Kent Powell is looking forward to becoming a Wildcat.
The Lodi High football player, a two-way starter at offensive and defensive tackle who was named the Tri-City Athletic League’s Lineman of the Year last fall, was one of two Lodi area high school student-athletes who took part in the NCAA National Letter of Intent to attend and participate in their sport at the four-year college on Wednesday. Liberty Ranch’s Mason Ginni was the other.
Inside Lodi High’s library, Powell signed his scholarship to attend and play at Central Washington University, an NCAA Division II campus, in Ellensburg, Wash. He inked the paperwork in front of family, friends, Lodi High Principal Bob Lofsted, Lodi High Athletic Director Robert Winterhalter and Lodi High football head coach George Duenas and assistant coach Greg Bishop. After the signing ceremony, Powell posed for pictures with family, friends and coaches.
Powell, a three-year starter on both sides of the line for the Flames, would like to play this season but is being realistic.
“They are, most likely, going to redshirt me,” said Powell, who was signed as an offensive lineman. “I should be OK with it. It’ll be another year in the program. You have to build someone up to play at that level.”
Powell, who is listed on last year’s roster at 6-foot-4 and 325-pounds, said he looked at a half-dozen colleges. He feels a bond among his future Wildcat teammates and coaching staff.
“Central Washington has that family feeling,” Powell said. “I believe in the first impression. They were amazing and awesome.”
Duenas, who took over the Lodi football program last June, feels Powell made an excellent choice.
“He’s a great young man,” said Duenas of Powell. “Central Washington is a great school; always competing for a a conference championship.”
Last fall, Central Washington University football posted an 8-3 record with a 7-1 mark in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Last month, Powell, who plans on majoring in mechanical engineering, visited the campus and met with the Wildcats’ football coaching staff, returning players and other recruits.
“The visit was nice,” Powell said. “The coaches were real nice. The players were awesome.”
One of Powell’s teammates will be Bear Creek High quarterback Quincy Glasper, who also signed with Central Washington University on the Bruins’ campus on Wednesday.
Last season, Powell, who also plays on the Lodi High boys basketball team, started in all 10 games for Lodi, which went 3-7 overall and 2-3 in the TCAL. Lodi lost three of those games by a touchdown or less.
For the last four years, one of the schools in Sierra Valley Conference boys soccer games that Liberty Ranch and Ginni have faced were their cross-town rival in the Galt High Warriors.
This fall, Ginni will become a Warrior.
In front of family, friends, Liberty Ranch High teammates and coach Andrew Fisher and administrators inside Liberty Ranch’s library, Ginni, a four-year starter at midfielder, inked his agreement with Westmont College in Santa Barbara, an NAIA school. The Warriors is the school’s mascot.
“This is a big moment in my life,” Ginni told the people in attendance. “My next four years of my life are going to be dedicated to this. Thirteen years I’ve put in the work.”
After ending his 30-second speech with “I love all of you guys” Ginni signed his agreement with Westmont College.
Ginni also posed for pictures with family, friends, teammates and coaches after his signing. Then he talked about always wanting to attend Westmont College.
“When I was younger, I always wanted to go to school in Santa Barbara,” said Ginni, who leads the Hawks in goals with 31 this season. “That was the first school that I actually visited.”
During his visit to the Southern California college campus, Ginni, who said he would be able to play for the team this fall, had a chance to attend classes with freshmen who were on Westmont College men’s soccer team last fall. The Warriors posted a 10-6-2 overall record that included a 5-3 mark in the Golden State Athletic Conference last year.
Ginni, who is looking to major in the medicine field, will be adjusting to the type of field he’ll be playing on the next four years. The Warriors have a grass field to play their home games. Hawk Stadium, Liberty Ranch’s on-campus stadium that opened last summer, has artificial turf. Before Hawk Stadium opened, Liberty Ranch, Galt’s second high school, has played all of its home games at Walker Park.
“They are maintained,” said Ginni of the Warriors’ grass field. “I prefer grass any day. It’s perfect for me. Everything there is beautiful.”
As his future is set in being a Warrior, Ginni’s focus is the present. The Liberty Ranch boys soccer team, which took second place in the SVC at 8-2 and 20-2 overall, wait for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff brackets that will be released on Friday afternoon.
“This year, our boys, our unit, it’s been so much better than all of the other years,” Ginni said. “We get along so much better. It shows on the field. You can see it on our record.”
Lodi High graduate Lucas Travis signed on the dotted line on Wednesday after a year at Delta College, where he scored 13 goals and seven assists in 21 games.
Travis, a 2013 Lodi High graduate, signed with Southwest University in Hobbs, N.M.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.