WATSONVILLE—A pair of student-athletes out of St. Francis High are ready to take their talents to the next level.
Seniors Audrey Hernandez and Josh Hernandez both signed their National Letter of Intent during a ceremony held at campus on Friday. Both will continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
“I’ve gotten to know these athletes really well over the years,” St. Francis Athletic Director Adam Hazel said. “I admire them greatly and I just want to tell them to make sure that this isn’t the highlight of your athletic college career.”
Audrey will play softball at Ottawa University in Surprise, Ariz.; while Josh signed to play football at the University of La Verne in Southern California.
Hazel said that being able to sign a Letter of Intent is a great milestone and point in their lives. But, they’ll need to continue to work hard in the weightroom and in the classroom once they hit college.
“Surround yourself with good people, that I’m sure you will,” he said. “Always listen to your coaches and always stay in touch with your family and your friends.”
Josh spent two years on the varsity football team and he lettered two years playing basketball for the Sharks. He was part of the 2019-20 basketball squad that won the Pacific Coast Athletic League Cypress Division championship.
“He’ll forever be able to take his kids back there and say ‘Look at that banner up there, I was part of that one,’” Hazel said.
He spent three years on the track and field team and competed in the 100-meter dash, 200m, 4×100 relay run, 4×400 and the long jump. Josh would’ve lettered for four years but the Covid-19 shortened sports season forced him to choose football and basketball over track.
Josh said he’s been waiting since his eighth grade year to sign his way into college after watching some of the older kids do it in years past.
“I’m so happy about it, it’s like living a dream,” he said.
He was joined by his parents and several of his teammates on the football team, who surrounded him afterwards to pose for photos. Josh said it meant the world to have all of them join him on a special occasion such as Friday’s.
“They’ve been with me since the start, all of them,” he said.
Josh got in touch with the coaching staff at La Verne and he said he felt comfortable from the introduction. He said the campus is great, the people were welcoming and the field is amazing.
He mentioned that St. Francis coach John Ausman recommended him to look into the program that he once played in. Josh talked to the coaching staff and he said it was a perfect fit.
“I really felt at home,” Josh said.
Audrey was a four-year letterman on the varsity softball team. She was part of the 2018-19 group that won the Pacific Coast Athletic League Cypress Division title and she was named to the all-league team as a sophomore.
She spent three years on the varsity basketball team. In 2018-19, the Sharks won the PCAL Cypress Division championship and she was named to the all-league team as a junior.
She would’ve been a four-year letterman but the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools to overlap both basketball and softball. Audrey dedicated to playing just the softball season.
During that time, she’s also watched several of her former teammates sign their letters of intent to play sports at the next level.
“Ever since my freshman year I’ve seen all kinds of people sign,” she said. “I was like, ‘One day I want that to be me.’”
Audrey said that Friday was a new chapter in her life and she’s excited to see the future holds for her. Her decision to go to Ottawa University was an easy one, especially when she received an offer to play softball.
She had a chance to visit with the coaching staff and the players were welcoming from the start.
“It was kind of a no-brainer,” she said. “I visited the campus and I absolutely fell in love with it.”