With her family behind her, Monte Vista Christian High’s Morgan Noonan prepares to sign her letter of intent Wednesday to attend Liberty University. (Glenn Cravens/Register-Pajaronian)
WATSONVILLE — Not only did Morgan Noonan want to continue her education and participate in collegiate swimming, she wanted to do it at a Christian school.
She will get that opportunity several thousand miles away.
Noonan, a senior at Monte Vista Christian High School, signed her letter of intent Wednesday to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. She will receive a financial aid award for her first year.
In addition, she will compete on the swim team during the 2013-14 season.
“This is a great opportunity, and I’m very blessed,” Noonan said.
She was one of many student-athletes throughout the nation who used Wednesday to let their intentions be known of where they were headed next school year. Wednesday was the first day baseball players, softball players, swimmers, water polo players and basketball players could sign their letters of intent.
Noonan is following the same swim-and-school path her sister, Taylor, took two years ago. But unlike Taylor Noonan, who went to the University of San Diego, Morgan Noonan is going across the country.
She has been a standout in the pool. Last year, she reached the Central Coast Section finals in the 100-yard breaststroke, where she finished fourth. She also competed in the 100-yard freestyle.
At the Purdue Invitational in March, she won the 200-meter breaststroke championship.
She has a 3.7 GPA.
“Morgan sets goals and works hard to achieve them,” swim coach Jim Triplett said in a statement.
Liberty has about 12,500 students and offers online classes as well. It is a Division I school.
“I’ve always wanted to go to a Christian university, and I didn’t think it would be possible to do that and swim, but Liberty has a new swim program,” Noonan said. “I’m very excited to go.”
Her parents were very happy to see this happen.
“We’ve been dreaming of this moment but not putting stress or extra expectations on her,” said her mother, Tami Noonan. “I’m very proud of her.”
And yes, there is a little concern about going away from the nest to continue life.
“She’ll be going to the other side of the United States, and it’s going to be different, but she’ll be in a great place,” said her father, Rick Noonan.
Even Morgan Noonan admitted she might be a little bit homesick, but the beautiful campus and the winter snow will help ease her, she said.
She plans to get into her classes and swim right away.
“I know it’s the place for me,” she said.
St. Francis Central Coast Catholic baseball player Dillon Houser also signed his letter of intent Wednesday. He plans to attend Fresno State University next season, where he will play ball for the Bulldogs.
While he batted over .300 for the Sharks, he should see time on the mound.
“He’s 6-4 and left handed, throws three pitches in any count situation for strikes, and they (Fresno State coaches) project him to play right away,” said St. Francis baseball coach Kenny Nakagawa. “He’ll be an asset to the program, and he’ll do well there.”
Nakagawa also praised Houser for being academically sound, as he boasts a 3.6 GPA.
“It’s a great situation for both him and the school,” Nakagawa said.
For the complete article see the 11-15-2012 issue.
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