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Signing Day: Athletes on Another Level

On Nov. 14, six Warriors signed letters of intent to continue their athletic career at the collegiate level

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Photo by Bahar Khezri

Jamie Yeh, senior

Sport: Swim

School: Yale

How many years have you been playing your sports?

My mom attempted to be my first coach [when] I was around three, but if you count actual training years, that was since I was around six or seven years old. I’m 16 years old now, so around 10 years.

What is your favorite aspect of swimming?

The fact that you can see improvement in your time and it’s not a relative sport, so how good you are does not depend on what someone else thinks, or how someone else judges you because everything can be seen through a time. If you’re working hard and pushing your limits, you can see the improvements in the milliseconds.

What is your favorite memory in high school sports?

My favorite memory was when I was warming down at the end of league championships when they announced my name and I tied for Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) with a friend from Northwood.

What are you looking forward to the most about college sports?

[I’m looking the team atmosphere because they’re a very close-knit team, which I got to experience during my recruiting trip. Also, getting to work with an amazing coach. I am also looking forward to race with other Ivy League teams, especially because I’ve known many of the other athletes from previous years.

What were your thoughts when you first verbally committed?

I was shocked and really excited. And honestly it’s still not clicking for me right now, I cannot believe it happened.

Why did you choose Yale?

I love the environment so much. There’s so much food around campus and so many shops around that almost give it an Irvine vibe. There is great focus on the undergraduates and I find the campus the friendliest out of all the other colleges I have visited.

Do you have any advice for aspiring athletes?

We’re called student-athletes for a reason – we still have to fulfill the student aspect and not just the athlete. You can’t throw in half-hearted attempts at anything. And especially since I have a younger sister who is going to be in this team for the next four years, I think it’s important for her as well as everyone else to remember that improvement is much more important than whatever everyone else thinks at the current moment.

Can you list some of your achievements?

I am on the Scholastic All-American team for 2018. Last year, I qualified for CIF A Finals in both of my events and was also named MVP of Woodbridge and Pacific Coast League. I hold the 100 backstroke record for our school. Last summer, I qualified for Summer Junior Nationals.

Is there anything else you like to do beyond sports?

I love to sing and draw whenever I have time. I love writing poetry. In terms of extracurriculars, I am president of the Writers’ Block club and I have gotten a lot of support from my friends in the Golden Arrow, in which I am a second year editor and currently the In-Depth editor.

 

Photo by Bahar Khezri

Kaitlyn Lim, senior

Sport: Softball

School: Stanford

How many years have you been playing softball?

I started when I was 10, so seven right now.

What is your favorite aspect of softball?

At first it seems like you’re doing terrible, but it lets you grow. I like how competitive it is and it’s fun to play.

What is your favorite memory in high school sports?

It’s probably anything after games. We’d get dinner after every game, so that’s what I would remember the most.

What are you looking forward to the most about college sports?

Meeting new people and being able to make a new life for myself. The coaches were really good and I bonded with the coaches really well. The girls on the team and even everyone at the university were really welcoming. Everyone was just really understanding.

What were your thoughts when you first verbally committed?

It’s kind of a funny story because I was verbal to two schools earlier than this, but it ended up not working out. Once Stanford came into the picture, it was everyone’s dream and it’s like the best university, so it was an easy decision.

Why did you choose Stanford?

I think the location is really good – the flight [home] is only an hour or less. The university is probably one of the best and the softball team is also in a very competitive division or league, so I found it to be my best option to really compete and grow as a student and an athlete.

Do you have any advice for aspiring athletes?

I would say to wait until you find the school of your dreams. [With my] other previous schools, I rushed into it and they weren’t my number one choice, so I would say to wait until you find the school you really really want to go to. Don’t let anyone else force your decision, follow what you really want.

Can you list some of your achievements in softball?

I’ve been league MVP my sophomore and junior year. I’ve made first team all-league all three years that I’ve played. I lead the team in home runs every year.

Is there anything else you like to do beyond sports?

At school, I’m pretty much just involved in softball. Outside of school, I volunteer and help coach younger teams. Softball takes a lot of my time.

 

Photo by Bahar Khezri

Juliana Witting, senior

Sport: Swim

School: University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

How many years have you been swimming?

I’ve been swimming competitively for 14 years.

What is your favorite aspect of swim?

My favorite part about swimming is the community and the people you grow up with. I have met so many amazing swimmers – some are local, some are from the other side of the country and some are from the other side of the world and we are all connected through our sport.

What is your favorite memory in high school sports?

My most memorable moment in high school swimming was sophomore year when myself and three of my other teammates – all of whom have graduated – won every single event (two events each) at league championships.

What are you looking forward to the most about college sports?

What I’m most looking forward to in college swimming is combining the competitive and family-like atmosphere of club swimming with the fun and light atmosphere of high school swimming.

What were your thoughts when you first verbally committed?

I was honestly relieved the recruiting process was over because it got pretty stressful over the summer having to constantly talk to a bunch of coaches. I knew early on that UCSB was where I wanted to go.

Why did you choose UCSB?

You can’t beat great academics, amazing swim program and being right in the beach.  

