Connor Hoppe had his college choice down to the University of California or the University of Southern Calfornia.
It wasn’t until the Golden Valley senior made his trip to Berkeley a couple weeks ago that he made his decision. Hoppe knew he wanted to be a Golden Bear.
Hoppe made his choice official last week when he signed a national letter of intent to accept a swimming scholarship to Cal.
“After my trip to Cal I sat down with my parents and we re-evaluated the situation,” Hoppe said. “I preferred the atmosphere at Cal over USC. Both coaches were great. It was a hard decision, but I felt I would succeed a little better at Cal.”
Hoppe was one of three Merced-area athletes to sign letter of intents last week.
Merced senior Chelsea Evans accepted a softball scholarship to Stony Brook University in New York and Buhach Colony’s Heather Parker signed with Cal Sate East Bay to play golf.
Evans had offers from University of Delaware, Lehigh Unversity in Pennsylvania, Sacramento State and University of the Pacific.
Unlike Hoppe, Evans made up her mind to go to Stony Brook last winter, but actually signing the letter was a huge step in her life.
“It was definitely one of the biggest things I’ve done,” Evans said. “I know my parents felt really proud. It’s finally official. I’m going there. I’ve worked so hard since I was about 8 years old. You work to get your ACT and SAT scores. I’ve never had a summer. It’s all softball. I’m glad it’s all paid off.”
Parker reached out online to the coaches at Cal State East Bay and found there was a mutual interest. She’s excited to continue playing golf at the collegiate level.
“I’ve only been playing golf for a few years,” Parker said. “I don’t know how important it would be until I got into my senior year and I got better. I want to keep it going and see where it takes me.”
Hoppe said it’s a big relief to have the recruiting process done.
“My parents told me to have fun,” he said. “You only get this opportunity once. It’s kind of stressful choosing where you’re going to be for the next four years, but I tried to have fun with the process.”
After an undefeated run through the Central California Conference, Pitman dominated the top awards.
Pride Junior Lindsey Vander Weide was named the CCC Most Valuable Player by the conference coaches and teammate Maddy Halteman was picked as the Setter of the Year. Pitman’s Kristen Pontes-Christian was selected as the Coach of the Year.
Atwater junior Hannah van Warmerdam was tabbed as the Defensive of Player of the Year.
Merced’s Vanesa Serna and Rheanne Lewis was named to the all-CCC first team. They were joined by Golden Valley’s Belen Castillo and Gabriella Flores and Atwater’s Brigetter Berlier and van Warmerdam. Pitman’s Vander Weide and Halteman rounded out the first team.
Los Banos’ Jade Fachin was named the Western Athletic Conference MVP. The Tigers also placed Jenna Gilardi and Julia Waldron on the first team. They were joined by Pacheco’s Linda Thompson, Central Catholic’s Lauren Nicholson and the Patterson duo of Mele Tupouata and Danya Patterson.
All-CCC water polo
Atwater took home two MVP honors in boys and girls water polo. Josh Heller was named the CCC boys MVP after leading the Falcons to a perfect 10-0 record in conference. Junior Nicole Goodnight was named the girls MVP after helping Atwater finish second.
The all-CCC boys first team was comprised of Kaden Verdin (Buhach Colony), Isaac Santan (Merced), Connor Hoppe (Golden Valley), Hans van Warmerdam (Atwater), Matt Cagle (Merced), Nick Ogden (Turlock) and Patrick Koenig (Golden Valley).
Heller and Santana was both named to the all-Sac-Joaquin Section first team. Hoppe, van Warmderam and Atwater’s Ben Peterson were named to the all-section second team.
The all-CCC girls first-team selections included Rebekah Groteguth (Turlock), Emma Burke (Pitman), Marissa Crider (Atwater), Jane Eckles (Merced), Dani Diele (Golden Valley), Gwynne McBride (Buhach Colony) and Audrey Debard (Golden Valley).
All-Star water polo game
The top senior stars from both the Central California Conference and the Modesto Metro Conference will square off in 2013 North vs South Senior All-Star Game at Turlock High on Saturday.
Each team was allowed to nominate four seniors for the game. The top two seniors were selected for the first team and the other two seniors were picked for the second team. Oakdale and Sonora also were added to the MMC teams.
There will be four games played on Saturday, starting with the girls second team game at 2 p.m. The boys second team game will start at 3 p.m. The girls first team game is scheduled for 4 p.m. The final game will be the boys first team game at 5 p.m.
Some of the top players for the girls first team game include Atwater’s Marissa Crider, Golden Valley’s Dani Deile and Audrey DeBard and Merced’s Rakelle Ellison and Brontae Gomes.
The South boys first-team roster includes Atwater’s Josh Heller, Hans van Warmerdam and Corbett McDaniel, Merced’s Isaac Santana and Matt Cagle, Golden Valley’s Patrick Koenig and Nick Gargov and Buhach Colony’s Kaden Verdin.