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UPDATE

Roseville has 16 student-athletes sign national letters of intent

Soccer tops local list with 12; Granite Bay’s Andrews will attend Oregon State
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Eight senior boys and girls sat at a table in the career center at Granite Bay High School and signed their national letters of intent at 8:08 a.m. Wednesday.

And on it went on National Signing Day. Roseville resident J.T. Frank was one of 13 student-athletes to sign during a ceremony at Jesuit. Roseville quarterback Zac Cunha signed in the early afternoon on campus. The Placer United Soccer Club recognized 30 of its players, including several from Roseville schools, at a signing ceremony Wednesday evening in Loomis. And Austin Keppel set up shop at Woodcreek Oaks Golf Club to sign his letter of intent for football.

The career center at Granite Bay was crowded with family, friends, coaches, teachers and administrators. As impressive as the total number of Granite Bay student-athletes signing — 11, counting three who signed in November — was the collective grade-point average of Wednesday’s eight.

“The average GPA up here (at the table) is about 3.8. We have everything from a B (average) to a 4.57,” athletic director Tim Healy said. “It takes a unique combination of someone who’s athletic, who’s gifted, who has character and the determination to push and go harder than 99.9 percent of their peers. That’s not an easy thing to do.”

Six of the eight were soccer players: Cody Giddings (United States Military Academy at West Point), Ty Thompson (Stanford), Christy Cooper (Air Force Academy), Avery Hutchinson (William Jessup), Dorien Johnk (Loyola Marymount) and Kayla Karlsson (Cincinnati).

Gavin Andrews signed to play football at Oregon State, and University of the Pacific will allow Andrew Murch to swim and play water polo.

Murch weighed USC and Cal but said he would have had to choose swimming or water polo. Being able to compete in both at UOP won out, as did the fact that Murch said he has several friends on the Stockton campus he described as “gorgeous.”

Hutchinson also will have an opportunity to play two sports. She described Jessup soccer coach Jamie Howard as “absolutely amazing” and said Howard, upon learning Hutchinson plays basketball, “hooked me up with the basketball coach (Guin Boggs).”

Johnk drew interest from Loyola Marymount while competing at Surf, a college showcase in San Diego. Loyola Marymount drew Johnk’s interest when she visited.

“I love it down there,” she said. “It’s so close to the beach and very laid back. It’s on a bluff so you see all of L.A.”

Karlsson, on the other hand, describes herself as an adventurer type who “never really wanted to stay in California” and was exploring schools back East. Karlsson said she fell in love with Cincinnati and “everything about it” during her visit, including the campus and coaches.

“They made up my mind for me,” said Karlsson, who also considered UC Davis. “I knew I wanted to go there.”

Cooper was impressed by the Air Force Academy and its academic offerings after diving into the recruiting process. Cooper wants to head down the “medical route,” possibly in prosthetics or physical therapy, and sees “the kind of people I want to be around” at the Air Force Academy.

“It was the best jumping-off point for me,” she said.

Giddings was sold on the coaching staff at West Point, starting with head coach Russell Payne, who was an assistant for two national-championship teams at Maryland in 2005 and 2008. West Point’s past also impressed Giddings, including alumni Gen. Douglas MacArthur and former President Dwight Eisenhower.

On top of all that, Giddings described West Point as “one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my life,” and he said he doesn’t fear the military commitment.

Said Giddings, “I love my country, and I’m willing to do anything for it.”

Thompson is the oldest of four soccer-playing Thompson kids. His GPA is around 4.5.

“Somewhere in there,” he said.

Thompson pulled back on a verbal commitment to UC Santa Barbara after realizing Stanford was an option. He liked the campus and its academic opportunities. Thompson said he’d enter Stanford with an undeclared major, “figure out what interests me” and proceed from there.

“I’m just really looking forward to getting into that environment,” he said.

Andrews, the anchor on an offensive line that played a key role in Granite Bay’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship last fall, gave a verbal commitment to Oregon State last summer. He said he loves the Corvallis campus, the football program (the coaches, team and game atmosphere) and the business program, his focus.

“It was a great experience for me,” Andrews said of his visit.

Joining the 6-foot-7 Andrews at the ceremony were mom Kara, older brother Dana and younger brother Jesse; or, as Gavin put it, “my little brother.” Jesse is a quarter-inch shy of 6-9, and Dana is 6-9.

Wednesday evening, Keppel signed with Western State College of Colorado. Keppel is a two-time All-SFL second-team offensive guard.

“This is a culmination of a ton of hard work put in by Austin, particularly in the last 12 months,” Timberwolves coach John Hildebrand wrote in an e-mail. “We have been fortunate to have had a few very good, two-year starting offensive linemen the last several years, and Austin’s career stands up with any of them. He will be tough to replace. It seems like Western State is a good fit for him, and I know he will fit in great with the team and staff.”

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY

Here is a list of Roseville and Granite Bay student-athletes who signed a national letter of intent Wednesday:

Cornerstone Christian: Madeline Schiffel, soccer, USF.

Granite Bay: Gavin Andrews, football, Oregon State; Christy Cooper, soccer, Air Force Academy; Cody Giddings, soccer, United States Military Academy at West Point; Avery Hutchinson, soccer and basketball, William Jessup; Dorien Johnk, soccer, Loyola Marymount; Kayla Karlsson, soccer, Cincinnati; Andrew Murch, swimming and water polo, University of the Pacific; Ty Thompson, soccer, Stanford.

Oakmont: Kendall Boshart, soccer, Point Loma Nazarene.

Roseville: Zac Cunha, football, Minot (N.D.) State; Kelcey DeCarlo, soccer, Humboldt State; Tobin Gramyk, football, University of San Diego (verbal commitment).

Woodcreek: Emily Chalfant, soccer, Point Loma Nazarene; Rachel Dortch, soccer, Sonoma State; Lauren Hayano, soccer, San Francisco State.

Jesuit: Roseville resident J.T. Frank, football, Holy Cross.