11 Lancer Athletes Celebrated At National Signing Day
On the first National Signing Day of the 2022-2023 academic year, Orange Lutheran High School honored 11 of their senior athletes across seven sports as they made their commitments to continue playing their playing careers at the collegiate level.
Friends, families and teammates gathered in the Ellwein Center for the November 9, 2022, ceremony where the student athletes’ accomplishments were celebrated. Orange Lutheran Athletic Director Vince Brown welcomed the attendees.
“I want to welcome you this morning to a very exciting day for our girls and boys, and also for our coaches,” said Brown. “It's such an honor for our coaches to have the opportunity to stand up here and recognize their student athletes who are taking a huge step forward. It is a tremendous, exciting day for families, and I'm so happy that you're all here with us.”
Lancer girls golf head coach Dustin Boburka opened the celebration with a word of prayer.
“Lord, we come before you day with hearts full of thanks – thanks for the gifts and the abilities that you have given these individuals that are signing their letters of intent today,” said Boburka. “It is a great day and one that you have made possible for each individual up here. Please continue to guide and lead these individuals as they go through the rest of their senior year here at OLu, and help them to remember that they will always be part of the Lancer community and represent you at their future schools. Help them to trust you in times of stress and frustration and to praise you in times of success. We thank you again, Lord, for today and these individuals.”
Four-year varsity player Sophia Tagge will continue her soccer career at Northern Arizona University. The midfielder played a significant role in the Lancer girls soccer program from her first steps on the pitch.
“She is driven in everything she puts her mind to and relentlessly has pursued her academics and athletics while continuing to keep Christ at the center of all she does,” said OLu girls soccer head coach Sarah Klinkenberg. “Sophia is a technical player who makes wise decisions on the ball and always finds a way to put us in a place to compete. She is respectful to her coaches and teammates and extremely humble in how she carries herself, yet so talented and deadly with the ball at her feet.
“Sophia, continue to shine the light of Christ in all you do. Thank you for your heart for your teammates, your driven mindset to push us as far as we can go and your smile and laughs that are contagious to so many. While you head to Arizona next fall, know you are more than ready for that adventure, and the Lord will go with you in all you do.”
A 2nd Team All-Trinity League selection and a scholar athlete with a 4.1 GPA, Tagge thanked her those in her support system who have made an impact on her playing career.
“I would first and foremost like to thank Jesus Christ for His continual guidance through this process,” said Tagge. “I would also like to thank my parents for their unending support, my friends and teammates for their encouragement and my coaches for their belief in me. I could not have done it without you. Go Jacks!”
Lancer defender Shelby Perez has committed to Concordia University Irvine for soccer. Klinkenberg shared that the three-year varsity player is “extremely coachable” and has strong relationships with her teammates and coaches.
“Shelby is always wanting to know how she can improve in any way to better the team,” said Klinkenberg. “She is selfless and a true servant leader. She's kind, compassionate and has such a gentle and loving spirit about her. On the field, Shelby is one of the hardest workers and works to put the team in a position to always be successful. Her defending and technical skills on the ball are phenomenal, and it’s no doubt she will be so successful at Concordia.
“Shelby, Concordia is so lucky to have you. We know you'll be successful on the soccer field there, but we also can't wait to watch your talents and academics off the field continue to grow. You have made a tremendous mark on the Lancer soccer program and left an amazing legacy for each soccer player to follow.”
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Perez has maintained a 4.2 GPA, is a California Scholarship Federation (CSF) member and serves on OLu’s Creative Worship team.
“Thank you God for blessing me with my talents, my wonderful supporters and for strength,” said Perez. “I am also incredibly grateful for my family. Thank you for giving me all your love and time to help me grow. I love you all so much! I pray I will continue to honor God with all that I do.”
First Team All-Trinity League honoree Grace Thao is headed to the University of Colorado, Boulder to continue her soccer career. The midfielder was clutch for the Lancers during their CIF playoff run last season and had three assists and two goals during league play.
“Grace, you are so incredibly dedicated to your craft,” said Klinkenberg. “You have dedicated hours upon hours to becoming the best you can at your sport, and that is one of the big reasons we get to celebrate you today. You carry yourself with such composure and passion, and you care greatly about your teammates and friends around you.
“Your skill…is unmatched, and we can't wait to watch you compete in the Pac-12. We feel blessed by the role you have served in the Lancer soccer program. Continue to stand firm in the Lord in all you do as you tackle everything he has set before you. We as your coaches and teammates are incredibly grateful to be part of your journey.”
Thao credited those around her who have been instrumental in helping her achieve her athletic goals.
“I want to thank my family, friends and mentors who have been a part of my journey,” said Thao. “The time and dedication that went into helping me get to this point has been a group effort. Most importantly, I am thankful to God and His plan. Sko Buffs!”
Men’s Water Polo
Four-year varsity player Wade Sherlock will continue his water polo career at UCLA. A Trinity League champion and All-Trinity League and All-CIF honoree, Sherlock was recognized not only for his skills but for his leadership.
