The final wave of college commitments began to pour in on Wednesday with the beginning of the spring signing period.
Edison High jumped to the front of the line, holding a signing day ceremony for its 20 college-bound student-athletes on April 11 in advance of its spring break.
Among the Chargers signees was inside linebacker Luke Hoggard, the area’s defensive player of the year in football. The University of Pennsylvania commit led the Chargers with 115 tackles.
While he will keep playing between the lines at Penn, Hoggard is also excited to tackle a promising academic career.
“They’re going to give me a lot of opportunities academically and career-wise,” Hoggard said, adding that he plans to join the Wharton School of Business. “I’m going to be able to do pretty much whatever I want when I get out, and I’m excited for that.
“I’m interested in finance, and I’m trying to [be a] venture capitalist, or [go into] hedge funds, or investment banking.”
Pete DiBernardo also signed with the UC Santa Barbara men’s golf program after helping the Chargers to a 20-1 overall record and an undefeated run through the Sunset League as a junior.
The Chargers have regressed to 9-4 overall and 2-2 in the Surf League this year, but DiBernardo, a three-time all-Sunset League first-team selection for Edison and Huntington Beach, said that he has benefitted from being around a group of talented teammates nonetheless.
“It’s definitely better having a higher-level program,” DiBernardo said. “It forces you to work hard, especially being around a good atmosphere, great players.
“Not only are they good players on the course, but off the course, as well. They’re very encouraging, and that’s something that has really helped me out a lot.”
Signing day continues to serve as a messenger that hard work pays off in the end. It also reminds us of the accomplishments turned in by student-athletes throughout their careers.
Laguna Beach’s Ryan Smithers began running cross-country in his junior year. As a senior, Smithers led the Breakers to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 and CIF State Division IV titles. The Yale signee also won an individual section crown and was the Wave League champion en route to earning the Daily Pilot Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year honor.
Colton Gregory, who signed with the UC Santa Barbara men’s water polo program, led the Breakers in scoring for the third straight season. He had 91 goals and 31 assists.
Marina power forward Jakob Alamudun signed with the Lehigh University men’s basketball program. Vikings coach Nick Racklin said that Alamudun is the first Marina boys’ basketball player to receive a full-ride scholarship from a Division 1 school since Cherokee Parks (Duke) in 1991.
Alamudun received the Wave League MVP award this season. He finished his career with 1,905 points, which is good for third on Marina’s all-time scoring list.
Sage Matsushima, the Marina school record-holder for girls’ swimming in the 100-meter butterfly and backstroke, has signed with Brown University.
Caitlyn Rayburn, who signed with Buena Vista University for women’s track and field, gives the Vikings three throwers sent to college in the last three years. The others are Kyle Tsu (UC Irvine) and Jake Arnold (Northern Arizona University).
Ocean View quarterback Noah Hickman has signed with the Hamline University football program. He led the Seahawks to a share of their first league title since 1989. Ocean View tied for first place in the Pac 4 League with Western and Laguna Beach.
Seahawks setter Hunter Miller shared Golden West League MVP honors with Loara’s David Lucio last season. Miller has signed with the Briar Cliff University men’s volleyball program.
Huntington Beach’s Brandon Bui returned from a torn PCL to help the Oilers win the Wave League championship in boys’ soccer. The first-team all-league selection will continue his career on the pitch at UC Davis.
Newport Harbor’s signees included attacker Jack White (UCLA men’s water polo) and point guard Sam Barela (Chapman University men’s basketball).
Costa Mesa’s Katie Belmontes, a two-time first-team Dream Team selection in softball, will take her powerful bat with her to Cal State Northridge.
Sage Hill center Johnny King will play college basketball for Pomona-Pitzer. King helped the Lightning advance to the CIF Southern Section Division 5AA final, which marked the first time that Sage Hill had been past the second round.
King averaged 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots as a senior. He was the Academy League MVP. He is the single-season and career record-holder for blocks and rebounds at Sage Hill.
