Class of 2022 Firecrackers Rico Signing Party

Kraig King

It is the first of May and another beautiful Sunday afternoon in Orange County, California. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and our nine Firecrackers Rico seniors (Kennedy Bunker, Emily Jones, Micaela Kastor, Zoe King, Skylar Limon, Piper Reed, Carly Ruiz, Jazzy Santos and Sydney Somerndike) are soaking it all in as graduation draws closer for this talented group. Spring is here and with the summer championship season right around the corner the excitement and expectations of what is to come fills the air. Sunday was a time for reflection and celebration as a large group of family, friends, teammates, and coaches gathered at the spectacular Somerndike home in Villa Park to honor the seniors and the signing of their National Letters of Intent.

The backyard is impressive with the brick swimming pool separating the bar and white clothed picnic area from the tree-lined, green grassed yard, sloping up towards the back of what felt like a never-ending property. Add in the mixture of all the different colors from the college flags and balloons decorating each seniors table, and the setting is just about perfect. There is something about college logos that brings out the fan in just about everybody, adding to the warm and fun atmosphere of the party. On t-shirts, hats, and sweatshirts throughout the gathering you can find the Bulldog of Fresno State, the red S and tree of the Stanford Cardinal, there is the Bison from North Dakota State, the A of the Arizona Wildcats, the baby blue of both the University of San Diego Toreros and UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, the big red O from the Ohio State Buckeyes and the well-known Fighting Irish leprechaun of the University of Notre Dame.

With the tables set up in a U formation, Dave Limon graciously stepped up and started the festivities by congratulating each senior and asking them to say a few words about themselves, their major and why they chose their school. “It was important for these girls to be rewarded with a day like this,” Dave said afterwards. “They went through so much with Covid-19 and the recruiting process, so having a day like this is special.” Each senior was clear and confident with their words, and it was obvious they have been working with and under Tony Rico on how to present themselves.

After everyone was finished speaking and signing their NLI papers, Firecrackers National Equipment Coordinator Robyn Ferris stepped forward and spoke from the heart to the ladies, telling them how much they meant to her and how proud she was of every one of them. Robyn is far more than just the equipment coordinator on this team, she is family and it showed when she concluded by telling the group of players she loves them. “This was a great celebration,” Robyn told me. “I am honored to be a part of it.”

A special thank you goes out to Genie Limon and Susan Somerndike for coordinating this special day for our players. We are forever grateful to all of the coaches and parents that make up this very special Firecrackers Family.

Kennedy Bunker, C/1B
Fresno State University

Sports Marketing

I chose Fresno State because of the home atmosphere it gave me and how the community is involved in all aspects of the school, along with the coaching staff who treat the players like family and pride themselves on lifting women up. After college I would like to work for the PAC-12.”

Emily Jones, SS/3B
Stanford University

Economics or Environmental Science

I wanted to attend Stanford University because it allows me to get the best education while being able to play softball at the highest level. I am not exactly sure of my major, but I want to go into business. I am also really passionate about environmental sustainability.”

Micaela Kastor, P
University of Notre Dame

Film and Television Production

I chose Notre Dame for the amazing community of people on and off the campus, as well as for the extensive academic opportunities and connections at hand. I am looking forward to competing with an elite group of girls and learning from outstanding coaches. I am seeking a career in either the film industry or sports broadcasting. Go Irish!”

Zoe King, C/1B
North Dakota State University

Sports Management

I chose NDSU because I felt a great connection with the coaches and campus when I visited the school. I loved how the current players were so welcoming and positive with me and my family. Also, they have a competitive program and a winning culture that I can’t wait to be a part of next season. I am not exactly sure yet on what part of the sports field I want to work in. Go Bison!”

Skylar Limon, 3B/OF
The Ohio State University


I knew as soon as I stepped onto the campus that Ohio State would be my home for the next four years. The coaches, players and people at Ohio State were so welcoming and prideful for their school. I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. I am going into Major Exploration.”

Piper Reed, P
North Dakota State University


I chose NDSU because I immediately fell in love with the supportive community in Fargo and the way the coaches continue to create such a positive environment for their players. I have no clue yet what I want to do but I am trying to stay away from math.”

Carly Ruiz, OF/MI
University of San Diego


I chose the University of San Diego because the second I stepped onto campus I felt like I was home. The school and facilities are so beautiful, and I knew USD was where I wanted to be for the next four years. I am hoping to go into psychiatry after college.”

Jazzy Santos, MI/OF
University of California Santa Barbara


I chose UC Santa Barbara because when I first went to visit the school I immediately fell in love and knew it was a place I could call home. After college I am hoping for a career in marketing or public relations.”

Sydney Somerndike, P
University of Arizona


I chose Arizona because I was drawn to the amazing people there and the electric environment of the program. After college I hope to go into Sports Broadcasting. I can’t wait to be a Wildcat.