Best of Trojan senior athletes going on to college

For the majority of graduating high school athletes, their sports careers are over or almost over. The glory days in whatever the sport end when they receive their diplomas. For a talented and dedicated few, those careers will continue in college.

Petaluma High School recently honored those select few who will continue competing on the next level.

Among those honored by friends, family and the school at a combined celebration of their success were:

Nick Siembieda

Two-way football lineman Nick Siembieda will continue his grid career at the University of California, Davis.

Siembieda was nominated for appointment to all four military academies - the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Merchant Marine Academy and the Military (Army) Academy at West Point. He chose, instead, to attend UC Davis so he could continue his football career as well as study for a career in either political science or economics.

His difficult decision was made easier by his visit to the Davis campus. “The coaches really welcomed me, and made me feel at home,” he said. “It is a great academic school and I’m going to have an opportunity to play football.”

Just to make him feel more at home, he will be rooming with Petaluma friend Joe Lampe, a soon-to-be Casa Grande graduate who has signed to play baseball for the Aggies.

Siembieda is the son of Dave Siembieda and Cary Darcy.

He enters Davis coming off an outstanding senior season of Petaluma High football, earning all-league first-team honors as both an offensive and defensive lineman. Academically, he carries a 4.0 grade point average.

“He is a great person on and off the field,” says Petaluma High football coach Rick Krist. “He is a quiet leader. He was the guy we leaned on because of physical ability and because of who he is. He doesn’t want to let anyone down. When he makes a commitment, he sticks to it.”

Robbie Isetta

Robbie Isetta was surprised to find himself in a position to continue his basketball career. An outstanding ball handler and accurate outside shooter, he had an excellent senior season as Trojan point guard.

However, at 5 feet, 8 inches he is somewhat undersized for college basketball. Fortunately, the Holly Cross College (South Bend, Indiana) coaching staff saw beyond the tape measure.

Wrote head coach Mike McBride in welcoming Isetta to the Holy Cross program: “We are excited to welcome Robbie to Holy Cross and our team. He is a tremendous fit in terms of skill, intelligence and toughness. Beyond basketball, Holy Cross is a very special place that will benefit him immensely.”

“It kind of came as a shock,” Isetta acknowledged. “It is exciting. I’ve always loved basketball. I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity.”

Isetta visited the campus for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and was even more convinced than ever it is where he wants to continue his education. “It is beautiful. It is right on the Notre Dame campus,” he noted of the school where he will study business and sports management.

Isetta is the son of Andy and Stacey Isetta.

Jaden Krist

Jaden Krist walked - actually hobbled - through the fire to come out smiling at Sonoma State University.

Krist, who most agree had the potential to be one of the best three-sport athletes ever at Petaluma High, suffered Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries to both knees. The second cost her to miss her senior seasons in both basketball and softball.

The injuries didn’t stop SSU volleyball coaches from offering her a volleyball scholarship.

“I really liked their coaching style and the campus is nice even though it is close,” Krist said.

Being close means that her tight-knit family of father Jim, mother Geri and three older sister, athletes all, will be able to see her play.

She will study kinesiology at Sonoma State, something she already knows quite a bit about after dealing with her own injuries.

Krist signed her letter of intent in November, but she just recently received a practice schedule from her coaches.

“It makes it seem more real,” she said. “It’s making me even more excited.”

Hannah Dillingham

Hannah Dillingham, the Petaluma volleyball captain and team leader, is leaving the area, but not going all that far. She will play next season for the University of California at Merced.

“It is close to home, but far enough away I can feel like I’m actually leaving,” she explained.

It also helps that she was impressed by the campus during a visit. “There was something comforting and welcoming,” she said.

She also likes what she sees with the Merced volleyball program. “The coach (Ai Prachumsri) has really transformed the program. They are a balanced team with a lot of talent,” she explained. Dillingham, one of the best outside hitters in the North Bay, should fit right into a building program that was 9-5 in California Pacific play last season.

A serious student as well as an outstanding athlete, Dillingham plans to major in psychology at Merced.

She is the daughter of Aaron and Julie Dillingham.

Connor Gors

Petaluma’s No. 1 tennis player, Connor Gors is headed for Hope International University in Fullerton. Hope International is a private Christian University, offering programs for more than 2,200 students.

Gors will be competing in the Golden State Athletic Conference playing the equivalent to Division 2 tennis.

Gors was impressed not only with the campus, but also with its new kinesiology program, as he works toward his goal of becoming a physical therapist.

Gors is a relative late comer to tennis. He played baseball until his freshman year at Petaluma High when he switched to tennis.

He quickly took to the sport, developing into the best player on the Trojans and one of the best in the Vine Valley Athletic League and, prior to that, the Sonoma County League.

He is excited about moving on, but he does have some regrets.

“All my friends are here,” he said. “It is a little sad to be leaving the people I’ve known all my life.”

Gors is the son of Neal and Ann Gors.

Cole Powers

Cole Powers, the strong-armed quarterback who successfully led the Petaluma High School football team into the new Vine Valley Athletic League and on into the North Coast Section playoffs, will now not only have a new home, but also a new position.

Powers will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he will contend for a position at free safety or wide receiver.

“I don’t care where I play as long as I can play,” he said.

He said he will be given an opportunity to compete for a roster spot, but he could end up redshirting his freshman year.

He is also looking forward to following in the footsteps of his grape-growing grandfather by studying viticulture.

Powers initially sent Cal Poly some of his game films and that led to his visit, which is all it took to convince him it was the school for him.

“I really like it,” he said. “It is a beautiful campus and there is a great beach nearby.”

What won’t be nearby and what he will miss are his friends. “People here are special,” he said.

Powers is the son of Travis Powers and Sarah Darnham.

Jack Gallagher

Jack Gallagher has several reasons for choosing to continue playing baseball at Chico State University.

“They are giving me an opportunity to play my freshman year,” he recited as one of the most important, and quickly added, “the scholarship didn’t hurt.”

He also likes the quality of Chico’s baseball. “It is a great program,” he said. “It has one of the best baseball programs in the nation.”

People who have watched Gallagher play at Petaluma are convinced he has the ability to play at the Chico-State level. Not only is he recognized as one of the best defensive catchers in the area, but he is also leading the Trojans with a .339 batting average and in RBIs.

Gallagher is also impressed with Chico State in general. “It is far enough away I can have my independence and still be close to home,” he said.

He will start his studies at Chico in environmental studies, but is considering changing to criminology.

Gallagher is the son of Jim and Peggie Gallagher.

Indya Smith

Indya Smith immediately liked the looks of the St. Mary’s campus in Moraga. The Petaluma T-Girls’ softball standout said she liked everything from the campus setting to the architecture of the buildings.

But it was more than the exterior that attracted her to the college. “It has a good mix of academics and athletics,” she explained.

As she starts her career at St. Mary’s, she is looking forward to continuing her academics in kinesiology and her athletics at a Division 1 School.

The Division 1 is important because that means Indya is continuing to be competition with her older brother, Hance, who is currently playing baseball for the University at California, Berkeley.

“Me and my brother really pushed one another,” the softball player said. “We had a lot of fun, because we did a lot of our work together.”

Smith has always been an outstanding athlete, playing baseball, soccer and golf as a youngster. She started her diamond career playing baseball until she switched to softball as an 11-year-old.

She has played catcher, first base and outfield for Petaluma’s Trojans. One thing she has always done is hit. After leading the team in hitting last year, she is back at the top of the batting list again as a senior, batting .409 going into the season’s final two weeks.

Smith is the daughter of Eric Smith and Becky Headstrom.

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