Quartet of Fruita, GJ athletes choose colleges
Four local high school athletes signed national letters of intent Wednesday, and two are staying home to attend Colorado Mesa University.
Grand Junction’s Spencer Weinberg, a No. 1 singles state tennis champion as a sophomore and state runner-up the past two seasons, is headed to CMU, as is Fruita Monument’s Mariaha O’Dell for softball.
Also signing were Grand Junction’s Lacee Kilgore, who will play volleyball at Division III University of Massachusetts at Boston, and Fruita Monument’s Mallory Paulson, who will attend Division II Dixie State College of Utah to play softball.
Weinberg said one draw to play at CMU was Mavericks coach Dan MacDonald.
“I grew up with coach Dan my whole life,” Weinberg said. “I feel real comfortable with him. Mesa just seemed perfect for me.”
For Weinberg and O’Dell, signing with CMU also was a chance to stay home.
O’Dell, a right fielder and third baseman, batted .532 with eight home runs and 32 RBI as a senior.
“I’ve been working for this since I was 4 years old, so it feels good,” O’Dell said. “I always wanted to leave home and all that stuff. But I feel like (CMU) will help me grow, and that was part of the decision.”
Paulson, the Southwestern League most valuable player for the 15-7 Wildcats, hit .554 with nine home runs, eight doubles and 44 RBI. She also was 4-3 on the mound with a 5.34 earned-run average.
Paulson said she likely won’t pitch in college, but will play an infield position.
“Dixie felt like home when I was there,” Paulson said. “I want to get a starting position and compete for a national title.”
Kilgore had 108 digs and 232 assists (3.7 per set) for Grand Junction.
“They just won their conference and regionals, and now they’re in Michigan for the national tournament,” Kilgore said of Massachusetts-Boston, “so they’re an up-and-coming school, and they have a brand new gym. I’m going there for business, and it’s a top-20 school in the country for business. And Boston’s awesome.”