Childhood dreams realized for athletes


Kalani Gaines, Staff Writer

Four Bear Creek athletes signed letters of intent to their respective colleges — representing years of dedication, hard work, and dreams. Two other athletes who signed earlier in the school year were also honored at the ceremony.

“You’re looking at the best of the best,” next year’s Athletic Director Jason Johnson said as he introduced the talented athletes to all of the family, friends and staff in attendance for the athletes who participated in National Signing Day on April 12.

Shelby Bartlett will head to Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado for golf; Charles Brewah to University of the Pacific for soccer; Jenna Collins to Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, California for water polo; and Destiny Williams to Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, California for volleyball. Marissa Stockton, who signed to Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, and Saige Pye, who signed to Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, were also given recognition for their commitment to attend and play softball at their colleges.

Although these students have proven themselves to be some of the best athletes on campus, it was no easy path for them to get to this point. Williams, for example, has spent her past four years working her way up to earn the spot as the top volleyball player in the county and to become a college volleyball player.

“In the beginning, freshman year, I didn’t know anything — but I grew,” Williams said. “Even in the summer, I would still play volleyball because I [played for] clubs to get better so I could make the team next year.”

Williams isn’t the only one of these athletes who had a difficult time; before the golf team’s captain, Shelby Bartlett, was able to be named SJAA individual champion and Best of the Record All-Star this year, she too had her fair share of trouble. It was just last school year that she decided that she wanted to play golf in college, which called for a sacrifice.

“I was actually going to go to college for soccer,” Bartlett said. “But when I met my coach this year, she saw the potential in me and got me to the point where I could actually play college golf and I had to decide whether I wanted to play soccer or golf.”

For Collins, signing her letter of intent was a childhood dream come true.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I knew [what I wanted to do],” Collins said. “I started water polo in seventh grade and, from then on, I knew my entire experience would be working up to be a collegiate athlete.”

Collins worked to achieve this goal, earning titles such as League MVP and California-Hawaii All-Section Champ along with her opportunity to sign.
Brewah, who was inducted into Stockton’s Athletic Hall of Fame, is also taking his childhood sport to the next level as well as keeping his promise to his mother after her passing.

“I never really pictured playing college soccer,” Brewah said. “The death of my mom was what changed me really. I started taking soccer even more seriously [and] I vowed to go pro.”

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) website, only 480,000 out of eight million high school athletes across America will compete at NCAA schools.

After overcoming these odds, these athletes are ready to accept their scholarships to continue playing the sports they love.