With the stroke of a pen, dreams came true today for Inderkum High School athletes Isaiah Ward, Brandon Knott, Celeste Salas and Ashley Carbah, who signed scholarships to play for college teams next year.
Football players Ward and Knott, both members of the Sacramento Bee All-Metro and Cal-Hi Sports All-State teams, will play for Dixie State University and Sacramento State University, respectively.
Softball teammates at Inderkum, Carbah is headed to Marymount California University next year, and Salas to Dominican University.
The signings represent success not only in sports but in earning grades that qualify them for college admission. All four Inderkum standouts have grade point averages above 3.0.
The four Tigers were honored at lunchtime receptions today at Inderkum, with classmates and family members watching and cheering as they signed college commitments representing many years of hard work honing their skills.
“I’m really ecstatic and really excited to be signing today,” Ward said, smiling. “I’ve always dreamed about this day, but now it’s coming true.” He chose Dixie State University in Utah, he said, because “when I want on my visit there, it just felt like home, like family.”
Salas and Carbah said that they, too, had hoped for years that their chance to win a college scholarship would come.
“I’m super excited,” Carbah said.
Salas added, “When I was a freshman, I remember all the athletes signing (letters of intent) on their day and I was like, ‘Oh, I want to be that person.’”
Knott’s story is a little different: He didn’t start playing high school football until his sophomore year. “I didn’t know how it was going to be, going into my junior and senior year,” he said. “Then I improved a lot and it worked out.”
Asked what careers they will pursue in college, Ward said he plans to study business but has not identified a specific job goal. Knott also is undecided, but is “kind of interested in coaching.” Salas wants to be a medical administrator someday, while Carbah plans to study criminal justice.
Ward and Knott were teammates on a Tiger football team that went undefeated in the Capital Valley Conference this year and racked up an 11-game winning streak that included nine wins by 30 points or more.
MaxPreps, an online service for high school sports statistics, listed the following career accomplishments by Inderkum’s four newest college scholarship recipients:
· Ward, a linebacker listed at 6-feet-2, 220 pounds, had 70 solo tackles, 26 assisted tackles, and 20.5 sacks in 23 games played over two varsity seasons. He stood out on offense, too, gaining more than 1,000 rushing, receiving and passing yards as a junior and senior.
· Knott, a lineman listed at 6-feet-2, 235 pounds, had 52 solo and 18 assisted tackles in his two-year varsity career. He had 8.5 quarterback sacks this year as well.
· Carbah, a varsity softball player since her freshman year, has played 70 games and compiled a .439 batting average and .500 on-base percentage, with 78 runs scored, 49 runs batted in, 44 stolen bases, and four homers.
· Salas batted .367 over 11 games last year, with a .400 on-base percentage, 16 RBIs, five runs scored, and three home runs. Her 57-game career totals are a .296 batting average, .389 on-base percentage, 38 RBIs, 15 runs, and five HRs.
Recognition of Ward and Knott as among California’s best prep players at their position came last week with release of Cal-Hi Sports’ All-State Football Team for medium-size schools. Ward was a first-team selection, while Knott was a third-team honoree.
It was no coincidence that Inderkum held its recognition ceremony today. It’s National Signing Day, an annual tradition nationwide in which top athletes in the high school “Class of 2019” sign letters of intent committing them to play for colleges or universities next year.