Sweat equity is paying off

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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I often receive a number of invites to the local schools to witness the signing of a Letter of Intent for some student-athlete to go on to college and pursue a degree while continuing to play a sport they love. Unfortunately, it isn’t as often I get information as to what those students who have already moved on are doing at the next level. However, that has changed a bit and that information is beginning to come in.

I hoped to include more information on these individuals elsewhere on these sports pages but just in case, I would like to highlight some of those accomplishments here.

In football, I was introduced to Kyle Peacock’s story by his parents. After thinking his football career was over after graduating Yuba College, Kyle is now on scholarship at Midland University in Nebraska. He and his family are from Rocklin.

Note to parents: don’t think forwarding information as to your son’s or daughter’s accomplishments is just bragging. These stories also serve as inspirations for others to follow.

Another Kyle – Kyle McFerran – of Lincoln recently graduated from William Jessup University. He was there on a basketball scholarship. Whitney High grad Jordan Wilson also played for the Warriors this past season making the California Pacific All-Conference first team.

We also heard from Saint Michael’s College and the Purple Knights’ Derek Knutty. Knutty also played basketball for the Wildcats.

Whitney remained in the news as graduate and softball player Stephanie Nippert broke the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) career home-run record. Nippert, a 2009 graduate, will earn her degree from Corban University this year.

Continuing with softball, Lincoln graduates, Nikoli Sharp and Stephanie Tofft are in the news. Sharp, a sophomore at Redlands University was named to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic All-Conference first team. She was also recognized as the 10th most difficult player to strike out in NCAA Division III softball.

Tofft is playing for the Florida Gators and her season is far from done. A 2010 graduate, Tofft plays third base for the university.

The Gators recently earned the Southeast Conference regular-season championship and will begin the SEC Tournament May 8 as the No. 1 seed.

These are just some of the local student-athletes making the most of their hard work during high school. It should also be pointed out, not all the students earning scholarships are doing so in sports. Those like Rocklin senior Shannon Garvella will be moving on riding an academic scholarship.

Garvella not only succeeded in the classroom, but is a three-letter athlete for the Thunder and now enters the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs as a member of the soccer team.

As the national commercial points out, there are nearly a half million student-athletes who will go pro in something other than sports. But thanks to their dedication to both athletics and academics, they have earned the opportunity to follow their dreams.

None of those I’ve talked to at Letter of Intent signings ever said the road to earning their scholarships was easy. But neither will be the road they follow to fulfill their careers. However, they will be well prepared because as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”