Sports

Futures on the line

Central Catholic students Steven Vasquez, left, Stephen Spitulski, cominic Galas, Clay DePauw and Alex Young are all college-bound.
Central Catholic students Steven Vasquez, left, Stephen Spitulski, cominic Galas, Clay DePauw and Alex Young are all college-bound. Modesto Bee

High school students across the country signed their names to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, sealing their future with the colleges of their choice in exchange for some sort of scholarship.

Within the Stanislaus District, it appears that at least 22 local athletes have done the same.

Those athletes range from Merced's Jarrett Sparks -- a heavily recruited receiver who chose Cal over several other high-profile four-year colleges -- to Sonora sisters Jordan and Lexi Kopf, who signed with UC Irvine to play soccer.

At Central Catholic High, five male athletes signed letters. Four of them were players from the school's football team, which won a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship and played in the CIF Division III State Championship Bowl Game.

As expected, Raiders offensive lineman Dominic Galas signed with Cal and tight end Alex Young signed with UNLV. They were joined by offensive lineman Clay De Pauw (Sacramento State), linebacker Stephen Spitulski (Western New Mexico) and wrestler Steven Vasquez (Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo).

"This is exciting," Central Catholic administrator Cathi Padula said. "I don't know if we've ever had so many kids sign."

A similar ceremony was going on at Beyer High, where five female athletes signed letters.

Jennie Marshall, the 2007 Modesto Bee girls soccer player of the year, signed with BYU, while her teammate, Alyssa Stearns, signed with UC Riverside. The Patriots also had two track and field athletes -- Crystal Esparza (distance running) and Kendall Morris (shot put/discus) -- sign with Cal. Softball player Julie Aiello, who committed last year, also signed with San Jose State.

The area's lone men's soccer signee hasn't played for his high school since his freshman year.

Cal inked multi-position player Kyle Lunt, who played for Modesto High as a freshman, then opted to concentrate on travel and club ball instead. He's been a member of the Northern California Olympic Development Program for the last four years.

Two football players from the Trans-Valley League made commitments.

Escalon's Nick Aprile, the TVL Most Valuable Player, signed with UC Davis as a defensive back. And Modesto Christian lineman Caleb Wray received a full-ride scholarship to play for Dakota Wesleyan in the NAIA.

Two junior college players with local ties also signed letters Wednesday.

Marquell Colston, who played at Davis High and then Modesto Junior College, signed to play running back at New Mexico State. Colston was the Golden Gate Conference All-Purpose Player of the Year.

And Andrew Beam, a quarterback who played for Escalon and then San Joaquin Delta College, signed a deal to play for Bowling Green in Ohio, a member of the Mid-American Conference.

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at wdeboard@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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