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Pitman athletes Clay and Nunez sign letters of intent
Pitman's Kiana Clay and Jesus Nuez sign their respective letters of intent on Tuesday to play at the college level. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Pitman's Kiana Clay and Jesus Nuñez signed their respective letters of intent on Tuesday to play at the college level after each received an athletic scholarship for their sport.

Clay, who has been Pitman's most successful female track and field athlete since stepping on the campus during her freshman year four years ago, signed with Cal State Fullerton.

As a freshman, Clay became part of the Pride varsity girls track team and began the journey to her dream—to become a collegiate athlete.

After all the hard work and dedication the dream became a reality for Clay earlier in the week.

“I fell in love with the school,” said Clay about Fullerton. “And I fell in love with the team and coaching staff, (they) reminded me of the coaches I have now in high school I think it should be a good fit.”

It wasn't always an easy road for Clay, who saw times of struggle happening in her early years at Pitman. She had the same personal record for two years in the 400 meter race with a time of 59 seconds.

“Some of it was frustrating because I was doing all the training and everything but I never saw much of a change, especially after my sophomore year,” said Clay. “I started during the summer but the weakest part of races was the start, and finally all the work I've done was worth it.”

Clay's patience led her to break her record during her junior season after sprinting into a time of 55.1 in the 400 and into the books of many scouts.

“After that happened the calls started to come in from all over the place,” said Clay. “(I was) kind of star struck because I was thinking of not competing in college after the plateau but I am glad I stuck with it.”

Clay also recently became the all time leading scorer at Pitman for girls after surpassing Kelsee Derr on Wednesday in the second Center meet.

“I needed 19 points and I scored 36,” said Clay. “I still have another league dual so hopefully I can keep that record for as long as possible.”

Nuñez signed with Whitworth University out of Spokane-Washington on a soccer scholarship after ending his three-year varsity career with a strong finish at 17-7-4 and a No. 16 State placing according to Maxpreps.

“It's definitely something special. I am grateful for the opportunity I have in playing at the next level, but as of now it's just an opportunity,” said Nuñez. “I need to keep working to be able to make the most of it. It's just a new beginning for me, I haven't accomplished anything yet, I still need to continue my work and see where that takes me.”

Nuñez, who is one of the most humble athletes in the area, was never a flashy player and would always do whatever was necessary for the team to succeed and it led to a college opportunity.

As an incoming sophomore at the varsity level, Nuñez was backed by the best team in the CCC after finishing with a 12-3 record and a State placing at No. 8.

Pitman had 10 clean sheets during the 2013 season as well as another 10 this past year during Nuñez's senior campaign.

“All the coaches I have had through my youth career helped contribute to the person and player I am today,” said Nuñez. “And I love playing this position because it challenges you to become better and it forces you to make less and less mistakes.”

Nuñez has been training with his competitive team, the Stockton Monarcas Aztec Warriors, which are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, four times a week.

After years of training since he was 11, Nuñez finally saw the progress and he was offered multiple offers, including from San Jose State.

“The recruiting process was completely new to me and I actually got a lot of help from my coach Jordan Ferrell and counselor as well, Mr. Sanchez,” said Nuñez. “They helped me ask the right questions and gave me a feel for what I needed to look for in a school. It takes time for stuff to come into place, but the wait and small amount stress I went through was definitely worth it.”