Fist bumps, high fives, and ear-to-ear grins were the order of the day as 19 Oaks Christian seniors were celebrated at the annual National Signing Day ceremony in the Disciples Chapel Feb. 7. The group (the largest of any local schools in the Conejo Valley) joined thousands of other high school seniors nationwide in signing their Letters of Intent to commit to collegiate sports. The number is expected to grow as several athletes had not yet committed on signing day.
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With family members and faculty and staff in attendance, the seniors were encouraged by Head of Athletics Jan Hethcock to take the lessons they have learned on the field and court and be ambassadors for Christ.
"I challenge you to take what you have been taught and given with great humility and sincere thankfulness. Seek God first in all things. Do what is right and pleasing to Him. Represent your Lord, your family and your school with great honor and pride," he said.
Volleyball standout Sage Naves, attending the University of Georgia as a middle blocker for the UG Bulldogs, reflected on the day.
"I am really excited for this special moment and happy I get to share it with my classmates here. I feel absolutely prepared. There could not have been a better environment than Oaks for me to have grown up in and be supported, which ultimately helped influence the decision I made," she said.
Matthew Nocita, playing soccer at the United States Naval Academy, was thrilled by the support of friends who came out for the early morning ceremony to share "such a happy day," with him and other signees. He transferred to Oaks Christian as a junior and has had a positive experience.
"Oaks has been such a great place for me to come and learn and grow as a man spiritually, mentally and physically. I've been able to develop here and I look forward to taking the things I have learned to the next level," he shared.
The football program led the way with the most players to sign: Bo Calvert (UCLA), Dallas Holliday (Boise State), Ajay Culhane (Yale University), and Robert Fletcher (Brown University).
Softball and soccer each had three players sign. Softball athletes were: Olivia Lucchese (MIT); Isabella Salinas (Biola University), and Kaitlin Simonsgaard (University of Northern Colorado).
Committing to college soccer were: Brenden Pieczynski (Loyola Marymount University); Emma Sharou (Belmont University), and Nocita (United States Naval Academy).
Sports signing two players each were water polo, volleyball and baseball. Water polo signees were: Jake Ehrhardt (USC), and Jacob Watson (Pepperdine University). Volleyball commits were Naves (University of Georgia), and Sophia Rasmussen (Palm Beach Atlantic University). Baseball players stepping up to the plate were Jack Durazo (Baylor University) and Martin Matsumura (Haverford College).
Rounding out the list were Emily Ackerman, tennis, (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo); Cort Rogers, lacrosse, (University of Utah), and Alexandria West, golf, (Wofford College).