Local student-athletes make college commitments

Seven student-athletes from San Marcos officially made college commitments today. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Seven student-athletes from San Marcos officially made college commitments today. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Wednesday was the first day of the fall signing period when a handful of local student-athletes inked their college commitments.

San Marcos’ Anika Wilson had made a verbal commitment to play sand volleyball at Pepperdine a year ago but actually signing the document on Wednesday caused her hand to start shaking.

“Ever since I was really little, I always dreamed about playing college volleyball,” Wilson said. “And I guess this is just kind of like what I’ve been dreaming of. It’s finally real today.

“Verbally committing was awesome, but when you actually sign, I didn’t think it would be a big deal but it felt like a big deal. I felt like it’s finally happening now.”

Wilson was one of seven student-athletes from San Marcos who announced their decisions. All seven signed documents in a packed room in front of friends, family and school administrators.

The girls water polo team had three in the room: Jenna Phreaner is going to UC Irvine, Riley Heiduk to UC San Diego, and Kelsey Gellert to Concordia. Girls volleyball also had three with Emily Allen going to UC Davis, Emma Harrah to Westmont, and Wilson to Pepperdine. Cross country runner Adilene Aldapa is going to San Jose State.

“These girls are amazing athletes,” said San Marcos principal Ed Behrens. “We’re so proud of them. Not only athletes, but they’re scholar-athletes and they represent San Marcos well.”

Bishop Diego's RJ Cordeiro will be playing baseball at Fresno State.

Bishop Diego’s RJ Cordeiro will be playing baseball at Fresno State.

Bishop Diego’s RJ Cordeiro is heading to Fresno State, which won a College World Series national championship in 2008. Cordeiro was introduced in the gym in front of family, coaches and students.

“I really liked it there,” said Cordeiro, who said he also got interest from Arizona, Arizona State, UC Davis and Hawaii. “When I got on campus it just felt like home. I enjoyed the coaching staff and the players that were out there.”

Cordeiro, a third baseman, has been playing for the SoCal Halos scout team the past three seasons. He batted .451 over 31 games this summer and fall for the Halos with a team-leading three home runs and 26 RBI. He’s been on the varsity baseball team at Bishop since he was a freshman.

Ali Powell, a student at Anacapa School that doesn’t compete in CIF, is a veteran competitor for Santa Barbara Swim Club who has traveled to major national meets. Powell, whose specialty is freestyle sprinting, chose Arizona over Penn State and San Diego State. This year has been a special year as Powell qualified for both the short course and long course USA Swimming Jr. Nationals.

Arizona’s women’s team placed 8th at the NCAA Championships last spring and the Wildcats have a strong incoming freshmen class according to Powell.

“Arizona not only has a great academic program but their swim team is incredible, and what I noticed when I went there was the coaches and the teammates were all just the most welcoming and friendly people that I’ve met so it was great,” Powell said.

Ali Powell signs her NLI in a classroom at Anacapa School.

Ali Powell signs her NLI in a classroom at Anacapa School.

Santa Barbara High has a pair of tennis players from its CIF Division 1 semifinalist team moving on to the next level. Mattea Kilstofte chose the University of Dayton, an NCAA Division-1 program, while Madison Hale is staying in California at UC San Diego, an NCAA Division-2 school.

“The beach, academics, and I was able to play tennis there, so all of the things fit exactly what I wanted,” Hale explained about her decision.

While Hale said she wanted to stay in California, Kilstofte was eagerly looking for a new experience.

“I wanted to leave California for sure and I was looking at D-1 schools,” Kilstofte said. “I went and visited there and just fell in love with the campus and the people there.”

Kilstofte and Hale won the Channel League doubles championship together this year. Their combined talent was a level above the competition as the duo won four matches by a combined games score of 48-3.

Dons water polo player Sienna Goggia will become a teammate of high school rival Gellert at Concordia.

Cate School’s Zack Allen was recognized at a school assembly for deciding on joining the men’s swim team at Cal Poly.

Dos Pueblos hosts a signing ceremony in the spring that includes all of its athletes. At this point, swimmers Alex Valente and Walker Bell have announced their commitments to USC, and soccer player Tim Heiduk is going to Westmont.

There are several local prized recruits that have yet to announce their decisions, including Dos Pueblos water polo player Blake Parrish and Carpinteria High tennis player Kelsie Bryant.