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MHS standout midfielder Caitlynn Wong inks with Chico State
Caitlynn Wong signing
Manteca High's Caitlynn Wong is flanked by her mother Starr and father Chris while signing her letter of intent Friday to play soccer for Chico State. - photo by Dave Campbell

Not many people get a chance to live out their life-long dream. Manteca High’s Caitlynn Wong will get that chance.

The four-year All-Valley Oak League center midfielder for the Manteca Buffaloes girls soccer team inked a letter of intent Friday to continue her soccer career this fall with an athletic/academic scholarship at Division II Chico State.

“I have been playing soccer since I could walk,” Wong said. “Ever since I started playing in recreational leagues it has been a dream of mine to play in college.

“When I went to tournaments playing for San Juan South I got to know a lot of coaches, and I chose Chico State because when I walked onto the campus it felt like home. I loved the environment and what the school could offer.”

A standout on the 2020 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III and 2022 VOL championship teams, Buffaloes coach Justin Coenenberg saw the potential in Wong from day one. This past season, she posted 30 and 12 assists and earned All-VOL first-team honors.

“Caitlynn is one of the hardest-working players to have come through the program,” Coenenberg said. “From day one of her freshman year she had an immediate impact. As a coach, it always makes things easier when one of your top players is also one of your hardest workers. 

“She set the standard during her time here and makes everyone around her better. She takes care of business in the classroom and is a role model for younger players in the community.  When I think of an MHS soccer player she fits the mold.  I feel like it was always important to her to leave a legacy and be a part of the program’s history.”

Wong will be joining a strong program at Chico State. In her 21st year at the helm of the Wildcats, Chico State coach Kim Sutton, the winningest coach in Wildcats history, led Chico State to a second-place finish in the California Collegiate Athletic Association with 22 points to Sonoma State’s first-place 24 points, finishing 6-1-4 in the CCAA and 10-3-5. The Wildcats have been to the NCAA Championship tournament seven times in the past 16 seasons.