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.