Twelve Student-Athletes Celebrate NCAA Spring Signing Day

Twelve Student-Athletes Celebrate NCAA Spring Signing Day

Twelve student-athletes from Santa Margarita Catholic High School signed letters of intent or celebrated their commitment to attend colleges nationwide for their sport. The letter of intent is a binding agreement between the student-athlete and a college by which the student-athlete agrees to attend the college for one academic year. To see the full photo album: CLICK HERE

The following student-athletes signed as part of the NCAA National Letter of Intent Signing Day:

Roman Mendoza of Aliso Viejo has committed to UC Irvine for Men’s Track and Field.  Over the last four years, Mendoza has established himself as one of the best sprinters and hurdlers in Santa Margarita track and field history.  Mendoza, a four-year varsity athlete and two-year captain, is the only athlete in the storied history of the boys track and field program to win CIF individual championships in both the 110 high hurdles and 300 intermediate hurdles.  In addition to his CIF individual titles, Mendoza has been crowned Orange County Champion five times: winning the 300 intermediate hurdles twice, the 110 high hurdles once, and as a member of two winning 4 x 400 meter relays.  Mendoza’s current time of 37.39 in the 300 hurdles currently ranks No.1 in California and No. 20 nationally, while his time of 14.21 in the 110 high hurdles ranks No. 3 in California and is in the national Top 75.  In addition to his excellence on the track, Mendoza is a member of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation while maintaining a 3.8 GPA in the classroom.

Lidia Major of San Juan Capistrano has committed to San Diego State University for Women’s Track and Field.  Major is a four-year varsity track athlete, specializing in the 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles. Major was named 2023 Most Valuable Girls track athlete, 2022 Eagle of the Year for Girl’s Track and Field, and has served as a team captain for the past two years. In 2023, Major won the OC Championships in the 300m hurdles after being runner-up in that event in 2022.  Major recorded her best time of 44.07 in this year’s post season CIF competition, a time that ranks her among the top 20 hurdlers in California.  An extremely versatile athlete, Major also played varsity tennis for the Eagles in 2019 and 2021 and also earned a varsity letter in girls cross country in 2021. In her off-time, she enjoys hiking and surfing. Major has received the Santa Margarita Scholar Athlete award all four years and has maintained a 3.7 GPA in the classroom.  Major plans to study kinesiology at San Diego State University and plans to work in the medical field. 

Ashton Saint of Laguna Niguel has committed to UCSD for Men’s Volleyball.  Saint was a three-year Varsity starter and two-year team captain for the Eagles.  Saint specializes as an outside hitter, where he earned Santa Margarita Volleyball Most Valuable Player and first team All-Trinity League honors in 2022.  Saint was selected as second team All-Trinity League for the 2023 season.  Saint is a key member of the No.1 ranked club team in the nation, Balboa Bay, and helped lead the team to a SoCal Cup Championship and a Gold medal at the Chicago National Championship in 2023.   Off the court, Saint has a passion for entrepreneurship and maintains a 4.7 GPA in the classroom.

The following student-athletes celebrated either their Ivy League, Division III, NAIA or Division I preferred walk-on school commitments.  Ivy League, Military Academies and Division III schools do not offer athletic scholarships; therefore, no letter of intent was signed. Students participating in a collegiate sport not governed by the NCAA are also included below.

Charlie Lapp of Trabuco Canyon has committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for Baseball.
Lapp is a four-year Eagle baseball player, who has shown exceptional versatility throughout his Eagle career by playing catcher, all positions throughout the infield, designated hitter and pitching. In addition to his tenure with the Eagles baseball program, Lapp also spent time playing for the Kansas City Royals scout team and was selected to play in the Arizona Senior Classic Academic game. Beloved by his teammates for his incredible work ethic and strong character, Lapp’s talents have extended beyond the baseball field. Lapp has carried a 4.28 GPA over four years at Santa Margarita and has been a member of honors chambers singers.  Lapp has volunteered his time at Core Catching baseball camps, the NEGU foundation, as well as Little League Challenger games.   


Gian Dhingra of Laguna Hills has committed to the University of Pennsylvania for Fencing.  Dhingra, while currently competing for the Southern California Fencing Academy, has established himself as one of the future stars of American fencing. Over his nine competitive seasons, Dhingra has claimed eleven national medals on the domestic fencing scene, including two national championships. Outside of the United States, Dhingra has earned four international medals, highlighted by two medals from the Pan American Championships and a World Cup gold medal. Dhingra has been recognized as a first team All-American and All-Academic during each year of his high school career. Dhingra has been selected as a member of the U20 USA national team and is currently ranked 10th in the nation. Dhingra also excels in the classroom, where he has maintained a 4.5 GPA.


