Eight West Ranch students sign National Letters of Intent to continue their athletic careers


Alice Xie and Esther Pack

   On Nov. 16, students, staff and proud parents alike crowded into West Ranch’s amphitheater during brunch to watch eight student athletes sign their National Letter of Intent to continue their athletic careers in college. West Ranch seniors Andrew Meadow, Victoria Davis, Eunice Yi, Bille Issa, Geneva Milch Cesoni, Jonathan Gim, Nadia Bernard and Ty DePerno were all commended for their athleticism as well as their academic achievements in a short speech by Athletic Director Coach Konrad before they signed their letters and officially committed to their respective colleges.

   Coach Konrad began by announcing each student, their sport and their chosen college. Andrew Meadow from Boys Basketball will be attending Boise State, Nadia Bernard from Girls Basketball will play for CSU Long Beach, Victoria Davis from Girls Volleyball will attend Baylor University, Eunice Yi from Girls Golf will continue golfing at Pomona College, Bille Issa from Track and Field will run for Cal Poly, Geneva Milch Cesoni from Girls Lacrosse is set to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, Jonathan Gim will swim for Brown University and Ty DePerno will play baseball for UC Davis.

   Family and friends were invited onto the stage to take photos and congratulate each athlete on signing their coveted letters that many dream of receiving. Victoria Davis, who signed her letter for Baylor, explained that signing her letter was “such a relief because [now] I don’t have to worry too much, and it’s just something to look forward to for four years of college.”

   Other student athletes echoed Davis’s sentiments of having a weight lifted off their shoulders. Especially during the college application process, UC Davis commit Ty DePerno noted that “[signing has] taken a lot off my back recently, with not having to stress about knowing where I’m going to college.”

   While these students will not have to complete the typical college application process like most of their peers, all eight newly committed athletes had to go through their own recruitment processes. Eunice Yi, who committed to Pomona College for golf, explained that her process of getting into college involved a lot of traveling. “There were a lot of tournaments around the US, and I had to fly out to other states. I emailed the coaches and then they watched [me play]. It was very nerve-wracking and stressful, but it was an experience.”

   Not only does the recruitment process require athletes to gain the attention of their desired colleges, but it also requires athletes to choose schools that they believe will be a good fit.

   In Davis’s case, she knew Baylor was the right fit after visiting the campus. “I visited and was able to talk to the coaches. They had everything that I wanted in a school. They had my major and they had a great community of genuine people. It’s also a Christian university and I am very in my faith, so that was also a very big part of it. That was kind of how I knew that was the place for me.”

   Coach Konrad emphasized that being a collegiate athlete takes more than just physical talent. “To be a true student athlete, you’ve got to dedicate yourself in the classroom. That’s why they’re going to the next level because not only do they have good grades, but they also excel in athletics,” Konrad explained. “It’s very prideful for us as educators to have this many kids represent our school, moving onto the next level.”

   For Gim, the decision to commit to Brown University boiled down to academic rigor. “I think Brown piqued my interest because of their academic side and the balance between the athletics as well.”

   All of the students who committed to their chosen college not only exemplify athletic standards, but academic ones. After all of their hard work and dedication, these eight athletes get to look forward to their futures in collegiate athletics. 

   When asked about how she feels regarding her future in sports, Davis said, “I’m most excited to just be on a different level. It’s a completely new level, a completely new realm and I’m excited to explore that and grow and become better in my sport.”

   To all of the aspiring students on campus, Coach Konrad wrapped up with a message to all Wildcats: ”Keep working hard, continue to pursue your goals, work hard for your dreams, and never give up.”