10 Lancers Athletes Celebrated at February Signing Day
February 1, 2023, marked the second National Signing Day of the 2022-2023 academic year, and Orange Lutheran celebrated 10 senior athletes across five sports as they made commitments to continue their playing careers the collegiate level.
The Ellwein Center played host to two ceremonies as families, friends, teammates and coaches gathered to honor the student athletes’ accomplishments. Orange Lutheran Athletic Director Vince Brown welcomed the guests and celebrated the athletes.
“I want to welcome everybody to a tremendous morning,” said Brown. “We're so proud as an athletic department. It is an honor for our coaches to be able to be here and talk about each of our athletes because we know how much work they put in. I hope and pray that when this day's over with, you understand how much work is ahead of you. This is just one part of a long journey, and we're excited to have you here today.”
Four-year varsity pitcher Ciara Loken has committed to Eastern New Mexico University. Loken battled injuries during most of her high school career but never gave up in her pursuit of playing softball at the next level.
“To say it's been an easy journey for Ciara would be an understatement,” said OLu softball head coach Steve Miklos. “Ciara has been challenged and her faith has carried her through her four years. She always knew God had a plan for her. She just trusted in God and never gave up. She's persevered, and it's a testament to her character and her never-give-up attitude.”
A hard worker, a goal setter and not one to back down from a challenge, Miklos reflected on a time during Loken’s freshman year when she was unexpectedly put in a big game situation for the Lancers and rose to the occasion.
Loken expressed gratitude to her support system for helping her reach her goal.
“I would like to thank my entire family for all that they have done,” said Loken. “Thanks to my mom for always recording me to help fix my mistakes and to my dad for always catching me during early mornings or late nights. Another thank you to my grandparents, they are truly my number one supporters and are always at everything. Lastly, thank you to each and every coach and trainer for getting me this far. None of this would have been possible without you. Go Hounds!”
Bella Barrett has signed to continue her soccer career at Concordia University Irvine. The three-year varsity player currently serves as a team captain for the Lancers and was named Varsity Offensive Player of the Year last season.
“Bella leads in every capacity and everything she does,” said OLu girls soccer head coach Sarah Klinkenberg. “She pushes our limits as a program and has set the bar very high. While there are many reasons Bella has been given the opportunity to play at the next level, one of the biggest reasons is her drive. Bella is driven first and foremost by the love and light of Christ and how she supports her teammates and friends. But her relentless drive to be the best she can at her craft is what sets her apart.”
Klinkenberg spoke of Barrett’s leadership skills, humility, grit and willingness to outwork her opponent. But above all, her ability to love others well and let her faith shine are what have made a mark on her teammates and peers.
Barrett is looking forward to beginning her next chapter as a student athlete.
“Thank you to my family, friends and coaches for their constant support and encouragement,” said Barrett. “God’s guidance through this process has been a major blessing. I am forever grateful for this opportunity, and I am excited for what the future holds!”
Soccer player Brooke Gath is headed to Pepperdine University to continue her playing career. Gath’s academic advisor and counselor, Jessie Klinkenberg, spoke of her ability to overcome numerous injuries while playing competitive club soccer and that the resiliency and character she has developed through those challenges will benefit her for years to come.
“Being injured as an athlete can really rock your mental health, and not being able to engage in the activity that you feel true mastery in is a challenge, to say the least,” said Klinkenberg. “Brooke certainly had her hard days, but she managed to stay focused on what she could control. In my eyes, Brooke is the perfect combination of tender and tough. She's empathetic, loyal, faithful, and she intentionally works towards goals she establishes for herself. She knows what she believes in and stands for it, and she never compromises on those things. She's also strong, focused, a solid and unyielding competitor, wildly mature, and an overall formidable force with a heart of absolute gold.”
The youngest of four daughters, Gath’s family was on hand to celebrate the accomplishment her lifelong goal.
“Thank you to all of my coaches and my family for pushing me to be the best version of myself and helping me achieve one of my dreams,” said Gath.
Water polo player Jon Carcarey is headed to Pepperdine University. The CIF-SS Division 1 Player of the Year was key in leading the Lancers to their CIF championship last fall.
