They’re already section champions and they’ve just signed to Division I universities.
So what is there left to accomplish?
“Win another championship and have an even better season than we did last year,” East Union senior Samantha Owen said.
Owen joined softball teammate Alejandra Rascon and golf star Brooke Riley in signing their national letters of intent Wednesday at the East Union library. The room was packed with friends, family and coaches who got to share some tear-jerking and light-hearted moments with the talented trio. Owen is on her way to Pacific, Rascon to CSU Northridge and Riley to Northwestern.
“These girls are special,” said Brian Goulart, who has gotten to coach the three standouts for four years as the head of the softball and girls golf teams. “They did all the things that needed to get done to get to this point. They made a lot of sacrifices, missed Friday night football games and opportunities to go see movies with their friends. I just applaud them for making this special for all of us. The school can celebrate them.”
Riley is in the middle of another outstanding season on the links. She’s making her third straight CIF State Championships appearance next Tuesday at Poppy Hills. The two-time Sac-Joaquin Section medalist and four-time Valley Oak League MVP is looking to improve on her third-place finish at state from a year ago. This past Monday she finished in a ninth-place tie at the CIF/NCGA Northern California Regional to qualify.
Riley committed to Northwestern in January. She’ll join a program that started 2015 ranked No. 1 among NCAA Division I schools.
“It has been an amazing week,” Riley said. “The postseason is such a fun part of the season, and getting to sign in the middle of it just makes it all the more special. I’m just super excited for college golf.”
Rascon had been eager to put pen to paper since committing to Northridge her sophomore year. The four-time All-VOL catcher was named the Manteca Bulletin’s All-Area Defensive Player of the Year last spring after allowing just one base runner to steal a base, and she didn’t give up a passed ball until the second round of the SJS Division III playoffs.
“It feels more official now,” Rascon said. “I’m really happy, and I’m just glad I got to share this moment with Sam and Brooke. They are such great people and very hard workers.
“My goal was to go to a D1 school with good weather, so it’s perfect,” Rascon added. I’m also not too far away from my parents. When I made my visit it felt like home.”
The Lancers won the section championship and finished 30-3. They were also named the Cal-Hi Sports Division III State Team of the Year. A big reason for the team’s success was Samantha Owen, already a defensive dynamo at shortstop, Owen enjoyed a breakout campaign in which she for a .643 average, nine home runs and 61 RBIs. The All-Area MVP was named to the MaxPreps UnderClass All-American team, three Cal-Hi Sports All-State teams and the FloSoftball All-American second team.
Of all the individual accomplishments, getting to verbally commit to a four-year university before her senior year tops the list.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Owen said. “I’m happy with how the process went. If I hadn’t gone through all the struggles I wouldn’t be where I am today and going to the school I want to be. I’m just very blessed.”