“Wade is a tenacious leader,” said OLu boys water polo head coach Jacob Moore. “His leadership in the water has been a tremendous asset to the success of our team. Wade continuously works to improve his skills through the extra time spent in the water after practices. He also shares his knowledge with his teammates after practice by spending time helping them to improve their skills.
“Wade, remember, it's not about the last shot. It's about the next one and the one after that. I hope to hear great things about you next year and beyond as you continue your athletic career at UCLA.”
Sherlock’s accolades include Rookie of the Year his freshman year, Offensive Player of the Year his junior year and a Junior National Championship last summer.
“I would like to start off by thanking all my coaches that have helped me get to this special point in my career,” said Sherlock. “I would also like to thank my friends and family for always being there for me and pushing me to get to this special point. To my mom and dad who have given me so many opportunities and pushed me into the person I am today, I appreciate everything you guys do for me. Thank you mom and dad for everything. Lastly, I would like to thank all my teachers and coaches at OLu that have helped shape me into the person I am today. Go Bruins!”
Scholar Athlete and All-CIF honoree Jackson Benners has committed to play water polo for Pepperdine University.
“Jackson has an obsession with water polo,” said Moore. “It's one of the reasons he's here at OLu. He came to us last year looking for the opportunity to play high school water polo while also training all day. He was able to do this through our online schooling option. Jackson's knowledge in the sport of water polo is immensely valuable to our team. He leads his teammates by example as the third coach in the water.
“Jackson, remember your obsession with water polo will beat talent every time. Never lose that passion and determination. I wish you the best of luck as you continue on to Pepperdine University.”
Benners transferred to OLu as a junior and is grateful to those who helped him make the transition and elevate his play to the next level.
“Thank you to my family, my coaches in both California and Texas, my teachers and all of my friends for supporting me at Orange Lutheran for the last two years,” said Benners. “I moved here from Texas to improve my water polo skills, and all of you helped me so much along the way. I am very grateful and excited to be committed to play water polo at Pepperdine. Go Waves!”
Women’s Water Polo
Three-year varsity water polo player Kira Anderson is headed to California State University, Fresno.
“I am blessed to have the opportunity to coach such a fast, athletic and caring student athlete,” said OLu girls water polo head coach Brenda Villa. “It's been such a joy to watch and to coach Kira in the offseason. I got to share her with cross country, and it's really a blessing to see her compete on land and in the water. I don't know how she does it…but she does it so graciously.
“Congratulations, Kira. It's really a treat that you came back to the water polo team for your last season here at OLu. I'm looking forward to that and to continue to watch your growth at Fresno State with Coach Benson. I know that you will do great things for them.”
A dual sport varsity athlete who transferred to OLu as a sophomore, Anderson also competes for the Lancers cross country team and is a 2nd Team All-Trinity League selection in that sport.
“Thank you mom and dad for supporting me and helping me get where I am,” said Anderson. “Thank you Coach Goossens for always supporting me as a dual sport athlete and life in general. Thanks to Jose for always supporting me in water polo.”
Senior water polo captain Sara Naulty has committed to continuing her playing career at University of California, Irvine. An All-League and All-CIF honoree, Naulty was one of the first athletes to engage Villa last spring when she arrived on campus, a move that made a great first impression on the new head coach.
“I have yet to coach Sara in an official water polo game, but I am so looking forward to seeing her lead her team this year as a senior and a captain,” said Villa. “She is not the loudest in the room, but leads by example by always working hard, perfecting her form and never cutting corners. In the offseason, I have seen what UCI is excited about. Sara is a fast, dynamic shooter who has a great IQ for the game.
“Sara, I appreciate your leadership and look forward to our season together as we make waves in the Trinity League. I look forward to watching your continued growth as a student athlete when you start your next chapter at UCI.”
The southpaw extended thanks to those around her who have helped her during her athletic journey.
“I would like to thank all my current and past coaches and mentors for helping me get to this point in my athletic career,” said Naulty. “I’d also like to thank my family and friends for everything they’ve done for me and supporting me in everything I do. Lastly, I’d like to give a big shout out to the big man up there who is God. I wouldn’t have been able to reach the place I’m at today without this support system. I look forward to continuing my academic and athletic career at UCI. Zot Zot!”
Golfer Alexia Egdahl will be continuing her playing career at Quinnipiac University. A transfer to OLu as a junior, she made an immediate impact, winning the Trinity League Individual championship and MVP title last season and leading the Lancers to a second place league finish two years in a row.
“Alexia is a fierce competitor, one that enjoys a good challenge,” said OLu girls golf head coach Dustin Boburka. “She has worked hard for all of her success on the golf course, and this scholarship is well deserved. All of these accolades are amazing, but none of them define who she is. She's defined by her faith in her Savior. She has a deep love for her family and friends, and that carries over to her teammates and her school.
