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NICK AGRO, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Sonora basketball player Josh Rodriguez, center, has fun during a Signing Day ceremony at the school Wednesday. Rodriguez signed to play for Point Loma Nazarene University.

Signing Day notes: Sonora athletes enjoy special day

STAFF REPORTS

The email from Sonora stated, “We are having a little signing for our athletes … ”

It turned out to be a big party.

“We had our band there, our cheerleaders and ‘The Jungle,’ ” said Sonora basketball player Christian Rhodes. “It was great.”

“The Jungle” is the colorful and calamity-causing student cheering section at Sonora.

“It was so much fun,” said Ben Rico, another Sonora basketball player who signed his letter of intent Wednesday, the first day of the spring signing period for letters of intent. “Our athletic director (Rich Lodding) did a great job putting it together.”

Rhodes signed with Swarthmore College, which is in Pennsylvania. Rico signed with UC San Diego. Josh Rodriguez, a first-team All-Orange County selection, signed with Pt. Loma.

Also part of the party was Sonora baseball player Jake Rosander who signed with Brown.

Rhodes, a guard, looked at Whittier College, Pomona Pitzer and Caltech before selecting Swarthmore.

“It’s a beautiful school,” said Rhodes, who has a 4.5 GPA. “It is a little different because it can get so cold.”

Rico, also a guard and a top student at Sonora, was in contact with Ivy League schools through the summer and fall.

“Then I took a trip down to UC San Diego, met the coaches and players and loved it,” Rico said. “You can’t beat being in San Diego and the academics UC San Diego offers. It’s the right fit.”

- STEVE FRYER

GIRLS WATER POLO

Wednesday capped a remarkable high school journey for Marcela Portales of Villa Park. The senior signed with UC Davis.

Portales didn’t start playing water polo until high school, Villa Park consultant John Kulisich said, but she became oneof the school’s all-time leading scorers. She finished her four-year career with 316 goals to rank third all-time behind Kristyn Pulver (318) and Cassie Churnside (458).

Portales netted a single-season record 147goals this season.

- DAN ALBANO

BOYS BASKETBALL

Nick Pallas, a 6-8 center/forward at Tesoro, signed with Texas-Arlington. Pallas averaged 13 points a game for the Titans.

- STEVE FRYER

WRESTLING

Two key pieces to the CIF championship team for Fountain Valley finalized their college plans.

Andrew Morgan, who finished third at 170 pounds at the CIF State Tournament, signed with Cal Poly SLO. Morgan is a two-time state medalist. Stone Escobedo will join his brother, Steele, at Menlo College in Atherton. Escobedo is a two-time state qualifier for the Barons.

- DAMIAN CALHOUN


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