With 22 student-athletes from Hart and Saugus High Schools across the sports of baseball, football, soccer, softball, swimming, cross-country and volleyball signing their National Letters of Intent (NLI) on Wednesday, it’s evident that the Santa Clarita Valley prep sports are thriving.
Saugus had 13 signees and Hart had nine.
Saugus baseball players Hewitt Grissom and Bobby Garcia will be taking their talents to Northern California to California State University, Chico and California State University, Stanislaus, respectively.
Grissom, who will be playing a little bit of shortstop and second base for the Wildcats next year, will join his older brother, Tyler, as they will play on the same team for the first time ever.
According to MaxPreps.com, Grissom has a .286 batting percentage with 18 hits, four RBIs and 17 runs scored and has stolen four out of five bases in 22 games played.
Grissom’s teammate and left-handed pitcher Garcia will join a Warriors team that is filled with talented arms from top-to-bottom.
In 39 innings pitched in 2018, Garcia has racked up 32 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.08 on the way to four out of five wins on the year.
The lefty has two pitched two complete games both of which were shutouts against Burroughs and more recently a 1-0 win against West Ranch on Tuesday.
“They have been two special players,” said Saugus head coach Carl Grissom. “The kind of guys that you know they are going to do their jobs and other teammates look up to them and try to be like them. It’s gonna be sad to see them go, especially the way that Bobby pitched (against West Ranch on Tuesday) and Hewitt made some big plays as well.”
The Master’s University will welcome cross-country runner Josh Duarte one of the Centurions’ veteran boys runners that has been a mainstay among the Foothill League’s best.
Fellow cross-country runner Jacob Kauffman will continue his career at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University while one of Saugus’ top girls runners, Jacqueline Cascione, will join Grissom at Chico State.
Saugus’ fastest boys swimmer Justin Morsch will join the University of California, San Diego swim team in the hopes of setting and breaking records in the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle after taking home Foothill League titles in both events a year ago.
All-SCV girls soccer first teamers Aubrey Finicle (Cal Lutheran) and Alana Berens (Dominican University of California) were a crucial part of their 2018 playoff team that finished with its best record in six years and will look to build off this year’s success at the next level.
Finicle was tied for the team lead with 12 goals and led the team with nine assists.
“Aubrey was a hard worker and she’s tough as nails,” said Saugus girls soccer coach Kevin Miner. “She gives everything she has when she’s on the field and I’m excited to see her play at the next level.”
Berens was the controlling piece in the midfield dominating both sides of the ball. She finished her senior year scoring a goal and assisting on three others.
“Alana was a captain this year and for being a first-year varsity coach she was a huge help with a lot of behind the scenes stuff with communication,” Miner said. “She is one of the hardest working players I’ve ever coached because of her knowledge and feel for the game. I really feel like she’s going to have a pretty good career.
“They kind of laid down the groundwork for the future players with their drive and passion for wanting to get us into the playoffs for the first time in six or seven years and now this is the example that has been set.”
The Saugus football team boasts three signees: running back Reid Huseman (Cal Lutheran) defensive lineman Carson Smith (University of Washington) and kicker/punter Colton Dolder (Chadron State College) will all strap up their pads and hit the gridiron after an impressive 8-4 season that ended in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.
Saugus girls volleyball player Kayla Tait heads of to Doane University in Crete, Nebraska after leading her team in kills (480) and in digs (501) and was second on the team in aces (52).
Jessica Nash heads off to Willamette University in Salem, Oregon after ranking in the top four on the team in aces (49), digs (202) and assists (324) to round out the Saugus signees.
Hart girls volleyball libero and All-Foothill League Second Team selection Noelle Blumel signed with the University of La Verne after playing a major role in the Indians’ first undefeated Foothill League season in program history.
Cross-country runner Jeremiah Rasmussen will lace up his shoes at The United States Military Academy in West Point, NY.
Girls soccer standout Caitlin Pieper was part of this season’s undefeated Indians team that won its sixth consecutive league championship and signed with University of California, Santa Cruz.
The Indians swim team had four swimmers sign as girls swimmers Genesis Lewis signed with Howard University and Kiera Bae with George Fox University while boys swimmers Dawson Waage will head off to the Naval Academy and Jonathan Quick to American University.
“I’m super excited for it and I feel like up there I can do the best and I can’t wait to get up there with my teammates,” Waage said. “This year’s swim team is incredibly strong and we have a really good chance at winning league and CIF.”
“I feel great,” Quick said. “I have been swimming for the past nine years and I’m glad to be able to continue to swim for Division 1 college.”
Logging 28 total tackles during the regular season as a shutdown cornerback for Hart’s football team Michael Colangelo stays in Southern California and will suit up for Claremont McKenna College.
Signing with Oregon Institue of Technology, Patrick Arman leads the Indians pitchers in strikeouts (27) in 29.2 innings of work, boasts the fourth-lowest ERA (2.83) on the team and is one of two Hart pitchers to have a shutout victory on his resume in 2018.
At the plate, Arman leads Hart with 24 hits in 70 at-bats for a .343 batting average.
“Pat has been our most consistent hitter this season and has improved his performance this season due to his dedication to the game,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella via text message.