The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

A Great Day To Be a Gaucho!

Photo by Lila Rader
All Six Student Athletes.

“It’s a Great Day to be a Gaucho” is a phrase that inspires the school spirit of many students at Casa Grande. Our school’s athletic program especially shows that it is a great day to be a Gaucho, with our many dedicated student-athletes putting their best effort into representing Casa. 

Applying to colleges is a very stressful thing for all students, and can be particularly difficult for student-athletes who have to worry about reaching out to colleges and coaches, and applying for scholarships. It’s important to acknowledge these Gauchos’ hard work, so this year at Casa Grande the school put on an event to honor six student-athletes as they signed their letters of intent to attend and play at their respective colleges.

These Gauchos are Sierra Schmidt, Jacob Quintua, Austin Steeves, Anamaria Robertson, Marissa Brody, and Kodi Cornelius. On February 7th in the Casa Grande gym, they each signed their letters of intent to respectively attend UC Davis, Simon Fraser, Stanford, CalTech, Cal Poly Humboldt, and San Diego State. 

The first student athlete, Sierra Schmidt, is a lacrosse player whose years of dedication and passion for the sport got her accepted to UC Davis last year when she was a junior. When discussing her accomplishment, Schmidt said:

I’m committed to UC Davis for lacrosse, with plans to major in biomedical engineering. The process was extremely overwhelming, once September last year hit and visits were permitted it was a mess of calls and flights, but so fun to see the cultivation of all my hard work by getting to talk with coaches. I was helped most by my dad, who was my first coach and never let me settle for being average. He spent nearly every night for my first few years at the field letting me get additional practice in and looking into new drills or opportunities.

Sierra Schmidt and friends Lauren Clark and Taylor Eaton

“I’ve been playing for 8 years and my club team was ranked 3rd in the nation. Becoming a D1 athlete has been a goal since I was in 6th grade, so once it happened it just felt like all my hours of work paid off. At UC Davis I’m most excited to be around other like minded athletes, and to compete at a high level.”

Beyond Schmidt’s personal accomplishments in lacrosse she is also a great example to other student athletes of what they can achieve.

“My advice would be to fall in love with your sport. The time it takes to become a D1 athlete requires an obsession to always get better, and with the years of work needed picking your game apart, it´s important you love what you´re playing.”

The second athlete who was honored at the signing event was Jacob Quintua. He is the captain of the wrestling team and has committed to wrestling at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. 

Jacob Quintua

“I have wanted to wrestle in college since 8th grade. I’m going to Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. I love the idea of traveling the world and having new experiences. So it worked out that I could go to college out of the country AND wrestle there. When I got the offer, I felt relieved. Going to SFU was a dream of mine and seeing the offer was an unreal experience. Of course. However, I know that I could always have done more, put more work in, increase my motivation. Nevertheless, I know I earned my spot on the team.”

As a team captain, Quintua has motivated the wrestling team to victory by his immense efforts since 8th grade and the example he sets. 

Casa Grande’s next committed student-athlete is a proud member of the baseball team who has been accepted into Stanford University. Austin Steeves’s efforts towards his sport and academics are clear from the many years he has trained and his acceptance into one of the most prestigious schools in the country. 

“I’ve known from a young age that my goal was to play in college. I decided on Stanford because the coaches and team made me feel so welcome and at home, I had a very good connection with them. I also wanted to go there because it is one of the top baseball schools in the country as well as one of the best academic schools. I was very excited when I was offered because it was one I had been waiting on for a while and it was my favorite school.”

Austin Steeves

Stanford is notably one of the best schools in the country, and it is also one of the most difficult to get accepted to. Only the top percentage of students get into the college, and Steeves’s efforts have allowed him to do so. 

“I feel like I definitely earned this opportunity because of all the work I’ve put in throughout the years. I’ve spent so many late nights and early mornings working for this and had to work through adversity and harder times so I feel like all of that work is paying off.”

The fourth student-athlete at the event was Anamaria Robertson, a member of the Casa basketball team who has committed to CalTech.

“I have known I wanted to play basketball in college since freshman year, so this was always a goal of mine. I always knew I would not sacrifice my academic prospects just to play basketball in college, so right from the start, I was looking for schools where I could maximize both, and CalTech is the best option for me. It is a STEM-oriented college (which is perfect for my applied and computational math degree) with fantastic staff, a beautiful campus, a great student-staff ratio, coaches I admire, and a great basketball program. It really is the best of both worlds.”

