Six local high school seniors confirmed their college plans Wednesday, Nov. 13, on the first day of the NCAA’s National Letter of Intent fall signing period.
Three athletes at Kimball High and three at Tracy High signed their letters of intent to accept athletic scholarships at their respective NCAA Division I colleges.
Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Mountain West Conference
Jazmin Clarke heard of Utah State when one of her teammates from the OBS Monarchs of Oakdale signed on to play there last year.
Clarke knew right away that it was where she wanted to study nursing and play for the Aggies.
“Even the drive up there is so beautiful,” Clarke said. “It’s a big school, but it’s not so big that you’ll get lost. I think it’s perfect for me.”
She expects to fit in just fine with the team.
“They do everything together,” she said. “A lot of the athletes, they’re from California, so they’re really close knit.”
Growing up, Clarke didn’t think she was athletic until a friend convinced her to join the Tracy Express softball league at the age of 10. She has played with the Monarchs and two other travel teams and has played outfield for the Tracy High team since the end of her freshman year.
Clarke said softball has been a great way to make friends and build character.
“It pushes you to where you think your limit is and makes you go further.”
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara
West Coast Conference
Ellie Fisher said Santa Clara University, where she will study business financing, was the clear choice for her. Her sister, Stephanie, is a senior at the university and an outfielder for the Broncos, so Ellie is already familiar with the school and the team.
“Ever since I’ve gone there to see my sister, I’ve loved it from the beginning,” she said.
Fisher grew up playing softball, starting at the age of 4 with the Tracy Express recreational league and moving to the Tracy Titans fastpitch teams at age 10. She has built up her fielding, batting and base-running skills while on teams at All American Sports Academy in Tracy.
She has played outfield and been leadoff batter for the Tracy High softball team since her freshman year. The Bulldog team has gone to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs each of the past three years.
University of California, Riverside
Big West Conference
Tayler Misfeldt chose U.C. Riverside after her coaches with the California Grapettes team out of Stockton told her the Highlanders had an opening for a pitcher.
“My coaches told me that they were interested, so I went on my official visit. I loved everything about it,” she said. “Compared to the other visits I went on, they all seemed to click.”
Misfeldt started playing softball at the age of 4 with Tracy Express and joined the Tracy Titans at age 9. She has been on three travel teams since then and has pitched for Tracy High since the end of her freshman year.
She has been aiming for a college scholarship the whole time and will pursue an education in business management.
“All of the hard work is paying off,” she said. “It’s something that your parents tell you when you’re little. It’s actually happening now.”
Monmouth University, West Long Branch, N.J.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Amanda Riley isn’t one to miss an opportunity to make a good impression.
That opportunity had arrived when Monmouth Hawks coach Louie Berndt watched Riley pitch for the Runnin’ Rebels Gold team.
“My coach doesn’t let me bat very often, but he let me bat when she was there,” Riley said. “Two of those times, I actually hit home runs that she saw. I guess it was meant to be.”
Riley started playing softball at the age of 9 with Tracy Express and joined Liberty Fastpitch when she was 11. She pitched at West High for two years, joined the varsity team as a sophomore and transferred to Kimball High last year.
Riley said softball is key to her personal growth and has now given her the opportunity to study communications at a private East Coast school.
“Considering that I wanted a scholarship and to play softball, that really gave me the drive to do good in my classes, to take classes that really pushed me and prepared me for college,” she said.
Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill.
Big 10 Conference
Logan Staggs has been playing tennis since he was 2 years old and was already a nationally ranked player in the United States Tennis Association when he started playing for the Kimball High team his freshman year.
He had been looking for the right college to pursue his tennis career and found it at Northwestern, where he will study business.
“We started talking and it just came down to, I like the coach a lot,” he said. “The campus was small, like 9,000 students, and I thought that would be a better fit for me.”
He’s impressed with the Wildcat team and is ready to get into his best level of competition yet.
“Northwestern has a very good tennis team. They have some of the best recruits in the nation,” Staggs said, adding that the colleges he will compete with draw talent from around the world.
California State University, Long Beach
Big West Conference
Llesenia Torres has been in contact with the CSU Long Beach softball team since her junior year. She said she had plenty of opportunity to meet with the 49ers’ coaches as her travel team, Sorcerer out of Concord, traveled to tournaments around the state.
This past summer, she made her verbal commitment.
“The coaches are awesome and, from what I’ve heard, some the best coaches around,” Torres said.
She has been a starting middle infielder for the Kimball High since her freshman year and plans to study kinesiology at Long Beach.
Torres has played since the age of 5 and started playing competitive ball at the age of 12. She has been with four travel teams, including Sorcerer.
“Softball is basically my life. I’m always busy with it,” Torres said. “It definitely changed me as a person. I want to help other people by trying to inspire them.”
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.