By Richard Smith
West Valley Preps
Deer Valley decided to split up its signing day events last week, doubling the spotlight.
The ladies went first, with a gathering on Feb. 6 that had a distinct volleyball feel. Three signees were volleyball players and the fourth, soccer goalkeeper Hayden Wallace, is the daughter of volleyball coach Jackie Wallace.
“I’m lucky to get the opportunity to continue on to the college level because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity. But we’ve all worked hard — Kaley, Kendall and I — to get to the positions were in,” Annie Harte said.
Football players, other than Joey Ramos, who graduated and signed with Iowa State in December, signed en masse Feb. 8.
Xavier Robinson-Delgado was the centerpiece of the ceremony, as he became the second Deer Valley offensive lineman to sign with a power five school, committing to Missouri.
Arizona State, Iowa State and Oregon also offered the 6-5, 310-pound lineman.
“The final 3 were Oregon St, Missouri and ASU. Missouri’s philosophy of building me not just into a great football player but a great human being made it just feel like I could call it home,” Robinson-Delgado stated in a text.
Four Skyhawks signed with Scottsdale Community College, including two more linemen, Gunnar Johnson and Brandon McCrea. They’ll be joined by defensive tackle Aulea Lelei McKenzie and safety Marek Fennell.
For McCrea, the third Deer Valley lineman getting major college attention last summer, this a chance to get back on track after his senior season was cut short by a broken tibia in an August practice.
“I’m excited and blessed that I still had options after what happened,” McCrea stated in a message. “The one year does make it more urgent but I know my abilities and talents and with my previous recruiting I should be in and out in a semester.”
Volleyball player Kaley Hosler also is heading to Scottsdale. She said she started looking last year and emailed Scottsdale five or six months ago.
“I took a visit and I really liked the campus. I thought it was the nicest out of the community colleges,” Hosler said. “I really loved the coach. She’s super awesome and coaches at Aspire, which is a really nice volleyball club. She’s a great coach and that’s why I wanted to go there.”
She also considered Arizona Christian University, but said it was which too expensive out of the gate.
Harte and Hosler both said they want to study nursing. Harte said an early connection to the Prescott campus remained strong.
“My brother played at Yavapai and won a national championship there, so just from the start, being introduced to that campus through baseball really caught my eye. I fell in love with the campus right away,” Harte said. “The coach contacted me and we started talking about volleyball. And I knew right off the bat that I wanted to go there.”
Also the Yavapai campus has dorms, for a taste of four-year college living.
Teammate Kendall Coleman will be a rival on the community college circuit, as she signed with Mesa Community College. She said almost 200 colleges showed interest with several offers around the country.
In the end, Coleman said she really wanted to stay in Arizona.
“Mesa was my top choice because I really like the head coach, Megan Taylor. I want to study nursing and Mesa has a good nursing program. I am also interested in psychology,” Coleman stated in an email interview. “I am thrilled that I get to continue playing volleyball at a college level and want to contribute to the strong program at Mesa.”
Wallace said she started looking late in her freshman year. Originally, she was interested in Point Loma and other California schools and schools on the East Coast.
“As I grew up, I realized what was more important, and that was my family. Being able to go to Grand Canyon, I can still see my family all the time and play the sport I love,” Wallace said.
She plans to study sports psychology, and is excited to be on the constantly expanding campus.
“It’s crazy. Every time I go over there I see something new. They’re continually growing and building. The campus life, walking around with students who are going to their classes — they’re so excited. They want to meet you a know you. Everybody’s so friendly and it really seems family- like there.”
While Wallace has been looking for years, Robinson- Delgado burst on the recruiting radar very late — considering how early the marquee college football schools like to line up prospects. Entering the season, there was a buzz building on the big man but only Division II Adams State had offered him.
Robinson-Delgado said he plans to study forensics.
Its just rewarding and a huge blessing to have this opportunity to play at the next level. I’ve worked hard for this and getting to continue to play the game I love and get an education from it… words can’t express how grateful and excited I am,” he stated.