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Lakewood Recognizes College-Bound Athletes

Lakewood High held a signing day ceremony last week to recognize its senior athletes moving on to the collegiate level, either on scholarship at a four-year university or at a local junior college. It was a strong class for the Lancers including All-American volleyball player Laura Williams (signed with Oregon State) and star pitcher Anthony Eyanson, signed with UCSD.

“Going to the next level is huge and we love to recognize our seniors on their way out,” said Lakewood boys’ athletic director Mike Wadley, who planned the event along with girls’ AD Michelle Kaeka. 

Wadley also coaches the school’s girls’ volleyball program, which has been the most consistently successful sport at the school over the last few years, both in competing for Moore League and CIF-SS titles and in getting scholarships for players.

“I think we’re realistic and we encourage our kids to be realistic about our abilities,” said Wadley. “I’ll have kids in my class who are five foot five tell me they’re gonna go play at Duke. I’m like, let’s be realistic you’re not going to Duke–so let’s get your grades up and let’s see what other opportunities are out there. Making sure we’re on them about their grades their freshmen  year so that there’s as many opportunities available to them as possible when they graduate.”

Wadley said that he’d love to see an athletic counselor position at the local high schools because there’s so much scholarship money out there not just at the Division 1 level but in Division 2 and 3 and NAIA.

“There’s millions of dollars going to all our high schools for these senior athletes this year,” said Wadley. “When you’ve got a campus with 1,000 athletes there’s tons of opportunities out there if you have the time to look for them.”

Williams was the top athlete at Lakewood this year earning All-American honors and playing on ESPN in the Under Armor All-American Game in Florida with Moore League rival Adonia Faumuina, the senior from Poly. Williams said she enjoyed getting to be on stage with the other seniors.

“It was super fun, getting to see all of the amazing athletes,” she said. “And we all deserve it.”

As other athletic directors have at the end of this school year, Wadley was reflective about the journey that the senior class has gone through, with their freshmen year their last non-COVID affected school year.

“For volleyball they lost their entire junior season,” he said. “All of them went through a lot–and to see so many kids who were able to still maintain the course, and still get out, that’s incredible.”

Here’s the full list of recognized Lakewood seniors: 

Volleyball: Laura Williams (Oregon State), Katesia Hall (CSU Fullerton), Shayna Martinez (Cypress College), Jada Stewart (Cypress College)

Baseball: Anthony Eyanson (UCSD), Nohea Mapu (CSU San Marcos), Joey Gann (CSU San Marcos), Kane Yonamine (Cypress), Jared Stephenson (Golden West), Jacob Eliott (Cypress), James Provencio (Golden West)

Wrestling: Zainab Hakeem (Vanguard University), Elijah Ocampo (Cerritos College), Blake Bindman (Cerritos)

Softball: Brienna Weekes (UC Davis), Lorena Ruiz-Davis (Elkins College), Ariana Hernandez (Orange Coast College)

Soccer: Katie Burciaga (Arizona Christian), Santiago Sandoval (Greenville University)

Aquatics: Danielle Sgontz (LBCC), John Borders (LBCC), Nathan Napohaku (Cypress), Andrew De La Riva (Cypress)

XC/Track: Delilah Chavez (Cerritos), Aiden House (Cerritos), Jeffrey Chmiel (Cerritos), Isabelle Hubbard (Cerritos), Deven Acheampong (LBCC), Justin Smith (Cerritos)

Football: Dylan Foster (LBCC), Auggie Lyons (Saddleback College), Jevon Rodriguez (Cerritos), Macc Manu (Cerritos)

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.