Sunday, June 20

Athlete Signing Day Q/A

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On April 21, nine college-bound athletes gathered to commit to play their sport in college during the school’s annual Athlete Signing Day. This Q&A dives into each of their recruiting journeys, love for their sport, and hopes moving forward.

Athlete SportCollege 
Austin Flax Football Drake University 
Barrett Heritage Swimming Williams College 
Gabriel Barret Baseball Claremont McKenna College 
Karston Runge Track & Field Wabash College 
Kiana Manson Volleyball West Valley Community College 
Kira NarogLacrosse Chapman University 
Nate Randolph Water PoloChapman University 
Ryan Cambouris Football Linfield University 
Sistine Noel Soccer Santa Clara University 

*All athletes were contacted, and those who did not respond are not included in the Q&A. Some quotes are slightly modified for clarity.*

Austin Flax

Division I Football at Drake University

Q: How long have you been playing football?

A: I’ve been playing since eighth grade, I did Pop Warner my eighth grade year I played all throughout high school.

Q: What made you want to continue playing in college?

A: I saw football as an opportunity to get me into a college that I most likely wouldn’t have been able to go to without it, so I just tried to really like push that and try to get into better schools with it because it was a good opening for me.

Q: Can you describe your journey committing to Drake?

A: I had a decent amount of other schools that I had offers from, but I really liked the programs that they had to offer a Drake, and they kind of match what I want to go with. Overall, it just felt like it was a good fit for me, I liked the area and I really liked academics. I’m studying strategic Political Communications, which is like a political journalism class and then I’ll probably try to go to law school after.

Q: What would you say you’re most excited for going forward into college?

A: I’m just excited to meet new people really, just go with what happens I’m really excited to just get there. For football, I’m excited to see all of these other colleges and travel and get to play football for the next four years.

Q: What are you going to take with you from MVHS sports as you go forward?

A: I think the sports here have done a really good job at just pushing everybody and telling everyone to never give up in a situation, so I’ll probably bring that with me.

Barrett Heritage

Division III Swimming for Williams College

Q: How long have you been swimming?

A: I’ve been swimming for eight years now. I mostly swim for my club (Alto Swim Club), but I’ve swam for this school every year I’ve been here, so that was my sophomore year, junior year, and senior year.

Q: What made you want to continue swimming in college?

A: So, it’s kind of a natural progression. Swimming is a very college oriented sport, pretty much every club swimmer after certain level is swimming pretty much go to college and swim. It’s like you’re preparing, kind of like high school in that sense where you’re preparing to go to college. Basically everyone on my club team, in my class, was trying to go to college. 

Q: Can you describe your journey committing to Williams?

A: Williams originally was not on my list because I was looking to go D1, but because of coronavirus, swimming recruiting got mixed up a little bit. I almost committed to Dartmouth,. But they cut the swim team out and kind of left me hanging there. I was way behind on recruiting because I thought that I was going to go to Dartmouth. So I had this kind of scramble to find somewhere to go, but fortunately, I opened up to going D3, and I realized that’s where I should have been looking the whole time. And I found Williams and I realized it’s perfect for me; it’s small, you can still be a student, and even though it’s D3 the team is still pretty good it’s not like they’re slow, it’s still pretty high intensity. So that’s kind of how I decided on Williams.

Q: What would you say you’re most excited for going forward into college?

A: I am very excited to be continuing some pretty high level meets, like NCAA, and I hope to improve enough to make like Olympic trials. That’s what I’m looking forward to most. Of course, I’m very excited to being swimming with a very cohesive team which it seems to be that way at Williams.

Q: What are you going to take with you from MVHS sports as you go forward?

A: I’ve been fortunate to, for every team I’ve been on including Mountain View and my club, they’ve all been very close teams where veryone gets along. So, I will try to create an environment like that if it doesn’t already exist, one where everyone kind of gets along together whether it’s at practice or outside of practice.

Kiana Manson

Volleyball at West Valley Community College

Q: How long have you been playing volleyball?

A: Man, that’s a hard question I can’t tell if it’s been eight to 10 years. I think it’s been 10 years.

Q: What made you want to continue playing in college?

A: I love the sport too much. I knew ever since I was in middle school that I wanted to play in college I had dreams of playing in like Stanford I would come and watch the games, and then I knew I had to play volleyball in college.

Q: Can you describe your journey committing to West Valley Community College?

A: I’ve known Armen, the coach at West Valley, for a really long time, I did beach volleyball camps with him and he’s such a great guy. He’s super energetic, super outgoing, and we kind of stayed in touch after that for a while. And then the pandemic started you know everyone’s super unsure about ‘Is there open spots for colleges?’ and I was researching and Armen reached out to me and said ‘Hey we have a spot for you if you want to come play for us and have a good time’ and I was like ‘Yes! This is exactly what I need, I need these three years of community college to wait out the pandemic and play with some really great girls and a really great coach.’ So that’s kind of how I got to playing at West Valley.

