Los Altos athletes to sign letters of intent Wednesday included, from top left to right: Savannah Blackiston, Catie Tuning, Massela Lino and Shane Virnala. From bottom left to right: Brittany Fulton, Alexis Garcia, Taylor Saenz-Griego and Jennipher Solis (Courtesy photo)
By Fred J. Robledo
Wednesday marked the first day of the late period for high school athletes to sign national letters of intent, but at Los Altos High School it wasn’t all about signatures. It was about commitment.
Athletes going to NAIA or Division II or III colleges don’t need to sign letters of intent, but being accepted to a school and earning even a small amount of scholarship money to continue an athletic career still is a dream come true for those who work hard in class and in athletics.
Los Altos celebrated eight athletes who made those intentions known Wednesday in a ceremony at the school, and athletic director Steve Garcia couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments. (To continue click thread)
During the early commitment period in November, Los Altos baseball standout Joe Munoz (San Diego State) and softball standouts Alyssa Villalpando (Hawaii) and Mariah Midyette (Bucknell) signed national letters of intent with Division I colleges.
Los Altos added to that list Wednesday.
Girls volleyball standout Savannah Blackiston signed a letter of intent with Alabama A&M and several others announced their college intention. Those included Brittany Fulton (track, UC Santa Barbara), Alexis Garcia (softball, Hope International), Taylor Saenz-Griego (softball, La Sierra University), Massela Lino (volleyball, La Sierra University), Jennipher Solis (softball, Canisius College, N.Y.), Catie Tuning (girls water polo, Whittier College) and Shane Virnala (football, Menlo College).
“Being accepted to college is a big deal and for the families, it’s the culmination of 18 years of planning and hard work,” Garcia said. “We’ve been holding these ceremonies the last few years.
“For those without national letters of intent, we create ceremonial letters for them to sign. It’s a great moment for them and their families and for other students to watch and have something to strive for.”
The point Garcia wanted to make is national signing day isn’t just about big schools.
“It’s not just about UCLA, USC or the others,” Garcia said. “Kids forget there is a lot of scholarship money out there. NAIA schools give lots of money and sometimes they’ll pay for your entire education to play softball, volleyball or run track. There are other avenues to pursue your athletic career if you do your work in the classroom. It’s just a matter of being exposed to it.
“We have these ceremonies so that our freshman, sophomores and others getting close to making those decisions can watch for themselves how the hard work and commitment pays off.”
La Follette signs
South Hills standout Sydney La Follette spent the past two years helping the softball team reach back-to-back CIF-Southern Section finals.
But the versatile athlete also is a standout in girls volleyball and improved dramatically over the past two years to catch the attention of several big-time college programs.
After announcing her intention to sign with San Jose State University to continue her volleyball career, La Follette made it official on Wednesday in a ceremony at the school.
La Follette left the softball team more than a month ago after announcing her intention to continue her volleyball career with San Jose State.
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