Two Lincoln athletes sign letters of intent
Students, friends and family gathered in Dale Pence Gymnasium on the Lincoln High campus last week to witness two Fighting Zebras’ athletes sign their letters of intent to continue their careers at the next level.
Baseball player Brennan Rozell and wrestler Kylie Titus made it official. Rozell will head south to play for the California State University Long Beach “Dirtbags” and Titus will head east to join the wrestling program at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill.
“I’m really excited,” said Titus. “A little scared about the weather, but not that scared because I’m obviously going.”
But before either departs the hallowed halls of Lincoln High, both have one more season to compete for the Zebras. Titus’ and the wrestling program stepped on the mats Nov. 6 and Rozell will begin officially practicing Feb. 5.
At 101 pounds, Titus is a prime candidate to wrestle her way to state this season. Although she has only been wrestling for three years, she is confident this will be her finest season – at least until she becomes a Highlander at MacMurray.
“This year people are telling me I’m going to make it to state and they’re telling me I’m going to be on the podium this year,” Titus said. “(It has) a lot to do with the coaches and especially with my dad as a coach. I always have a wrestling partner, no matter what, and I always have someone motivating me and helping me get better so that really helps.”
Rozell has spent time on the Long Beach State campus and is pretty much ready to get started. However, the all-league shortstop sees no reason he shouldn’t go out in style as a four-year section champion.
Although he is not sure how strong the Zebras’ pitching staff will be, he’s confident the team has all the other ingredients for another championship run.
“I think our lineup is going to be really fast and physical,” said Rozell, who as a freshman was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 115 pounds; now he is 6 feet 165 pounds. “We’ll be able to put runs on the board and be able to keep (other’s) off.”
He said he still has some growing to do and knows that will happen when he gets to LBS. He said they have great facilities and he looks forward to the training.
“I can’t think of anything better than to wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning and work out with your best friends; then go to class and then get back on the baseball field with the same group of guys,” said Rozell. “And then it’s study hall and then after that it’s pretty much 8 o’clock and you’re getting ready for bed because you’ve got to wake up early the next morning.”
Like Rozell, Titus will also be training year round at MacMurray College. But she said she has gotten used to that because she already trains year round.
She has worked out with Del Oro’s girl’s team and other programs, but said having to wrestle against boys has perhaps helped her the most. Titus is only one of three girls on the Zebras’ wrestling team.
“Practicing with the boys really helps. Ever since I started wrestling I’ve been (training) year round so I don’t think that’s going to be that big of a problem,” said Titus. “I’ve practiced with (MacMurray’s) team and I’ve spent a lot of time with their team. They have a lot of resources to like help them to keep their grades up and to be a student-athlete at the same time.”
Titus said she also likes the small-school atmosphere of MacMurray, a Division III school.
Rozell is pragmatic in his approach to playing for the 49ers’ “Dirtbags,” a name the baseball team picked up after having to practice on an all-dirt PONY League field. He is keeping his expectations in check and plans to do whatever is asked of him.
“It’s a new start. You don’t really know what you’re going to get until you get there,” Rozell said. “So you’ve got to go with an open mind and be versatile. If they want me to play outfield, I’ll play outfield; just find a way to try and get into the lineup.”