Four Half Moon Bay High School seniors recently signed their letters of intent to continue playing their respective sports in college. The four were honored during a formal signing ceremony on Nov. 20 at the school.
Two will remain in California, and two will venture outside the state. Riley Rhodes committed to swim at Fresno State University and Mia Griffiths will swim for Eastern Illinois University. Claire Yerby decided on the University of California, Berkeley, where she will run cross-country and track, while Andrew Vanna chose Ottawa University for water polo.
Yerby is a standout runner for the Cougars who just finished 28th at the CIF Division IV State Cross-Country Championships. As a junior, she was a part of two school records, a time of 5 minutes, 1.63 seconds for 1,600 meters, and the distance medley relay team record. Initially, during the recruiting process, she thought Cal would be too fast for her, but when the school showed interest in her becoming a walk-on recruit, she leaped at the opportunity.
“I still went on other visits, but, at the end of the day, I thought ‘I can’t give up the best public school in the nation,’” Yerby said. “I wouldn’t want to give up that experience, even if I’m not their No. 1. It’s still cool to have.”
Vanna chose to compete at Ottawa in Arizona, which competes under the banner of the National Association of International Athletics. He admits he is of smaller stature than typical water polo players and is thrilled to continue playing water polo with a scholarship. He used a recruiting profile website and expanded his preferences outside of California.
Griffiths and Rhodes both set school records in the 500-meter freestyle during their freshman year. Griffiths also owns the 200-meter freestyle record, while Rhodes has the 100-meter backstroke. They also share two relay records: the 200-meter medley and the 400-meter freestyle. Griffiths originally wanted to be in California but found Eastern Illinois toward the end of her junior year. She loved the team’s coaches and environment during her official visit and was offered a scholarship.
“The fear of the unknown, because it’s away from home and a big environment change, was the scariest thing,” Griffiths said. “But in the end, it was the best decision for me because I know my swimming career isn’t over.”