By Thomas Oide,
For student-athletes who are competing at the collegiate level, Feb. 5, or National Signing Day, is a culmination of all of their hard work.
High school student athletes across the nation finalized their college choices by signing
their letters of intent.
Eight DHS athletes signed their letters of intent at a small table set up in the quad:
Heather Johnson will play water polo at UC Davis
Kathleen Benjamin will swim at UC Santa Barbara
Matt Whittle will head to UC Berkeley to continue his swimming career
Garrett Fisk will continue his water polo career at the US Air Force Academy
Lauren Owens will play water polo at Loyola Marymount University
Alex Rieger will swim at Georgia Tech University
Matt Trask will continue playing baseball at UCLA
Sophie Meads will continue running cross country at Loyola University at Chicago.
Three other athletes also signed letters of intent, but not at the event in the quad. Jonathan Pun will swim at University of Pacific, Kaitlyn Lagatutta will head to Stanford University to continue playing softball, and Amy Reid will head to Missouri State University to play field hockey.
Athletic director Dennis Foster says that National Signing Day is one of the better days of the year for both the athletic department and the athletes.
“Honestly, it is one of the prouder days of the year for the athletic program,” Foster said. “Winning games and stuff like that shows prowess, but when you have athletes that are recognized and are recruited to be at the next level, and a college is willing to have them part of their program; that really shows where your athletic program is at, where your athletes are at, what your coaches are doing, the support parents are giving. It’s really a culmination of a lot of hard work.”
However, many student athletes know where they going long before the Feb. 5 signing date. Whittle officially signed his letter of intent in November, and Meads knew she would be going to Loyola University three weeks ago.
Putting their name in ink offers a sense of relaxation for athletes.
“It feels good. Now, there’s no going back. I can’t back out and [Loyola University] can’t back out. It means that all of my hard work has paid off, all of the hours that I spent after school at practice has paid off,” Meads said.
Since many athletes already know where they are headed before National Signing Day, Foster says that having all of the athletes sign in front of the peers in the quad is more of a celebration.
“It’s ceremonial and it’s an opportunity for these young men and women to be recognized in front of their peers in a public setting. They do get recognized when they play their sports, but it’s really an opportunity for them to get recognized in front of the community, and I think it’s really important to recognize these young men and women,” Foster said.