Athletes Sign NCAA Intent Letters


Casey Miller, Editor in Chief

21 seniors signed letters of intent for colleges of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at lunch on November 13, officially committing to attend and compete for a specific school.  Wednesday was the first day of the NCAA signing period.

Although athletic director Tom Renno normally puts together the signing ceremony, the responsibility lay with vice principal Scott Biezad this year. “It is [a record number of signings] as far as I know,” Biezad said. There will also be a signing event in the spring for additional students who commit later in the year.

After Biezad introduced each player, they explained their favorite memory playing their sport at Campolindo. Almost every single player mentioned NCS [North Coast Section] championship games, while baseball players Connor McNally (Utah) and Ben Skinner (Harvard) simply said “4-peat.” This is a team reference to winning 4 NCS championships in a row, which they will have an opportunity to do this spring.

After introductions, principal John Walker said, “Ladies and gentleman, if you could please pick up your pen. Photo opportunity here, parents!”

4 students have committed to Ivy League schools: Skinner, cross country star Brighie Leach (Princeton), swimmer Mary Ashby (Columbia), and volleyball player Kelley Wirth (Yale). Gillian Brassil committed to Stanford for synchronized swimming.

Ashby said, “I am really excited. The amount of excitement I have just can’t be explained. Our class is awesome, and we’re filled with awesome athletes. I just love everybody in this class including my fellow athletes, and I’m just so excited for all of us, and we’re going great places.”

Her mother Stacy Ashby added, “I don’t think I’ve ever put expectations on my kids in that respect; I’ve wanted them to follow their passions and go where they want to go. [Columbia] was what Mary liked the best, and they wanted her! It was very cool.”

Wirth’s mother, Julie Wirth, said, “I’ll get teary, but it’s a very special time, and I’m very proud of her, and I’m very proud of everyone and all the athletes. The kids have worked so hard since they were really young to become great athletes.”

Volleyball player Jack Cole, a recent addition to the boys’ team, committed to Pepperdine University. “I visited [Pepperdine] and just met the team and met the coaches and it felt like the right place for me to go. [Being here] feels pretty good, not going to lie,” he said.

Four of the girls’ water polo players signed to play for universities in California. Brooke Presten decided to join the University of Southern California. Hannah Buck chose Santa Clara, and Rachael Lewin and Madison Tagg will be playing at UC Berkeley next year.

“I committed on Sunday [to Cal]. I was deciding between Cal and LMU. I think it’s pretty cool to be kind of close, but far enough where I don’t have to come home every weekend,” Lewin said.

“Maddy Tagg also signed to Cal so it’s going to be cool to be playing with someone I have already been playing with for the past three years. It’s a big school, it’s a great school, it’s known for a lot, it’s known for its psychology program, which is what I’m going to major in,” Lewin added.

Lewin was impressed by the turnout at the letter of intent signing. “It’s pretty cool to know that there’s so many seniors that are committed to schools to play athletics. Not only are they going to be representing their college now but also Campolindo, and Moraga, and just representing the community well,” Lewin said.

Walker said, “Speaking for the entire staff, we are extraordinarily proud of these student athletes. I think the academic rigor at Campo is at a very high level, and to be able to balance those academic expectations with the high level athletic expectations, that’s an amazing accomplishment. We knew we had a high number, although I didn’t realize we had over twenty. It’s very exciting to see how many opportunities these kids will have next year.”

Biezad added, “This is a very difficult school, both academically and athletically, and we have exceedingly exceptional athletes at this school, and of course NCS is something we strive for every year,” he said.