Since 2005, Spanish Springs has been a Northern 4A runner-up twice, a four-time Northern 4A champion and a three-time state champion. Two years ago, Spanish Springs saw four of its players sign Division I college scholarships. Last year, four more Cougars signed to play at the collegiate level, and Wednesday, four more signed national letters of intent to compete for college softball programs.
Additionally, two Spanish Springs baseball players made their college commitments official, making it a signing party for six senior Cougar athletes in the 10th-year school's athletic foyer Wednesday afternoon.
Danica Arterburn is the SSHS softball squad's ace right-hander and no. 3 hitter. She has been a first-team all-league athlete and known college softball's been her dream for a long time.
"As I've gown up, it's become more realistic and now it's really happening," she said after signing her letter of intent to play at Cal-State Monterey Bay, a Division II school on the central California coast. "I want to go to Monterey to play at that next level. I chose it because it's close to home. My family can come watch. And they've got a winning program with majors that fit my interests in criminal justice and education."
Sydney Darby is one of the top catchers and hitters in the state. She'll follow in the footsteps of her two older sisters who are playing college softball, Mallary at Nevada and Courtney at Idaho State. Sydney Darby announced her intentions to play at Dominican College in Orangeburg, New York.
"I just thought it would be fun to experience something outside of my comfort zone," she said. "I want to get that college experience. The coach is really what sold me. He's funny and understanding. He's very personable. That was nice."
Two more Cougar softball players made their collegiate plans official. Senior outfielder and pitcher Kaytlin Ripa will go to Coos Bay, Ore. and compete for Southwestern Oregon Community College. Senior outfielder Julianna Waller is headed to Feather River Junior College in Quincy, Calif.
"I'm really excited to go to Oregon, start a new life and play college softball," Ripa said. "I just love Oregon and being close to the ocean. Southwestern has a good team too. I'd like to go there for two years, get my residency and hopefully go to Oregon State."
Waller had similar sentiments about her choice to go to Feather River.
"I'm excited because I know it will be a stepping stone for where I want to go and I know that I'll get better. I really like the campus and the dynamics of the team."
Spanish Springs softball opens the Northern 4A tournament today at 2 p.m.
Also signing Wednesday were SSHS baseball players Jake Bray and Tanner Oates. The duo has been the Cougars' double-play combination since they were sophomores. Northern 4A pitchers won't be sad to see the Cougar standouts go as they have terrorized opposing hurlers each of the past three years in leading the Cougars to the playoffs each season.
Bray will attend Jacksonville state in Jacksonville, Alabama.
"Truthfully, there were only a couple schools looking at me. I took a visit and liked it," Bray said. "I'm definitely looking forward to it. I'll get to go to a lot of new places I've never been before."
Oates announced he'll be attending Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
I had various opportunities from D-1's to D-3's , but the coach there really made me feel like a son," Oates said. "That's important. If you're going somewhere for four years, you want to know the coaches care about their players.
"I visited recently and it was a little bit of culture shock. Salem is a lot different than Reno. But it is beautiful and I'm happy I'm going there."
Bray and Oates are wrapping up their senior campaigns this week, leading the Cougars in the Northern 4A baseball tournament.