On Feb. 6, National Signing Day, recruited student athletes began their college career by committing to their future school. This year, five athletes participated in Signing Day.
Sydney Arrillaga has committed to University of California Santa Barbara to play division one soccer on a scholarship. Arrillaga plays for both the Mountain View girls varsity soccer team and for an MVLA club team. Because Arrillaga preferred a California school, she knew UC Santa Barbara was a good fit, especially since the school is on the beach.
“I grew up playing sports, but soccer was always my favorite. I’ve done it since I could walk, and it’s just fun,” Arrilaga said. “I love being part of the team. I look forward to it every day.”
She said she has high hopes for her college career and looks forward to challenging herself in soccer and academics.
“I want to keep improving from where I am now. Since college is such a big step up from high school and club… I just hope that I will be able to work really hard and earn my playing time,” Arrillaga said.
Arrillaga said she knows that balancing her studies with soccer will be a challenge, but UC Santa Barbara has mandatory check-ins with a tutor and a tutorial center where athletes must go for a minimum of six hours a week.
Senior Malena Nguyen has a scholarship to Santa Clara University for water polo. Nguyen has played water polo for five years, and currently plays for both West Valley Water Polo and the MVHS team. Because Santa Clara is a relatively small college, Nguyen is confident that she will “receive the attention I [she]need[s]to succeed in water polo and school.”
“[Water polo] is a continued passion that I’ve had over the years that just never died,” Nguyen said. “I just fell in love with it.”
She said that it was hard to adjust to the different dynamics of both the MVHS team and her local club team, but for her, it came down to whether she was willing to stick with what she really loved to do.
Senior Kendall Menard plans to attend University of California Davis on a diving scholarship.
“The team is so welcoming and nice and the school is kind of perfect for me,” Menard said.
She dives for the Stanford Diving Club as well as the MVHS team. Diving would not mean as much to Menard without her friends whom she said have been her constant support system throughout the sport.
“They’re the only reason why I’ve really stayed with a sport this long,” Menard said.
Even though she doesn’t plan on continuing diving after college, Menard said she wants to learn and grow as much as she can while diving at UC Davis.
“I think what’s really exciting about diving is that it’s always a little scary. It feels like a challenge every day to keep going,” Menard said. “Even after years of experience, the essence of diving is … always intimidating.”
Sarah Davenport received a soccer scholarship to George Fox College and plans to play Division 3 soccer and pursue a career in biology. Davenport currently plays for both Mountain View and an MVLA club team.
“I have always dreamed of playing college soccer and it’s going to be really awesome to have it be a reality…it’s important that the academics of the school are a fit for me and that the environment has people I want to be around,” Davenport said.
According to Davenport, George Fox College is a small school located in Newberg, Oregon, known for its strong science program and welcoming environment.
Davenport attended a camp at George Fox, where athletes could experience collegiate soccer at the school. She got to meet the coach and players and see what her life could be like playing soccer for them.
“I really got to know what the school was about and I loved it,” Davenport said. “The location is cool, it has the academics I want, and I can play soccer there, which is a bonus.”
Kyra Palmbush plans to attend the University of Idaho on a volleyball scholarship while focusing on her dream of becoming an elementary school teacher.
Palmbush’s father was a student athlete, and he encouraged her to play a sport in college.
“He can’t imagine his college experience without playing sports or without having that community,” Palmbush said. “Since I’m going to a new state, it’s going to be very good to have that set group of people that are going to support me and help me succeed.”
Volleyball is not the only sport Palmbush excels at. Throughout high school, she was a two sport varsity athlete, rotating between volleyball and basketball. Because of this, she said she learned the importance of balance and gained skills necessary for being a student athlete. However, as skilled as she was at maintaining balance in high school, Palmbush knew she would have to pick one sport for college.
“My freshman year, I was really split. As I played more of both sports, I realized that I love the teamwork of volleyball, how you really need to rely on each other in order to succeed,” Palmbush said. “It became clear to me that volleyball was what I wanted to continue to play.”