Ten athletes sign to play college sports

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Ten Granite Bay High School student-athletes signed their letters of intent on February 4. Back in November, ten Granite Bay students signed their letters and now that number is doubling.

The signees took their seats in the college and career center on the morning of February 4th to officially commit to their colleges. The morning was filled with anticipation and joy as the students prepared to sign.

Friends, family, Granite Bay faculty members and media watched on with pride as the students wrote their signatures.

Granite Bay High School athletic director, Tim Healy, spoke proudly of the signees. “These kids have put in so much time and dedication to their academic lives and to the sports they love, these are people who were successful before they sat down at the (signing) table.”

The significance of this milestone was seen as cameras and expressions tried to capture every moment of the morning.

“The first emotion I feel is pride for the community,” Healy said. “It’s so awesome that these students get to celebrate their accomplishments with so many people watching.”

For the students themselves, this day changed everything and college became as real as ever.

Senior volleyball player Brooke Hershberger, who will be attending Princeton University in New Jersey to play volleyball, has never been so excited.

“I want to play in college because I love volleyball and want athletics to be a part of my life.”

The difficulty of balancing the demands of college sports and difficult academics is an obstacle Hershberger is ready to take on.

“I loved the campus, the people, and I am looking forward to the rigorous academics.”

Committed to the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Natalie Rhodes is looking forward to her future as both a creative student and soccer player.

“I knew it was the perfect fit for me since I would be able to play sports and pursue an art career,” Rhodes said. “I’ve put so much time and effort into soccer that I don’t want to stop now, I want to keep playing as long as I’m able to.”

The parents of these athletes have watched this combination take form, now looking at successful young adults. Signing day represents the final step before students step onto a new stage. .

It was very meaningful for the families and friends who gathered to watch these accomplished students reach the end of their high school careers and begin their new lives, wherever it may take them.

For Brian Graber’s father, the morning was bittersweet. He was stoked about son’s commitment to Cal Poly for track and field.

“To see him bring his high school career to the finish line and be able to continue on with it in college, it’s very exciting,” Mr. Graber said.

Signing day is not earned by just anyone with a desire to play college athletics. The desire must come with drive to succeed and an unwavering work ethic. Mr. Graber has watched Brian persevere through the confusion and pressure of recruiting, and ultimately achieving his goal of committing to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.

“It’s been the culmination of many years of hard work. Since Brian was in junior high school he had athletic promise,” Mr. Graber said. “He’s given it all he has.”

Granite Bay was honored to recognize these student-athletes before they continue on in their college careers: Sydney Talmi will be playing soccer at Clarement Mckenna College in Southern California. Colleen Vivaldi will be playing soccer at American University in Washington D.C. Tamren Johnk will be playing soccer at the University of California Davis. Steven Ponzo will be playing football at Sacramento State University. Tre’ Ball will be playing football at Humboldt State University. Matthew Steindorf will be playing baseball at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Senior Arman Mizani will be attending John Hopkins University and is looking forward to the challenge.

“They have a great football program, but I was just looking for strong academics and John Hopkins gives me the best of both of those aspects,”Mizani said.

The likelihood that a high school athlete continues to go on to play in college is about a 7.5% chance. That’s about 1 in every 14 high school athletes according to the The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

A total of twenty Granite Bay students signed letters of intent between the two national signing days, but amount of commitments doesn’t compare the amount of pride Granite Bay High School feels towards these exceptional students.

“You have to look at the numbers,” Healy said. “Granite Bay sees far more signees every year than most high schools in the area.”

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