This Wednesday, February 7th, popular lunch spots around M-A’s campus were deserted as over 200 students, parents, teachers, and coaches alike gathered in Ayers gym to celebrate the achievements and college commitment of 13 student-athletes. Though M-A boasts many incredible athletes, here are the few who will continue their athletic careers in college.
While this year’s team did not have the season they had hoped with a 5-7 record, wide receiver Alek Marshall and offensive lineman Ned Pelican proved to be bright spots.
Marshall was a matchup nightmare and boasted over 800 yards and 10 touchdowns throughout the season. Marshall plans on playing at Cal Poly next fall, which he said was an easy decision as “their coaching staff, location, and academics are a great fit for me.”
Meanwhile, Pelican was a staple of a Bears offensive line that paved the way for over 1400 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Pelican will be heading to Southern Oregon University next year. Head coach Christopher Saunders said, “Ned’s commitment to football and excellence is unquestioned and we as a program could not be more proud of him.”
The boys lacrosse team came off of a historic season last year, going undefeated in the league. This was in large part to Peter Koren*, an outstanding midfielder who shines both offensively and defensively. Koren, who has committed to play at Amherst College, currently holds rank in M-A lacrosse history, sitting sixth all-time in goals and points. In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Koren excels in the classroom, being selected as one of only four Academic All-Americans for the Silicon Valley region in his junior year.
The girls lacrosse team is led by captain and Varsity MVP Shea Dekshenieks, an outstanding player who has been on varsity for the entirety of her time at M-A and is headed to play lacrosse at Franklin and Marshall University in the fall. Dekshenieks said, “I had to be dedicated and focused on what I wanted to get out of every workout, training session, and practice. But I have always been an intense and driven person so I enjoyed the work.” She holds M-A’s record for most goals scored in a season and the record for most points and goals scored in a career, despite only having played three seasons. Among other achievements, she was named US Lacrosse All-American and US Lacrosse Academic All-American.
CROSS COUNTRY & TRACK
The Bears’ cross country team has broken record after record throughout the past couple of years due to the dedication and talent of many athletes including Tatum Olesen and Cleo Rehkopf*.
Despite only joining the cross country and track teams her sophomore year, Olesen set school records in the 800m and the mile. She finished 6th in the State Cross Country Championships in 2023 and was named the 2023 CCS Cross Country Runner of the Year. Olesen even placed 4th in the mile at the Nike High School Nationals running a 4:47. Olesen committed to continue her athletic and academic career at the University of Virginia. Aside from running, Olesen is an exceptional soccer player, having played for the girls varsity team since her freshman year.
Rehkopf is another standout on both teams, having been a varsity member since her freshman year. Rehkopf was a two-time PAL champion in the 3200 and ran the third leg of the then-fastest 4×1600 in the country last year at the Arcadia Invitational. Rehkopf will be running at Colby College in the fall.
M-A will send numerous soccer players to the collegiate level next year including Hewitt Stevenson, Georgia Auerbach, and Michael Roman*.
Stevenson grew up playing for local teams such as AYSO and Alpine Strikers. He then played with M-A’s varsity soccer team his freshman, sophomore, and senior year, receiving PAL All-League second-team honors as a sophomore. He said, “I’ve known I wanted to play in college since my freshman year,” and explained he set his sights on a D3 school where he could balance rigorous academics with sports. Stevenson spent his junior year traveling around the country and showcasing his skills with the Silicon Valley Soccer Academy (SVSA). He will play for Bates College next fall.
Auerbach has always dreamt of playing at the collegiate level and will turn these dreams into reality next year, as she has committed to play at Brandeis University as a center back. Auerbach was a key part of the girl’s soccer team’s playoff campaign last year that made it all the way to the semifinals in State Playoffs. Throughout Auerbach’s four-year varsity career, she has won first and second Team All-League as well as Honorable Mention.
Though Roman did not play for M-A’s soccer team, he has excelled on his club team, SVSA (MLS Next League), for the past four years and helped lead his team to a top-16 finish in the country. Roman will be taking his talents to the University of San Diego where he will play center back.
Dani Koo is a two-sport athlete excelling at both softball and soccer, however her athletic future lies on the diamond. Koo has played softball since she was six years old, and never looked back. She received first-team PAL league honors in both her sophomore and junior years and won PAL player of the year in 2023. Koo committed to Georgetown University and credits her collegiate aspiration to “playing for my travel team the Nuggets, as it showed me that I could compete at a national level, and that softball was something I couldn’t live without.”
Rowan Kelly played his first two seasons of high school baseball at Bellarmine College Preparatory, where his sophomore campaign earned him First-team all-league honors in the WCAL (West Catholic Athletic League), one of the most competitive divisions in the area. League transfer rules prohibited him from playing for the Bears until midseason, however, this did not stop him from making a monumental impact as he led the team in home runs, runs batted in, and slugging percentage. Kelly’s season helped the Bears reach their first PAL league title in over 20 years. He will play at the University of Santa Barbara next year and said he hopes to “contribute to the team for 3-4 years, ultimately getting drafted after my time is done.”
Samantha Lin has played volleyball at M-A for four years and has been a vital player, helping her team to a PAL league title last year. In Lin’s senior year, she was awarded the Coaches Award along with All-League Honorable Mentions. Teammate Duru Ruacan said, “Samantha’s a great volleyball player and an even better teammate. We are all going to miss her presence next year.” Lin also plays competitive club volleyball, recently winning an AAU National Champions in Orlando Florida with her team. Lin will continue her volleyball career at Brandeis University.
Last but certainly not least, Phoebe Nagy committed to Washington State University’s rowing team as a coxswain. Rowing with Redwood Scullers for three years, she has traveled around the country with her team, finishing in third place at Southwest Regional Championships in both 2022 and 2023, and a top ten finish at the Head of the Charles Regatta in 2022.
Though these athletes are taking their talents elsewhere, they leave behind lasting legacies in the M-A’s athletic community.
*Peter Koren, Cleo Rehkopf, and Michael Roman are journalists at the M-A Chronicle.