Excitement filled the air at the San Ramon Valley High cafeteria on Wednesday, when the school honored 11 senior athletes who have committed to colleges.
Three linemen off the Wolves’ North Coast Section Division I runner-up football team, tight end Sean Miller (Cornell), guard Matt Fisher (Cal Poly) and tackle Jake Simonich (Utah State), were the first ones introduced by athletic director John Raynor.
Wolves football coach Mark Kessler stood nearby soaking it all in on national signing day.
“You’re just proud and happy for them,” Kessler said. “They’ve worked real hard to get where they are, and it’s neat to see them being given the opportunity to pursue their goals.”
The Wolves’ water polo star Justin Roberto, who has orally committed to Stanford, and girls water polo standout Megan Rodriguez (Wagner College) were also honored. Roberto and Wagner were EBAL MVPs last fall.
Roberto proudly wore his Stanford shirt during the ceremony.
“My mom wanted me to wear black pants, but I didn’t wear black pants because that would be Monte Vista colors,” Roberto said. “Fortunately, Stanford’s not red and black, it’s just red. Actually it’s Cardinal, it’s not even red, so …”
In all seriousness, Roberto has maximized his time academically and athletically at San Ramon Valley. The water polo program is outstanding.
“It’s phenomenal,” said Roberto, who amassed 86 goals last season, of the program. “Coach (Corey) Dolley, he knows what it’s like at the next level. He’s played at the highest level of water polo in the world, so to be able to learn from him has really helped me.
“San Ramon has always been one of the most competitive teams in the North Coast Section. It’s been a part of our history.”
SRV girls soccer players Reilly Parker (North Carolina), Shannon Hennessy (Pennsylvania), Amanda Davis (Pepperdine), and Beth Ritter (UCSB) also took part on Wednesday, along with Sam Zarling, a club soccer player headed to Colorado College.
Parker, Davis, Hennessy and Ritter were also set to participate in another ceremony on Wednesday night at the Mustang Soccer Complex, among 22 college commits who are Mustang Soccer League players.
“The day is unreal,” Parker said. “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. I’ve always wanted to go to Carolina, since I was 5 years old. After waiting two years after committing, it finally feels real. It’s the best feeling ever.”
Parker has a strong Tar Heels connection. She lives near Courtney Jones and her family. Jones, the daughter of ex-San Francisco 49ers tight end Brent Jones, was co-captain of the 2011 North Carolina women’s squad.
“She’s like my older sister,” Parker said of Courtney Jones, a former Monte Vista and Mustang Select star. “She’s actually my neighbor. The Jones family has been so much help in this process. They have been there for support, friendship, all that. Courtney and her sister (Rachel) have been like sisters to me. They’re family to me.”
Parker also said she feels “honored” to get a chance to play for legendary UNC coach Anson Dorrance.