The official student news site of Westview High School

The Nexus

The official student news site of Westview High School

The Nexus

The official student news site of Westview High School

The Nexus

Battikha constructs, programs drone for pollution detection
Battikha constructs, programs drone for pollution detection
Leanne Fan, Staff Writer • June 5, 2024

When Alex Battikha (11) walked along the San Diego shores with his dad last June, he noticed trash everywhere. What further concerned him was...

Signing off: student-athlete commits

Sébastien Wenger – University of Alabama

Sébastien Wenger (12) began swimming when he was only 2 and started competitively by 4 years old. After trying football, rugby, and lacrosse in elementary and middle school, he ended up returning to swimming and realized he had a passion for the sport. He said that he devoted himself solely to swim in seventh grade after breaking the San Diego 11-12-year-old mile swim record and 1,000-meter record at 11 years old. He realized that with training, he could make a college team one day. 

“I was at the top of the age groups nationally when I was 11,” Wenger said. “I continued that success throughout the years and realized that swimming in college was something I wanted to do, and it’s kind of led me to here.”

He will continue his dream later this year on the swimming and diving team at the University of Alabama. 

In early December, Wenger reached out to the coaches. He later competed in a national swim meet and updated the coaches on his swim times. He committed to the school on Dec. 19, only a few days after the coach gave him an offer over the phone. 

“I decided to jump on it and commit,” Wenger said. “I haven’t visited Alabama, but I completely just did this on a whim. I definitely know a few of the guys on the team and a lot of them have reached out to me since I committed, so I’ve kind of gotten a sense of the team atmosphere.”

Until Wenger moves to Alabama in August, he will continue to update the team on his swim records at Westview. For instance, he texted the coaches when he won the CIF 200-yard individual medley event. 

“I always update them and I have calls every couple of weeks with them,” he said. “I’m just preparing myself to go out there and start training.”

In addition to the University of Alabama’s highly skilled and well-coached swim team, Wenger said that he valued the connections that he could make with the coaches and swimmers, camaraderie being a big part of why he loves the sport.

“I enjoy being around teammates who have a common goal of bettering themselves in and out of the pool,” Wenger said. “I could tell when I had my calls with the Alabama coaches that I connected with them really well. When I had my first phone call with a coach, it was like an hour long. After that, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is definitely the place that I want to be.’”

Jaden Nisperos – Biola University

Jaden Nisperos (12) has been playing soccer for 12 years. For three of those years, a quarter of his soccer journey, Biola University has been by his side, consistently communicating and helping him through the recruiting process.

Finally, in December, Nisperos verbally committed to Biola, and, on April 16, he signed his official commitment.

“It was really promising to get an offer from Biola after years of hard work,” Nisperos said. “The head coach of Biola actually saw me at a camp going from my freshman year into my sophomore year. He saw me really early and took an interest and communicated with me throughout high school, so what really drew me in was his commitment to [making] me a better player.”

However, soccer was not the only influence on his college decision. Nisperos received offers from several schools, so he said he had to consider factors like academic rigor and location before he made the decision.

“The academics were important to me,” Nisperos said. “[Biola has] new facilities, very well-renowned professors, and a park to play soccer in but also study. It’s also super close [to San Diego], so those checked off my boxes.”

Nisperos said he is looking forward to playing with his new team, traveling out of the country, and experiencing broader competition, all of which can help him hone his goalkeeping skills.

“One of the opportunities I’m super excited for is venturing out on who I get to play, and not only that but also upping the level of playing style and competitiveness,” Nisperos said. “[The style is] a lot quicker, and I feel that having that environment will help me become a better soccer player and a better athlete. My end goal is to play professionally, so this is a really exciting stepping stone to get where I want to be later in life.”

Connor Shaw – San Diego State University 

For as long as he can remember, Connor Shaw (12) has loved playing baseball. He started his journey when he was 4 years old and fell in love with the sport soon after. 

“I found a lot of interest in [baseball] at a young age, and my dad started buying me little toy bats and taking me to baseball games,” Shaw said. “Once I got to a point where I could start playing T-ball, he enrolled me, and I’ve stuck with it since.” 

Shaw credits a part of his love of the sport to his teammates and coaches who have shown him love and support throughout his baseball career. 

“I show up every day, bad day or good day, and the coaches never fail to make me smile,” Shaw said. “I’ve also been blessed to play with the same seniors all four years of high school, and it’s the best group of guys that I have ever been around on a baseball field.”