Do you have any advice for aspiring athletes?

All the early mornings and the sore muscles will be worth it when you commit to your dream college.

Can you list some of your achievements in swim?

I was in varsity for four years, multiple time League champion (individual events), multiple time CIF finalist (individual event), Woodbridge as a team placed second at CIF, scholar-athlete, Rookie of the Year Award (freshman year) and Woodbridge high school record holder in the 100 yard breaststroke and medley relay.

Is there anything you like to do beyond swim?

Besides swimming, I love to play drums, piano and guitar. I also love scuba diving, horseback riding, rock climbing and snowboarding.

 

Photo by Bahar Khezri

Amanda Anderson, senior

Sport: Swim

School: Azusa Pacific University (APU)

How many years have you been swimming?

I have been swimming since I was six, so for a little over 11 years.

What is your favorite aspect about swim?

I love to see my teammates. I work hard and encourage them every single day at practice.

What is your favorite memory in high school sports?

My most memorable memory for high school swim is making CIF finals all three years so far in high school!

What are you looking forward to the most about college sports?

I am looking forward to college swim because I am wanting to compete at the NCAA’s (nationals) and represent APU.

What were your thoughts when you first verbally committed?

I knew that when I verbally committed that this was the place I wanted to spend the next four years of my life while doing the sport I love.

Why did you choose Azusa Pacific University?

I choose APU because I connected most with the coach and the swimmers. They also have a very strong business program which is what I am intending to major in.

Do you have any advice for aspiring athletes?

For all of the other younger athletes, I would just say to have fun with whatever sport you do and realize that you have to work hard to get where you want to be in life and enjoy every moment of it!

Can you list some of your achievements in swim?

Some of my highest achievements in swim is going to CIF finals all three years so far in high school and qualifying as well as competing at Junior Nationals.

Is there anything you like to do beyond swim?

Besides swim, I hope to teach others how to swim because I want to continue to show my love for swim for the rest of my life!

 

Photo by Bahar Khezri

Yuki Yoshihara

Sport: Golf

School: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

How many years have you been playing golf?

I have been playing golf since I was four years old, so I’ve been playing for a really long time.

What is your favorite aspect of golf?

When I first started playing golf, I absolutely did not like it at all. It was super boring, but when I played in my first tournament, the competitive environment and the people helped me a lot.

What is your favorite memory in high school sports?

I was in Varsity golf for four years, so I think the most memorable experience was when we won the league championship versus University [High]. I think we won by one stroke, so that was the most fun I had in a while.

What are you looking forward to the most about college sports?

I just went to an official visit and I can just imagine the difference between high school golf and college golf and it’s very, very competitive compared to high school golf, so I’m very excited about playing against other college players.

What were your thoughts when you first verbally committed?

It was such a struggle for me because I had different options with different colleges and it was stressful for me to really pick one because that’s four years of my college [life]. When I called them and said that I wanted to be a part of the UCLA team, I started crying and it was totally emotional.

Why did you choose UCLA?

I chose UCLA because of the program they had. The coaches that I met were very honest and very caring and they want every single player to be the best.

Do you have any advice for aspiring athletes?

My advice is to just have fun. I think a lot of parents tend to push the players to be the best, but I think that you need to be yourself and you need to like the game and you need to play and have fun.

Can you list some of your achievements in golf?

I played a lot of American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) invitational, which you have to get invited to play in it, so you have to be top 50 in the nation. I played in the United States Golf Association (USGA) event, which is an American government tournament, so you need to be invited to those too.

Is there anything you like to do beyond golf?

I like to go on hikes and love doing a lot of things, so exercise, running [and] hiking.

 

Photo by Bahar Khezri

Jenny Leitman

Sport: Volleyball

School: University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

How many years have you been playing your sport?

I have been playing for five years.

What is your favorite aspect about volleyball?

[I enjoy the] teamwork. Every girl is helping each other and is there for each other.

What is your favorite memory in high school sports?

Whenever we go on away tournaments and stay in hotels. I feel that’s where we do most of our bonding. We play many fun games and just get to know each other really well. That’s a great way to start the season.

What are you looking forward to the most about college sports?

Just continuing to play a sport I love. I’ve played a lot of sports and this is definitely been the one I love and want to play as long as I can.

What were your thoughts when you first verbally committed?

Crazy! It came so fast and I’m so happy with where I’m going and ending up. I’m just super happy.

Why did you choose UCSB?

I wanted to stay in California and going to a UC was definitely was where I wanted to end up… [With UCSB], I love the beach and it had everything I wanted.

Do you have any advice for aspiring athletes?

Keep working hard and don’t give up. I was told in my sophomore year that I could never play in college and I just kept working hard and training.

Can you list some of your achievements?

My freshman year I was on the watchlist. My sophomore year I got injured a lot, so I didn’t get anything sophomore year. [Every year in] high school I got first team all-league. Yesterday, I got coach’s award. At Junior Olympics, we got fifth in the nation. My sophomore year we got second.

Is there anything else you like to do beyond sports?

I like beach volleyball and hanging out with my family. I want to spend as much time with them before I go.

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Signing Day: Athletes on Another Level