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La Jolla athletes sign for future

For two La Jolla High School students, continuing their football careers in college won’t mean going far from home. Vikings defensive back Robbie Beathard and kicker Lee Abelkop have signed letters of intent to play for the University of San Diego.

Beathard and Abelkop are just two of the 10 athletes from La Jolla’s three high schools who made commitments last week to college athletic programs. The first day that athletes in football, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ water polo and field hockey could make their college athletic commitments official was Feb. 4, and plenty took advantage by signing national letters of intent.

“I’m really excited to go there, because it has everything I’m looking for in a college,” Beathard said. “The level of football they play at is very competitive.”

Close to home

Beathard considered other colleges in the Midwest and Northeast, but said he settled on USD because of its combination of a strong academic reputation and an athletic program that fit with his goals. The fact that the campus is just a few miles from home was a bonus.
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“It will be great that my parents and my high school football coach will be able to come see me play,” Beathard said. “A lot of kids feel like they’ve got to get out of San Diego because they’ve grown up here, but for me, it’s kind of the opposite. I don’t know why anybody would want to leave.”

Beyond football

La Jolla Country Day’s Doug Rogers committed to Middlebury College’s football program. Lia Sagerman from The Bishop’s School signed with the field hockey team at Tufts, and Country Day soccer player Zach Wolfenzon committed to Harvard.

In girls’ soccer, Country Day’s Sierra Ferreira signed with USD, and Lindsey Holman-Kelley committed to Wake Forest.

Three players from the Bishop’s boys’ water polo team have committed to play in college without athletic scholarships. Justin Wolfe and Demian Tschirn will play at UCLA, and Scott Siegel will continue his career in the pool at Cal, Knights coach Doug Peabody said.

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“When I visited UCLA, I just fell in love with the coaches and players,” Wolfe said. “I liked the environment and could see how I’d be a fit there.”

Signing a national letter of intent allows student-athletes to commit to one college athletic program with the guarantee that a position will be open, and it lets coaches fill spots knowing that athletes won’t switch to another school at the last minute.