Aptos celebrates trio of athletes signing letters of intent

Aptos’ trio of, from left, Olivia Meier, Hannah Hocom and Jillian Rodriguez signed their respective letters of intent on Wednesday at the school’s campus. — Tony Nunez/Register-Pajaronian

APTOS — Hannah Hocom first picked up a basketball when she 7.

Olivia Meier started kicking around the soccer ball when she was 4.

Jillian Rodriguez found volleyball when she a preteen in junior high.

“They’ve worked for this moment for a big chunk of their lives,” said Aptos Athletic Director Mark Dorfman. “They’re great athletes, but better people. They’re going to do great things going forward.”

The aforementioned trio of Aptos athletes signed their respective letters of intent on Wednesday in front on dozens of friends, family, coaches and administrators on the school’s campus.

Hocom signed with New York University for women’s hoops, Meier followed through on her commitment with Binghamton University’s soccer program and Rodriguez penned her allegiance to Long Beach State’s beach volleyball team.

“It’s different every year,” Dorfman said. “It’s like seeing your oldest child move on to college and then your next child and your next child. You’re fond of all of them, and you can’t pick a favorite because they’re all outstanding individuals.”

All three have made a gigantic impact on their respective sport during their time at Aptos.

Hocom last winter helped the girls basketball team win its first league title since 2001, and its first section title since 1983 the year prior. She was named the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League’s Most Valuable Player last season, and also repeated as the Register-Pajaronian’s Player of the Year.

Aptos has pieced together a 69-20 overall record with Hocom on the team.

“The last four years has been such a great experience,” said Hocom, who earlier this summer verbally committed to the NCAA Division III program in the heart of New York. “I’ve learned so much. What it means to be a great student and great athlete — a good person in general…I’m really excited to take these skills I’ve learned these last four years and apply them in college.”

Meier, too, accomplished plenty while playing soccer at Aptos. She last season aided the Mariners in capturing their fifth straight SCCAL title while scoring five goals and dishing five assists.

Meier verbally committed to NCAA D-I Binghamton in New York after visiting the campus — her mother’s alma mater — as a sophomore.

She took that high school season off to play with her club team, but returned to the Mariners last winter and picked up right where she left off as a freshman, a year in which she scored six goals.

With fellow stars Monserrat Hernandez Marquez and Paige Dueck gone following graduation, this year’s iteration of the team will very much be her squad.

“I liked having Monse and Paige because they were my role models,” Meier said, “but now it’s my turn to be the role model and it’s exciting.”

Rodriguez, meanwhile, wrapped up her final season of indoor volleyball a month ago, as Aptos advanced to its third straight Central Coast Section championship game.

Rodriguez earned All-SCCAL First Team honors in all three of her varsity seasons, and also helped the Mariners win a pair of league championships in 2016 and ‘17.

“I feel like volleyball has played a big part of my four years of high school,” said Rodriguez, who verbally committed to the NCAA D-I beach program in the summer. “I wouldn’t really want to make them different in any way.”

Rodriguez joins Aptos alumnae Jenna Belton (USC) and Madison Dueck (Cal) as recent NCAA D-I beach volleyball signees. Current Mariners Cameron Dueck (Pepperdine) and Peyton Dueck (Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo) will follow in Rodriguez’s footsteps in the coming years after recently verbally committing to their respective programs.

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