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National Signing Day: Nine La Mirada High Student-Athletes Sign Letters of Intent to Play College Ball    

 

La Mirada High football Division III-AA State Championship teammates celebrate after signing official letters of intent. From L-R, Curtis Dixon, Micah Croom, Keanu Saleapaga, Tevaka Tuioti, Jared Enrico and Ty Faatoalia.

La Mirada High football Division III-AA State Championship teammates celebrate after signing official letters of intent. From L-R, Curtis Dixon, Micah Croom, Keanu Saleapaga, Tevaka Tuioti, Jared Enrico and Ty Faatoalia.

La Mirada High girls soccer stars Maddie Bennett, Amanda Duran and boys basketball star Vittorio Reynoso-Avila are all smiles while sporting their new university sweatshirts on National Signing Day.

La Mirada High girls soccer stars Maddie Bennett, Amanda Duran and boys basketball star Vittorio Reynoso-Avila are all smiles while sporting their new university sweatshirts on National Signing Day.

Lamplighter Staff Report

La Mirada – Nine of La Mirada High School’s top student-athletes signed letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 3, spreading Royal Blue and Gold spirit from the mesas of the Southwest to the Ivy League and capping an extraordinary year that saw the school win two state titles and come close to a third.

Scores of family members, La Mirada students, teammates, coaches and media converged on the campus quad as the signees, sitting at a long table decorated with university pennants, took pen to paper for their colleges of choice on what is known as National Signing Day for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

“I am extremely proud of our student-athletes,” La Mirada High principal Darryl Brown said, noting that the signings had as much to do with success in the classroom as on the field of play. “La Mirada places a high priority on maintaining rigorous academic standards. Our kids are students first and athletes second.”

Micah Croom (Dartmouth), Titus Dixon (Minot State), Jared Enrico (New Mexico), Ty Faatoalia (Western New Mexico), Keanu Saleapaga (Brigham Young University), and Tevaka Tuioti (New Mexico) represented the Division III-AA State Championship football team, whose motto is Heart Pride Trust.

“Heart is the sacrifice and decisions you make, pride is wearing your school colors and trust is your coaches and teammates,” Saleapaga, a 6-foot, 6-inch, 265-pound defensive end, said. Asked to rate his excitement level on a scale of one to 10, Saleapaga added, “It’s 20! I’m ready!”

Vittorio Reynoso-Avila, star point guard for the Division 2 State Championship boys basketball team, committed to Princeton, in part because of his 4.6 grade point average.

“I chose Princeton because they have both a great academic and a great athletic program,” said Reynoso-Avila, whose La Mirada spirit will follow him to the East Coast. “Once a Matadore, always a Matadore!”

Not to be outdone, the CIF Southern Section champion and state regional semi-finalist girls soccer team had much to celebrate, with two players continuing on to college level athletics. Maddie Bennett is on her way to the University of Arizona, while Amanda Duran will stay close to home and attend Cal Poly Pomona.

“This means a lot to me, playing for La Mirada and being with these special people,” said Bennett, who in 2015 was named Suburban League MVP and Division 4 Player of the Year. “It’s heartwarming. Everyone gives so much support.”

“We couldn’t be more proud of our student athletes,” said NLMUSD Board of Education President Karen Morrison. “Their commitment to their passion and to their academic work is what we want to see in all of our students.”

Though Feb. 3 is the NCAA’s official day for announcing athletic recruits, several La Mirada football players are still undecided and plan to announce their intentions when they have made their decisions.

“We are delighted La Mirada has seen so much success in its athletic program,” NLMUSD Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian said. “It’s a tribute to the hard-working coaches and teachers, who have provided exceptional guidance and leadership. Good luck to all of our wonderful student-athletes. We will be watching.”

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