Winter Sports Senior Commits

Winter Sports Senior Commits

Shiori Decoy
New Mexico State University-Soccer

As soon as Shiori Decoy (12) laid eyes on New Mexico State last year, she knew it was the perfect fit. A few months later, she committed to playing Division 1 girls soccer there. 

“[New Mexico] State is an overall perfect environment for me because it has a good nursing program and everyone on campus is positive,” Decoy said. 

Beyond academics, Decoy is excited to play soccer with a team she believes will help her mentally and physically improve as a player and student. Although the transition into a new team may pose challenges, Decoy is ready to adjust. 

“Jumping into a brand new team and not having the strongest chemistry will be tough at first, but working on my mentality should help me through it,” Decoy said. “It’s going to be intimidating being one of the youngest on the team, but I’m ready for the challenge.”

Throughout Decoy’s soccer career, challenges were something she was used to working to overcome, especially in terms of injuries. In the past, Decoy suffered three concussions and a fractured foot. For this season, Decoy decided to step out and not play in order to risk further harm.

 Despite her difficult decision to not play, Decoy didn’t give up the sport she had been playing since she was 4 years old. Instead, she continued to train and stay in shape for college through private training and weight lifting.

“I’ve always loved the competitive and teamwork side of this sport,” Decoy said. “Soccer has helped me grow as a person and create many friendships. Continuing the sport into college will teach me so many more life lessons, and I’m excited to see what college has in store for me.” 

Sarina Dacio
Knox College-Basketball

The biggest change Sarina Dacio (12) went through while playing basketball was building her confidence on and off the court. She said she learned how to do this by preventing her emotions and nerves from taking over her game. With her unwavering dedication to basketball, Dacio decided to commit to playing basketball at Division III Knox College, Nov. 9, 2019. 

Dacio knew right from her visit that this was the place she would continue to grow as a student and improve as an athlete.

“I like how the school is small so I can create closer bonds with the students and teachers and be more than just a number,” Dacio said. 

At Knox, Dacio said she hopes to build new skills for the future.

“I am hoping to improve my communication, leadership skills, and persistence while playing college basketball,” Dacio said. “I want to take these skills and implement them into my own life after college for my future self.” 

Naomi Gipson
California Lutheran University-Basketball

For the next four years, Naomi Gipson (12) will play basketball for California Lutheran University. Naomi is ecstatic at the opportunity to play at a Division III school after working back from a torn ACL.

After playing  at a challenging level for all of high school, she said she wants her time in college to be the peak of her basketball career.

“One of my goals is to continue developing my guard skills; consistent shooting, ball handling, guard defense,” Gipson said. “This last season I got to play more wing than I normally do since I’m usually in the post.

“My goal is to play through college,” Gipson said. She has enjoyed playing for Westview and that she hopes the high note she left high school basketball on carries over to college. Where she can savor multiple experiences that bring her joy like what she experienced in high school basketball.

“Having a winning record of 26-4, winning league, team dinners and parties, and just having the opportunity to play the sport I love has given me the most knowledge to continue the sport,” Gipson said. Even though Gipson has an optimistic view on playing in college, she still knows it will be something she will have to work for.

“I know that college basketball is a lot more intense than high school,” Gipson said. “So adjusting will be a challenge at first, but I know that I will do great.” 

Alongside her dream of playing in college, she has also fallen in love with the school she chose. 

“I loved the campus, location and what the school has to offer,” Gipson said. “I chose Cal Lutheran because the coach is really personable and experienced,” Gipson said. “I felt that I fit right in with the team. Part of this was because of the girls on the team, they were all really welcoming, outgoing, and genuinely excited to have me visit.”


Maya Hamilton
University of Idaho-Soccer

Maya Hamilton (12)  made one of the biggest decisions of her life when she decided where she wanted to play soccer in college. She committed to playing at the University of Idaho DI for the next four years.

Hamilton also had to consider the team atmosphere she wanted to play in. Since she has wanted to play soccer in college for a while, she has had a certain competitive dynamic she likes and said she wants it to be present in the school she attends. 

