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Four Ripon seniors taking the next step

Sifuentes, Adema, Unruh and Heersink all ink letters of intent

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Four Ripon seniors taking the next step

Ripon High senior point guard Efren Sifuentes signed a national letter of intent to join Cal State East Bay last week.

Bulletin file photo/


POSTED May 21, 2009 2:32 a.m.
It’s been a busy week in the City of Ripon in terms of high school student athletes moving on to the college-level.

Ripon High’s Efren Sifuentes and Ripon Christian’s Candice Adema, Matt Unruh and Will Heersink all made it official in the past few days.

Sifuentes, a three-sport athlete that transferred to Ripon after two years at Modesto Christian, made a big impact for the Indians in a short amount of time.

Sifuentes was looking long and hard at continuing his football career at the collegiate level before participating at the Six-Counties all-star basketball game at Modesto Junior College May 8.

Sifuentes scored 14 points in the flow of the offense, showing all the requisite skills to succeed at the point guard position at the next level.

The showing was so impressive that the scouting staff on hand hailing from Cal State East Bay started talks with Sifuentes and eventually offered a scholarship to the Hayward-based school.

Sifuentes, a Castro Valley native, says the opportunity to play basketball close to home was far more alluring than continuing his football career out of state.

“They’re bringing in another point guard from Berkeley High,” Sifuentes said. “We’re going to be competing and splitting time. It’s a really good chance for me to come in and compete right away.”

Sifuentes, who spoke in glowing terms of Ripon head coach Rod Wright Wednesday, scored 13 points and handed out three assists a night as an off guard during his senior season with the Indians.

 “Efren works hard, he sets goals and he accomplishes them,” Wright said. “I hope he makes the most of his opportunity at Hayward. He can come off his own dribble drive and create space for himself.

“You’ve got to have that at the college level.”

At Ripon Christian, a trio of talented seniors announced plans to move on this week.

Unruh, the 2008 Bulletin defensive player of the year, a two-time Trans Valley League defensive player of the year and a 2009 TVL Scholar-Athlete, signed on to continue his baseball career with Fresno Pacific.

Unruh batted nearly .400 during his senior season including six homeruns, thanks in part, he says, to a rigorous offseason workout program spent under the guidance of current minor leaguer Adam Heether of Ripon.

“He was a big help,” Unruh said. “Learning from him and applying what I learned during the season.  Jimmy Katakis was a big help as well. (RC) is a great program to improve in, and John (DeVisser) is going to continue that.”

Unruh was signed as a utility player at Fresno Pacific, and will have an opportunity to compete for a starting spot as a freshman.

“I’m excited about that, for sure,” Unruh said. “That’s only going to help at the next level. At RC I was obligated to play second base so that’s what I did. But I am looking forward to (playing other positions).”

Bulletin All-Area Most Valuable Player Adema also signed on the dotted line this week, agreeing to continue her promising volleyball career with Westmont College of Santa Barbara.

Adema was arguably one of the best setters in the Sac-Joaquin Section in 2008, and helped lead the Lady Knights to back-to-back Division V championships.

Will Heersink, the lightning-quick tailback for Ripon Christian’s bounce-back 2008 squad, will also be moving on.

Heersink averaged nearly eight yards per carry in his senior season with the Knights, racking up 1,028 yards on the ground to complement 422 yards receiving (23.44 yards per catch).

The numbers were good enough for Dordt College of Iowa to sign Heersink to a joint football and track scholarship.

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