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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 5:50 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 
 
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Four Santa Barbara High Student-Athletes Make College Choices

Four Santa Barbara High student-athletes took part in a letter-of-intent signing ceremony on Thursday. They are, from left, Brent Peus (with parents Brent Sr. and Lizzie Peus), Jessyca Beksa, Mason Bigelow (with mother Amy Travis) and Blake Kelley (with parents Pat and Mike Kelley). Peus is headed to Stanford, Beksa to UC San Diego, Bigelow to Saint Anselm, N.H., and Kelley to the University of San Diego. Click to view larger
Four Santa Barbara High student-athletes took part in a letter-of-intent signing ceremony on Thursday. They are, from left, Brent Peus (with parents Brent Sr. and Lizzie Peus), Jessyca Beksa, Mason Bigelow (with mother Amy Travis) and Blake Kelley (with parents Pat and Mike Kelley). Peus is headed to Stanford, Beksa to UC San Diego, Bigelow to Saint Anselm, N.H., and Kelley to the University of San Diego. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk poto)

Four Santa Barbara High fall sports student-athletes are moving on to the next level.

Football teammates Brent Peus, Mason Bigelow and Blake Kelley, and girls volleyball standout Jessyca Beksa were recognized Thursday in a letter-of-intent signing ceremony on campus in the Alumni Room.

Peus, the Dons’ record-setting quarterback, signed to attend Stanford as a “preferred walk-on.”

Wide receivers Kelley and Bigelow signed to continue their football careers with the University of San Diego and Saint Anselm University of Manchester, N.H., respectively.

Beksa inked her letter of intent with UC San Diego.

The 6-1 outside hitter said she liked the academic structure at UC San Diego, “where you get the feel of being on a big campus but at the same time you’re integrated into a smaller school within the larger campus,” she said.

The school’s volleyball program is one of the best in NCAA Division 2. Beksa said the university is considering a move to Division 1.  A student vote on the decision is expected later this month.

The Tritons are coached by 1998 Olympic gold medalist and former UCLA star Ricci Luyties.

“He’s a big beach player and he’s really supportive of me playing beach. And that’s really important to me, to have a coach that understands my appreciation for beach ball as well as indoor,” she said.

Beksa’s offer is for indoor volleyball.

Bigelow, Santa Barbara’s fearless wide receiver, just returned from a recruiting trip to Saint Anselm, and it was love at first sight.

“I just loved the campus. I just kind of fit in right away,” he said.

Saint Anselm is a NCAA Division 2 school that plays in the Northeast-10 Conference.

Bigelow said the football team plays a spread offense, which is a perfect fit for him.

"They have the perfect offense for me, so their plan is to throw me in the slot and maybe some outside, too. I’m looking to compete and make a name for myself,” he said.

The 6-5 Kelley said the coaches at USD told him to, “Be ready to play,” when he arrives for camp in the summer.

He said USD was the right fit for him. “Even before the offer, it was definitely one of my top choices to go to school there,” he said.

Peus, who compiled more than 3,000 yards this past season passing to Kelley and Bigelow, is thrilled to be going to Stanford, the 2015 Pac 12 Conference champions.

He said Stanford contacted him after watching game film and checking his academic records. Peus has a GPA of over 4.0.

His application was accepted and he told the coaches he was coming to “The Farm” as a preferred walk-on.

“I was through the roof, I was so excited,” he said after seeing he was approved for admission on the Stanford web site.

The Peus family has close ties with Stanford. The three siblings of Brent’s father, Brent Sr., were student-athletes there. Older brother, Eric, and younger brother, Craig, played tennis for the Cardinal and younger sister, Tina, was on the volleyball team.

Peus said his dad was divided between Stanford or Princeton.

“My dad, his brother was recruiting him to go to Stanford," he said, recalling the family story. "He kept saying, ‘You gotta come to Stanford. This is how it’s going to be.’  And he just couldn’t decide and he flipped a coin and he ended up choosing Princeton.

“My family, especially on my dad’s side, are obsessed with Stanford,” he continued.  “They were very happy I chose to go there.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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