, Loyola Chicago men’s volleyball
Anna Reed, USC women’s water polo
Vivi Spitz, Cal crew
Malia Thorne, Cal State Monterey Bay women’s volleyball
Kenny Wanlass, Johns Hopkins men’s cross-country and track and field
Evyn Lewis, Lewis and Clark College baseball
Landon Runyon, UC San Diego baseball
Nat Ferdi, LeTourneau women’s soccer
Parker Strauss, Northwestern men’s basketball
Charles Thurston, Menlo College men’s golf
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