National Signing day began at 6:45 this morning at the Tucson Soccer Academy where 14 local standouts made their college commitments official. The impressive list included All-American Hector Banegas of Rincon/University (Pima) and Olivia Lai of Catalina Foothills.
Pusch Ridge keeper Juliana Martinez chose to play her college ball at Dordt College in Iowa – literally.
“This is a great opportunity for me and it happened by accident,” Martinez said. “I went on their website and put my name in and I got an email thanking me for applying to the school. I asked them if they had a soccer program and they invited me out to practice. The coach called me a few days later and told me he wanted me and they had a scholarship for me!”
The day moved to Catalina Foothills and Ironwood Ridge where a crew of athletes signed to play football including Rhett Rodriguez and Ken Samson to the University of Arizona, Max Michalczik to NAU, Daniel Peabody to New Mexico and Kyle Breed to Arizona State.
Michalczik is the son of Arizona assistant coach Jim Michalczik and his wife Jennifer.
“I am so proud of Max,” Jennifer said. “I’m proud he went to a college that best suited him. He’s such a great young man, we are so proud of him.”
Jennifer was a Washington volleyball standout in college so she has experienced both sides of “signing day.”
“I think it’s a lot better from this side,” she added. “I know all the hard work and hurdles that he had to go through to get here. As a mom, this is such a joy!”
The day shifted over to Sabino where Drew Dixon made his commitment to play football for the Wildcats became official.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Dixon said. “Ever since I was a little kid this is what I’ve dreamed about.”
Dixon will join Rodriguez and Samson along with Tucson’s Davajay Hinton in a Wildcat uniform.
Sabino also signed a trio of softball players to the next level including utility player Jessica Bauer.
“This is a little surreal,” Bauer’s mother Maria said. “She worked hard and she put everything she had into this, it’s a commitment that I just don’t understand – all the work and the recruiting process and she handled it well.”
A trip to Cienega brought us 13 athletes signing to the next level including Breabon Bolton, Chris Vega and Aaron Aros. The trio will be playing football for Mesa next year.
Meanwhile, Canyon del Oro was handing a ceremony across town with Jonas Leader signing with NAU and Zach Bohnenkamp with Northern State.
Marana held a ceremony in the afternoon, including the signing of basketball standout Quinnesha Mitchell to Pima.
The day ended at Salpointe where eight standouts signed their Letters including Arizona golf commit Trevor Werbylo.
Robert Johnson, Northland College, Football
Canyon del Oro
Jonas Leader, NAU. Football
Zach Bohnenkamp, Northern State University, Football
Caleb Sanchez, Pima, Soccer
Olivia Lai, American University, Soccer
Rhett Rodriguez, Arizona, Football
Max Michalczik, NAU, Football
Bryan Beckon, Southern Utah, Football
Derrick Murray, Glendale, Football
Blake Rashad, Pima, Football
Jimmy Stewart, South Dakota School of Mines, Football
Brandon Smith, Pima, Football
Layne Pullen, Cornell College, Soccer
Caitlyn Swift, Pima, Soccer
Jenessa Jarvis, Concordia University in Nebraska, Softball
Caleb Blevins, Coe College, Cross Country
Breaben Bolton, Mesa, Football
Tyler Hammons, Black Hills State, Football
Parker Galipeau, Colorado Mesa, Football
Brandon Vesterdal, Western New Mexico, Football
Chris Vega, Mesa, Football
Bryce Fontana, Scottsdale, Football
Aaron Aros, Mesa, Football
Dakota Martin, Benedictine, Baseball
Izzy Carrillo, Gateway, Baseball
Kyle VanAlstine, Metro State, Soccer
Ken Samson, Arizona, Football
Daniel Peabody, New Mexico
Kyle Breed, Arizona State, Football
David Apodaca, Western New Mexico, Football
Michael Lopez, Western New Mexico, Football
Katie Faulk, Utah, Softball
Kiley Lynn, Western Oregon, Softball
Diondra Bodman, Paradise Valley, Softball
Marisol Benavidez, South Mountain, Golf
Quinnesha Mitchell, Pima. Basketball
Juliana Martinez, Dordt, Soccer
Eric Smith, Letourneau, Soccer
Edwin Lovett, Colorado School of Mines, Football
Bree Olson, Colorado Christian, Basketball
Mohamed Ameen, Shaw University, Soccer
Hector Banegas, Metro State, Soccer
Isabelle Finkler, Bryn Mawr, Soccer
Drew Dixon, Arizona, Football
Logan Place, Sacramento State, Soccer
Elizabeth Lyon, Chandler-Gilbert, Softball
Kyara Elliott, Lassen, Softball
Jessica Bauer, Arizona Christian, Softball
Alec Bon, Mesa, Football
Jackson Breshears, Grinnell, Basketball
Eric Duarte, South Mountain, Golf
Isabelle Lopez, South Mountain, Softball
Paulo Rodriguez, New Mexico Military Institute, Baseball
Max Romo, Rocky Mountain College, Soccer
Hunter Straka, Trinity University, Football
Trevor Werbylo, Arizona, Golf
Manuel Villa-Lizarraga, Scottsdale, Baseball
Sydney Lockery, Oregon Tech, Soccer
Julian Barcelo, Mesa, Football
Davajay Hinton, University of Arizona, Football
Bryan Lopez, Pima, Football
Malik Patterson, Scottsdale, Football
Tyree Pierson, Scottsdale, Football
Mike Saldivar, Arizona Western, Football
Jorge Flores, Beloit College, Football
Isabella Solorza, New Mexico, Soccer
Malia Vanisi, New Mexico, Soccer
Hayden Zuniga, Eastern New Mexico, Soccer
Keyara Zuniga, Eastern New Mexico, Soccer
Rachel Carrell, Point Loma, Soccer
Olivia Ceballos, Benedictine, Soccer
Lauren Henn, Trinity International-Chicago, Soccer
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com