National Signing Day: 10 on Their Way To Collegiate Level


Megan Schendel

     National Signing Day, the first Wednesday of February, marks the day that high school seniors can sign a National Letter of Intent, signifying that they agree to all the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and will be playing at the collegiate level with their future college. This year, MHS was represented on National Signing Day by almost a dozen senior athletes, including Chaylyn Navares, Dayna Nishimura, Gabrielle Hackbarth, Hannah Gamble, Jodi Lillie, Karlin Wurlitzer, Tayzha Furuta, Tehani Furuta, Jessica Ostrov and Julia Ostrov. They signed with a wide range of colleges, consisting of New England College, Idaho State University, University of Indianapolis, Oregon State, California State University Bakersfield, Chaminade University of Hawai’i, University of Hawai’i at Hilo and Hawai’i Pacific University.

    “It was such a great experience. I was so blessed to have this opportunity. It marked the official signing to our next chapter in our lives, realizing that we are this much closer to coming into the real world. Lots of relief knowing that all of our hard work paid off throughout the years of training. (It’s a) once in a lifetime experience,” said Tehani Furuta.

     For most of the student-athletes, signing with a college was something that they had dreamed of since they were very young and had worked hard for over the course of many years. “I wanted to play soccer during college because I felt like I invested so much time in my life. At the age of five, playing for over 10 years, I just felt like that’s what I wanted to do as a little kid. I worked really hard to get a scholarship so that I could play collegiate,” said Nishimura.

    However, their success came not only from dedication over the years, but also from actively coordinating with possible college options in the months preceding National Signing Day. “I emailed them (college coaches) at the beginning of the year because I was going to an ID camp and knew they were coming. It was a two-three day camp where we did drills with college coaches and then scrimmaged. They watched me throughout the whole ID camp and then talked to me at the end and said that they were interested and we just went from there,” said Nishimura.

    National Signing Day gives student athletes the chance to be in the spotlight and commemorate the beginning of the rest of their lives after high school. “National Signing is symbolic of a commitment to a school and team that you have a responsibility to perform on and off the field, (and) in the classroom, to the best of your ability,” said varsity girls soccer head coach Ray Akiona. Nishimura added, “All the student athletes who committed to a school were introduced one by one and signed their National Letter of Intent. After, your friends and family who came, get to see (you and) got to lei you.”

    Many of the student athletes that signed, chose to attend local colleges in order to stay close to home while still getting to experience college life. “Even if I wasn’t getting a scholarship, I probably would’ve gone to HPU. I really want to stay home and be around my family and friends,” said Tayzha Furuta. Lillie added, “I wanted to be able to go away and experience somewhere else, even though it’s still Hawaii. I just wanted to go away and experience being away from my parents and home without being too far away.”

    National Signing Day presented many student athletes from MHS and across the nation the opportunity to take the next step towards their lives after high school, in addition to kicking off their collegiate career.