A dozen athletes from the small, private school will be competing in college
This is a story about a small school, its students, sports, and school spirit.
This is the Seton Catholic, Class of 2022.
“We are small, but a lot of us are super dedicated to our sports and academics,” senior Lara Carrion said.
Of the 56 seniors in the private school in Vancouver, 36 participated in high school or club athletics. Of those, 12 are going to continue in their extracurricular activities in college.
“That big number out of such a small school really represents Seton Catholic as a whole, and definitely our class,” Carrion said. “We are able to perform as well as anyone else going to a big school.”
Seton Catholic will kick off the graduation season in Clark County with its ceremony on Saturday. The following weeks will include ceremonies throughout the region. Clark County Today will have a series of stories focusing on the Class of 2022.
Carrion is the valedictorian at Seton Catholic. She will be running cross country and track and field at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
Alex Arredondo is graduating with a 3.917 grade-point average and will be cheering at Georgia Tech as he pursues engineering.
“Having a sport you can really get into is beneficial to your learning environment as well,” Arredondo said. “You have something that really does keep you on track.”
Carrion said athletics made her the student she is today.
“I was not expecting to be the valedictorian at all. Wasn’t even thinking about it,” she said, recalling her memories upon entering high school. “When I look back, I learned so much from participating in sports that it helped me be the best that I can be in the classroom as well as out on the track and out on the course.”
Arredondo is proud of his GPA but he values even more the fact that he was open to trying new things. He played football and soccer for Seton Catholic before finding cheerleading. Plus, he insisted on seeking out new challenges in the classroom.
“You want to touch all your bases and figure out what you want to do in life,” Arredondo said. “Push yourself to take AP, do hard courses. You want to figure out what you are good at so that way when you get to college you can figure out what you actually want to pursue.”
Arredondo has quite the interesting journey to college cheer. He never tried it until this past year.
“One of the biggest things that led me to cheer was COVID,” he said, interestingly enough. “I spent a lot of time in the weight room. That is what I was really passionate about. But I really wanted to have something more. I have a lot of school spirit. Well, cheerleading is like lifting, but you’re lifting a girl and you’re doing a lot of fun stuff (stunts) with that. You get to express how cheerful you are for the school, and you get to show your spirit.”
After going to a cheer camp and then cheering at Seton Catholic, he noted his experience in his admission letter to Georgia Tech. Turned out, the Georgia Tech cheerleading coaches reached out to Arredondo. They met, and that is how a student-athlete from a small school in Washington will be cheering in the ACC.
Carrion was not looking at Cal Poly initially. Her older brother goes there and, she joked, she didn’t want to interfere with his college experience. But the Cal Poly coach reached out to her.
“Why would I pass up an opportunity at a D-I school?” she asked.
So she went on a visit in November, and she was convinced.
As noted, they are not alone as Seton Catholic Cougars moving to perform in college.
The other 10 Seton Catholic students who will remain in athletics beyond high school: Kailey Floyd, Whitworth University, cheerleading; Lance Stuck, Rensselaer Polytechnic University, football; Sean Emberlin, North Park University, football; David Moore, Liberty University, soccer; Jacob George, Pacific University, basketball; Dax Clifton, The College of Idaho, baseball; Gigi Redman, Trinity International University, softball; Bronwyn McGovern, Franciscan University, lacrosse; Zach Murray, University of Washington, gymnastics; and Karis Garrison, St. Mary’s College of California, dance.
Carrion and Arredondo said all of the Cougars appreciate what Seton Catholic has provided them through the years.
“Everyone is pretty close. Everyone knows at least something about everyone in the school,” Carrion said. “You don’t see someone you don’t know. That’s a really cool feeling. You feel like you are home. It’s not like you don’t belong. You know you belong here.”
Then with sports, Carrion said, student-athletes can represent the school beyond campus.
Arredondo, in fact, said he has noticed a big change in recent years. Before, people wondered where Seton Catholic was located. Now, they know.
“The recognition has increased so much, I think, because of our sports,” he said.
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