Meet the “It” Team: A whopping 18 area players make their college decisions on Wednesday

By Fred J. Robledo
Showing once again that baseball in the East San Gabriel Valley is alive and well, eight area baseball players signed national letters of intent during the early signing period on Wednesday, which was the first day that high school seniors other than football players could sign. Ten area girls also made their decisions known, which gave the Valley a whopping 18 area signees. (to Continue reading click thread

From top left, Janelle Kearney (Diamond Ranch, Boise State), Arman Valenzuela (Northview, Loyola Marymount), Jacob Smigelski (Glendora, Loyola Marymount), Jerry McClanahan (Bishop Amat, UC Irvine) From middle left, Melinda Gomez (South Hills, Loyola Marymount), Sydney Stewart (Diamond Ranch, UNLV), Derek Goodwin (Diamond Ranch, Sacramento State), Chloe Wurst (Bonita, West Texas A&M) From bottom left, Aleina Dominguez (Wilson, Nevada Reno), Jasmine Roth (Bishop Amat, Arizona State), Natalie Maxey (South Hills, UC Santa Barbara), Paul Paez (Bishop Amat, University of San Diego). Photographed at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune in West Covina on Wednesday, Nov. 11. 2009. (SGVN/Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda)

Northview catcher Arman Valenzuela and Glendora pitcher/outfielder Jacob Smigelski signed with Loyola Marymount, and Glendora pitcher Adam Plutko and South Hills infielder Jacob Shirley signed with UCLA.

“I made my decision last December; I knew in my heart where I wanted to go,” Valenzuela said. “It’s a dream come true.”

Diamond Ranch catcher/pitcher Derek Goodwin, who batted .356 for the Panthers as a junior, is heading to Sacramento State. Diamond Bar’s Chester Pak, who batted .456 with 22 RBIs and six home runs, is going to Cal State Northridge.

Bishop Amat, a heavy favorite to contend for a CIF-Southern Section Division IV championship this spring, boasted two signees: Catcher Jerry McClanahan, also the quarterback on the football team, signed with UC Irvine, and left-handed pitcher Paul Paez chose the University of San Diego.

“It was an easy decision for me,” McClanahan said. “It was either UCI or Arizona State, but UCI is a great campus and it was close to home. I can’t wait to get there to try and earn a (starting) spot.”

Diamond Ranch led the area with three girls signings, led by reigning Tribune basketball player of the year Janelle Kearney, who’s heading to Boise State.

Kearney led the Panthers to the Miramonte League title by averaging 11 points and nine rebounds.

“It was such a tough decision, I was crying myself to sleep at night,” Kearney said.

“It was hard between Boise and LMU, but I’m excited about my choice. I prayed about it and believe it’s the right decision for me.”

Diamond Ranch softball standout Sydney Stewart, a first-team Miramonte League selection, signed with UNLV, and Panthers soccer player Amanda Robles signed with the University of Houston.

South Hills’ Melinda Gomez, a standout in basketball and volleyball, is going to Loyola Marymount on a basketball scholarship.

“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Gomez said. “There were times I felt like running away, but it was a great position to be in.

“What I’m looking forward to is going to a program that is good and helping it to become great.”

South Hills soccer forward Natalie Maxey, who had 26 goals and eight assists as a junior for the Huskies, signed with UC Santa Barbara.

Bonita boasted two signees, with volleyball star Allie LaPierre choosing UCLA and softball pitcher Chloe Wurst signing with West Texas A&M.

In other girls soccer commitments, Wilson’s Aleina Dominguez is going to to the University of Nevada Reno, Charter Oak’s McKenna Gooden is heading to UC Riverside and Bishop Amat’s Jasmine Roth will compete for Arizona State.

Jerry McClanahan, Bishop Amat, baseball, UC Irvine
Arman Valenzuela, Northview, baseball, Loyola Marymount
Paul Paez, Bishop Amat, baseball, University of San Diego
Adam Plutko, Glendora, baseball, Glendora, UCLA
Jacob Smigelski, Glendora, baseball, Loyola Marymount
Jacob Shirley, South Hills, baseball, UCLA
Chester Pak, Diamond Bar, baseball, Cal State Northridge
Derek Goodwin, Diamond Ranch, baseball, Sacramento State

Janelle Kearney, Diamond Ranch, basketball, Boise State
Melinda Gomez, South Hills, basketball, Loyola Marymount
Sydney Stewart, Diamond Ranch, softball, UNLV
Natalie Maxey, South Hills, soccer, UC Santa Barbara
Aleina Dominguez, Wilson, soccer, University of Nevada
Amanda Robles, Diamond Ranch, soccer, University of Houston
Allie LaPierre, Bonita, volleyball, UCLA
Chloe Wurst, Bonita, softball, West Texas
Jasmine Roth, Bishop Amat, soccer, Arizona State
Ashley Richardson, Los Altos, soccer, Cal Baptist

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