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SSHS athletes announce college plans
by Damian Tromerhauser
May 29, 2013 | 4359 views | 0 0 comments | 96 96 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs senior Matt Mannens signs a letter of intent Wednesday with fellow senior Melly Munley looking on.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs senior Matt Mannens signs a letter of intent Wednesday with fellow senior Melly Munley looking on.
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Five Spanish Springs High School student-athletes made their collegiate athletic plans official, signing their national letters of intent on Wednesday morning.

A pair of Cougar wrestlers put their names on the dotted line, along with a member from the SSHS volleyball, football and baseball teams. Both Tyler Beaulac and Rito Hernandez will be taking their wrestling skills to the mats at Sierra College (Rocklin, Calif.) and Lassen College (Susanville, Calif.) respectively. Melly Munley will join the volleyball team at Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif., while Mario Palacios will continue his career on the football gridiron at Yuba College in Marysville, Calif. and Matt Mannens will play baseball at Colorado Northwestern College in Rangely, Colo.

Beaulac, who won a state championship at 182 pounds this past winter, was grateful for the chance Sierra College gave him.

“This means the world to me and I thank the Lord every day that I get to continue wrestling,” Beaulac said. “I’ve had setbacks before with injuries or not making weight, but I wouldn’t want to take that back because it made me a better person and a better wrestler.

“I’m super excited to have this opportunity. Mostly just to better myself in wrestling. I’m planning on transferring to a different school after a few years there. So I’m hoping that I just improve myself more and more. It’s every wrestler’s dream to go to the Olympics and ever since I started wrestling that’s been my goal. I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics and compete with the best.”

Beaulac said once he stepped foot on the Wolverines’ campus, he knew it was the right place for him to chase that dream.

“It was a difficult decision trying to decide what school to go to. I talked to a lot of schools and visited a couple different schools, but Sierra College stood out,” he said. “I actually went to a practice while I was there and my training partner beat the heck out of me. He just beat me up so I knew instantly that if I went there I was going to have people to make me better and teach me.”

Hernandez will be another Cougar wrestler who will continue to chase his dream on the wrestling mats. The 132-pound regional champ said his visit to Lassen College sealed the deal for him.

“The recruiting process was a little bit of me contacting schools and schools contacting me,” Hernandez said. “I took a trip to Lassen College and once I went down there, I knew it. I just liked the feel of the school. It’s a small town, but I liked the setting around it.”

Hernandez, who will remain a Cougar at Lassen, said he is thrilled to take to the mats next school year.

“It’s really exciting. It may not be a big school, but I just like the opportunity and I’m thankful for it. I just want to prove myself. I want to make sure that I belong there and show it.”

Munley, who took home first team all-league honors in the fall, is set to become a Holy Names University Hawk and is eager for the chance.

“I’m really grateful that I get to still have volleyball in my life and that I get to try new experiences,” Munley said. “I’m just really excited that I get to play in college. It’s something that not everybody gets to try. It is going to be a good experience.”

Munley said finally signing her official letter of intent was a weight off her shoulders.

“It was definitely a relief to pick a school because it was very nerve wracking and stressful. When I finally decided on Holy Names, it was an amazing feeling.

“There were a lot of things I liked about the school. It was really close to home and the girls were really friendly. I liked that it was in a big city but the school is smaller so it will be easier to get my schoolwork done. They’re in a good conference and they’re a really competitive team, so I’m just really excited.”

Another Cougar that will travel from the Silver State to the Golden State to begin a college career is Palacios, who will become a Yuba College 49er. Palacios, who was an honorable mention as an offensive lineman for the SSHS gridders in the fall, said signing his letter of intent was a day he has been looking forward to for a long time.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Palacios said. “My freshman year I saw a few kids sign and I always knew that was one thing I wanted to do once I was a senior. Now that I’m here with my friends and my family getting it done, it just feels so amazing.

“I am really excited. It’s just an opportunity to improve my game. It’s nice knowing that I can go on to the next level and just keep learning from the game to become a better player and person.”

Palacios said he believes Yuba College will give him a good opportunity to continue his playing career beyond his days with the 49ers.

“I feel like for a junior college I can go there and be successful and hopefully get recruited to a D-II or D-I school and go on from there,” he said. “Out of all of the schools, I felt like that was definitely the right one for me. I just really liked the coaching staff and the environment there.”

On the baseball diamond, Mannens is taking his talents to Colorado Northwestern College as a member of the Spartans.

“I think this day just represents all of the hard work that I ever put in through the years. It means a lot that baseball is still in my life,” Mannens said. I’m excited to see how I compare to higher level guys. Hopefully I can get a starting spot.”

While Mannens, a first team Division I North all-league selection at shortstop, is eager to see how he stacks up at the next level, there were other contributing factors that led the SSHS senior to Colorado Northwestern.

“I’m a real outdoorsman so the environment there was something I was really interested in,” he said. “I like to hunt and I like to fish a lot and they have both within about five minutes of the school, so that was exciting for me. That was probably the closing deal for me.”
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