Q: What would you say you’re most excited for going forward into college?

A: Being able to train with a good group of girls. I missed the community that volleyball really has because the pandemic kind of shut me off from the community for a while, so I’m really excited to be back in the gym with a bunch of girls, playing what we love the most.

Q: What are you going to take with you from MVHS sports as you go forward?

A: Definitely that hard work pays off. This high school program has taught me to work hard and manage time well if you want to succeed. And definitely at West Valley I’m going to be taking a lot of honors programs so I’m going to have to learn how to manage and use what I’ve learned from the past few years of school to succeed and do well.

Ryan Cambouris

Division III Football for Linfield University

Q: How long have you been playing football?

A: I’ve been playing football for four years in high school and one year of Pop Warner so for five years.

Q: What made you want to continue playing in college?

A: Because I was brought on to varsity as a sophomore and after that I kind of knew that ‘Okay, I can compete with guys that are older than me and I really want to see how far I can take this.’ Once I realized that I was like okay, I got to jump on this boat and get in the recruiting game, and it just kind of took off from there.

Q: Can you describe your journey committing to Linfield?

A: I guess I kind of always knew that I want to play football in college, just I wasn’t really sure what level what school I really want to go to. I was able to go to some camps, before COVID started, I got to kind of test the waters at all these other schools and it seemed like division three was the way for me to go just with student body size and competition-wise. So yeah, just some camps before COVID happened and then talking to some of the coaches –– I was talking to Linfield, obviously, and then some other division three schools on the West Coast. After talking to the coaches and seeing their campus and talking to some of their guys, I just knew it was going to be the right fit for me. And I guess that’s kind of where I’m at right now.

Q: What would you say you’re most excited for going forward into college?

A: Well, Linfield is a very successful division three school, they have 64 consecutive winning seasons under their belt so right out of the gate that’s something that I saw and I was like ‘Wow I want to play for this team.’ Not only that, I got to talk to some of their coaches and some of their players. They’re all great guys, the teammates are really nice and the coaches are super down to earth, they want the best for their kids. I just know that that’s an environment I’m going to be able to thrive in.

Q: What are you going to take with you from MVHS sports as you go forward?

A: Shelley Smith has done a really good job of grooming me to be a competitor and a really down to earth guy. And I think he’s just prepared me from the standpoint of making sure that I’m ready, I’m able to overcome challenges, and step into roles where I might not be the most comfortable but I’m able to adapt and able to excel in whatever position I put in. I’m just really excited, really stoked. I just can’t wait for the next chapter.

Sistine Noel

Division I Soccer for Santa Clara University

Q: How long have you been playing soccer?

A: I’ve been playing since I was like four, I started on recreation and then I moved to club at MVLA and I’ve been playing it for them I mean since I was seven.

Q: What made you want to continue playing in college?

A: I think just like I’ve been playing for so long and on our team a lot of other people wanted to play in college and I think we all like pushed each other in general. I think it’s just a really cool thing to play in college because we’ve been exposed to that so much over the course of years on MVLA too as well; we just got to see like the dynamic of like older players that went to go play in college and I think that kind of inspired me to want to play as well.

Q: Can you describe your journey committing to Santa Clara?

A: It was sophomore year, I committed in April of my sophomore year. I had a couple calls with the coaches of Santa Clara prior to that, and I think the time that they saw me play the most was when I went to a showcase in Phoenix. We had multiple calls after that and then I called the head coach on April 26, I believe and that’s when I committed.

Q: What would you say you’re most excited for going forward into college?

A: I think the team dynamic in general and also traveling as well, because I think it’ll be really fun to room with another player on the team and we have our own like field and everything like that, it just seems very fun. I had an official visit as well back in like junior year, and I think seeing the team dynamic together already it looks very intriguing and fun and exciting.

Q: What are you going to take with you from MVHS sports as you go forward?

A: I think one thing that’s like, I definitely took from that, that’s like different than club, is playing in high school you play with different grades. Like when I was a sophomore I was playing with juniors and freshmen and seniors and you get to know people older than you and younger than you, and that’s the most similar to how college is going to be. So I think that I’m definitely going to take away with me to college, and I think I made some really good friends from high school that I still know now and I’m going to continue to reach out to when I move on and everything.

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Carly Heltzel

Carly is a junior in her 3rd year in Oracle, who is excited to take on the role of Print News Editor this year. Outside of school, she loves to run cross country and track, walk her dog, and travel with her family.

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