As the school year comes to a close, we check in with three senior student athletes we’ve featured in past issues to see how they did with achieving their goals and what their plans are for after graduation.
JSerra Catholic High School – Football
In his final year as the varsity quarterback for the Lions, JSerra Catholic High School senior Nick Robinson had one goal—to lead his team to the school’s first-ever CIF playoff appearance in football.
After JSerra was overlooked last season for a PAC-5 Division at-large berth, Robinson and his team set out to accomplish that goal, and did so in dominant fashion. The Lions finished the season 9-1, which placed them second in the Trinity League behind the only team they lost to, league opponent St. John Bosco High School.
“We really set our minds to it this season,” says Robinson of the goal to make the playoffs. “We all knew what we wanted to do.”
JSerra went on to defeat Santiago High School (Corona) in the playoff opener, but fell to Bishop Amat Memorial High School (La Puente) in the second round. Still, Robinson considers the season a tremendous success.
“It was a great season,” he says. “After four years of a lot of hard work, it was a great accomplishment for the team.”
Robinson’s quarterback career will begin a new chapter this summer as he takes his skills to the football powerhouse SEC conference to play for the University of Georgia.
As a walk-on athlete for the Bulldogs who will be studying business, the Rancho Santa Margarita resident knew that the southern school was the choice for him.
“I felt it was the best fit for both academics and athletics,” says Robinson. “I’m excited to get there and get started.”
Santa Margarita Catholic High School – Golf
For Santa Margarita Catholic High School senior Catharine Roddy, her final year competing as a golfer for the Eagles didn’t go quite as she had planned. Spending most of the season sidelined with a shoulder injury, the team captain remained supportive of her fellow teammates.
“I felt so involved with the team the whole way,” says Roddy. “Coach Hegna (Santa Margarita head girls’ golf coach) was very supportive of me and I appreciated the atmosphere that the school provided.”
At the end of the season, Roddy was able to compete in the Trinity League Finals, a two-day tournament, where she did well enough to qualify for the CIF individual regional playoffs. But opting to focus on her recovery, Roddy decided to forgo playoff participation.
The two-time first team All-Trinity League golfer is now fully recovered with plans to head east in the fall where she will attend Dartmouth College. A student-athlete recruit who will play golf for the New Hampshire school, her acceptance fulfills a longtime dream.
“It’s been my dream to play golf at the collegiate level and to attend an Ivy League school,” says Roddy. “Now I get to do both.”
Roddy is eager to begin studying neuroscience along with the chance at a healthy start with her new team. The difference in both the climate and the competitive field will no doubt require some adjustments for the Coto de Caza resident, but Roddy savors the season of change.
“That’s what I’m looking forward to the most,” she says.
Mater Dei High School – Football/Track and Field
Mater Dei High School senior Malik McMorris garnered national attention last October when the inspirational story of how he dealt with the January 2014 loss of his mother to breast cancer earned him the selection as Sports Illustrated’s first-ever High School Player of the Month.
The recognition from SI provided an opportunity for the All-Trinity League and All-CIF football captain to participate in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Carson this past January. It was a game that McMorris won’t soon forget.
“It was a great experience and such an honor to be there,” says McMorris. “It was very competitive and good to get out there and play against some of the top players in the nation.”
In addition to his skills on the gridiron, McMorris is currently No. 1 in the nation in discus and among the top 10 in the state in shot put. His goal was to find a school where he could compete in both football and track and field, but he hadn’t received much interest from colleges. So he took it upon himself to reach out to the University of California, Berkeley, where he will be a walk-on athlete in football and track and field for the Golden Bears.
McMorris is grateful to be a part of a small group of athletes to have received such a prestigious award, but he remains focused on the idea that keeping life and the “hard things” in perspective is the best way to move forward and honor his mother’s memory.
“I’m excited for the opportunities ahead at Cal,” says McMorris.