It came almost a week after the start of the National Letter of Intent season, but St. Anthony still had a memorable signing day ceremony on Tuesday as five Saints inked their futures with universities and colleges.
St. Anthony softball captains Rose Cano and Aimee Metz have been a huge part of the Saints program since they were freshman, and they got lauded with praise from coach Joe Younger when he took the mic for a short speech.
“Whenever they talk about the pest softball pitchers at St. Anthony they’ll have to talk about Rose Cano,” Younger said.
Metz signed with Boston University, and Cano had already signed with George Washington in December.
“I love the comradery of the team and the coach there made me feel really welcome,” Cano said of choosing George Washington. “The campus is three blocks from the White House, and three blocks from the Washington Monument so that’s pretty cool.”
The football program didn’t have any offers in December, but first-year coach Raul Lara brought in offensive line coach Rudy Cambero to coordinate the Saints recruiting. He only arrived last month, and already had three players sign with more hopefully coming.
Sone Aupiu signed with New Mexico State, Anakin Aupiu signed with South West Oklahoma State and Eric Suilui signed with Fort Lewis College.
“We’re building that foundation,” Lara said. “Obviously we want to be successful on the field, give the kids a good academic environment and then hopefully have an opportunity to get a scholarship. That’s always been the number one thing for me.”
Lara and Cambero worked together at Warren after Lara left Long Beach Poly, and then they worked together again at Servite. That’s where Cambero was last year when Lara called him with a job offer. Cambero said it was an easy decision.
“He’s all about the kids,” Cambero said of Lara. “It’s a family oriented program. He puts the kids first and that’s what I’m all about. I learned that from him seven years ago. That stuck with me, we kind of clicked. It was kind of a no-brainer.”
Aupiu is one of the best football players to come out of St. Anthony recently, and he’s also one of America’s best rugby players in his age group, but he chose football and New Mexico State.
“It was a very hard decision, but mainly it was about what would get me further in life,” Aupiu said. “But this feels amazing. The love and support is something I’ve always had and it’s shown today. At this moment in my life I’m very proud to show everybody.”
Sone and Anakin Aupiu are cousins and Lara said they’re as talented as any players he’s tried to develop over the years.
“I keep telling the recruiters that if these guys were at Poly with me all four years, by the time they were seniors they would be top guys,” Lara said of the Aupiu cousins. “Somebody is going to love having these kids.”