TURLOCK -- Halie Bergman became a trailblazer Thursday, signing a letter of intent to play basketball at University of the Pacific.
A prolific scorer since her freshman season at Turlock Christian, the 5-foot-10 wing is the school's first basketball player to earn a scholarship to a Division 1 school.
While TC is among the smallest schools in the Stanislaus District, Bergman was able to prove herself with the East Bay Xplosion. A travel team, its intense schedule allowed Pacific coaches to see Bergman play elite competition.
Story continues below video
"We face the best girls in Northern California, and beyond, and it made me better," said Bergman, who also credits TC coach Edwin Santiago for his work. "From the first day of practice, he has made me work hard. No special privileges. He has been a great coach."
Still, high school basketball has been a bumpy road for Bergman.
She was averaging 23.9 points as a freshman, but tore her ACL halfway through the season. She tore an ACL again as a sophomore, but was healthy last season and averaged 24.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.4 steals, 4.3 assists and two blocks.
More importantly, Bergman said, was that her Eagles played for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 title and got to the quarterfinals of the Northern California playoffs.
"College basketball, that's something I've thought about since the eighth grade, when I started playing for the Explosion," said Bergman, who was recruited as a shooting guard. "I worked hard during the offseason, adding muscle, because I know that I'll need it."
For that, she credits Chris Wolfley, a personal trainer who runs Spartacus Training in Turlock. He was on hand for the signing.
"Halie wants to understand why she's doing certain lifts or workouts, and how they will increase her ability to play," Wolfley said.
OFF TO OREGON Naya Crittenden, a 6-2 left-hander and a Johansen student, has signed to play volleyball at the University of Oregon.
She has played travel ball with Rage Volleyball of Ripon, but did not play for the Vikings. Her roles with Ripon were middle blocker and outside hitter, but she'll be a right hitter for Encore Volleyball of Redwood City, her new team.
Crittenden helped her under-16 team to 12th place in its division at the Junior Olympics, and her under-18 team was fifth last year.
IN THE POOL Merced's Alison Miller is set to sign today with UOP water polo. An attacker and 2-meter defender for the Bears, she has a 3.21 GPA and has three Advanced Placement courses. She intends to major in pre-law at UOP, and was a first-teamer on the section Division 1 polo team.