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In the last issue, junior Bella Ayala explored the mental and physical costs on athletes and their families pursuing an athletic scholarship. In this article, Ayala will share the impact playing
collegiate sports has had on former athletes with ties to Roseville High School.
The road to achieving the goal of playing sports at the collegiate level is different for every athlete. Likewise, their experiences and what they take away from having played at the next level vary as well. Below, six former college athletes with direct connections to Roseville High School share their experiences.
Finding a career: Erin Granucci
In high school, RHS teacher Erin Granucci was a four sport athlete and was offered positions to play soccer and volleyball in college. Because of financial reasons Granucci decided to play soccer at American River JC.
At the same time Granucci had a job and was trying to save money so she could transfer and play at another college. During her ARC career, Granucci was a captain, leading scorer and received All Conference honors. After ARC Granucci transferred to Sonoma State University because the women’s soccer team had just won the DII Women’s Soccer National Championship and some of her former teammates went there.
Her junior year, Granucci sustained a knee injury and decided to redshirt. The next two years the SSU women’s soccer team would place in the top four in the nation.
For Granucci, soccer helped her figure out what she wanted to do with her life after it was all said and done.
“Playing college soccer helped me decide my major,” Granucci said. “I was intrigued about how the body works at optimum and my soccer experience drove my desire and interest to understand the human body which in turn, helped with my training.”
Granucci is now continuing to do what she loves and believes she is living the dream.
“College soccer led to my passion for coaching soccer and my teaching career. I started as a PE teacher and moved into my passion of human physiology and sports medicine, and I am now teaching PLTW Biomedical Science,” Granucci said. “This is my dream.”
Chasing dreams: Kolton Miller
After graduating from RHS, Kolton Miller played football at UCLA on an athletic scholarship. His freshman year, Miller redshirted and his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons saw some playing time but suffered an injury sophomore year that put him out the rest of the season. Redshirt junior year Miller started in all 13 games as left tackle and was named second-team All-Pac-12 Conference.
In 2018 Miller declared for the NFL Draft and was selected in the 1st round, 15th overall, by the Oakland Raiders. Miller is currently the starting left tackle for the Raiders.
Miller is grateful that he was able to play at UCLA and recognizes it would have been a lot more of a challenge to get to where he is today without that opportunity.
“If I didn’t get a scholarship to play football at UCLA I would have gone the junior college route and it would have been a lot tougher,” Miller said. “I don’t know if I would’ve gone first round in the NFL Draft had I not gone to UCLA. It would have been way more difficult.”
Building character: Shannon Granno
After graduating high school Shannon Granno, mother of junior Alyssa Granno and senior Kylie Granno, decided to walk away from her soccer career and went to San Diego. Soon after, Granno realized how much she loved the game and moved to Chico as she was determined to walk on and make the team the next year. And that she did.
Granno believes being a college athlete played a big role in building her character and setting the foundation for who she is today.
“Being a female athlete and gaining those qualities of confidence, self esteem, and belief in myself through athletics has helped me be successful in whatever I try,” Granno said.
Granno thinks that playing soccer in college and being an athlete has helped her strive to be happy and successful in life.
“It helped me figure out what my passion was because I wanted to do something that I love and I think having that face of being an athlete and playing at one of the highest levels, helped me to not just settle for the average life,” Granno said.
Creating academic pathways: Dahlton Blaser
After graduating from Roseville High School in 2012, Dalton Blaser was drafted by the Oakland Athletics late in the 39th round, but instead of signing onto a professional career, Blaser decided he wanted to continue his education and attended Sierra College where he could play baseball and pursue an education.
In his two years at Sierra, Blaser had a .332 batting average and as a sophomore was named 1st Team All Conference, Co-MVP of the Big-8 Conference, 1st Team All State, and was an All-American.
After Sierra, Balser transferred to California State University Fullerton to continue playing baseball, this time at the Division I level. At CSUF Blaser had a .308 batting average.
In 2016, Blaser was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 8th round and played with the organization for three years. Blaser understood that there would be life after baseball, so academics were a priority to him and helped put his family and him in a good financial situation.
“Getting an academic scholarship saved me lot of money, helped my parents out, and allowed me start life after college with no debt which is huge now a days,” Blaser said.
Preparing for the real world: Mike Fisher
Mike Fisher, father of senior Jessie Fisher, attended Cal Poly SLO after graduating from high school, and played football. Fisher was the team’s quarterback from 1993-95 and holds the record at Cal Poly for the most career passing yards with 7,494. In 1995 alone, Fisher passed for 2,660 yards.
Fisher is grateful for experience because it showed him how tough it is to be a college athlete and helped him build close relationships.
“It gave me an appreciation for the hard work, dedication and teamwork necessary to perform at the highest level under pressure,” Fisher said. “I also developed friendships that are some of my most cherished today.”
Fisher believes that playing football at Cal Poly was the key in preparing him for the real world.
“My entire college experience, including not only football, but also my civil engineering program and fraternity involvement, solidified the foundation by which I was able to springboard into my post graduation professional and personal life,” Fisher said.
Learning leadership: Greg Granucci
In high school Greg Granucci was a three year varsity starter and captain on the basketball team. After high school Granucci decided to attend Sacramento State University and continue his basketball career. Granucci redshirted his freshman year and after two years at the university transferred to Sonoma State University.
At Sonoma State Granucci fought and competed and by his senior year he was a starter and a captain for the team. Granucci is very proud of this accomplishment, and this role has benefitted both him and his players he’s coached.
“Being a starter and a captain my senior year of college, I really earned that, and that definitely helped me become a good leader and coach and help the guys I’ve coached,” Granucci said.
Granucci is grateful for all of the life skills playing basketball in college taught him and believes it truly helped him become the coach and person he is today.
“Playing basketball in college taught me so many life lessons,” Granucci said. “It taught me organizational skills, commitment, unselfishness, hardwork and it helped mold me into who I am today and helped me become a better basketball coach.”