On Wednesday, three of the top seniors in San Pedro Prep Sports all made their choices clear to further their education and pursue playing at the net level at both San Pedro and Port Of Los Angeles High School.
San Pedro High football senior two-way lineman Nick Ford, the 2016 San Pedro News Pilot Prep Football Co-Player Of The Year, after receiving 21 offers and narrowing them down to three Pac-12 Conference schools in the last weeks, would finally settle in on playing defensive tackle at Utah for coach Kyle Whittingham and the Utes. Ford, the 2016 CIF-Los Angeles City Section Offensive Lineman Of The Year & Marine League Defensive MVP also considered California and Washington before finally picking the Utes.
"I love everything there," Ford said recalling his official visit. "The program, the environment, the academics, the people, the nature and most importantly, the opportunity."
Ford should fit right in with a Utah defense that's known in recent years to be tough against the run. In his senior year at San Pedro he registered 56 tackles, 24 for a loss, with ten sacks, a forced fumble and two pass deflections in helping lead the Pirates to a 10-3 record and the CIF-LACS Division 1 semifinals. Ford plans to major in Bio-Chemistry or Integrated Physiology to go to medical school and become a general physician or an anesthesiologist.
"I'm really going to miss all the fans, the players I played with, and the ocean," says Ford after being asked what he'll miss the most at San Pedro. "The coaches too, especially my guardian angel Coach Ag (the late Jerry Aguilar). I wore his ribbon today."
Also at San Pedro High, girls soccer senior midfielder Maddie Villela signed her national letter of intent as well to play at Marymount California University. Villela, who has scored 36 career goals, is a three-time All-Marine League first team and 2016 All-City selection for the Pirates, and is going after a fourth Marine League title in a row.
It was a match made in heaven as far as Villela goes on why she chose the Mariners.
"I'm a very family oriented person," says Villela, who will major in business management. "So the college being close to home impacted my decision a lot. Also, the coaching staff and players on the team were very welcoming when I meeting them, and it felt like it was a good match for me."
Port Of Los Angeles High girls soccer senior midfielder Anna Vidovich signed on to play at Stevens Institute of Technology, a consistent national contender in NCAA Division III soccer in Hoboken, New Jersey.
"The thing that first caught my eye about Stevens was its history for academic excellence, because I wanted to go to a school that mirrored how hard I worked in high school," Vidovich said. "But what sold me for this school was when I first visited. Stevens is located only ten minutes outside of New York City, which is one of my favorite cities and I couldn't turn down the offer to be so close to New York."
Vidovich later celebrated on the field of play when the Polar Bears won 11-1 over Harbor Teacher Prep to further tighten their grip in the Crosstown League. In that game, the 2016 All-City selection would provide a hat trick with three assists for POLA (11-3 overall, 10-0 league).
Overall in her four-year career that was shortened a tad by a slew of injuries, Vidovich has still managed to score 49 career goals and play in two straight CIF-LACS Division 4 championship games, closing in on a fourth consecutive Crosstown League title to boot with four games left to play. She is currently undeclared.
"I'm definitely going to miss the community I have at POLA," Vidovich says. "My four years of high school were filled with nothing but support from all the teachers and staff and that's absolutely a reason why I was so driven to get good grades and attend a good academic school."