Eighteen student-athletes at Danville high schools officially signed letters of intent with colleges and universities around the country at ceremonies held Wednesday, a national signing day.
Seniors at Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley signed these letters, which mark a student-athlete's commitment to participating in NCAA DI and DII athletics.
"Today is a milestone in their lives and careers," said Andy Popper, athletic director at Monte Vista, during their ceremony. "It's the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication. It's the beginning of a new chapter."
According to the National Letter of Intent website, by signing the letter, a student-athlete agrees to attend the respective institution full-time for one academic year and the institution then agrees to provide athletics financial aid for that same period of time.
After signing the letter, the prospective student-athlete cannot be recruited by any other schools.
At Monte Vista High, dozens of friends and family members showed up to support the student-athletes at the 7:30 a.m. recognition ceremony in the school's library. Amidst much camera-snapping, applause and, of course, college paraphernalia, the 11 Monte Vista seniors signed their letters in unison, after Popper lauded the group for their high achievement and perseverance.
"We have 600-and-something seniors at Monte Vista," Popper said. "So to have 11 student-athletes signing a National Letter of Intent, speaks to how difficult it actually is to achieve a scholarship."
Maddie Dailey, 17, is off to nearby Stanford University to play beach volleyball.
"Stanford's always been my dream school," she said. Her dad went there too, and she grew up going to their football games.
Dailey, also the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, has been playing indoor volleyball for seven years and beach volleyball for the past five or six years.
"I've always kind of done both," she said.
She had gone back and forth about whether or not she wanted to play volleyball in college, and then about whether she would play indoor or beach. But after a long recruitment and application process, her spot at Stanford as a beach volleyball student-athlete was secured.
"There are a lot of people who helped me along the way," she said. "I'm just super grateful."
For the rest of the year, she will finish out the indoor season at Monte Vista and then turn her focus to beach volleyball, which has only two players on a team and has different rules than indoor.
Fellow Monte Vista student Joe Peterson, 18, officially signed to play lacrosse at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
"I'm really excited," he said Wednesday.
He's been playing lacrosse since the fourth grade, on clubs in his younger days and joining the Monte Vista team once he reached high school.
Peterson's recruitment process started during his freshman year, talking to various schools and having coaches come out and see him play. His decision to play for Rutgers was finalized in January.
Peterson will be graduating from Monte Vista after this fall semester and he will begin school at Rutgers in January 2018.
"I'll be basically red shirting," he said, adding time will be spent training with the lacrosse team and studying.
Wednesday's ceremonies marked the early period initial signing date for most sports; the regular period's initial signing date will take place in the spring, on April 11.
The complete list of students who signed this week at Monte Vista and San Ramon Valley high schools are as follows:
*Audrey Coney -- University of California, San Diego (Cross Country/Track)
*Madalyne Coney -- University of California, San Diego (Cross Country/Track)
*Madeline (Maddie) Dailey -- Stanford University (Beach Volleyball)
*Jackson Ertz -- San Jose State University (Baseball)
*Ryan Fleming -- University of California, San Diego (Baseball)
*Abriana Howard -- UCLA (Swimming)
*Lauren Indart -- Stanford University (Water Polo)
*Hana Okuhara -- California Baptist University (Volleyball)
*Joe Peterson -- Rutgers University (Lacrosse)
*Jolie Trujillo -- University of California, Berkeley (Water Polo)
*Makenna Turner -- University of Southern California (Swimming)
San Ramon Valley
*Spencer Daily -- University of California, San Diego (Swimming)
*Andrew Erickson -- University of Denver (Lacrosse)
*Cole French -- University of Denver (Lacrosse)
*Jole Phillips -- Loyola Marymount (Rowing)
*Maddie Souza -- Vanderbilt University (Lacrosse)
*Bret Soulages -- Oregon State University (Baseball)
*Natalie Tobiason -- Colorado Mesa University (Lacrosse)