“I have always wanted to play soccer in college since eighth grade or freshman year, Hamilton said. “I love the competitive atmosphere and the chance to keep improving and I want to keep improving in college as well.” 

Hamilton said she has more potential and thinks playing in college will unlock her capabilities, allowing her to be the best player she can be. 

  “I am hoping to achieve a conference championship with my team and hopefully improve and keep getting better,” Hamilton said. 

En route to achieving her goal of playing in college, she did face a few challenges during her time playing. However, she was able to overcome the obstacles and become the player she needed to be to be recognized by colleges.

“I think my biggest challenge was getting recruited,” Hamilton said. “In the beginning of high school I was on the second team at my club, which limited my opportunities, but eventually I worked my way up to the top team and was seen.”  This decision was a difficult one for her to make until she saw the school’s campus.

I made this decision when I visited the campus and I saw how gorgeous the area and buildings were,” Hamilton said. 

Olivia Spanish
California State University, Los Angeles-Soccer

Olivia Spanish’s (12) soccer career began more than 13 years ago. As a little kid, Spanish always played goalie and said she felt as though she was being stuck in the goal as the slow, uncoordinated kid who wasn’t good enough to score. However, over time, Spanish grew into her position, eventually leading to her commitment to California State University, Los Angeles as goalkeeper. 

“I naturally ended up gravitating towards goalkeeping because it tends to be the grunt work,” Spanish said.

Spanish’s keeper coach Cristian Negrete, who she’s been working with her since she was 10, as well as her current coach Tony Arnesen, helped shape her into the player she is today.

As goalkeeper, Spanish leads the team, making sure that she is heard by everyone. She checks that everyone is in position, knows  how to progress a play, and initiates a counter all the while guarding the goal.

“I like being in that high-pressure situation and that leadership role,” Spanish said. “I take pride in that because it’s definitely something that not a lot can handle.”

While playing the #1 ranked team in Northern California during a showcase tournament, Spanish especially felt pressure to perform as goalkeeper. However, she rose to the challenge with ten saves, making the game not only one of her best, but also the most memorable. Her performance during the game also led to her being noticed by college coaches, earning her spot on the CSULA team.

Spanish said she is especially looking forward to the opportunity to be playing at the more challenging level that CSULA offers as a Division II school.

“It’s definitely easy to be complacent at the high school level, but in college they really hold you accountable to pull your weight on the team, which is something that I highly prioritize,” Spanish said. 

In order to compete at a higher level, Spanish will have to adapt to not only the ups and downs of the new campus, but also the rigorous training schedule at CSULA. She’ll have practices four to six times per week starting as early as 6:30 a.m., with a required extra hour of practice for goalie-specific training. 

Although she does not plan on playing professionally, Spanish is considering getting a coaches’ license after college in order to stay connected to soccer. 

Elisha Tan
Duke University-Fencing

Elisha Tan (12) committed to Division I Duke University, Nov. 15, for fencing. 

The opportunity just came up as I was competing well at my sport on a national level,” Tan said. “As I approached my junior year in high school, people at my fencing club and my parents suggested that I begin contacting college coaches to see what would happen. Fortunately, something did.”

At first, Tan had bigger goals than just playing a sport in college, but as the years went by, her dreams slowly morphed into her goals and potential future. 

“At one point, I even had the dream that almost every athlete has: to be an Olympic athlete,” Tan said. “But as almost eight years went by, I realized that my goal should not be a place or ranking but a feeling of enjoyment. After my mindset changed to that, I guess everything good kind of followed, including the opportunity to fence in college.”

Tan’s next choice was to decide where she wanted to go between Northwestern and Duke.

“What led me to choose Duke over Northwestern was just a gut feeling,” Tan said. “I know it sounds cliche, but somehow when I visited Duke, something clicked. Duke just felt like a better fit considering the campus and academics.”

Tan said she is more than excited to fence in college, but she is also a little anxious.

“The only fear I have is that the training will be way more intense in a college setting, and that I might get burned out,” Tan said. “But other than that I’m just excited and not exactly afraid of anything coming next.”