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The old college try

Thirty two western Nevada County athletes have announced their intentions to continue their athletic endeavors at the next level.

Five of those have earned partial athletic scholarships and three have been awarded full rides to play at their respective college campuses this fall.

Though in earlier years she might have had dreams of having her college education paid through an athletic scholarship, Rachel Harter didn’t end her junior basketball season with such a thought in mind. In fact, that season came to an end before it ever got started. Harter tore her anterior cruciate ligament going for a layup in September of 2005 and sat out the entire section championship campaign.



“Definitely not. I wasn’t thinking about a scholarship,” said Harter, who graduated from Bear River High School Friday night. “I was talking with Coach (Jeff Bickmore) at the beginning of the year when I realized I could be good enough to play college sports.”

Months later, just before having her high school diploma in hand, Harter accepted a full scholarship to play basketball at Corban College, an independent Christian college in Salem, Ore.




“I’m looking forward to it,” said Harter, who plans on studying health science in hopes of becoming a physical therapist. “I’ve gone up there and met a lot of the girls and they seem like cool girls. It’s a pretty small campus on about 100 acres and it’s built on a hill.

“It reminds me of here. It’s really nice, a lot of trees and really green … and a lot of rain.”

Two other area graduates landed full athletic scholarships for the fall. Last fall, Lauren Juric, Harter’s Bear River teammate, signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at the University of California, Davis.

Also signing to play Division I athletics was Nevada Union’s Taylor Dever, who earlier this year signed to play football for the University of Notre Dame. Dever leaves for South Bend later this month.

Nevada Union golfer D.J. Milligan, who graduated Saturday, was offered a partial scholarship to play golf for California State University, Monterey Bay. Milligan was in the enviable position of being able to turn down the offer.

“I was very fortunate on scholarship night,” Milligan said. “It was the plan to get a partial scholarship, but I won’t need it between the academic and scholarships through organizations.

“I’d imagine (CSU, Monterey Bay coach Bill Paulson) is pretty happy about that.”

Milligan, who enjoyed playing with current UCLA golfer Erik Flores while both were at Nevada Union, is looking forward to playing some of the most popular and challenging courses in the nation – including Pebble Beach.

“Our home courses are Bayonet and Black Horse,” Milligan said. “That’s where we have practice privileges. But we’ll play all the courses around the Monterey peninsula, including Pebble Beach.”

Milligan said the team is losing five players after a solid year last year. That leaves the door open for him to earn a spot on the traveling squad his freshman year.

“There are five spots open from people leaving, but two redshirts and maybe one returning player are coming back as well,” Milligan said. “But the way (Paulson) does it is that you have to earn your spot on the team. Just because you’re a returning player doesn’t mean you’ll be playing.”

Milligan is simply hoping to make his own luck this summer.

“I’m going to spend a lot of time practicing, spend a lot of time in the gym and play in a lot of amateur tournaments,” Milligan said. “I’m really going to prepare myself for this.”

Local athletes playing in college

Bear River

Rachel Welz Track & Field Sacramento State (partial scholarship)

Nicole Jackson Track & Field Sacramento State (partial scholarship)

Rachel Harter Basketball Corban College (full scholarship)

Chris McIntosh Basketball Sierra College

Cameron Lewis Tennis Point Loma Nazarene

Jared Merrill Wrestling Sierra College

A.J. Nunez Baseball Cosumnes River College

Lauren Juric Basketball UC-Davis (full scholarship)

Forest Lake Christian

Samuel Canty Diving Biola University

Torrey Haddad Volleyball Walla Walla College, Wash.

Carter Kaminski Soccer Biola University

Adam Reed Basketball Colorado Christian (partial scholarship)

Aubrey Stelzner Soccer Vanguard University

Nevada Union

Russell Brackett Baseball Sierra College

Devin Genovese Baseball Sierra College

Josh Pitts Baseball Yuba College

Aaron Lane Baseball Sacramento City College

D.J. Milligan Golf CSU-Monterey Bay (partial scholarship)

Gavin Butcher Golf Sierra College

Nate Newport Basketball Butte College

Kyle Virva Swimming UNLV (partial scholarship)

Caitlin Lee Swimming Cal Poly

Colleen Heauser Swimming Nevada-Reno

Alyssa Pattee Swimming Cabrillo Junior College

Taylor Dever Football Notre Dame (full scholarship)

Doug Dolan Football Cornell

Zach Masch Football Arizona Western JC

Brian Milhous Football Yuba College

Chad Mason Football Butte College

Brian Milhous Football Yuba College

Steve Flores Football Yuba College

Jason Niederberger Football Yuba College

Note: Information provided by area high school coaches.


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