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15 Mira Costa Athletes Announce Commitments on Signing Day

Feb 07, 2024 09:17PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Mira Costa student-athletes on winter signing day. Front row, l-r: Juliana O'Brien, Gwen Pidd, Kina Desai, Sarah Shurtleff, Kate Trudgen, Mya Clarke. Back row: Reese Leonard, Michael Sultemeier, Owen Lagerwey, Marco Bottene, Grant Gilmer, Maddox McEwen, Parker Stickney, Owen Franck, Alito McBean. Photo credit: Noki Lam.

Fifteen Mira Costa student-athletes celebrated National Signing Day on Wednesday, announcing their college commitments for their respective sports.

The February signing day follows a signing day held last fall, when the first wave of student-athletes announced their commitments. A third official signing day will take place in the spring.

The student-athletes, and their personal statements, are as follows:

Marco Bottene: Marco will be attending the University of Pennsylvania and playing for the Quakers men's soccer team. He plans on studying finance at the Wharton School of Business. Marco is currently in his fourth varsity season; his second at Mira Costa. He plays for Beach FC and earned ECNL All-American honors in 2023. He is ranked 151st in the nation on TopDrawerSoccer and 55th by his position. Marco would like to thank his coaches, friends, and family for shaping him into who he is today. He is very excited to start his soccer career at UPenn. Go Quakers!

Mya Clarke: Mya will be attending Cal State Bakersfield in the fall to play on their Division 1 soccer team. Mya has been a member of the Mira Costa Girls varsity soccer team since her freshman year. She is also a dual sport athlete and has been running on the Mira Costa varsity track and field team since her junior year. Mya currently plays on Beach FC ECNL/RL where she is the team captain and plays center back. She has been playing club soccer for over eight years and soccer as a whole for over 12, which makes it such a significant part of her life. Mya has been a scholar-athlete since her freshman year and has received honor roll all four years. She would like to thank her family, friends, teammates, and coaches for the unconditional support over her entire soccer career. She can’t wait to continue playing the sport she loves in college. Go Roadrunners!

Kina Desai: Kina will be attending Duke University next fall as a D1 coxswain for Duke women’s rowing, where she also plans to study at the Sanford School of Public Policy. She has been on Marina Aquatic Center Junior Rowing since eighth grade, where she started as a rower before becoming a varsity coxswain. Kina has raced at the Southwest Youth Championship (Regionals), San Diego Fall Classic, and San Diego Crew Classic multiple times throughout her nearly five years on the team. One of her most memorable races was steering the Varsity 8+ boat at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston - the largest regatta in the world with over 200,000 spectators. She performs both in the classroom and on the water as she has been recognized as a National Merit Semi-Finalist and AP Scholar. Kina would like to thank her family, friends, teammates, and coaches for their unwavering support. She is very excited to continue her athletic and academic career at Duke next year. Go Blue Devils!

Owen Franck: Owen will be attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO) and competing for both cross country and track and field. He feels that this team will be extremely competitive (hoping to be in the top five in the nation in the collegiate world), and he knows that the education at SLO is excellent. Owen joined cross country and track and field as a freshman in high school, and with every race and every year, he got better at running distance races. In his junior year, he overcame injuries to be the Bay League Champion in the three-mile race in October 2023. He placed third overall in the CIF State Championships, running a 5k in 15:01 min in November 2023. This officially broke the South Bay record, making him the fastest South Bay runner in the event to date. He now has new goals for college and is motivated to continue to improve and become a force to be reckoned with in the college and professional running world. He would like to thank the community of Manhattan Beach, his teachers, coaches and family for the support throughout his life and now for his success in a sport he absolutely loves. Go Mustangs!

Grant Gilmer: Grant will be studying history and playing soccer at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York. He has played football, baseball and soccer for Mira Costa, earning honor roll and scholar-athlete awards every semester as well as All-League honors for soccer and Pitcher of the Year for baseball. On the soccer field, Grant plays winger and wingback. He played club soccer for Steel United CA for many years before moving to Beach FC ECNL, where he will finish out his club career this summer. After St. Lawrence, Grant plans to go to law school. Grant would like to thank his teammates and coaches for always pushing him, and his family and friends for supporting him in every way. Go Saints!

Owen Lagerwey: Owen has committed to University of North Carolina at Asheville to play Division 1 men's soccer. Owen has been part of the Mira Costa soccer program all four years. He is a center midfielder who has played club soccer since the age of seven. His most recent club is Beach FC, after playing many years with Steel United. He wants to thank all of his coaches, teammates and family for all the support and guidance along the way. Go Bulldogs!

Reese Leonard: After four years on the Mustangs varsity football team, countless hours on the field and in the gym, Reese received a scholarship offer to play Division 1 football for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. On December 20, 2023, Reese signed his National Letter of Intent and committed to four more years of playing the sport he loves in a town surrounded by beautiful mountains and a short drive to the beaches and waves of the central California coast with a stellar education. He'll continue on as both a wide receiver for Poly and will continue to be a Mustang. He couldn't have done it without his mom and dad and little brother, Luke, supporting and pushing him every step of the way. Go Mustangs!

