Alex Doherty and Bianca Garcia had plenty of offers to take their athletic talents to the college level, and Monday the Mac-Hi seniors put pen to paper in signing their letters of intent.
Doherty signed to play football with College of Siskiyous in Weed, Calif., while Garcia will throw the javelin at Eastern Oregon University.
Doherty, 18, is the first Mac-Hi football player since Derek Richwine (Class of 2013) to play football at the college level. Richwine played at George Fox University.
“My freshman and sophomore years, the older guys were really nice,” Doherty said. “I never thought I’d have much of a chance to play college football, but they told me I had the size.”
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Doherty, who played guard and defensive end for the Pioneers, entertained offers from Western Oregon, University of Idaho, University of Redlands and others. COS offered him a full ride, making the decision a bit easier.
“One of the main reasons there were so many (offers) is because (football coach Gary) Robertson got the word out to colleges and sent video,” Doherty said. “He has been a big help.”
The Eagles, who compete in the Golden Valley Conference of the California Community College Athletic Association, will have Doherty play defensive end.
Doherty said the Eagles plan for him to play this fall, but he needs to put in a little work first.
“They are happy with my speed and strength, but they want me to be heavier,” Doherty said. “They want me to be 285 to 300 pounds. They sent me a 10-week eating and workout schedule that I will start next week.”
Doherty has played football since he was 8 years old. He played one year at wide receiver, but with his size in Pee Wee football, he was more suited for the line.
“I have always had a passion for football,” Doherty said.
Doherty, who has taken welding classes for four years at Mac-Hi, will continue the trade in college.
“They just built a brand new shop,” Doherty said of COS. “It’s pretty nice.”
Tops in her field
Garcia is a three-time Greater Oregon League champion in the javelin, and has been to state three times, but she will not be able to do either this spring.
Garcia, 18, tore her left ACL and meniscus in a soccer game at Umatilla in the fall. She was told it was a sprain, but she was unable to walk without pain. An MRI showed the extent of the injury, and she had surgery in November.
“What makes me sad, is this year I had hoped to do better and win state,” Garcia said. “I trained all summer for soccer, basketball and track. I got to play one soccer game.”
With the injury, Garcia thought colleges might shy away from her, but the offers kept pouring in.
Along with EOU, she also had offers from Tulane University, Boise State and UConn. The list goes on, but La Grande was the best fit.
“I wanted to be close to home, and I’m part of the Oregon Teacher Pathway program, which is big there,” Garcia said.
Garcia has been playing soccer since she was 5 years old, and she was a first team GOL selection as a junior. But it’s on the javelin runway where she shines.
Garcia won district and went to state her freshman year, where she placed 11th.
Her sophomore year brought another GOL title, and this time around, a sixth-place finish at state.
As a junior, Garcia added her third GOL title and was third at state. Her best throw of the season was 144 feet, 3 inches at the Baker Invite.
“This is my senior year, I wanted to go all out,” Garcia said. “I wanted to see what I could do.”