“She's gone through many things over her four years of high school success… all of this with the knowledge that her Lord and savior has her in the palm of his hands. He has a plan and a purpose for all this, and I can't wait to see what he has in store for Alexia. We will be thinking about and praying for you, Alexia. God's richest blessings on your next adventure.”
A scholar athlete and team captain with a 4.1 GPA, Egdahl also led the Lancers to a third place CIF-SS Division 2 finish in 2021 and a fifth place CIF-SS Division 1 finish this year.
“I would like to thank my parents for the constant support and encouragement, through thick and thin, my sister and teammates for constantly pushing me to be better each day,” said Egdahl. “Also my coaches for giving the greatest instruction and the best resources for my success. The biggest thanks to God, for allowing me to play for his glory on the daily. I’m so excited to play in blue and gold. Go Bobcats!”
First Team All-Trinity League honoree and scholar athlete Tessa Jerue is headed to Concordia University Irvine to play softball. The four-year varsity player bounced back from an injury last year with a breakout season for the Lancers as a junior, batting .349 with 27 RBIs.
“Tessa is going to have a great career at Concordia,” said OLu softball head coach Steve Miklos. “She's an awesome teammate and a phenomenal athlete, but she's also a coach’s dream because she’s versatile. She realizes that she wants to play wherever she can help the team. Whatever she can do to help the team, Tessa would do it. So as a coach, I'm thrilled to have a player like Tessa in our program, and I'm so excited for what she's going to do for us this year. She’s going to have a big season for us, and then I'm really excited to watch her career over at Concordia University Irvine.”
Jerue is also a two-time Trinity League champion and can sometimes be heard singing the national anthem before the Lancers take the softball field.
“I would like to thank my coaches, teammates, friends, and most importantly, my family for their guidance, encouragement and endless support,” said Jerue. “I am especially grateful to God for all that he has blessed me with and will continue to play in his glory. I am so excited to continue my athletic and academic career at Concordia University. Go Golden Eagles!”
Four-year varsity starter Madi Bogan has committed to continuing her basketball career at Westmont College. The All-Trinity League guard averaged six points and two assists per game over three seasons and was a key part of the Lancers CIF-SS championship title run last year.
“Madi is one of the most humble people I've ever come across,” said OLu girls basketball head coach Lindsay Charity. “Beyond the statistics, Madi is an inspiration to her teammates and has been selected by her coaches and teammates to serve as a team captain for the past two years. Over her time at OLu, she has faced many obstacles…through all of it, Madi has kept her faith in God to get her through. She never wavered in her faith or in her commitment to OLu, no matter how busy and tough the day-to-day may have been.
“Madi fell in love with OLu in sixth grade and never looked back. While the road was not always easy for her, she never took the easy way out. She was committed to her team, her school and her coach, and for that I will forever be grateful. Westmont is getting not just an amazing athlete but an amazing person. Madi, I am so proud of you and all you've accomplished at OLu, and we all look forward to what God has in store for your future. We know it will be great.”
Bogan carries a 4.4 GPA, is a member of National Honor Society (NHS), is a two-year Ignite Mentor and serves as co-president of Rooted on campus.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for blessing me with an incredible opportunity,” said Bogan. “I thank my family, friends and coaches for supporting me. I am especially grateful towards my grandma for pushing me academically, grandpa for inspiring me athletically and my mom for showing me the ultimate sacrifice.”
Outside hitter Londyn Giles has committed to play volleyball at Northwest Nazarene University. Competitive and driven, Giles’ leadership has played a large role in creating a winning culture within the Lancer girls volleyball program.
“Londyn is the type of athlete that a coach always dreams of,” said OLu girls volleyball head coach Henry Valiente. “She respects her peers, respects her coaches and leads by example on and off the court. She genuinely cares about the volleyball program and represents it in its best light. When Londyn puts her mind and faith into something, she gets it done.
“Londyn, keep being you, because you are one-of-a-kind. You are a unique talent that will do wonders in this world. I thank you and your family for the commitment you guys have given to OLu volleyball, and we will miss you dearly. God bless, and may all your wishes come true.”
Giles not only plays on the indoor court, but also for OLu’s beach volleyball team, having participated in the program’s inaugural season last year. She has earned All-Trinity League honors in both sports.
“I would like to thank God for giving me this huge opportunity and carrying me through my volleyball career,” said Giles. “I would also like to thank my parents for always pushing me to be my best and believing in me. Thank you to my coaches and teammates at Orange Lutheran for pushing me to be the best volleyball player and human I can be. I am so excited for this next chapter! Go Nighthawks!”
To close the ceremony, Orange Lutheran Principal of Activities Jasmine Anderson offered words of encouragement to the Lancer student athletes.
“Lancers, to all of you sitting at these tables, we are so proud of you,” said Anderson. “The Lord has blessed you in amazing ways with incredible gifts and talents. And our prayer for you is that as you move into this next chapter, that you remain steadfast in your faith and that you continue to be passionate about your sport and serving and glorifying the Lord.”
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