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Six Vista athletes sign letters of intent

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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Six student-athletes from Vista del Lago High School announced their college destinations Wednesday at a National Signing Day banquet. In the Student Union of the school Emily Cooper, Nicole Erlichman, Annika Jansson, Marwan Nazanda, Brittany Stegall and Emily Symon celebrated National Signing Day as the second senior class at Vista. Their successful high school athletic careers brought the six stars to a shared table on Wednesday afternoon, just after school ended. The associated student body at Vista del Lago put on the event, as the school no longer has an athletic director. Organizers began with an introduction and allowed each athlete the time to speak on their behalf. After the athletes gave thanks and spoke personally about their achievements pictures were taken and National Signing Day became another in the history of these future college players. Cooper first announced her signing with California State University, Long Beach for track & field, Erlichman to the University of Oregon for cheerleading, Jansson to Chapman University in Orange County for soccer, Nazanda to UC Irvine for soccer, Stegall to University of Great Falls in Montana for basketball and Symon to Azusa Pacific for soccer. “The coach, the academics and the program, it all just fit perfectly at Long Beach,“ Cooper said. “Going to state last year was definitely memorable where I got under 12 [seconds] in the 100 meters.” Shortly after Cooper’s speech, the entire track and field team joined her. Head coach Mark Bosse and his army of track stars filled the room in support of what he said is the best sprinter he’s ever coached. “They brought Emily in to revitalize [CSULB’s] the sprinting game,” Bosse said. “They’re looking to her to be the foundation and the anchor of the new sprinting program. She’s been instrumental in putting our girls’ program on the map and now we have one of the more prominent teams in the area.” Cooper was the MVP of Vista’s track team for the last two years. UC Irvine has one of the elite men’s soccer teams in the country, so for Nazanda it was a matter of choosing his favorite. “In September of my junior year colleges started talking to me and my relationship with Irvine continued from there,” said Nazanda. “Jimmy [Frazelle, Vista soccer coach] and I became good friends and practices here were always a lot of fun.” Nazanda plays with the California Development Academy three or four times a week and has previously played club and with the Olympic Development Program. Symon and Jansson also played under Frazelle in the Vista soccer program. Jansson said certain memories would stick with her. “All of our games against Oak Ridge have always been a good battle,” Jansson said. “Our high school team is all really close and I’ll take away a lot of memories, not even just from soccer but from everything else here that has been fun.” Jansson, Symon and the rest of the Eagles’ soccer team will have one more season together to make some final season memories this spring. The team begins playing at the end of this month, but with the restructuring of leagues, won’t play Oak Ridge in conference play. This final season marks the culmination of nearly 18 years of groundwork and preparation for all six athletes. The journey ahead holds at least another four committed to sports. Notes: The event marked just the second senior class to graduate from Vista since it opened in 2007. Last year five seniors signed and participated in National Signing Day at a similar event including Megan Heddinger (Cal Poly, soccer), Doug Drakeley (UC Davis, football), Marques White (Sac State, football), Josh Choi (Notre Dame, swimming) and Dallin Johnson (BYU, swimming).