“Jon is an incredible competitor,” said OLu boys water polo head coach Jacob Moore. “His voice and mindset towards doing whatever is needed for the team helped lead us to the program's second ever CIF title this year. Jon dealt with a broken hand for much of the season, but he was able to return for the back half of our season and be a dominant force. Jon, your determination and hard work have helped you to be successful this year. Carry on that work ethic as you move on to play at Pepperdine next fall.”
The two-time All-Trinity League selection scored five goals in both the Lancers’ semi-final game and championship game en route to the CIF crown.
Carcarey thanked all those who were instrumental in helping him take this next step in his playing career.
“I would like to thank God as he has blessed me with this opportunity to play at the next level,” said Carcarey. “I want to thank my family who has always supported me through the ups and downs. Lastly, thank you to all my teammates for making my high school career so joyful. Go Waves!”
Lancer water polo goalkeeper Greg Moore signed to continue his playing career for Pomona Pitzer. As a senior transfer, Moore was a large contributor to OLu’s 2022 CIF title run.
“Being a transfer, Greg had to sit out the first 30 days, but when his time came to play this season, he made an impact for us right away,” said Moore. “Greg's blocks and passes from the goal helped lead us to our CIF championship. For his outstanding efforts, he was selected as a CIF 1st Team player and 1st Team All-League athlete. Greg, keep up your tenacious, competitive mindset. It will only help lead you to more success.”
Although he played a limited season, Moore was able to record 194 saves for the Lancers. He expressed gratitude for the ability to be a part of such a historic and memorable season at OLu.
“First I’d like to thank all of my coaches, past and present, especially my OLu coaches, who have helped me grow so much in and out of the water,” said Moore. “Thank you for your confidence in me. I would also like to thank my teammates and friends who have supported and encouraged me. This has been a season to remember, and I couldn’t imagine a better group of guys to go through it with. To all my teachers and mentors, I’m very grateful for you and for helping me succeed in the classroom. And of course, I would like to thank my parents for their unwavering support and for all the time and energy they have spent helping me get to where I am today.”
Soccer player Gaven Shin is headed to William Jessup University to continue his playing career. Shin’s commitment, perseverance and determination have been instrumental in helping the OLu boys soccer program have their most successful season in more than a decade.
“You became a leader this year, but most importantly, you've become consistent in every way, shape and form,” said OLu boys soccer head coach Mike Oseguera. “As a teammate, as a member of this program, as a student athlete, you embody what it means to be an OLu soccer player. And going forward, you've been something that I'll look back on and show these guys that this is what it means to be committed not only to yourself, to your family, to your teammates, but to the school and what this school embodies. I thank you for everything that you've done. It's been an absolute privilege to be a part of your journey.”
Oseguera shared how Shin was focused on making his senior season special and leaving a legacy for the younger players in the program.
The three-year varsity player thanked those in his support system for their continued inspiration in helping him achieve this goal.
“I want to thank my family, coaches, friends and teammates that have supported me throughout this journey,” said Shin. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support and belief that everyone has had in me.”
Hayden Snyder has signed to play soccer for Point Loma Nazarene University. The 2nd Team All-Trinity League honoree led the Lancers in goals last season. Coach Oseguera reflected on Snyder’s leadership, unselfishness and commitment to leaving the OLu boys soccer program better than he found it.
“You talked about how you wanted this program to be the best, how you wanted the younger guys to aspire to something, to realize that they should set goals that may seem unachievable and pursue those with tenacity, to drive yourself and the others around you to achieve things greater than you ever expected before,” said Oseguera. “Every opportunity in the red and white jersey you attacked with tenacity. You laid it all on the field unselfishly, unrelentingly, and just trying to at times pull your teammates along with you. And for where this program is at now and for where it is going to be, it is an embodiment of who you are, not only as a player, but as a person.”
Snyder thanked those in his life who have been instrumental in preparing him for this next step.
“I would like to thank my family and coaches that have helped me achieve my dreams,” said Snyder. “They have always been by my side throughout my journey. I would also like to thank God for giving me this opportunity and blessing me with the ability to play at the collegiate level.”
Offensive tackle Nate Hale is headed to San Jose State University to continue his football career. The three-year varsity player is a 1st Team All-Trinity League selection and a member of the Lancers 2021 CIF Championship team.
