Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Several recently-graduated Fernley High School athletes will be continuing their athletic careers in college.
Six graduating athletes have signed letters of intent and earned college scholarships, while several others will be playing football at two California community colleges.
Russ Ortiz has signed to play football at Jamestown University in Jamestown, ND.
Ortiz played wide receiver and defensive end for the Vaqueros, and said Jamestown coaches want him to put on some weight and play defensive end for the Jimmies, who compete in the NAIA North Star Athletic Association.
“When I went up there to visit the community reminded me of here and it felt like the right fit for me,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz plans to pursue a degree in education and become a high school teacher and coach. He said playing in college has been a goal since he started playing youth football.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was little,” he said.
Aaron Proctor has signed to play football at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Ore.
Proctor played wide receiver and safety for the Vaqueros. He signed with the Raiders as a receiver, with the possibility of playing defense as a fallback option. Southern Oregon competes in the NAIA Frontier Conference.
Proctor said he considered a few different schools and was offered a scholarship at Southern Oregon when he visited campus during a camp.
Proctor likewise said he’s dreamed of playing in college since middle school, but said it means even more that several of the team’s players have all achieved their goal as a group.
“That’s the best feeling, to do it with people you grew up with,” he said.
Proctor plans to major in sports medicine and become an athletic trainer.
Mallori Campbell signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Wyo. The Lancers compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association, Region IX.
Campbell said she first came into contact with Eastern Wyoming coaches during a club volleyball tournament in Utah, where she was playing for the Silver State Volleyball Club. She visited the school over Spring Break and decided that was her best option when she was offered a scholarship.
Campbell played as a setter for the Vaqueros, and said she plans to battle for a starting spot as a setter for the Lancers.
Campbell said he stopped playing volleyball for two years, but came back to the game during her junior year, and decided herself to playing on college.
She plans to use her two years at Eastern Wyoming to get her general studies requirements out of the way before transferring to a university, where she’s still deciding which medical field she wants to go into.
Lauren Adamson has signed a letter of intent to swim at Southwestern Oregon Community College, in Coos Bay, Ore. Southwestern is a member of the NJCAA for men’s and women’s swimming.
Adamson said she has always wanted to go to college, but didn’t begin to think about the possibility of swimming at that level until her sophomore and junior years in high school.
Adamson said Southwestern coaches contacted her after seeing her times on a website where swimmers can log their times.
She said she likes that it’s not a huge school, and that it seemed like the coaches and swimmers care for each other.
“The team was awesome, and the coaches,” she said.
She said she will most likely compete in the sprint freestyle and backstroke events.
Adamson plans to major in elementary education and become a teacher.
Lonnie Slapinski singed a letter of intent to play football for Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore.
Slapinski was offered a scholarship in December and committed in January. Eastern Oregon also competes in the NAIA Frontier Conference.
Slapinski got to know Eastern Oregon coach Tim Camp through the football camp hosted by Camp and his staff in Fernley every summer.
“He cares about me as a person and he’s all about academics first,” Slapinski said. “That’s the type of guy I want leading me.”
Slapinski said he’s dreamed of playing in college since the first time he put on pads as a 10-year old and he said Fernley coach Chris Ward is the reason he was able to fulfill that dream.
“I shouldn’t be here. I was weak, fat and unathletic,” Slapinski said. “I pushed myself in the weight room and coach Ward was there every step of the way, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Slapinski plans to study American or world history and become a high school teacher and coach football and wrestling.
Zach Burns has signed to play basketball at Simpson University in Redding, Calif., which competes in the NAIA California Pacific Conference.
After an arduous recruiting process that looked like it might end up without an offer, Burns was contacted in early May by Simpson coach Todd Franklin, who had been looking for a point guard until former Incline coach Tim Kelly recommended he talk to Burns.
Burns had been offered a scholarship to play football at Eastern Oregon, but wanted to play basketball in college instead. He had talked to several schools, but none had made official offers until Franklin. He had talked wit several NCAA Division II schools, but felt the NAIA level was a better fit.
“It was the perfect fit as far as the coach, the campus and the direction the program is going,” Burns said.
Burns broke the Fernley High School record in total points with 1,515, despite missing several games during his senior year with an ankle injury, and his 525 points as a junior was second most in school history. He also broke the school’s single-season record with 83 3-pointers last season and finished second in school history with 227 3-pointers, behind Cade Knudson, who made 229. He ranks second in school history with 549 rebounds, set the school record in defensive rebounds with 472 and is third in school history with 285 career assists.
Several other football players will be joining California junior colleges, which do not offer scholarships.
Harry McDonald, who was the Northern 3A Lineman of the Year last season, will play at Butte College in Chico, Calif.
Zac Terra, who played wide receiver and cornerback, Jordan Pressley, who played slotback and outside linebacker, and Tyler Dennis, who played cornerback, all signed to play at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif.