When Courtney Tyler was 11 or 12 years old, she sat down with her dad and had a heart-to-heart talk. Tyler was a member of the West Bay Nuggets softball team and her dad, Steve, was her coach. He wanted to know if his daughter was serious about taking her softball to the next level and shoot for a college scholarship.
"I said, 'Yes. I want to be a college softball player,'" Tyler said she told her dad.
Now recently turned 18, Tyler, a senior at Hillsdale, will realize her dream as she signed an official Letter of Intent to play softball for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. She signed the letter during a ceremony at school Wednesday afternoon.
"It was definitely surreal," Tyler said. "I (orally) committed as a sophomore. I always knew I was going there. I was thinking (Wednesday), 'Whoa. This is it. This is awesome.'"
Tyler has already had quite a career with the Knights. This season will be her fourth as a varsity player, something very few high school athletes can achieve. She is already a three-time Peninsula Athletic League First Team All-League player and there is nothing to suggest she won't accomplish the same thing this season. She has been named Freshman of the Year by the PAL, as well as Sophomore of the Year. She was part of a group of Hillsdale players that turned the Knights from an afterthought into a perennial PAL and Central Coast Section power.
"I always dreamed about it (being a four-year varsity player)," Tyler said. "I'm trying so hard for (league) MVP this year. That's my goal."
Tyler has excelled no matter where she played on the field. Officially listed as an outfielder/first baseman, she can play just about anywhere. She was a catcher for the Knights her freshman year, even though she had never played the position before. While the Cal Poly-SLO coaching staff hasn't told Tyler where she will be playing, she's guessing it will be somewhere in the outfield, considering the Mustangs already have a first baseman.
Regardless of where she plays, she said she will be ready for the challenge. As such, she is not about to take it easy now that she has a scholarship in hand.
"Obviously [signing the Letter of Intent] was a huge relief. But I'm still working hard, I'm still trying get my grades better (she currently has a 3.85 GPA). It's definitely a relief, but it's no excuse to slack off."
While she has had a stellar high school career, she really got noticed by the Cal Poly staff for her play with her club team, the San Jose Sting ? one of the top softball clubs in the Bay Area. The Stings' various rosters are dotted with who's who of the South Bay softball world and a few of its alumni are already playing at Cal Poly.
Because of the caliber of players on the Sting, she knows what it takes to get to the next level.
"I was always the baby, playing up (an age group). I was trying to live up to them. They were going places and now I'm going places. It's so surreal," Tyler said. "I was always trying to keep up with these girls. They were the best girls ever, who didn't slack off even though they already had scholarships. The (Sting) teams I played definitely had a love of the game. There was never a doubt in my decision to play college softball."
Tyler isn't the only local athlete officially committing to college athletic programs. Aragon's Samantha Bowman, a coxswain for the Nor Cal Crew out of Redwood City, signed a Letter of Intent to row at Duke University in North Carolina.
"This is just like a dream come true," Bowman said. "It's just a shock."
Bowman started rowing as a freshman and said Duke showed interest last spring. She took an official visit to the campus in September and gave the Blue Devils an oral commitment at that time. Wednesday, she made it official.
"It's a great sport. Once you get involved, it sucks you in. It's hard to get out. It's a great bubble," Bowman said.
In other signing news, Matt Krook, a senior at St. Ignatius High in San Francisco and a member of those juggernaut Hillsborough Little League All-Star teams that ran roughshod through District 52 play and to divisional and sectional play in the early- to mid-2000s, signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at University of Oregon. Krook batted .404 and posted an ERA of 2.75 in 10 appearances for the Irish last season, helping them to a 23-8-1 record in 2012.
The Ca?ada College women's golf team finished in third place at the California Community College Women's Golf Championship at Temecula Creek Inn Resort.
The Colts shot a score of 673. Irvine Valley took the title with a score of 628 with Glendale finishing second with a score of 660. Shannon Wong led the Colts with a two-day total of 166, good for 14th place. Sarah Rotter tied for 17th place with a 169. Annika Nousiainen fired a 172, Mehreen Raheel had a 174, Hannah Murray finished with a 181 and Michelle Wong was at 206.
In Nov. 13 edition of the Daily Journal, the CCS roundup article incorrectly reported the finish for Mills cross country runner Grant Murphy. His time of 16:05 was good for third place in the Division III race, which qualifies him for the state meet next weekend.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117. He can also be followed on Twitter @CheckkThissOutt.