National signing day points to strength of athletics in Catholic high schools

By Jenelyn Russo     2/6/2018


As a part of the school year’s first National Signing Day last fall, both Mater Dei High School and Rosary Academy had athletes who signed scholarship letters of intent and announced their commitments to play college athletics.

Mater Dei celebrated 30 athletes who will be going on to play at the collegiate level across 10 sports.

From the baseball diamond, Maxwell Foxcroft and Vincent Tosti are headed to the University of Oregon, while Grant Burton committed to Stanford University and Emilio Rosas will be playing for the Trojans of USC.

On the girls side in softball, the Monarchs have players headed to all parts of the country. Daniela Alvarez committed to Providence College, and Donna Friedman will play for the University of Virginia. Emma Clark will represent the Fighting Irish at the University of Notre Dame, and Madeleine Peters will play for Western Michigan University. And on the West Coast, Amanda Valle has committed to the University of San Diego, while teammate Kelli Godin will play up the freeway for the Bruins at UCLA.

Both Mater Dei girls and boys basketball teams had athletes sign letters of intent. Harrison Butler will play for Southern Utah University, Michael Wang is headed to the University of Pennsylvania and Spencer Freedman has committed to Harvard University.

From the women’s basketball court, Nicole Freeman committed to Cal State Northridge, Madison Johnson will play for Xavier University, Sarah Rahon is headed north to Seattle University and Emma Torbert has committed to University of Nevada, Reno.

The Monarchs girls lacrosse team saw three athletes sign with their respective schools. Hailee Andry will play for Kent State University, Bailey Burden committed to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Sydney Payne is headed to Arizona State University.

Two rowers from Mater Dei will compete in college womens crew programs. McKenna Carroll is headed to the University of Alabama and Josephine Flohr will row for Stanford University.

University of California, Riverside will add Macee Aguirre to their womens golf team, while swimmer and butterfly specialist, Brianne Buckle, is headed to Assumption College.

On the volleyball court, Seth Miller will play for Coker College. And on the girls side, five varsity Monarchs will continue their volleyball careers at the collegiate level.

Erika Calvagna is headed east to Providence College, while Abigail Cherin will play for West Virginia University. Rose Murphy committed to Lafayette College. And in Southern California, Kelsey Campeau will be at UCLA, while teammate Siena Secrist will play for USC.

“The leadership this senior class exemplified was a large reason our team managed to have the success we did,” says Mater Dei girls volleyball varsity head coach, Dan O’Dell. “Their work ethic, passion for the sport, and selfless team-first mentalities will carry them a long way as they embark on their journeys as college athletes.”

In Fullerton at Rosary Academy, three Royals representing three different sports signed letters of intent.

Competitive horseback rider, Cristin Coombs, will continue her equestrian career at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Having been an equestrian rider since the age of six, Coombs is looking forward to riding for the Skyhawks and studying nursing.

Royals shortstop Nicole Siess will play softball for Purdue University. Siess batted .389, .363, and .371 in her first three seasons with Rosary and is second all-time with 14 career home runs.

“Nicole has power to all fields and could be an all-star at any position she tries,” says Rosary head softball coach and Athletic Director, Tom Tice. “The best thing about her is her attitude. She puts the team first, and is dedicated to improving all aspects of her academic and athletic career. Purdue is getting one of our brightest.”

Starting center for the Royals, and a member of the 2016-17 Southern Section Division 2AA, Southern Regional, and CIF State Division 3 Championship basketball team, Becky Obinma, is headed to Texas Christian University, where she will continue her basketball career with the Horned Frogs.

“Becky has been an amazing asset to the Rosary basketball program,” says Rosary head basketball coach, Richard Yoon. “Not only is she a skilled athlete, she is also a wonderful young woman who is a great example to our younger players. I am so happy that she has made a well-considered decision to go to a prestigious college where she will have a tremendous college career.”

Her individual accolades include being named the 2016-17 CIF Division 2AA Basketball Player of the Year as well as one of the inaugural female John Wooden Award winners.

“It is a thrill to have so many of our athletes move on to highly competitive programs,” says Rosary Head of School, Shawna L. Pautsch. “This group of young women is extremely talented on the playing field and in the classroom. We are very proud of all they have and will accomplish.”