“As I thought about a word to describe Nate, it was consistency,” said OLu football head coach Rod Sherman. “He was consistent in everything he did. He was consistent in his demeanor in practice. He was consistent in watching film. He was consistent in becoming the best player that he could be. He's going to have an incredible future.”
Added OLu football offensive line coach Chris Ward, “We’re very excited to see your growth over the next couple of years. Just know that we here at Orange Lutheran are ready to help you throughout your journey, and please lean on us as much as you can.”
Hale was grateful for the support of many who have accompanied him on his athletic and academic journey.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank God,” said Hale. “Without him, none of this would have been possible. Secondly, I would like to thank my family for their constant love and support, especially my mom and aunt for pushing med to always be my best. I would like to thank all my coaches and teammates for all the amazing memories. My last two years with Coach Sherman have taught me so much as a student and an athlete. I, of course, can’t go without thanking Ms. Lo (Ms. Kyla Laulhere, OLu football academic advisor) for her constant love and patience. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my O Line coach, Coach Ward, for being the first person to congratulate me on my successes and the first person to critique me on my failures. I am so incredibly lucky to have all of these amazing people in my life.”
Related: Orange Lutheran lineman Nate Hale finds right fit at San Jose State
Lancer long snapper Trent Middleton has committed to continuing his football career at UCLA. Also a member of the Lancers 2021 CIF Championship team, Middleton is one of the top long snappers in the country.
“The word I think about with Trent is disciplined because you can't perfect your craft like he has done without being extremely disciplined to work on your own, to make sure you're ready to go on the sidelines and to be ready to jump in when it is your time,” said Sherman. “It could be on a moment's notice, and he was always, always ready this year. We know he's going to have an incredible future. We're so thankful for all the things Trent has done here.”
OLu football kickers and punters coach Kevin Leon also shared some words of encouragement to Middleton.
“Understand that the opportunity that you have in front of you today and take advantage of it,” said Leon. “There's always going to be someone looking to take your job, so work hard every year and continue to get better. But stay humble, stay grounded, and most importantly, have fun while you're there at UCLA. I've been truly blessed to be your coach.”
Middleton expressed gratitude to those in his support system who have helped him achieve the next level in the sport.
“Thank you to my parents who believed in me,” said Middleton. “Thank you to all my coaches at Orange Lutheran who mentored me. Thank you to my friends and teammates who motivated me and stayed by my side through this journey.”
Related: Orange Lutheran long snapper Trent Middleton accepts UCLA’s walk-on offer
All-CIF wide receiver Jackson Weng has signed to continue his football career at The University of Texas, El Paso. The three-year varsity Lancer, also a member of the 2021 CIF title run, overcame injury to have a dominant senior season for the Lancers.
“When I think about Jackson, I think about a competitive fire,” said Sherman. “He’s so competitive in everything he does. And he doesn't just want to do it for himself. He's competitive because he wants to help the team do their best because he wants to raise the level of the team.”
Added OLu football offensive coordinator Aaron Corp, “Jackson put a smile selfishly on my face every day that I got to coach him. He always came in with a smile on his face. He had a great attitude and was truly a pleasure to coach. Jackson, I wish you all the best, and know that you always have a place here at Orange Lutheran.”
In OLu’s CIF Division 1 playoff win over Edison last fall, Weng was the Lancers’ player of the game with over 160 yards receiving and two touchdowns, averaging 18 yards a catch.
“These four years of high school have been a whirlwind, but I’m glad to be where I am today,” said Weng. “All thanks to the man above who told me to keep pushing and be true to who I am and what I will become. I thank him for helping my parents guide me in the right direction. All love from #3.”
Orange Lutheran Principal of Activities Jasmine Anderson closed the ceremonies with these words for the Lancer student athletes and their supporters.
“Lancers, we are so proud of you,” said Anderson. “The Lord has gifted each and every one of you in incredible ways. My prayer for each and every one of you is that you take those gifts and talents and that you continue to serve the Lord with those talents in your next step. Keep doing what you're doing. You have worked so hard. You've earned this, and we're so proud of you.
“To everybody in the stands… know that we truly appreciate all of you. It's amazing to see this and to know that they have all of you behind them. Thank you so much again for all your support, for being a part of our Lancer community and for being here today.”
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