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  • Randy Pench /

    Granite Bay's Beau Hershberger, right, receives congratulations after he signs a letter of intent to play football at Nevada.

  • Randy Pench /

    Granite Bay athletic director Tim Healy, far left, watches 15 athletes from 10 sports programs sign national letters of intent. "That suggests the health of each of the programs is strong," Healy said.

Hershberger heads list of 15 Granite Bay signees

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 - 7:44 am

Beau Hershberger was the only player from Granite Bay High School's state championship football team to sign a college letter of intent Wednesday morning, but he was hardly alone.

Hershberger, a Bee All-Metro first-team defensive lineman, was one of 15 student-athletes from Granite Bay to sign national letters of intent to attend and play sports for colleges.

Besides a big smile, Hershberger wore a blue baseball cap and shirt from Nevada, where he'll attend school next year.

In total, 15 Granite Bay student-athletes from 10 Grizzlies teams signed with 11 four-year universities.

And it was truly a family affair.

Twin sisters Chloe and Lily Forlini, one of the most dominant doubles tandems in local girls tennis history with four Sac-Joaquin Section titles, will both head to the Air Force Academy just as they always wanted.

"This was always a dream of ours to go to college together," Chloe said. "And now we get to play tennis together – that's makes it even greater. The excitement, there are no words for it."

Added Lily: "It is just an awesome experience going through this with my sister and always having her there with me for it. I am really excited to play tennis with her and go through the experience with her."

The lone junior signing for Granite Bay is boys soccer standout Tommy Thompson. With father Gregg in attendance, Thompson signed to attend Indiana, adding more family tradition in the Hoosier state.

Older brother Tanner is already enrolled at Indiana and on soccer scholarship. His father was a member of the Hoosiers' 1982 national championship soccer team and is a member of the school's Hall of Fame.

Despite the obvious Indiana connection, it still wasn't a no-brainer for the highly recruited Tommy Thompson.

Oldest brother Tyler Thompson plays soccer at Stanford, but Tommy said the bond he has with Tanner was something he didn't want to end.

"That was a huge deal," Tommy Thompson said. "We have been playing together since we were 11. We complement each other very well."

And just as Tanner graduated early, Tommy will do so in May and will be enrolled this fall at Indiana.

The sibling connection didn't stop there.

Aaron Knapp will continue his baseball career at Cal, where his brother, Andrew, is a preseason All-America catcher.

"It's unbelievable," Knapp said of his chance to play with his older brother again. "We haven't been on the same team together since I was 9."

Knapp looked over at Granite Bay teammate Brett Bautista, who signed with San Jose State and shouted "bring it on" – knowing the two Bay Area schools will play each other.

For Granite Bay athletic director Tim Healy, the accomplishments of the student-athletes in the classroom do not take a back seat to what they do on the playing field. Healy said the signees' combined grade-point average is 4.0.

"One of the things as an AD is the number of kids in the scope of programs," Healy said. "We have 10 programs represented here … . That suggests the health of each of the programs is strong, and that really is what you want to see."

Hershberger, who had offers from a half-dozen other schools, said Nevada's coaching staff and the level of competition in the Mountain West Conference were huge factors in signing with the Wolf Pack.

The proximity to home also helped sway his decision.

"Mom and Dad can come watch the games on the weekend, and if I am getting homesick, I can pop down the hill for a home-cooked meal," he said.

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