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Mendola is Lathrops first college athlete
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Desiree Mendola is joined by, from left, Angelica and Ronald Mendola, her parents; LHS Athletic Director Nicole Burrows; and LHS Vice Principal Bill Pinol. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Desiree Mendola was shocked and surprised to discover that she’s the first student athlete at Lathrop High to sign a letter of intent to play college sports.

She also cherishes that honor.

The Spartans utility player – she plays catcher, third base and shortstop – made it official Friday, signing on the dotted line to go to Northwest University in Kirkland, WA.

“We visited other schools but this one made her feel right at home,” said her mother Angelica Mendola.

Desiree agreed, saying, “I could feel a real connection.”

Part of it was the religious aspect of the Christian school, which was founded by the Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God.

She wants to be part of the Eagles, who are in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.

“I like their style of play and their coaching staff,” said Desiree Mendola, who acknowledged Lathrop High coach Joe Lopez and the travel team USA Fast-pitch 18 Gold under the leadership of Gilbert Flores for her development.

She was sought as a utility player but hopes to eventually settle on one position – third base.

Lathrop High used the cafeteria for this landmark event. Mendola was joined by her folks, Angelica and Ronald, LHS Vice Principal Bill Pinol, and LHS Athletic Director Nicole Burrows, for her signing.

“This is a huge deal (for Lathrop High),” said Burrows.

For Mendola, she came away with a sense of accomplishment after inking her letter of intent. “Right now, I have so much school pride,” she added.

Desiree, in addition, is looking forward to moving to Washington, a place she visited for the first time two weeks ago while at Northwest. “That was also my first time out of state,” she said.

Mendola is planning to study Political Science with a minor in Psychology.