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Around the SCV: More locals pick a school

Cabrera, Penick commit to Pacific; Miller headed to USCB

Posted: March 7, 2010 3:25 p.m.
Updated: March 8, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Two junior soccer players just had a big weight taken off their shoulders.

Saugus’ Nicole Penick and Canyon’s Malaya Cabrera both committed to the University of the Pacific on Friday, one week after taking an unofficial visit to the school.

“Their soccer program is good,” Cabrera said. “They are playing top teams. In the preseason, they are playing Pac-10 schools. We are still playing with the top dogs. I’ve always wanted to play with the top dogs.”

Cabrera scored 19 goals for the Cowboys this season.

“I wanted to stay local,” she said. “I am far enough from home to get the actual college experience, but close enough to drive home. And the campus was beautiful.”

Cabrera added that she and Penick will bring a rapport to the program that Pacific head coach Keith Coleman said he was looking for.

“It’s a big relief,” Penick said of making the decision prior to her senior season. “I’m still going to work really hard, but you don’t have that stress of someone watching you and trying to improve yourself. All the hard work over the years has finally paid off, and now you can enjoy yourself over the last year and a half of high school.”

Penick also had to decide if she would take part in both soccer and track at Pacific, but she ultimately decided to play soccer exclusively.

“It’s always been an option to do both,” she said. “It’s final. I decided I’m going to stick to one sport.”

For the Centurions, it marks the seventh signing from the girls soccer team.

Among them is also Emily Relles, who will be playing defender at Cal State Stanislaus.

“I liked the school, the atmosphere at the school, the coach and the way the team plays,” Relles said. “... They play the same style as my club team: three center mids and no outside mids. They use their outside defenders as their outside mids.”

Penick is also the fourth player from this season’s Saugus squad to commit to an NCAA Division I program.

“It’s not a common thing, especially for them all to be the same year. ... It just goes to show you how much talent is out here in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Centurions head coach Natalie Helgeson, who was the 1998 Big West Conference Player of the Year at Pacific. “I think it is going to take a couple years before we see that again.”

Wildcat heading to UCSB

In 2009, the West Ranch girls cross country team made its first trip to the CIF State Cross Country meet, finishing seventh in the Division II race.

A big reason for that accomplishment was senior Bailey Miller, who will be trading her Wildcats uniform for the blue of yellow of the University of California, Santa Barbara next season.

“When I went there, I just felt like it was the place for me,” Miller said. “I knew right off the bat. ... It had the best of everything.”

In track and field, Miller said she will be concentrating on the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200 for the Gauchos.

But just because her college future is locked up, that doesn’t mean she is going to ease up during track season.

“It does take a lot of pressure off, but I will still want to impress my new coaches and everything, and get the best times I possibly can,” Miller said.

TMC earns hoops honors

The Master’s College men’s and women’s basketball programs received multiple recognitions in the month of March.

Junior guard Erica Inge was named to the All-Golden State Athletic Conference team on the women’s side, while Joey Fuca and Dean Hadley were the men’s all-conference representatives.

Additionally, forward Jenna Reed, who will graduate with honors in May, was chosen as a 2009-10 women’s basketball GSAC Scholar Athlete.

This season, Inge averaged 11.5 points per game, with 4.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.9 steals, while Reed scored 13.8 points per game with 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.

Heading into her final season with the Mustangs, Inge’s 441 career assists put her at No. 3 on the program’s all-time list. She also ranks sixth in career steals with 233 and No. 10 in scoring with 995 points.

On the men’s side, Fuca posted 14.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game and shot 45 percent from 3-point range and 82.6 percent from the free throw line.

Hadley led TMC with 14.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while playing a team-high 35 minutes per game.

Cougar coordinator moving east

For the last five years, College of the Canyons offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Don Fellows has been the architect of one of the most prolific offensives in Southern California.

Now it is up to someone else to take that charge.

Fellows has accepted the head coaching position at Grand Rapids Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he will also serve as a liaison with the local youth development league.

Grand Rapids Christian is a private school, with students ranging from preschool to 12th grade, and has been in operation since 1889.

During Fellows’ time with the Cougars, the team has averaged 45.9 points per game and 499.9 yards per game.

Fellows was the 1995 NAIA Player of the Year and a three-time NAIA all-American as a quarterback for Huron.


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