Senior athletes sign to colleges

Manyak: ‘the dream I have had for over a decade became a reality’

Since student-athletes could not have a signing party at Oak Park High School due to fire closures, senior Sarah Shulze hosted a signing party on Nov. 14 for eight OPHS seniors and one Agoura High School senior.

Senior Sarah Shulze, who signed to the University of Wisconsin for track and cross country, hosted the signing event because she thought that they should sign together.

“We kind of just made it a signing day breakfast for all the athletes that were signing and all their coaches and friends,” Shulze said.

Since AHS senior Zach Tripp was unable to have an official signing event at his own school due to closures, Shulze included him in the OPHS signing. The signing event was open to all AHS athletes, according to Tripp.

Senior Tyler Bradbury is to join Tripp to play Division I lacrosse. They will be roommates and teammates at the University of Utah.

“I’m very excited to play with Zach … we have played together since day one and I am fortunate enough to play with one of my best childhood friends at the collegiate level,” Bradbury said. “We have always been rivals on the field during high school season, but now we’re finally going to be on the same side and I can’t wait.”

Senior Max Manyak has been committed to playing lacrosse at the University of Notre Dame since his sophomore year at OPHS.

“I’ve been dreaming of being a Division 1 athlete since I was a little kid,” Manyak said. “The dream I have had for over a decade became a reality — it’s hard to put into words how out of this world amazing that feels. I almost didn’t think it was real.”

Senoir Lili Follett lost her house to the Woolsey fire. She signed to the University of California San Diego to pursue rowing. While Follett plays volleyball at Oak Park, she knew back in fifth grade that she did not want to play volleyball in college.

“I picked rowing instead of volleyball because [volleyball] is a very, very intense sport on your joints,” Follett said. “I knew that when I’m 30, if I play volleyball in college, I’m going to need three hip replacements, a knee replacement and I was going to be super injured since I had already been getting these injuries since seventh grade, from overuse. Rowing is much less intense on your joints.”

Follett said that signing to UCSD made life a little easier on her since she would only have to fill out one application while recovering from the Woolsey fire.

While senior Sylvia Cruz-Albrecht will be pursuing track and cross country at Harvard University, she actually signed a plain piece of paper at the signing party since Ivy League schools do not follow the same procedure as most. The letters that were signed by other athletes were letters of intent. These documents ensure that the signing athletes will pursue their sport at the school they are signing to. Letters of intent are also sometimes referred to as letters of celebration. Harvard University does not give out athletic scholarships, so there are no forms that need signatures.

“Sarah [Shulze], who is my teammate and a good friend, convinced me to sign. So, I pretended to sign,” Cruz-Albrecht said. “It was really nice to be there along my fellow athletes. It was pretty special and unexpected.”

Senior Jordan Dem also did not sign a letter while at Shulze’s signing party. He was officially accepted to the College of Wooster on Nov. 14 and said that he will sign the letter of celebration at a later signing party at OPHS, which will be toward the end of first semester.

Since senior Danielle Gould will be attending a Division III school like Dem, there were no official papers to be signed. Gould, who has been playing volleyball for 10 years, will continue playing at New York University.

“I fell in love with New York City and knew I had to be there,” Gould wrote to the Talon. “As a whole, the school values success inside and outside the classroom and that ultimately was the reason I fell in love.”

Senior Taylor Hunter is also pursuing volleyball. While Gould will be playing volleyball across the country, Hunter will be staying local and attending California State University, Northridge, in the fall of 2019.

“The school felt like the best fit for me because of the environment and the coaches were super nice and I could see myself there for the next four years continuing my education as well,” Hunter wrote to the Talon. “Now that I have officially signed and committed to play in college a lot of stress is off my shoulders. Now, I just have to focus on my grades and improving my game and preparing for the collegiate level.”