St. Francis High seniors [from left to right] Aaliysah Gomez, Pedro Ibarra, Micah Cervantes, Trey Silva and Markel Parker all signed their National Letter of Intent to compete at the collegiate level. (Alexis Meschi/St. Francis High School)

St. Francis High School last week celebrated and recognized a group of its student-athletes who will venture off into a new journey in college. 

Aaliysah Gomez, Markel Parker, Micah Cervantes, Pedro Ibarra and Trey Silva all signed their National Letters of Intent to compete at the collegiate level. 

The Sharks athletes inked their signature onto an official letter in front of family and fellow classmates near the art room building on campus May 17.

Gomez said it was fun sharing this once-in-a-lifetime experience with fellow classmates. 

“It was kind of cool because there were five of us, which for our school is a lot of people to sign,” she said. “It was a cool experience just being honored by our school.”

St. Francis Athletic Director John Ausman pointed out that this particular senior class overcame some hardship and setbacks after starting their high school careers during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Ausman said not only did they overcome adversity, but these five student-athletes stuck with their goals of continuing their athletic careers. 

“I think that’s a testament to their hard work and their grit,” he said. 

Gomez found a home at South Dakota State University where she will compete for the softball program in 2025, while Parker will play football in the fall at Simpson University in Redding.

The Sharks baseball program will once again be well represented. Cervantes is heading to Cal State University East Bay, Silva will attend Menlo College and Ibarra will follow in his brother’s footsteps to San Jose State University.

“I think [head] coach [Ken] Nakagawa has done a great job of getting some very talented young men to play baseball for him, but then develop into student-athletes that colleges want,” Ausman said. “That says a lot about the guys before these three. The track record on Sharks baseball players is good.”

Ruben Ibarra—Class of 2017—played for the Sharks before going to San Jose State. He was then drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft in 2021. 

Parker played under Ausman during the 2023 football season. Ausman said Parker brought energy to the locker room and he was enthusiastic throughout his career at St. Francis.  

“[Parker’s] battled through a lot of things during his high school career,” Ausman said. “And for him to achieve his goal and battle through those things is, again, a testament to him. I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished and excited to see what he does in the future.” 

Gomez—who played for the Suncats Jimenez travel softball team—said she felt somewhat nervous, but also excited as she put the pen to the letter, signing up for what will be the next chapter of her life. 

“It’s a turning point in moving my softball career forward, and just moving away from my family,” she said. “It really signified all the hard work that I put in and it’s coming to pay off. It was nice.”

Gomez may have committed to play softball, but she was also an all-around athlete on the Sharks’ girls’ flag football, basketball and track and field teams this season.

The Sharks did not field a softball team this year due to a lack of participants. Ausman is hopeful the program will be back and running soon. 

Gomez is currently in a program called Project Lead the Way that helps students prepare for careers such as in the medical field. She chose South Dakota State largely because she’ll be done in four years with a nursing degree. 

The Jackrabbits’ softball program is no joke, either. They captured their fourth consecutive Summit League softball regular season title, along with wins over Ohio State, Arkansas and Purdue in 2024.

“Everything was perfect and fit me with my needs as a student-athlete,” Gomez said.

Previous articlePajaro Valley 50-70 team completes undefeated season | Youth baseball
Next articleGroup calls on Driscoll’s, Reiter, others to cease pesticide use near schools
A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here