Students commit to college sports at new Hall of Champions venue

Cameras flashed and people cheered as Marshall Brooker (12), TJ Summers (12), and Kevin Lyons (12) appeared on the jumbotron at Petco Park, ready to announce their commitments to continue their athletic careers at colleges that recruited them. The Letter of Intent Signing Party was hosted by the  the Hall of Champions and brought in student-athletes from around the county.

“Anytime [a student] is going to compete at a Division I, II, or III school for a certain sport, there is a signing period where you can commit to a college,” Athletics Director Steve McLaughlin said. “What the Hall of Champions has done is that they have created a venue so that kids from all over San Diego County can sign their letters of intent to go to that college publicly in front of a lot of people.”

Each year as many as 500 student-athletes, along with their relatives and friends from all corners of the county, attend this event. Not only do these athletes get the opportunity to announce where they plan to attend college next fall, but they also get to meet others attending the same college.

As the crowd settled down, Lyons raised a microphone to his mouth, proudly announcing that he will be playing baseball at UC Santa Barbara. Following him, Summers announced his commitment to play lacrosse for the University of Utah and Brooker stated he would be attending UC Berkeley on their track team.

These accomplished Westview students stood together on stage as photographers and news reporters gathered below, capturing the memorious occasion.

Danae Brooker smiled proudly, watching her son take a big step towards his future.

“I love [this], it’s so exciting,” she said. “[Brooker] is a  newcomer to the sport, so having an event like this to recognize all the hard work he has done over the summer and fall is really worth it.”

According to Lyons and Brooker,  the event was both an honor and a great accomplishment.

“I felt proud because I get to go up and say I can go to [a certain] school for a sport, just like all these other kids” Brooker said.

“I think it’s cool to see all my baseball buddies all over San Diego get to get together and celebrate [the fact] that we are all going to Division I colleges,” Lyons said. “I feel relieved knowing that it’s official. It’s just a happy moment for me because now I am officially going to go to my dream school and play baseball.”

This year is– also the first time the Hall of Champions has hosted the event at Petco Park. In years prior, it had always been held at Balboa Park. Brooker said he feels the new location made his announcement all the more special.

“I think Petco Park is amazing,” Brooker said. “It makes the kids feel really special so I’m really happy that they offered this.”