Student Athletes commit to collegiate sports at “signing day”

By Jenelyn Russo     12/19/2019

November 13, 2019, marked the first day of the 2019-20 school year that seniors were able sign letters of intent to play college athletics. In ceremonies held last month across the country, high school student athletes made their commitments to play their respective sports at the collegiate level. Mater Dei High School honored 27 of their senior athletes from across 12 sports as they made those commitments official in an on-campus celebration. 

From the basketball court, Ryan Evans, who is a captain and shooting guard for the Monarchs, will continue his playing career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He will be joined by fellow shooting guard and teammate Aidan Prukop, as they both will play for the Mustangs. In his 38th season at the helm of the boys basketball program, Gary McKnight, along with Evans and Prukop, finished last season as Trinity League co-champions and will look to defend that title this season. 

On the girls side, shooting guard Camryn Kiernan has committed to play basketball for the Eagles of Concordia University in Irvine. The Mater Dei girls basketball program has won 12 consecutive Trinity League championships and is looking to make it 13 this year. 

Moving to the softball diamond, six of Mater Deis senior players signed letters of intent to continue their playing careers. Pitcher Jolie Gustave is headed to Syracuse University. Catcher Hannah Jacobsen will play for Cal State Monterey Bay. Allison OHeany committed to Harvard University. Pitcher and first baseman Riley Orcutt signed with University of Georgia. Infielder Marlene Friedman is headed to University of Arkansas. And Atlantis Perez will play for University of Akron. The Monarchs will head into their season next spring as the current Trinity League titleholders. 

The Monarchs girls volleyball team saw four of their players make college commitments. Middle blocker and varsity co-captain Meg Brown will play for Pepperdine University. Lauren Tarnoff is headed to the University of Miami. All-County and All-CIF setter Mia Tuaniga, who shares co-captaincy duties with Brown, signed with Long Beach State. And middle blocker Vanessa Zolg will continue her playing career at Marist College. As 2017 and 2018 CIF-SS Division 1 champions, the Monarchs have advanced to the CIF-SS title game in each of the last seven consecutive seasons. 

From the soccer pitch, four girls soccer players will continue at the collegiate level. Forward Mia Burns is headed to Boise State University. All-CIF goalkeeper Kelly McManus signed with UCLA. Also in the Pac-12, goalkeeper Megan Quiggle committed to the University of Utah. Two-sport athlete Sophia Leo, who also runs track for the Monarchs, will play soccer for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. 

Three of Mater Deis girls swim and dive team members have made college commitments. Sprinter Lily Olson, who specializes in the freestyle and butterfly events and was a CIF Division 1 finalist last spring, will swim for the University of Illinois. A CIF finalist in the 100-yard backstroke event, Alyssa Watson is headed to the University of Utah. And diver Madelyn Mickey committed to Boise State University. 

On the Mater Dei tennis courts, the Monarchs boys team saw singles player Jake Huarte commit to continue his playing career for the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. 

Continuing with the military commitments, sailor Jeffrey Petersen will join the sailing program at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. 

Also from the water sports category, two female rowers will continue their rowing careers at the collegiate level. Maddy Seybold is headed to Stanford University, and Caroline Leber committed to Clemson University. Both have spent time as dual sport athletes in volleyball and softball, respectively. 

Gymnast Sarah Clark, a 2018 USA Gymnastic Junior Olympics team member, will continue her gymnastics career at Arizona State University. Clark competed in the Junior Olympics Nationals in 2016, 2017 and 2018. She was also a Junior Olympics National Runner-Up in the all-around and the balance beam event in 2018. 

Mater Dei boys lacrosse team member Peter Hagan, who plays attack for the Monarchs, is headed to the University of Utah. And finishing out the schools list of athletes, All-Trinity League golfer Andrew Hoekstra will play for Long Beach State. 

Mater Dei Athletic Director Tia Meza reflected on the ceremony and the chance for the school to celebrate the student athletesaccomplishments. 

On behalf of Mater Dei, we are so excited to have had the opportunity to recognize these athletes on such an important day,says Meza. Were very proud of them, and the way they represent themselves, their family, their programs and are shining examples of what it means to be a Monarch.We wish them the best as they take their next step in their academic and athletic careers.