Fifteen Chargers continuing athletic careers in college

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A special group of student-athletes was feted at Dos Pueblos High School on Thursday as fifteen Chargers who will continue their athletic careers in college were recognized in front of friends and family.

The seniors were wearing t-shirts designating their school of choice and sat facing the crowd inside Sovine Gym as their coaches took a moment to talk about each one. There were five athletes from the track & field program, six more from aquatics, two from football, one from volleyball, and one from golf.

UC San Diego will have a strong Charger presence in its freshman class with three athletes joining the Tritons. Maelyn Adornetto and Nicole Berari are attending for swimming while Grant Amerson is going there for golf.

Even more will be staying in Southern California. Stamatia Scarvelis and Cole Smith will be at UCLA, Jon Dickinson to UC Irvine, Ari St. Oegger to LMU, and Graham Young to the University of Redlands.

Water polo goalie Britten Vilander is taking the Charger brand farther than anyone having decided on Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.

There will be plenty of Chargers competing in the midwest too, starting with football players LeShon Bell and Tyler Welch. Bell is going to Michigan State as a preferred walk-on for the defending Rose Bowl champions and Welch will be playing for the Coyotes of Kansas Wesleyan.  Volleyball player Channing Fisher will be at Principia College just outside of Chicago.

Tyler Bradford took the traveling element out of his college choice, making the decision to stay in Santa Barbara and compete for Westmont College.

Water poloist Shannon Cleary (Stanford) and distance runner Addi Zerrenner (Arizona) are headed to compete in the Pac 12.

Athletic Director Dan Feldhaus began the ceremony with opening remarks before inviting the coaches to the podium. Up first was girls volleyball coach Todd Garrett.

“Cha Cha is a talented player but it’s her positive attitude that I will remember the most,” Garrett said. “Her contributions to the team as a leader and positive role model are most impressive.”

Boys golf coach Rob Schiff noted that Grant Amerson is having one of the best Channel League golf seasons of all-time. Amerson shot a six-under 65 at Rancho San Marcos last week.

“Some kids want to be good, Grant wants to be great,” Schiff remarked.

Track & Field coach Chris Mollkoy and Aquatics coach Chris Parrish had multiple athletes to talk about as the two programs produced 11 college athletes.

Scarvelis, a shot-putter who is seeking her third-straight CIF State Championship, is the most decorated of the group. She has won a gold medal at the international Junior Pan American Games and currently holds the best high school shot-put throw in the country.

“”In my opinion, she’s the best athlete who’s ever come through this school overall,” Mollkoy said.

Dickinson has added ten feet to his shot-put ability in the last year while training with Scarvelis.

“He’s a very quiet, unassuming young man but he’s intense, he loves to compete, and he loves a challenge,” Mollkoy shared.

Smith and Bradford are distance runners that are also incredible students.

“These guys are just awesome. Awesome people, awesome students, and just really good competitors,” said Mollkoy.

Zerrenner has been a CIF State placer for the Chargers in Cross Country and Track & Field.

“Addi is one of those athletes, she’s the last one to leave almost every day,” noted Mollkoy.

Parrish began by acknowledging all the student-athletes for their hard work and time spent honing their skills.

“I’ve been doing this 12 years,” Parrish said. “I’ve coached 35 NCAA athletes and I can assure you that they get there not because of me, but because of the parents. Parents, this is your day. ”

Parrish started with swim-team co-captain Maelyn Adornetto, noting her leadership and determination

Berari, another co-captain of the girls swim team, is already a three-time Channel League champion and CIF qualifier who can add to her career total this season.

“She truly cares about the people she competes with, and I think she creates the kind of synergy on a team where they all perform better because she’s there,” Parrish said.

Boys water polo player Graham Young has defied the odds with hard work according to his coach.

“The best way to get Graham to do anything is to tell him he can’t do it,” Parrish said of his three-year starter.

Cleary heads to Stanford, joining former teammates Kiley Neushul and Jamie Neushul at a program that won the national championship in 2011 and 2012.

“There’s never been a more tireless worker,” Parrish said of Cleary.

St. Oegger was the MVP of the girls water polo team as a senior.

“I’ve had the opportunity to witness the timid and nervous freshman turn into a capable and confident leader that she is now,” Parrish said. “I can’t wait to see her development over the next four years.”

Parrish complimented Vilander for her development as a goalie, the most important position in water polo.

“She’s going to make Dos Pueblos proud, I’m very sure,” Parrish said.

Football coach Nate Mendoza had all the underclassmen in the football program show up to hear about what it takes to compete at the next level. Mendoza spoke highly of his two guys in the spotlight, Bell and Welch.

Bell excelled at multiple positions: quarterback, defensive back, receiver, and kick returner.

“If you were at the games, you definitely knew where No. 6 was,” Mendoza said.

Welch also played multiple positions, making an impact as a safety, tail back and long snapper. He led the team in rushing, was second in tackles, and made just one bad snap in two years on special teams as the long snapper.

“If you ever saw No. 22 play on Friday nights, you were always wondering, ‘how does that kid that small hit so hard?’,” Mendoza said.

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