Anamaria Robertson

Robertson is a great example of how student-athletes can devote their time to both sports and academics. From leading the basketball team as a team captain to being one of the top ten students at Casa, she has excelled in both her athletics and academics, which is made all the more impressive by Caltech’s rank as the 7th best college in the US. 

“I had a slightly different experience in that I never received a direct offer to commit until I was sent the official letter of intent once I was accepted. I have been in contact with the coaches for about a year and a half, and I was told all along that CalTech cannot recruit for sports. I needed to get in on my own academic merit; the best the coaches could do was support me athletically. The morning I opened my letter and saw I was accepted, I was ecstatic! I had a game later that morning, so I almost waited until after to open it, but I was anxious to know, so I bit the bullet. I was so thrilled I immediately ran downstairs to my family and showed them I got in. I was so happy all of my work academically and athletically had paid off!”

When asked about her basketball career, both current and future, she said:

“Like I wrote earlier, my athletics did not help me get into CalTech, but all of the time and effort I have put into the sport since I was five years old have absolutely been worth it. I am so excited to play at the next level with my new teammates. I love the community I have now because of my thirteen years in the sport—some of my current teammates are my oldest and closest friends, so I am really looking forward to my future basketball community at CalTech!”

The fifth athlete, Marissa Brody, is a member of both the softball and basketball team at Casa Grande. She is planning on going on to attend Cal Poly Humboldt next year to play softball after years of dedication and hard work.

Marissa Brody

“I have always known that I want to play softball in college, I think that it is every young athlete’s dream. Being able to accomplish my dream of playing collegiate softball is extremely fulfilling and satisfying, and I am very excited. I chose this school for a couple of different reasons. I have visited up there multiple times and I really like the girls on the team and I know that I would feel at home there. The weather up there, cold and rainy is also something I enjoy. I love that its 4 hours away from home, not too far but not too close. If I get homesick, want a home-cooked meal, want my laundry done, I can get in my car and drive home for the weekend. When I first got my offer I was so happy it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders because Cal Poly was my #1 school. I knew as soon as I received my offer that I was going to accept it and Humboldt was in my future. Humboldt itself is very beautiful and the Cal Poly campus is full of  trees and nature. It also has a view I am excited to have for the next 4 years.”

Beyond Cal Poly’s luring prospects however, Brody is happiest about getting to continue her career in softball.

“I have spent my entire life playing softball, anyone who knows me, knows it is my biggest personality trait. I have dedicated 12 long summers and 12 fall seasons to playing this sport and I think every single second paid off. All the blood, sweat, tears, smiles, challenges, and everything, has gotten me to where I am today and made me the athlete I am. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

The sixth and last committed student-athlete is Kodi Cornelius—a player for Casa football program and an exceptional athlete for the team. Having originally received acceptances to multiple schools, he has now decided on attending San Diego State to play football there. 

“I honestly didn’t want to play college football until the end of my sophomore year, I didn’t enjoy playing the game and the stress it added to my life. But towards the end of my sophomore year to the middle of my junior year, I started to love the sport, the people in my circle, and the process of growing with the game.”

Kodi Cornelius and Coach

Despite his initial hesitation about football, Cornelius ended up having great success, being given offers by several schools, including West Point, Washington State, UC Davis, and San Diego State, the last of which he committed to. Given the many offers Cornelius got, he had this to say about his thoughts during the time:

“Well, it was a different process for me because of the fact I had multiple offers to choose from, but the feeling was the same for all of them, an enlightening feeling that made me love the game more and made me want to improve my play, it also solidified my future and guaranteed what I sought out for and that was to make sure my mom wouldn’t have to pay for college. The reason I decided to play football at San Diego State because of the closer proximity to the rest of my family, having family in San Diego, the kinesiology program there, and the overall environment of San Diego. I honestly wish I would’ve sacrificed more to put more time and effort into the game. I wouldn’t want to change anything I did other than wish I did more and more for the team.”

Across all the students at Casa Grande, the six committed student-athletes mentioned above are exceptional examples of dedication and effort. All of these students worked hard to get to where they are today, and their hard work paid off with the acceptance to these universities. Casa Grande congratulates these dedicated athletes on their major accomplishments and can’t wait to celebrate more senior student-athletes getting accepted into colleges this year.

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