Turlock High's Madi Mayol and Jared Bernardi know a thing or two about excelling in the classroom and on the field.
After countless hours spent on perfecting their game and working towards achieving something greater, the day finally came when both of their dreams came true as they each signed letters of intent to play their respective collegiate sports.
Mayol signed to Whitworth University on a softball scholarship while Bernardi signed with Chapman University on a water polo scholarship.
“Going into college I didn't want a big school,” said Bernardi, “just a much smaller school. It has like 8,000 students, everyone knew each other and it’s like a small community and it’s what I wanted. They built new facilities, the pool is new and it’s beautiful. I have a friend who will be a senior there too.”
“I felt relief after signing because of all the hard work I put in and all the games I played, it paid off and it’s something that I love to do,” said Mayol, who plays catcher. “Now I get to enjoy my last year as I get to play with my sister (Sophie), so I hope to enjoy the time we have left.”
Mayol, who had been part of a progressive Bulldogs team, worked her way through the California Grapettes and was heavily scouted by colleges from all over the country. Eventually her college tour led to Spokane, Washington and Mayol became instantly infatuated with everything about the school.
“When I visited in Washington, it felt at home and the girls were welcoming and I really like the coaches also,” said Mayol. “The coaches told me about team dinners they have and how the team is a family, so the student-athletes never feel as homesick.”
Last year Mayol was first on the team with a slugging percentage of .428 and second with an on-base percentage of .326. Mayol also had five of the team’s six triples for the year.
Mayol takes her 3.83 grade-point average to a prestigious university and hopes to study in the medical field but knows that she must continue her hard work with softball and academics.
“I think my parents played a big role in allowing me to play and willing to spend on travel expenses and all my coaches have played a big role in pushing me as well,” said Mayol. “I have been very fortunate and lucky.”
As a senior, Bernardi scored 65 goals, tallied 30 assists and notched 89 steals in 29 games as the Bulldogs made the postseason and notched a playoff victory.
Bernardi joins one of 44 NCAA water polo programs in the nation—all of whom compete with one another.
In other words, everyone is at the Division I level, disregarding the fact that Chapman is considered Division III. They always rank in the top 15 or 20.
“Chapman always competes in top half of the nation usually, so they play in all Division I tournaments, everybody plays each other; it's really exciting,” said Bernardi. “I feel like the hard work has paid off. The countless hours I spent in the pool made me realize that all I have been working for is a goal accomplished.”
Bernardi said that he loved everything about the campus the second he stepped foot there.
“I spent a weekend there with some of the guys on the team and my friend Corey Plaster was there too from Johansen and they all introduced me and I met everyone and watched them play... it was really cool,” said Bernardi. “I am trying to play as much as I can and hopefully learn from the older guys.”
Bernardi will also look to attack the books just as hard, as he had accumulated a 4.1 GPA in high school.