Spring signings give local student athletes a final push toward college sports

 

Great Oak High School had 31 student athletes sign their National Letters of Intent during their spring signing ceremony last week. Scott Padgett photo.
Great Oak High School had 31 student athletes sign their National Letters of Intent during their spring signing ceremony last week. Scott Padgett photo.

As the school year winds down, so does the final chapter of the high school sports seasons. With spring sports coming to an end, many of the area’s top student athletes from schools all over Southwest Riverside County recently finalized the next step in their journey of playing sports at the college level.

Even though the initial signing date for many collegiate sports is the first Wednesday in February, student athletes that are seniors in high school are still eligible to sign from that day on through Aug. 1 of 2017.

Those that have signed are in fact signing a binding National Letter of Intent with an NCAA or NAIA school, committing in writing to attend that school in exchange for a commitment from the school to receive some form of a scholarship.

Student Athletes from Great Oak sign their National Letters of Intent April 12 during a ceremony held at the school. Scott Padgett photo.
Student Athletes from Great Oak sign their National Letters of Intent April 12 during a ceremony held at the school. Scott Padgett photo.

The NCAA was formed in 1906 and is a larger association representing bigger schools and universities. NCAA schools are organized into three divisions, D1, D2 and D3.

Division 1 schools are typically the largest universities and compete in a minimum of 14 sports for both males and females. These schools often have world class facilities, attract the top athletes in the country and receive the most media attention. Division 2 schools are smaller than D1 schools and student athletes usually finance their education with a combination of athletic and educational scholarships. Division 3 schools are the smallest of the NCAA institutions. D3 schools are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships.

Murrieta Mesa’s Connor Saludares will be attending Occidental College in the Fall where he will continue his football career.  Courtesy photo.
Murrieta Mesa’s Connor Saludares will be attending Occidental College in the Fall where he will continue his football career. Courtesy photo.

The NAIA was established in 1937 and is a smaller association. It is made up of smaller 4-year colleges throughout the United States and competitive levels are comparable to NCAA D2 schools.

There are equally talented players in the NAIA and NCAA D2 schools and both have excellent opportunities for education and athletic achievement.

Some high school athletes do go on to play at the NJCAA level, which is also a great accomplishment. The NJCAA is the baby of all the divisions in the U.S., however it is not something to be rejected in the slightest. NJCAA schools are only two years long and most transfer to a 4-year institute (NCAA, NAIA) after their time spent.

The following athletes were reported to the Valley News as having recently signed their National Letter of Intent.

Great Oak High School

Grant Gotuzzo – Arizona State – LAX (NCAA Div. 1)

Kyle Bowser – Slippery Rock – Baseball (NCAA Div. 2)

Carson Seymour – Dartmouth – Baseball (NCAA Div. 1)

Kyle Peppler – Calumet College of St. Joseph, Indiana – Baseball (NAIA)

Hunter Botkin – Calumet College of St. Joseph, Indiana – Baseball (NAIA)

Amanda Constant – Oregon Tech University – Basketball (NAIA)

Tianna Shaw – Cal State Maritime – Basketball (NAIA)

Mckenna Hindson – Cal Baptist – Cheer (NCAA Div. 2)

Taylor Blackburn – Cal Baptist – Cheer (NCAA Div. 2)

Connor Strode – University of San Diego – Football (NCAA Div. 1)

Chandler Davis – St. Johns University, MN – Football (NCAA Div. 3)

Hannah Coutts – Sonoma State – Golf (NCAA Div. 2)

Olivia Ponzio – Long Island University, Brooklyn – Soccer (NCAA Div. 1)

Joshua Lindquist – Concordia University – Soccer (NCAA Div. 1)

Nicole Hattenback – Manhattanville College – Softball (NCAA Div. 3)

Kyra Garcia – San Jose State – Softball (NCAA Div. 1)

Natalie Bishop – Mississippi Valley State University – Softball (NCAA Div. 1)

Kendall Leander – Asbury University, KY – Tennis (NAIA)

Solomon Fountain – Columbia University – Track – Distances (NCAA Div. 1)

Ally Talpash – University of Nebraska – Track – Distances (NCAA Div. 1)

Kiyena Beatty – Washington State University – Track – Distances (NCAA Div. 1)

Sydney Belus – University of Arizona – Track – Distances (NCAA Div. 1)

Justin Eipp – UC Riverside – Track – Distances (NCAA Div. 1)

Nicole Rice – University of Mississippi – Track – Distances (NCAA Div. 1)

Sarah Workman – BYU – Utah – Track – Distances (NCAA Div. 1)

Cassidy Hylton – Naval Academy – Track – Distances (NCAA Div. 1)

Anthony Ruiz – Concordia University – Track – Distances  (NCAA Div. 2)

Taylor Hauenstein – UC Santa Cruz – Track – Hurdles –  (NCAA Div. 3)

James Nool – Cal State Stanislaus – Track – Sprints (NCAA Div. 2)

Elizabeth Eardly – Lamar University, TX – Volleyball (NCAA Div. 1)

Brynn Sherbert – Rider University, NJ – Volleyball (NCAA Div. 1)

Murrieta Mesa High School

Connor Saludares – Occidental College – Football (NCAA Div. 3)

Bradley Strate – Cal Lutheran – Football (NCAA Div. 3)

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