Local high school athletes sign NCAA National Letters of Intent



Student athletes (L-R) Blake Zeleney, Alex Hernandez, Johnny Marquez, A.J. Grijalva, Luis Bravo, and Ana Cuen commit to pursue athletics at the next level as they sign their NCAA National Letters of Intent Tuesday in the new BUHS gym.

BRAWLEY – Six Wildcat student athletes folded up the blue and gold and revealed the next set of colors they will represent during their NLI (National Letter of Intent) signing event at the Brawley High School new gymnasium Tuesday.

Johnny Marquez, A.J. Grijalva, Alex Hernandez, Blake Zeleny, and Luis Bravo finalized their NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) commitments while Ana Cuen confirmed her NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) selection in front of a gymnasium full of fellow students, parents, coaches, and supporters.

A NLI is a document used to indicate a student athlete’s commitment to participating in NCAA Colleges and Universities in the United States.

According to NCAA guidelines, once an NLI is signed, the prospective student athlete: (1) is no longer subject to any recruiting contacts or calls, (2) they are assured of an athletic scholarship for a minimum of one full academic year pursuant to the specified terms of the NLI, and (3) emphasizes only commitment to an educational institution, not to a particular coach or teams – the program focuses on the prospective student athlete’s educational objectives.

“These student-athletes kept up their academics, which is probably one of the things that we should be most proud of,” said John Self, Brawley’s head football coach. “The amount of time that we ask our athletes to spend, the things that we ask them to give up to be with us to be ready for the season, and to still have elite academics, is something to be very proud of.”

The athletes and their prospective colleges include:

Johnny Marquez (Football) – Adrian College Lions: Division 3 Michigan Athletic Association.

A.J Grijalva (Football) – University of Puget Sound Loggers: Division 3 Northwest Conference.

Alex Hernandez (Baseball) – Azusa Pacific University Cougars: Division 2 Pacific West Conference.

Blake Zeleny (Baseball)– Utah Valley University Wolverines: Division 1 Western Athletic Conference.

Luis Bravo (Wrestling)– Wartburg College Knights: Division 3 Iowa Athletic Conference.

Ana Cuen (Wrestling)– Southwest Oregon Community College Wolverines: NJCAA Northwest Athletic Conference.

“These student-athletes excelled in the classroom first, and on the field second, the fact of which would not have been possible without the support system they’ve had in place from their parents, to their counselors, to their teachers and their coaches,” said Pedro Carranaza, BUHS head baseball coach. “With their help, they’ve been able to CYD (chase your dreams) and they’ve accomplished that, so now they can do a FYD (fulfill your dreams).”