Emin Torlic, the left-handed singles ace of the Lightning, has signed with the Loyola Marymount men’s tennis program.
Pacifica Christian Orange County forward Solomon Davis signed with the Westmont College men’s basketball program after helping the Tritons reach the Division 4AA final against San Joaquin League rival Fairmont Prep.
Katie Belmontes, Cal State Northridge softball
Omar Munoz, Westcliff University baseball
Ian Anderson, Sonoma State baseball
Jacob Biddle, University of Puget Sound football
Jenna Bloom, Arkansas softball
Wyatt Burris, Concordia men’s soccer
Ted Burton, Michigan baseball
Pete DiBernardo, UC Santa Barbara men’s golf
Rachelle Elve, San Diego State men’s soccer
Aly Fullbright, Cal State Monterey Bay women’s volleyball
Maggie Gunther, Concordia women’s volleyball
Luke Hoggard, University of Pennsylvania football
Jennifer Murphy, Marist women’s water polo
Nathan Nabal, Harvey Mudd football
Jaelyn Operana, Tennessee softball
Mikaila Pancino, UC San Diego softball
Cole Power, UCLA men’s volleyball
Garrett Runyan, Whitman baseball
Sophia Smith, Point Loma women’s soccer
Serena Starks, Princeton softball
Matt Swartz, Stanford baseball
Malia Walencewicz, University of San Diego women’s soccer
Brandon Bui, UC Davis men’s soccer
Jake Graham, Puget Sound football
William Green, UC Irvine men’s water polo
Morgan MacBeath, Wheeling Jesuit softball
Jackie Ruggiero, Endicott College women’s soccer
Cole Tague, Cal State San Marcos baseball
William Clark, Navy men’s water polo
Ayrton Garcia, George Mason University men’s volleyball
Colton Gregory, UC Santa Barbara men’s water polo
Noah Handel, Whittier College football
Ryan Smithers, Yale men’s cross-country and track and field
Cici Stewart, Princeton University women’s water polo
Blake Turner, Columbia University women’s soccer
Alexis Yang, MIT women’s rowing
Jakob Alamudun, Lehigh men’s basketball
Steven Casas, Cal State Los Angeles baseball
Austin Hallman, George Fox University baseball
Kellie Hallworth, Cal State San Bernardino women’s soccer
Dylan Holt, Chapman University baseball
Cory Lewis, UC Santa Barbara baseball
Rhys Lewis, Bethany College men’s soccer
Nicole Logrecco, Worcester Polytechnic Institute softball
Sage Matsushima, Brown University women’s swimming
Skyler Magula, Cal Berkeley men’s track and field
Caitlyn Rayburn, Buena Vista University women’s track and field
Evan Sanchez, Hope University men’s soccer
Kerryn Stigar, Midland University women’s soccer
Shayla Thomas, Cal State Northridge softball
Sam Barela, Chapman University men’s basketball
Emilio Carbajal, Concordia University men’s soccer
Giovanni Guzman-Marquez, Concordia University men’s soccer
Nicole Nesbitt, University of the South women’s golf
Grant Person, Cal Berkeley men’s crew
Jack White, UCLA men’s water polo
Cailey Collado, Pacific Lutheran University softball
Adriana Gil, Concordia women’s cross-country and track and field
Noah Hickman, Hamline University football
Jason St. Pierre, Concordia men’s cross-country and track and field
Hunter Miller, Briar Cliff University men’s volleyball
Solomon Davis, Westmont men’s basketball
Justin Nishkian, Vanguard University men’s volleyball
Alyssa Smith, Marymount California University women’s soccer
Ashwin Chona, New York University baseball
Johnny King, Pomona-Pitzer men’s basketball
Trevor Klein, Pomona-Pitzer baseball
Morgan Mann, Babson College women’s tennis
Andrew Smith, Colgate University men’s rowing
Emin Torlic, Loyola Marymount University men’s tennis
Adam Watson, Air Force Academy men’s water polo