Gunn celebrates its future collegiate stars
Twenty-two Gunn student-athletes who have made commitments to pursue their chosen athletic disciplines at the college level were honored Monday at the school gym.
In keeping with the high emphasis placed on academics in the area, the majority of those student-athletes are headed to prestigious academic institutions the likes of Princeton, Brown and Penn, Cal Tech and MIT, Carnegie Mellon and the Claremont colleges, Cal and Northwestern, Case Western and Haverford.
Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich is looking forward to competing in the high jump at Princeton after his senior season was cut short by injury. He suffered the injury, a torn patellar tendon, playing basketball.
He established a personal-best and school record his first time out in the high jump when he cleared 6-9. But pain from the injury made Lee-Heidenreich withdraw from further competition.
“It was very painful, made it hard to train,’’ he said. “I ended up going to the doctor and starting rehab. It’s getting a lot better. I should be back in a month or two.’’
He was recruited by Princeton after a junior year in which he cleared 6-8 and advanced to the state meet after taking third at the Central Coast Section finals behind a pair of 7-footers — Mt. Pleasant’s Darius Carbin and St. Francis’ Darius Thomas. Carbin, now at Georgia, ended up setting a state record when he cleared 7-4 ½.
This year is a different story. Lee-Heidenreich’s 6-9 the one time he jumped is still by far the best in the CCS. No one else has done better than 6-5.
“No one’s cleared 7 feet this year,’’ Lee-Heidenreich said. “I feel that if I’d stayed healthy, I would have. But that’s OK.’’
Basketball standout Archer Olson was the only Gunn student-athlete headed to a Pac-12 school. She made a commitment in September of 2016 to go to Cal as a preferred walk-on.
Olson could have gone to a lower-profile school and gotten playing time and financial aid right away. But she made up her mind she wanted to go to Cal and work her way into the rotation.
“I’m hoping to get some financial aid from an academic scholarship,’’ Olson said. “I love the whole coaching staff at Cal. I think it’s a good fit for me. I want to be surrounded by better people.I feel I can learn from every player on that team.’’
Swimmers Michael Lincoln and Max Pokutta, who helped Gunn to a CCS title their junior year and third-place finishes at CCS and at state this year, and diver Marisa Agarwal are all headed to Brown. Kyle Fendorf, another swimmer, is headed to Claremont-McKenna. Diver Kira Hebbel is off to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Football lineman and shot putter Andy Maltz, like Fendorf, is off to Claremont-McKenna. Edmund Wu, a football teammate of Maltz, will play collegiately at Carnegie Mellon.
Josh Radin, a standout in both basketball and baseball, will play basketball at Haverford. David Clarke, a teammate of Radin’s in both sports, will pursue baseball at the University of Chicago.
Leland Pama, another member of the Gunn baseball team, will stay close to home and play at De Anza College.
Margaret Redfield, who qualified for Friday’s CCS finals in the high jump, has committed to MIT. Claire Hu (Cal Tech) and Priya Thomas (Scripps College) will also continue to compete in track and field and Elise Epstein (Case Western) in cross country.
From the Gunn soccer teams, Victor Romero will play at Cal State Bakersfield and Inger Smuts at Cal Lutheran.
Volleyball standout Amy Wang is headed to Northwestern, water polo star Quinn Hamilton to San Jose state, golfer Lucy Lamb to Drew University and fencer Michael Li to the University of Pennsylvania.