Shaw was overjoyed to be given an acceptance letter from his top choice, San Diego State. He said that the proximity to his family and friends played a major role in his commitment to this school, and that it was important to him for his dad to be able to continue to watch him play. 

Committing to SDSU was a no-brainer for Shaw, he said, considering the welcoming spirit of the head coach. 

“When the head coach for the SDSU baseball team first started talking to me in July 2022, I immediately felt the support he had for his players,” Shaw said. “Every time we would talk, he would always ask me about how my life was going and how my family was doing before we’d even talk about baseball.”

In the fall, Shaw is excited to continue his baseball career as an Aztec and major in kinesiology. 

Samantha Song – La Salle University

Sam Song (12) never expected to play golf at a Division I college. In eighth grade, the current member of the varsity girls golf team said she picked up a golf club for the first time, just for fun.

“I was kind of just messing around with it [at first,]” Song said. “I only got serious with it about two years ago.”

When she was a junior, Song discovered she could drive the ball much farther than your average high-school golfer. 

“The farthest I’ve ever hit with my driver was 290 yards, which is very rare for a high school girl,” she said. “I wanted to see how far I could go with my golfing career.”  

Since then, Song has put in hours on the course, practicing every day of the week on various courses around San Diego.

“I practice around three to five hours a day,” Song said. “Golfing has kind of become a part-time job for me.” 

Song said she puts so much of her time and effort into the sport because she loves the way it makes her think about her next moves. 

“You can’t just do things willy-nilly,” Song said. “Once you find a mistake, you have to hone in, focus, and then clean it up. Whenever you make mistakes, it’s actually making you a better golfer, which I think is really cool.” 

Song recently committed to La Salle University, a private school in Philadelphia, where she was recruited for their golf program.

I didn’t always know that I wanted to pursue golf,” Song said. “It was definitely in my mind but not a priority, because I still went through the regular college application season and did all my essays. So, it was definitely a tough choice choosing between pursuing a regular education, quitting golf completely, [and playing the sport in college.]” 

 Song said she was excited about the competition in the area. Being on the East Coast, La Salle is near many Ivy League schools with prestigious golf programs. 

“It’s going to be really cool playing against other schools in the area like UPenn, which is crazy,” she said. “I never thought I would be playing against players who are that good.” 

Song said another draw of La Salle was the environment it offered. 

“I chose that school because I definitely wanted a more Christian community, and also I wanted to be in a new place,” she said. “I’ve never lived in the city before.” 

Once there, Song said she’ll strive to improve the team’s ranking. 

“I am definitely going to work very hard to prove myself and do my best to make the team better,” Song said. “They are high-ranked academically, so I’m going to try to make their athletic ranking better.” 

Owen Peake – Point Loma Nazarene University

At the start of Owen Peake’s (12) baseball journey, he never could have guessed that he would be committing to play college baseball. Peake started tee-ball at age 5, and has since put in hours of practice for one goal: to progress in his baseball career.

After beginning his high-school career at first base for Westview, as a left-handed player, Peake knew he wanted to try out for pitcher. So, during his sophomore year, he said that he worked hard with the pitching coaches to get better. With Peake’s 1.83 earned run average (ERA) through his four years, he was nominated to the All-Palomar-League first team. He also recorded 70 strikeouts this season which was fifth in the division out of more than 100 pitchers. 

Prior to this season, in October, Peake committed to Point Loma Nazarene University for baseball..


“My commitment to PLNU was something that took time,” he said. “Lots of thought went into the schools I was looking into, but it came down to which school I would be able to develop the most in a setting where coaches will have your back the whole way.”


Through his experiences at Westview, he said his coaches led him to improve greatly and develop as more than just a baseball player. He said that his coaches had confidence in him when he didn’t, and they helped him change positions and become great at what he does. 


“Westview baseball is the most important step of my journey due to the great coaches who know how to help develop players not just for the present, but for the future as well,” Peake said. “They know that the four years that a player is in their program isn’t all that needs to be focused on. The future person and player that they will become is also a top priority.”


Peake chose PLNU due to the coaching staff having lots of confidence in him and the interest the team showed in home for many months prior to his commitment. He worked with the coaches showing them his film and how he is off the field by talking to them on the phone.

 He said he has looked forward to college ball for years.

“Baseball is something that I have worked hard to pursue and take to the next level,” Peake said. “Now that I have the opportunity to continue, it is where the real growth as a player will develop and show.”

McKynley McCulloch – Univerversity of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Even before she knew she wanted to play water polo in college, McKynley McCulloch (12) knew she wanted to go to the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She is now committed to play Division 1 water polo there as part of the second-best college women’s water polo team in the country. 

