FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Sophia Zielinski, Kara Thomas, Faith Danner, Katy Wyatt, Miguel Bravo, Francisco Rios and Jesus Lopez all committed to continue their education and athletic careers in college during a ceremony on Wednesday, April 17 (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

Seven student-athletes from McNary signed their letters of intent to continue their education and athletic careers in a ceremony on Wednesday, April 17.

While all seven of them have excelled in the sports arena, McNary athletic director Scott Gragg made it a point to mention the dedication that each of them have shown in the classroom. 

“In order to be able to sign these pieces of paper, they need to be able to attend that college, which means they have done some things in the classroom that have given them the ability to play at the next level,” Gragg said. 

Celtic volleyball players Sophia Zielinski and Kara Thomas each plan to play volleyball next year at Linfield University.

Thomas and Zielinski were both three-year varsity players for McNary and earned honorable mention all-league honors in the 2017 season. They also shared the responsibility of being co-captains this season.

“They’re leadership is going to carry onto the next level,” McNary volleyball coach Crystal DeMello said. “I really value that they were teammates here and it’s rare that they will continue to be teammates at the next level.”

Katy Wyatt is choosing to play soccer at Pacific University. Wyatt was a four-year starter for McNary and was a team captain during the 2018 season. She was third on the team in scoring this season and totaled nine goals and 11 assists over the course of her career. But it was her ability as a defender that really helped the Celtics as she played a role in 22 shutouts over the last four years.

“Katy was part of a great class of freshmen four years ago that really came in and changed the culture of the (girls) soccer program,” McNary girls head coach AJ Nash said. “We call her the ‘energizer bunny.’ She is one of those few people in life that have another gear.”

Faith Danner will attend Dakota State University in Madison, SD to play softball. 

Danner has been McNary’s top pitcher for all four years of her time as a Celt and has earned all-conference honors in the first three years of her career. Last season, she had a record of 16-9 and an ERA of 3.08 in 140 innings, and also batted .361

Her play, both on the mound and at the plate, this season has the Celtics in position for their second

conference crown in three years.

“I’m really proud of (Danner) because she chose a school where she can go and get a really good education, and also continue to play softball,” McNary softball coach Kevin Wise said. “I’m so thankful for all she’s done for our program here at McNary and we’re just looking forward to her having a great college career.”

Miguel Bravo, Francisco Rios and Jesus Lopez all signed to play soccer at Chemeketa Community College.

All three were varsity players throughout their four years of high school.

Bravo was second-team all-conference during the fall and was voted McNary’s MVP at their awards banquet.

Rios ended his career with 35 goals and 21 assists and he was named an all-conference honorable mention this season.

Lopez was a first-team all-conference defender in his final year and also was recognized as the athlete of the week back on September 21, 2018 by the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club.

“All three of them have been captains of our program. I’m very proud of the fact that they all played different roles that made our program rise higher,” McNary boys soccer coach Miguel Camarena said.