By Jenelyn Russo     3/17/2021

Even as most high school sports are just now returning to play, Orange County Catholic high schools took time on February 3, 2021, to safely honor their senior athletes who have made commitments to continue their athletic pursuits at the collegiate level. 

Santa Margarita Catholic High School saw six of its athletes from two sports programs sign to continue their playing careers. 

From the gridiron, three-year varsity offensive tackle Zack Morris will be playing football at the Colorado School of Mines. Three-year varsity player and 2019 1st Team All-Trinity League linebacker Drew Sulick has committed to continuing his football career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Keanu Rebuldela-Kama is headed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. 

The Eagles’ soccer program saw three athletes make college commitments. Three-year varsity midfielder and 2020 All-Trinity League honoree Connor Mautino will be playing for Lake Erie College. Two-time Trinity League champion Lauren Epping is headed to Chapman University, and two-time captain and Eagle Award recipient Taylor McKindley has signed with Allegheny College. 

“We are so proud to share in the excitement of our student athletes’ great achievements,” says Santa Margarita Athletic Director Annie Garrett. “Maintaining academic and athletic excellence during a global pandemic is no small feat. We are truly grateful to have exceptional student athletes and families, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors.” 

At Servite High School, 11 Friar seniors were honored across four sports, including six football players. 

Two-time 1st Team All-Trinity League cornerback Noah Avinger will be continuing his playing career at San Diego State University. Three-year varsity defensive back Nick Jako has signed with Davidson College. Friars’ safety Jack Kane is headed to Oregon State University. Three-year varsity letterman Bryce Leos has committed to Colby College. Offensive lineman Shancco Matautia will be playing for University of New Mexico, and Friars’ punter Kevin Ryan signed to play for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 

“We are excited for our six senior student athletes who signed…with a big emphasis on the ‘student’ for all of them,” says Servite football Head Coach Troy Thomas. “They all carried a heavy academic load with success, as you can tell by the colleges and universities they will be attending. All six were multi-sport athletes contributing in basketball, rugby, wrestling, swimming, baseball, lacrosse or track in their off-seasons away from the gridiron.” 

From the baseball diamond, pitcher Ben Miltko will be joining Jako at Davidson College, and pitcher Brady Childs signed with Drury University. Lacrosse team captain and two-year varsity player Nick Sheremetta has committed to Bellarmine University. Teammate Evan Watanabe will be playing lacrosse for North Central College in Illinois. And Christian Hodson, who helped lead the Friars’ soccer program to a CIF-SS championship in 2020, will be playing for Point Loma Nazarene University. 

“In a year like no other, these student athletes truly showed resilience and determination in accomplishing their goals,” says Servite Athletic Director Alan Clinton. “They overcame every obstacle in their path and turned their dreams into reality. We are extremely proud of how they’ve represented themselves, their families and the Servite community, and look forward to cheering them on as they continue their academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level.”