College Sports

Notebook: Special day for Blue Devils as four players sign with four-year schools.

Merced College women's basketball Allen Huddleston speaks before four Lady Blue Devils players sign their national letters of intent on Tuesday at Merced College. From left to right: Merced College's Champelle Kelly and Jordan Pierce signed with Westcliff University in Irvine. Tajaheray McMahan and Trinity Washington signed with the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
Merced College women's basketball Allen Huddleston speaks before four Lady Blue Devils players sign their national letters of intent on Tuesday at Merced College. From left to right: Merced College's Champelle Kelly and Jordan Pierce signed with Westcliff University in Irvine. Tajaheray McMahan and Trinity Washington signed with the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

It was one of those proud moments for Merced College women’s basketball coach Allen Huddleston as he stood to the side and watched four of his players sign their national letters of intent.

Blue Devils players Jordan Pierce and Champelle Kelly both signed with Westcliff University in Irvine and Trinity Washington and Tajaheray McMahan are both headed to the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

“It’s outstanding,” Huddleston said. “I feel like a dad watching his daughters leaving for four-year schools. All four of these girls were truly a blessing.”

All four played key roles in the Lady Blue Devils run to the state championship game this past season.

Washington was named the Central Valley Conference MVP after averaging 12.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 5.3 steals per game.

The sophomore guard said she had no plans of leaving California, but the opportunity to continue playing with McMahan was too much to pass up.

“We’re the dynamic duo,” McMahan joked.

“I was in the room while they were talking to Taj and they handed me a pamphlet,” Washington said. “They said we like you both. I got accepted into their nursing program so it’s a double whammy. It’s going to be cold and I’m old. I didn’t want to leave California, but going with someone will make it easier.”

McMahan was Washington’s back-court mate and averaged 13 points per game.

“I’m super excited,” McMahan said. “I’m excited we get to play together some more.”

Pierce and Kelly have the same opportunity to play together at Westcliff University.

“It’s very exciting,” said Pierce, who plans to major in education. “It’s even better to go with a friend. We get to play at the next level together.”

Pierce helped stretch the court with her three-point shooting and averaged 9.8 points per game for Merced College.

Kelly averaged 8.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Kelly felt it was a special day with four teammates all signing together.

“It’s very special to me,” she said. “This is my family. We won a championship and went deep in the playoffs. This was the first full year for me I was out there with these girls. I’ll never forget it.”

All-conference honors for baseball and softball

The Merced College baseball team landed three players on the all-Central Valley Conference first team and three players on the all-CVC second team.

First team selections included Ryan Frakes, Omar Sanchez and Jesus Duran. The second-team selections were Tanner Browning, Tyler Casteel and Michael Juarez.

Receiving honorable mention were: Chris Steeley, Jefferson Gray, Ricardo Lopez, Ruben Sanchez and Dylan Jackson.

Cassie Gasper earned one of the top softball honors in the CVC. The Merced College ace was named the CVC Pitcher of the Year. Gasper finished with a 15-9 record and 1.65 ERA.

Melanie Silva, Mellanie Valencia and Kaylee Robertson were all named to the all-CVC second team.

Receiving honorable mention from the She-Devils were Christiane Grijalva and Adrianna Granado.

Tomoi headed to state championships

Merced College freshman Yuka Tomoi is headed to the California Community College State Championship Athletic Association Track and Field Championships at Bakersfield College on Friday and Saturday.

Tomoi holds the Merced College 400-meter intermediate hurdles record with a time of 1 minute, 6.98 seconds. It’s the second fastest mark in Northern California this season.

The meet is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Shawn Jansen: 209-385-2462, @MSSsports

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