Alito McBean: Alito will attend San Diego State University as a member of their baseball team. He has been on the Costa varsity team since 10th grade as a left-handed pitcher. His highlights include a 10-1 record freshman year, recording 85 strikeouts. Sophomore year, he kept spray charts perfectly for Coach Ramsey while saving his arm, and junior year he ended the year with an impressive CIF playoff outing vs. Cypress, recording four strikeouts in two innings. Alito learned the game as a little boy at Hermosa Beach Little League's Clark Field, a proven D1 pipeline. In middle school he played for the Broncos Baseball Club, well known for coaching the area's top talent. Alito would like to thank the local Hermosa and Manhattan Beach dads for volunteering an enormous amount of their time prepping fields, coaching, and intimidating umpires for the past 10 years and the moms for keeping everyone fed and having fun. He thanks his mom, dad, and little brother AJ for always being there. Special thanks to Troll and Luiz at the Yard Fitness Headquarters in Hermosa Beach for getting him stronger, helping to raise him and for being such positive influences since he was born. Finally, a huge thank you to Coach Diver for the fantastic support and for being such an integral part of his late recruiting process to sign with San Diego State. Go Aztecs!

Maddox McEwen: Maddox will be attending UC Irvine to play Division 1 water polo for the Anteaters, which are ranked among the top five teams in the country. He has been on the varsity Mira Costa water polo team for four years. He started playing club water polo when he was 11 years old back in 2016, and is still playing currently with the Trojans. Maddox is also on the Mira Costa swim team. Maddox would like to thank his parents, coaches and teammates for all their support and can't wait to continue his water polo career. Go Eaters!

Juliana O'Brien: Juliana will be attending Columbia University next fall and competing for the Lions softball team. Juliana has been a four-year member of the Costa varsity softball team, where she plays shortstop. She has received Bay League honors each season and during her junior year won Most Outstanding Player, along with Daily Breeze All-Area and All-CIF. Juliana also plays club softball for the Ohana Tigers Quarles Founders Team where she is team captain. Juliana is a dual sport athlete and has played on the Costa varsity basketball team all four years. She received Bay League and Daily Breeze All-Area honors her junior season. As a senior captain, she was named MVP in the two tournaments Costa won and is the lead scorer averaging 16 points per game. She is a four-year scholar-athlete and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Juliana is grateful for the love and support of her family, friends, and coaches - both softball and basketball - over the last several years. She cannot wait to further her academic and athletic interests at Columbia. Go Lions!

Gwendolyn Pidd: Gwendolyn has committed to Biola University for women’s water polo. Gwendolyn started playing splashball at the age of five and started competing with South Bay United Water Polo Club at age eight. She spent four years as a varsity player for the Mira Costa women’s water polo team. In addition, Gwen has been a part of the Olympic Development Team for the past four years and has played at the national level. Gwen would like to thank her parents for all their love, support, and all the car rides. She would also like to thank Coach Reichardt for all his support and guidance throughout the years. Additionally, she would like to thank Coach Steve for introducing her to splashball, Coach Emily for teaching her the basics, Coach Zach for believing in her and helping her move through ODP, and Coaches Trevor and Morgan for helping her take water polo to the collegiate level. Finally, she’d like to thank all of her club coaches, ODP coaches, teammates, friends and fans. Gwen is excited to continue her water polo career at the collegiate level. Go Eagles!

Sarah Shurtleff: Sarah will be attending and playing softball for the Merrimack College Warriors located in North Andover, Massachusetts. Merrimack is a Division I school in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Sarah was ranked one of the top 50 pitchers in the country for the class of 2024 by Extra Innings magazine and the 87th overall player in her class. She is a four-year varsity letterman, earning Bay League first team honors last year while helping Mira Costa earn a berth in the CIF Playoffs. Sarah has qualified for CIF every year of her high school career and also earned multiple scholar-athlete awards. Sarah plays travel softball for the Ohana Tigers Quarles Gold team with her fellow Mira Costa teammates Juju (Juliana) O’Brien and Kate Trudgen. In the past she has played for Explosion Premier 18u, Wildcats 16u and California Gold. Sarah assisted her teams in qualifying for PGF Premium, the top softball tournament in the country, three times. She has also participated in multiple Gold level national tournaments such as Surf City, Zoom into June and Colorado Sparkler as well as being a member of Team Ireland in the Triple Crown International Challenge. Sarah has volunteered for the Redondo Sunset Champions League, which enables special needs athletes to participate in baseball. She would like to thank her family, friends, and coaches for their endless support and encouragement. Go Warriors!

Parker Stickney: Parker will be attending UC Santa Barbara and competing for the Gauchos cross country and track teams. Parker has been a member of Mira Costa's varsity cross country and track and field teams for all four years. He was first team All-CIF Division 1 in the mile as a junior, three-time league champ, All-Bay League first team, and has multiple grade level time records in cross country and track. He was also a part of the scoring five of the CIF Championship team in 2021, and has scored in every race since sophomore year. He hopes to break more records this upcoming track season. He would like to thank his teammates, coaches and parents for always believing in him. Go Gauchos! Beat Poly. (Sorry, Owen)

Michael Sultemeier: Michael will be playing football and attending UCLA. Michael has been a four-year member of the Mira Costa football team and a three-year varsity starter. He has earned All-League, All-Area and All-CIF Honors. Michael was also a member of the track and field team. He would like to thank his family, teammates and coaches, especially Coach Jeff Michael, who have helped him achieve his dream of playing Division 1 football. Go Bruins!

Kate Trudgen: Kate will attend the College of the Holy Cross to continue her softball career at the Division 1 level. She is a four-year varsity athlete for Mira Costa softball and has received multiple Bay League and Daily Breeze titles. Along with softball, she also has played basketball since her freshman year and has made amazing memories. She currently plays travel softball for Ohana 18u Gold and for the past two years, she has played for Team Netherlands in the International Tournament. Kate plays second base and outfield along with being a strong hitter for her team, last year receiving Offensive Player of the Year. She is a scholar-athlete, maintaining excellent grades since her freshman year. Kate would like to thank her friends, family, and coaches for everything they have taught her over the years. She cannot wait to play softball for the next four years. Go Crusaders!

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