McCulloch’s journey to Manoa started in eighth grade when she made a presentation on safety, match, and reach colleges for her AVID class. She fell in love with Manoa because of its picturesque location and amazing biology program. 

“The school is right by the beach and there are just so many amazing opportunities for things like field research and studying different species and marine life firsthand,” she said. 

Although McCulloch has been playing water polo since the age of 8, she didn’t consider playing in college until she made the varsity team her freshman year. Manoa became even more of a dream for McCulloch when she learned of its leading water polo program, Even though colleges can’t officially reach out to students about recruitment until August of their junior year per an NCAA rule, McCulloch made sure Manoa knew she was interested from the get-go. During her sophomore year, she sent multiple emails with highlight reels of her games. 

Another factor that contributed to her recruitment was playing club water polo for La Jolla United, which is ranked eighth in its division in the nation. 

“When you play for a club that’s well known, you kind of put your name out there,” McCulloch said. 

Aside from being an opportunity to train rigorously and compete almost every weekend, club water polo gave McCulloch access to showcases. It was at one such showcase that McCulloch talked to a coach from Manoa and shared her contact information.

At the end of the day, McCulloch knew Manoa was the one because of its commitment to helping student-athletes balance academics and athletics. McCulloch received both academic and athletic scholarships to attend the school. 

“It’s really important as a student-athlete to consider if the school is a good fit for you academically,” McCulloch said. “Manoa has all of these support services available like tutoring just for the athletic department and each sport has their own tutors specifically assigned to them.” 

Although she will be a Rainbow Warrior next year, the values and skills McCulloch gained playing as a Wolverine will stay with her. 

“It’s going to be a big jump from high school to college,” McCulloch said. “I think the biggest takeaway I have from playing in high school is learning the importance of discipline. Being able to navigate through Westview’s rigorous academic and athletic demands has helped me prepare for the challenges that come with pursuing a sport and higher education.”  

Brian Lloyd – Cornell University

On a February afternoon, Brian Lloyd (12) received a message from the football coach from Cornell University that would change the course of his athletic career.

All of the hours he spent practicing, training, and playing football paid off. Lloyd, a wide receiver and cornerback, had received an email from Cornell notifying him that he had earned a scholarship through football. Lloyd said after receiving this news he felt relieved about his future football career being secured.

Lloyd looked back at his past with football and remembered being inspired by the sport. 

“[I started watching football] when I was a little kid, and it was inspirational,” Lloyd said. “I started actually playing when I was in third grade.”

It was only in Lloyd’s senior year that he decided to give his all to getting a scholarship through football.

“My freshman year, I was really excited about [football],” Lloyd said. “But during my sophomore and junior year, I was mainly focusing on just going [to college] for school, not football. And in my senior year, I really loved playing football, and so I pushed for a scholarship.”

Lloyd had reached out to other D-1 Ivy League schools such as Brown, but none of them appealed to him as much as Cornell had.

“It’s  a great school with a large number of undergrad students, and when I visited, I could definitely see myself attending,” Lloyd said. “Brown offered me a scholarship a little after I committed to Cornell, but I decided to stick with Cornell.” 

Though his love for the sport drove his efforts for a scholarship, Lloyd said that there were other factors pushing and supporting him to do his best.

“My dad pushed me the hardest,” Lloyd said. “He was a Division I athlete, so he knew the ins and outs of what you need to do to get better.”

On March 19, Lloyd officially decided to continue his life-long passion at Cornell.

“I would say thanks to my dad, my coach from the 7-on-7 teams I used to play for because he got me started on football,” Lloyd said. “And my mom, who supported me throughout my whole journey.” 

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About the Contributors
Rosemary Cabanban
Rosemary Cabanban, Staff Writer
Haven Teudt
Haven Teudt, Staff Writer
Sophie Doell
Sophie Doell, Staff Writer
Sophie Doell (9) is in her first year as a part of The Nexus. She is also part of the Westview Girls Tennis team and in her free time enjoys reading and hangout with her friends.
Aspen Cotton
Aspen Cotton, Opinions Editor
Aspen Cotton (10) is in their second year as a part of The Nexus. They enjoy painting and always have a book in their backpack. Their favorite food is fettuccini alfredo, or anything with cheese in it.
Dylan O'Donohue
Dylan O'Donohue, Staff Writer
Nirja Trivedi, Staff Writer
Juliana Hong, Staff Writer

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