Jacob Bower of Rancho Santa Margarita has committed to the University of Nebraska for Football.  Jacob Bower is a three-year varsity starter at linebacker for Santa Margarita. Voted a team captain last season by his teammates, Bower led the rugged Trinity League, widely regarded as the top high school football league in America, in tackles (116) during the 2022 campaign.  For his efforts during the 2022 season, Bower earned numerous accolades including first team All-Trinity League, California All-State recognition, Santa Margarita Defensive MVP, and was selected to represent Santa Margarita in the North vs. South OC All-Star game.  Additionally, Bower was selected as one of Orange County’s “Top Impact Players” by the Orange County Register.  Bower is also a standout rugby player, most notably representing Team USA as a Junior Eagle in the Netherlands during the 2022 summer tour. Competing against national talents from Canada, Netherlands, and Belgium, Bower, a starter at outside center and wing, helped lead Team USA team to victory in all three matches.  In his spare time, Bower successfully balances community service, a part-time job and academics.  Off the field, Bower has been recognized as a Santa Margarita Scholar Athlete every year of his high school career and has maintained a 4.1 GPA in the classroom.


Katrina Lattin of Laguna Niguel has committed to USC as a member of the Song Team. Lattin is a three-year varsity member of Santa Margarita’s nationally-ranked song team and a recipient of the Soaring Eagle Coaches’ Award.  As a captain, she led the team to a 1st place win in Advanced Pom at USA Nationals this year, and a Top 5 placement in Advanced Jazz at UDA Nationals in Florida against 80 teams. Lattin also serves the community by volunteering at various philanthropies through National Charity League, including Family Assistance Ministries and Operation Gratitude, and has been recognized with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. In the classroom, she is a Full IB Diploma student, a National Merit Commended Scholar, a member of ASB and NHS, and maintains a 4.8 GPA.


Allen Cai of Ontario has committed to Columbia University for Men’s Swimming.  One of the top high school swimmers nationally, Cai has been a six-time CIF event qualifier in his four years on the varsity. Cai was named a NISCA All-American in the 200 freestyle in back to back years and has been a member of three straight Trinity League championships and three straight CIF Division 1 championship teams. Additionally, this past season, Cai was a key component in helping bring home the first CIF State Championship in school history for the boys program.  Cai was named the Trinity League’s most valuable swimmer in 2021 and anchored the 2021 CIF 400 freestyle relay team to the necessary 4th place finish to help the team win its first CIF title by a scant 1.5 points.  Cai was named a NISCA Academic All-American this year and has been elected a team captain in back to back years. Off the pool deck, Cai excels in the classroom where he has maintained a 4.59 GPA.


Jacob Cadaval of Laguna Hills has committed to Arizona State University for Men’s Swimming.
Cadaval transferred into Santa Margarita from Esperanza High School where he competed in CIF as a sophomore.  At Santa Margarita, Cadaval has earned four CIF Division 1 event entries and has been a member of back-to-back Trinity League championship teams and back-to-back CIF Division 1 title winning teams.  A star in the classroom as well, where he has maintained a 4.46 GPA, Cadaval was accepted into the Honors School at Arizona State University.  Additionally, he was named a National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Academic All-American this year.  Cadaval ranks 11th in the 100 breaststroke in all-time school history and 22nd in the 500 freestyle.


Matilde Turrini of Laguna Beach has committed to the University of Chicago for Women’s Swimming.
Turrini arrived on the campus of Santa Margarita her freshman year after moving from Milan, Italy.   Once here, she qualified for CIF Division 1 finals in each of the past two years in the 100 backstroke.  Turrini ranks as the No. 17 backstroke swimmer in school history and has top 50 all-time school rankings in the 500 freestyle (27th), 200 freestyle (32nd), 50 freestyle (42nd), and 100 freestyle (50th).  This past year, Turrini was named a National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Academic All-American.  Swimming at these high levels has helped her develop the discipline and determination which has allowed her to balance her rigorous academic classes and multiple passions while maintaining a 4.54 GPA in the classroom.   


Jenna Gallaway of Trabuco Canyon is committed to USC for Women’s Track and Field. Gallaway, an athlete known for her exceptional versatility, was a two -year varsity athlete for the Santa Margarita track and field team as well as a two-year varsity athlete and captain for Santa Margarita's Beach Volleyball team.Gallaway has been recognized as an AAU All-American in volleyball. While playing Beach volleyball, Gallaway was also training privately for the hammer throw, a discipline not offered in California high school track & field. Outside of competition, Gallaway is a four-year Santa Margarita Scholar Athlete, a member of the California Scholarship Federation, the National Honors Society, and a President's Volunteer Award recipient. Gallaway dedicates her time off the field volunteering at San Francisco Solano's youth group program and maintains a 4.1 GPA in the classroom.

Alexa Iskander of San Juan Capistrano has committed to Montana State University for Rodeo. Iskander is a four-year varsity athlete and captain for the Santa Margarita Equestrian Team. Iskander has won the OCIEL championship representing Santa Margarita, while helping the Eagles bring home their eighth overall win.  Outside of Santa Margarita, Iskander has been very successful individually, winning titles at the Big Sky Rodeo, Ennis Rodeo, Riverside County Rodeo and the prestigious California High School Rodeo.  When out of the saddle, Iskander serves as a Santa Margarita Link Crew Leader and dedicates her time volunteering with a number of community service organizations.  In the classroom, Iskander has been recognized as a Santa Margarita Scholar Athlete all four years and has maintained a 4.0 GPA.



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