Whitney holds signing day for student-athletes

From basketball to swimming
By: Aaron Day for The Placer Herald
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Ten senior Wildcats’ student-athletes were recognized at Whitney High School Nov. 14, during a signing day ceremony held by the athletic department.

Family, friends, coaches and teachers gathered in the school library to honor and say a few words about the senior ‘Cats, as they signed their letters of intent.


Madison Bailey earned a scholarship to Mckendree University, a private liberal arts university located in Lebanon, Ill.

Bailey’s opportunity came participating in a sport not typically recognized by high school sports. The senior has been recruited to bowl for the Bearcats.

In 2013, Bailey won a girls national bowling championship.


Also receiving a scholarship for a non-prep sport was Peyton Gillen. Gillen competes for Byers Gymnastics in Roseville, where she excels on the beam.

Gillen will attend California State University, Sacramento, competing at the Division I level in women’s gymnastics.


A four-year varsity player, Kaylie Honberger was joined by coach Jeff LaShell, and coach and father Bruce Honberger during her signing on with the Otters of CSU, Monterey Bay in Seaside.

The talented senior was a team leader and was at the top of the Sierra Foothill League charts in hitting, kills and aces (99).


Jada Lewis became Whitney’s first athlete to earn a Division I women’s basketball scholarship. The versatile 5-foot-9-inch guard is also a team leader, who is recognized for her selfless play as well as her shooting and rebounding ability.

The Vikings of Portland State University in Portland, Ore., won the bidding for Lewis’ services.


Utah State University in Logan Utah will gain the talents of Makenzie and Mazie Macfarlane. The twin sisters have been go-to players for the Wildcats for three years, with one more season ahead.

Makenzie has a career .427 batting average, but has a glove to match as the team’s catcher. She was voted the Wildcats’ defensive MVP last season.

Mazie has been hitting at a .432 clip and was the team’s offensive MVP. At home either in left field or first base, Mazie is at home on defense or at the plate.

The Mcfarlane twins should fit right in a USU Aggies.

Ashley Williams will grace the University of Texas at El Paso next season.

As a junior, Williams hit .345, had a .563 slugging percentage and a .486 on-base percentage. On defense, she is comfortable behind the place or playing second or third base with a .942 fielding percentage

"Ashley is a very good defensive catcher, as well as a great team player,” said UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk via UTEP Softball. “Her maturity and softball IQ behind the plate will add to our pitching staff and team's success."

UTEP competes in Conference USA.


Zach Mason caught the eye of head coach Joel Williams when Mason was a freshman midfielder. Although solid on defense, Mason was the ‘Cats second leading scorer last season.

Mason will head to Hayward to attend CSU East Bay to play for the Pioneers. But before then, Williams should get another outstanding season from the senior.

When speaking of Whitney soccer, the name Utush comes to mind.

Kiera Utush plans to follow in her sister Aliyah Utush’s (graduated 2014) footsteps to play for CSU, San Diego.  

Named the Capital Valley Conference MVP last season, Kiera could be in line to break her sister’s scoring record (68 goals). However, she would have to do it this season in the SFL – a tall order – even for a Utush.


The University of Idaho will become as accustomed to the name Votava as Whitney High.

Morgan Votava penned her name to the home of the Vandals where her sister Lauren Votava now swims as a senior.

Morgan sent a chill through potential recruiters during the October Spook-Tacular Meet held at the Roseville Aquatics Complex. Over a two-day period, the senior placed in the top five in six events, taking second in the 200-yard breaststroke competition.