Nine Allan Hancock College student-athletes made their college commitments official on Wednesday during a signing ceremony inside Joe White Memorial Gymnasium. Five football players, two women's basketball players, one men's soccer and one track runner signed scholarships or National Letter Intents (NLIs).
Women's basketball players Karly Beyers and Hannah Walls signed their scholarship papers side by side after helping the Bulldogs secure their third straight winning season and best conference record in 17 years. Beyers, a Pioneer Valley High School graduate, was an All-Conference First Team guard as a sophomore. She averaged 12.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. She recorded six double-doubles this season. Beyers will play Division II basketball for California Lutheran University. The Regals compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2013. Cal Lutheran has enjoyed four straight winning seasons under Head Coach Lindsay Samaniego.
"I have wanted to go to California Lutheran since high school. Now, I am thrilled to go there to earn a bachelor's degree and play basketball," said Beyers, who plans to major in education. "I am grateful for Hancock because the college, coaches and staff have helped me grown as a person and an athlete."
Walls averaged 6.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game as a sophomore. The Valley Christian Academy graduate record three double-doubles this season and earned all-conference honorable mention. She will play next year for Eastern Nazarene College, a Division III program in Quincy, Massachusetts. Coached by Sacha Santimano, the Lions compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Lions have qualified for the conference tournament in six of the last seven years.
"To play college basketball at a four-year university is such an honor," said Walls, who plans to major in elementary education. "I thought I would have a chance at an NAIA program, but to have an opportunity at an NCAA program feels amazing."
Men's soccer player Joseph Goryance committed to Waldorf University. Goryance, a two-time all-conference defender for the Bulldogs, anchored the Hancock defense the last two seasons. He played in all 22 games last fall for the Bulldogs and scored once in the team's 4-1 win over Chabot.
"The Warriors are coming off a great season and I can't wait to be a part of it," said Goryance, who plans to major in business. "I am excited to move to Waldorf. I think it's the perfect school for me with a beautiful campus and great coaches."
Waldorf, located in Forest City, Iowa, is coming off a historic season that included the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) conference tournament title and first-ever trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
Eduardo Uribe earned an opportunity to run for Roosevelt University in Chicago. The Pioneer Valley High School graduate will compete later this week at the Southern California Regionals in the speedwalking event.
Five players from Hancock's 2017 American Pacific League championship team signed with four-year universities, including three all-league offensive linemen: Lesone Smith, Jamil Viaud and Kobi Smith-Parrott. The all-state lineman provided pass protection and created space for the league champion Bulldogs last fall, who averaged 237 rushing yards and 367 total yards per game.
Viaud signed with Kent State University, a member of the Mid-American Conference that compete at the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Division I level. The Golden Flashes are coming off a 2-10 season.
"I am so excited to have an opportunity to play Division I football and be a little closer to home," said Viaud, a 6-foot-5 left tackle from Franklin Square, New York. "I am humbled by this opportunity and plan to go out there, work hard and earn a starting position."
Smith will play Division II football for West Texas A&M University. Smith, a two-time All-Conference First Team selection and a member of the 2017 Southern California Football Association Scholar-Athlete Team, anchored the Bulldogs' offensive line the last two seasons.
"My decision to attend Hancock has paid off in so ways I didn't think were possible," said Smith, who grew up in Louisiana. "I became a man here and grew as a football player. My teammates became my new family and pushed me to work harder and harder every day."
West Texas A&M competes in the Lone Star Conference under second-year Head Coach Hunter Hughes. The Buffaloes went 3-8 last season. Located in Canyon, Texas, the Buffaloes own 11 conference titles, most recently in 2012.
Smith-Parrott is headed to Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. The Division II program competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). The Griffins are led by sixth-year Head Coach Isaac Collins. In 2016, Seton Hill led the nation in passing offense and ranked sixth in total offense.
"The coaching staff recruited me very heavily and I couldn't imagine a better fit for me with the program, coaches and college," said Smith-Parrott, who grew up in Nebraska.
Long snapper Colten Adam signed with Trinity International University in Chicago. The Trojans compete in the Mideast League of the Mid-States Football Association. TIU is coming off a 2-7 season.
"I was born and raised in Santa Maria. It was a bit of a culture going out to Chicago, but I enjoyed the people, coaches and the city," said Adam, a Righetti High School graduate, who plans to major in communications. "They have a new coaching staff that is committed to winning. I know I am joining a program on the rise. They recruited me as a long snapper and on special teams, but they'd also like to give me an opportunity to earn some time on the field at receiver or back, too."
Linebacker Taipule Asotau also participated in the ceremony. He will play next fall for Western State Colorado. He recorded 28 tackles, four sacks and forced two fumbles during two injury-plagued seasons with the Bulldogs. He plans to major in kinesiology. Asotau was named to the 2017 SCFA Scholar-Athlete Team after earning a cumulative 3.16 GPA.
The five football players join several others who signed earlier this year: JD Smith (East Central Oklahoma); Basiru Jobe (East Central Oklahoma); Jimmy Kelleher (Wagner University) and Dominic Chance (Western State Colorado).