Santa Margarita’s seniors sign letters of college commitment

By Jenelyn Russo     12/20/2018

November 14, 2018, marked the first day in the 2018-19 school year that high school seniors could officially sign letters of intent to continue in their respective sports at the collegiate level (excluding football). 

Santa Margarita Catholic High School celebrated 28 of their student athletes last month as they signed their NCAA letters of intent or made Ivy League, NAIA or walk-on school commitments. 

In girls soccer, Santa Margarita saw four college commitments including current Trinity League MVP Brianne Riley of San Clemente, who will be playing for UCLA. Riley is a two-sport athlete and is also a member of Santa Margarita’s 2017 CIF championship track and field team.  

Other girls soccer commits include Tatum Brakke of Coto de Caza who is headed to Loyola Marymount University, while her fellow Eagle Jaida Smith of Mission Viejo will play for Pepperdine University. Madison Curry of Coto de Caza is headed east as she has committed to play soccer for Princeton University. 

On the boys soccer side, three-year varsity starter and captain for the Eagles, Connor Gorrien of Ladera Ranch, has signed with California State University, Chico. Midfielder Austin Lavell of Trabuco Canyon will play for Point Loma Nazarene University. 

In boys basketball, 1st Team All-Trinity League member and 1000-point scorer Jake Kyman of Aliso Viejo will continue his playing career at UCLA. Kyman averages 17 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. His teammate, Max Agbonkpolo of Laguna Niguel, will be across town playing for USC. Agbonkpolo averages 14 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Shengzhe Li of Shanghai, China, has signed with BYU. 

Eight members of the Santa Margarita swimming and diving team have made college commitments. Kimmy Woolfenden of Mission Viejo will be swimming for the United States Air Force Academy. Nicholas Leavell of Coto de Caza, one of the most successful divers in Eagles history, is headed to the University of Michigan. Freestyle swimmer Mackenzie Degn of Mission Viejo has signed with California Baptist University. Miranda Renner of Laguna Niguel will be swimming for University of California, San Diego, and breaststroke swimmer Caitlin Caruso, also of Mission Viejo, has committed to Seattle University. Distance swimmer Noah Brune of Mission Viejo and six-time individual event CIF qualifier Kevin Tu of Irvine will both swim for the Ivy League next year at Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania, respectively. Alexander Ness of San Clemente has committed to swim for Biola University. 

Two of Santa Margarita’s baseball players have made college commitments. Right-handed pitcher Alex Schrier of San Clemente had an ERA of 1.96 last season and will be playing for University of California, Santa Barbara. Left-handed pitcher Spencer Edwards of Rancho Santa Margarita will head to New York to pitch for Cornell University. 

Back in the pool, girls water polo team member and four-year varsity center Ava Perkins of San Clemente has committed to the University of Hawaii. Perkins has also participated in the last 10 consecutive Junior Olympics and has trained at the USA Olympic Training Center. On the boys side, four-year varsity player Angel Sanchez of San Juan Capistrano will play water polo for California Baptist University. 

From the golf course, three- year varsity member of the Lady Eagle golf team and Dove Canyon resident Justine Cook will be playing for Merrimack College. This past season, Cook was named 2nd Team All-Trinity League had an overall nine-hole average of 39.9. 

In girls lacrosse, lead scorer and Eagle team MVP Katelyn Murphy of Aliso Viejo has committed to California State University, San Diego. The midfielder is a member of the California Scholarship Federation as well as an Academic All-American and 1st Team All-County honoree. 

On the softball diamond, four-year varsity starter and team captain Miranda Johnson of Rancho Santa Margarita will continue her athletic career at the University of Notre Dame. Johnson plays both middle infield and outfield for the Eagles and has a .417 batting average. Her teammate and fellow captain Isabella Fiorentino, also of Rancho Santa Margarita, is headed to the University of Pennsylvania. Fiorentino was named Offensive Player of the Year in 2018. 

Trinity League and CIF champion on the track, sprinter Tessa Green of Ladera Ranch, will be running for Columbia University. And rounding out Santa Margarita’s student athlete signees this fall, four-year varsity volleyball player Shane Suxho of Ladera Ranch has committed to play at the University of Southern California as a preferred walk-on, while McKenna Morgan of Coto de Caza will join the Trojans rowing team. 

“We are incredibly proud of our student-athletes here at Santa Margarita,” says Santa Margarita Athletic Director, Annie Mai-Garrett. “Their ability to juggle athletics and academics, as well as their community service, is truly remarkable and a true testament to the student athletes that you find here at Santa Margarita Catholic High School.”