When soccer player Aubrey McKessy entered the Canyon High School gym for a signing day ceremony on Wednesday, she immediately started to cry.
In her seat at the table was her half-brother, Chad Peacock, a member of the United States Coast Guard who had come back to surprise her as she signed her National Letter of Intent.
“He came over and gave me the biggest hug,” McKessy said. “He whispered in my ears, I’m so proud of you and I kept choking up even more and he kept saying how proud of me he was … he’s like, I aspire to be just as persistent and accomplished as you are and the waterworks kept rolling down.”
McKessy had last seen Peacock last Christmas and although he is her half-brother, she said she has always seen him as a role model.
The tears subsided quickly, however, and a smile spread across her face as she signed her name to officially commit to California State University, Monterey Bay.
Not only did she have the opportunity to sign with her brother next to her, but she also had her best friend next to her in Angelee Berganio, who was committing to Cal State, Monterey Bay for cross-country. The two had made a pact to go to college together in their freshman year.
“Beginning of freshman year, it was our biggest dream just to go together,” Berganio said. “The fact that it became a reality is kind of crazy but it’s a great opportunity for both of us. It’s over exciting for me, overwhelming to go along with her, but Monterey is a beautiful school and has a lot of opportunities for both of us.”
McKessy and Berganio have been friends since they were 10 years old, by McKessy’s estimate, and played soccer together up until freshman year. McKessy focused on goalkeeping, while Berganio on running.
Although it was unable to earn a playoff berth last season, the Canyon girls soccer team made it to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinals in 2018.
Berganio and the Canyon girls cross-country team was the runner-up at this season’s Foothill League finals. Berganio also won the Foothill League 800-meter title in the 2018 track and field season and was named the Cowboys’ female athlete of the year at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year.
McKessy is undeclared headed into college but is considering studying kinesiology with the goal of becoming a college soccer coach. Berganio will be a business/finance major.
Several other Foothill League schools also held signing day ceremonies, including Hart, which had eight female student-athletes ink letters of intent.
Chloe White is headed to Quinnipiac University for gymnastics, Alyssa Kaneshiro is going to Stanford for softball and Ruby Duncan to The Master’s University for volleyball.
Two swimmers, Maxine Catig and Hope Hill signed, with Catig going to Boise State and Hill to Oklahoma Christian University.
Three athletes represented Hart girls soccer: Tori Waldeck signed with Pepperdine, Ruby Burroughs with Cal Baptist and Alyssa Irwin with the University of California, Santa Barbara.
At West Ranch High School, baseball player RJ Gordon signed on to attend the University of Oregon, volleyball player Allison Jacobs signed with UCLA, swimmer Reagan Nibarger signed with UC Santa Barbara and runner Solomon Strader signed with the University of Miami.
Saugus softball hosted a ceremony at the softball field for Dallas Andrews, who will play for Long Island University and Libbie McMahan, who is headed to the University of California, Davis.
Throwzone Academy held a ceremony for Gordon and Valencia pitcher Ryan Kysar, who is going to the University of Arizona. Vikings baseball player Grant Weiss also signed his NLI to play at Loyola Marymount University from his home on Wednesday.
Golden Valley High School will hold a signing ceremony on campus on Thursday, while Valencia will hold one in the spring.