By: Nailea Castillo, The Plaid Editor-in-Chief
On February 1, 2017, five Upland High School athletes gathered with their families and friends to participate in “National Signing Day.” Peyton Angulo, Kylie Bruce, Natalie Copenhaver, Tyler Sweet, and Gary Theard have made commitments to various colleges that will further their athletic careers after high school.
Peyton Angulo, who has committed to Utah Valley University for softball, informed the audience that she plans on majoring in Political Science, with an emphasis on Public Law. Angulo, despite the upset in tearing her ACL during this past year, has assured her friends, family, coaches, and teammates that she is ready to get back on the field and continue her career in softball for many years to come. “Upland has given me a lot of memories,” she said, “I feel like I’ve really grown in my four years of high school and I’ve learned a lot so I’m excited for the future.”
Soccer teammates Kylie Bruce and Natalie Copenhaver also participated in “Signing Day.” Kylie Bruce, who has played soccer since she could walk, has committed to Roanoke College. There, she hopes to pursue Veterinary Science in college. “Upland has been great for me; it really has,” she said. “I’m going to miss this team more than any other team I’ve ever been on.”
Also, a soccer player signing today, Natalie Copenhaver, signed with the University of San Diego. Copenhaver discussed all of the overwhelming love and support she received from her teammates, friends, family, and coaches alike. “My team was always there to help me and support me through hard times.” She said. Copenhaver is still considering her major, deciding between either Nursing or Kinesthesiology, but, nevertheless said, “I’m really excited just to get to college and know that all my hard work has finally paid off.”
Aside from these students, were Tyler Sweet and Gary Theard, both signing for football. Tyler Sweet has played football since he was seven, has become a key member within his team, and has been taught to strive for greatness, both on and off the field. Sweet discussed the tremendous amount of support he has received from his friends and family, especially his coaches and teammates at Upland High. “I felt the love when I came here,” he said.
Football player, Gary Theard, has committed to the Naval Academy. “This is what’s going to set me up to be the man I want to be,” Theard said. With his loved ones alongside him, dressed in Navy gear, Gary Theard shared his experiences as a student athlete. “Coming to UHS my freshman year, my second semester, was probably the best decision I’ve ever made- hands down.” Theard said. “The love and support that you guys provide me, ever since I was a little kid, it’s really going to push me and help me through this whole process, so I want to thank you guys for that.” Theard particularly paid thanks to his father. “You’ve suffered,” He said. “Dad, you’ve done a lot for me. You’ve sacrificed a lot. I’ll never forget when, at the barbershop, you quit your job, just to take me to practice. I’ll never forget that. It means a lot to me.” In addition, Theard thanked his teacher Mrs. Waldo and his fellow teammates.
It’s clear that these students have worked extremely hard to get to where they are today. “I’ll never forget my dad told me that, ‘Would you rather have fun for four years and struggle later in life or go through the hard, for the next four years and be set for life,’" Theard said in reference to the hardship student-athletes face on the road to success. However, with the love and support of their loved ones, each and every one of these athletes found the strength and determination to persevere through their athletic endeavors, allowing them to confidently sign on the dotted line, and take the leap into a prosperous future.