CONCORD, CA (Dec. 21, 2022) — Carondelet, Clayton Valley Charter, De La Salle and Northgate high schools announced 28 senior student athletes signed their National Letters of Intent last month committing to play their sport starting next fall in colleges from coast to coast.
The signees will be playing baseball, swimming, soccer, beach volleyball, water polo, basketball, softball, wrestling and golf starting in the fall.
Northern California four-year schools getting commitments were UC Berkeley, Holy Names, Sacramento State, UC Davis, University of the Pacific, Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s. Local athletes who are headed out of state for their education will be going to Northern Arizona, Harvard, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Iowa, McKendree (Illinois), Arkansas and Alabama State.
The University of California system scored with these seniors who will be going to UC campuses in Davis, San Diego, Irvine, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Berkeley.
One unique aspect of this NLI group was the commitment a few minutes and one street apart of Concord twins Stephanie and Scott Iannaccone signing letters of intent the same day to swim at two different four-year schools. Stephanie is going to Harvard after graduating from Carondelet while brother Scott from De La Salle will be competing at Cal Poly SLO where he will follow in the footsteps of brother Ryan on the Mustang swim team.
The total of 28 athletes from this senior class enrolling next fall at their college may be reduced by one as Clayton Valley Charter baseball standout Ryder Helfrick is considered a potential high draft pick in the Major League Baseball draft next July. He’s currently ranked as the No. 3 catcher in the senior class and 33rd overall.
His commitment to a strong Arkansas baseball program that was third in the 2022 College World Series means that the MLB team drafting Helfrick will know it may need a strong contract offer to pry him away from joining the Razorbacks. This is a situation similar to when Kyle Harrison of De La Salle was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2020 after committing to UCLA baseball.
Besides Helfrick, there were five more members of coach Casey Coakley’s Ugly Eagles baseball team who signed NLI last month. CVCHS was briefly ranked as the No. 1 team in the Bay Area last spring and returns this strong core for 2023 hoping to improve on their quarterfinals exit at North Coast Section after winning the Diablo Athletic League Foothill Division championship.
This signing by six Clayton Valley Charter baseball players to NLI is understood to be the most in one year for any girls or boys sport at the Concord high school that opened in 1958.Coakley says 16 baseball student athletes have signed at four-year colleges in the past four years, plus several others who began their college careers at community college.
Three members of De La Salle baseball, NCS champions for the fifth successive time, also pledged to their colleges of choice including pitcher Cal Randall, ranked in the top 75 seniors in the country, committing to UCLA. The Bruins Class of 2023 is ranked third behind Arkansas and Vanderbilt.
Fall NLI signees (sport and college)
Maddie Buckley (Soccer UC Santa Barbara)
Stephanie Iannaccone (Swimming, Harvard)
Shelby Santos (Beach Volleyball, UC Davis)
Lizzie Vranesh (Soccer, UC Berkeley)
Clayton Valley Charter
Francisco Aguayo (Baseball, Holy Names)
Mikayla Brown (Water Polo, McKendree University)
Kyle Connelly (Baseball, UC Berkeley)
Isaiah Landry (Baseball, Alabama State)
Niko Olson (Baseball, Santa Clara)
Isabella Scolini (Softball, Saint Mary’s)
Myles Walton (Baseball, Sacramento State)
De La Salle
Dominic Brown (Water Polo, UC Santa Barbara)
Smith Chandler (Baseball, Cal State Northridge)
Zach Elian (Swimming, UC San Diego)
Tanner Griffith (Baseball, Saint Mary’s)
Scott Iannaccone (Swimming, Cal Poly SLO)
Jack Jerge (Golf, Saint Mary’s)
Carsten Peters (Water Polo, UC Berkeley)
Andrew Hallett (Swimming, UC Berkeley)
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.