Student athletes commit to colleges at second signing day event

Dhara Yu, Author

Fourteen seniors at Paly affirmed their intent to continue their athletics in college in the MAC today.
Fourteen seniors at Paly affirmed their intent to continue their athletics in college at a ceremony in the MAC today. “I’m looking forward to challenging myself in new ways with new teammates, opponents and coaches,” said Lauren Koyama, who will be playing basketball at NYU. Photo: Dhara Yu.

Vividly-colored balloons and college gear were on full display as Palo Alto High School honored 14 seniors who will continue playing their sports at the collegiate level, during a signing day ceremony at lunch today in the Media Arts Center.

This ceremony comes after Paly hosted an official National Signing Day event in February, in which 18 students signed their letters of intent to play in college. The event today celebrated students who received more recent notification of their acceptance to the college that they intend to play at, or who had not yet committed to a college at the time of the first signing day.

According to Paly Sports Boosters president Melissa Anderson, in the future Paly will host only one signing day, later in the school year, to accommodate all student athletes.

The athletes signing today include Benjamin Beaudry (Rochester Institute of Technology) Spencer Morgenfeld (California Institute of Technology), Naveen Pai (Carnegie Mellon University) and Kent Slaney (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for cross country; Lauren Koyama (New York University) and Maya Lathi (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for basketball; Ryan Chang (Grinnell College) for baseball; Emma van der Veen (Pomona College) for diving; Jessica Wu (Wellesley College) for swimming; Jared Stanley (Bucknell University) for water polo; Seth Goyal (George Mason University) and Sara Aguilar (Menlo College) for wrestling; Marion Sellier (Brown University) for rugby; and Michel-Ange Siaba (Humboldt State University) for track and field. 

Paly athletic director Kathy Bowers praised the athletes for their dedication to their sports throughout the years.

“We are very proud of the rich tradition we have of Paly students playing at the next level,” Bowers said. “Signing Day is the culmination of many days of hard work. They [the athletes] have to sacrifice, they have to put aside things on Friday nights to focus on school because they’ve been practicing all week.”

“I think that it’s really nice to be rewarded for all the work I’ve put in these four years,” said Pai, who will be competing for Carnegie Mellon, of the signing day ceremony. “I wasn’t really thinking about college when I was training, but I think it’s great that it paid off in the end.”

While he’s relishing his accomplishments, Pai is already looking to the future of his athletic career.

“Carnegie Mellon’s team is really fast and it’ll be really fun to train and push my limits there,” he said.