For Clovis Unified student-athletes, National Signing Day is a day long remembered, a symbol of all their hard work and dedication to a sport all rolled up into one event, a time to be honored in front of friends, family, school administrators, classmates and teammates.
Starting on Thursday, Nov. 13, at a lunchtime ceremony, Buchanan kicked off a five-day Clovis Unified celebration, where nine student-athletes signed on the dotted line, officially accepting scholarship offers starting in the 2016-2017 school year.
Clovis West followed a ceremony later that same day at 3 p.m., with Clovis High and Clovis East on Friday and Clovis North on Monday.
There was no lack of high profile athletes signing with high profile programs, led by Buchanan’s track star and defending 400m state champion Hannah Waller signing with Oregon, basketball player Donovan Mitchell choosing Wake Forest and baseball pitcher Grant Gambrell committing to Oregon State.
“It’s an amazing feeling to see these young kids about to embark on an athletic and academic journey,” said Buchanan Athletic Director James Gambrell. “These kids have done a tremendous job both in the classroom and the field and court.”
And this event held a special place in the lives of the Gambrell family, Grant is the youngest son of James and Nichole, and the third to receive a college athletic scholarship.
“To say I am proud would be an understatement,” said James about Grant, who possesses a fastball in the low 90s. “Nichole and I are so blessed to have a tremendous young man that loves to compete on the field and the classroom. We have raised him to be a man of character and I believe he displays that on a daily basis.”
The youngest Gambrell will always cherish National Signing Day and is ready to take his talents up to the Pacific Northwest.
“I have been waiting for almost three years for this day and it was definitely worth the wait,” said Grant who verbally committed after his freshman year. “I can’t wait to put the black and orange on and become a Beaver.”
And for Donovan Mitchell, the talented 6’8” wing, going to Wake Forest made perfect as he’ll be coached by one of the greatest college players of all time in Danny Manning.
“Their coaching staff is amazing and Coach Manning is the best there is,” said Mitchell who is also excited about the academic aspect of the Atlantic Coast Conference school. “I felt like he would get me to where I want to be.”
“Signing was a crazy experience and that memory will always be with me, there was no feeling like it. It just shows how hard work pays off, but it’s just the beginning and I can’t wait to see where this takes me”
And for Sarah Snyder of Clovis West, the standout swimmer and water polo player, she went the way of the polo, choosing the University of Santa Barbara.
“I just fell in love with UCSB,” said Snyder. “I knew that was where I belonged right when I got there. I left like I could be myself and actually build a home there.”
Below is the full list of student-athletes, sport, and school.
Hannah Waller, track and field, University of Oregon;
Donovan Mitchell, Wake Forrest;
Jordan Arruda, baseball, Fresno State
Grant Gambrell, baseball, Oregon State
Rachael Arkelian, volleyball, Fresno Pacific University;
Danielle Rodriguez, volleyball, CSU Stanislaus;
Bree Wellington, basketball, Metro State;
Brook Watts, volleyball , Biola;
Tanner Olmos, swimming, Eastern Michigan.
Cassidy Clark, softball, San Jose State University
Ashley Cross, basketball, Fresno Pacific University
Matt Elkington, swimming, UC Santa Barabara
Peter Kuest, golf, Brigham Young University
Andrea Mercado, softball, Humboldt State University
Sarah Snyder, water polo, UC Santa Barbara
Taylor Tiger, softball, Long Beach University
Seth Nabors, swimming, Fresno Pacific University
Hayden Mammen, golf, Kansas State University
MiKayla Sodersten, cross country, Oregon State University
Jillian Hatch, swimming, University of Pacific
Vivian Talmage, swimming and water polo, CSU Northridge
Thaliana Grejeda, volleyball, San Jose State
Gunner Gardner, wrestling, Hastings College
Blake Hathcoat, golf, St. Mary’s College of California
Matthew Frazier, baseball, University of Arizona
Lauren Moffett, cross country/track and field, Vanderbilt University