Dayton sends 7 to the next level
DAYTON — Seven Dayton High School seniors have elected to continue their athletic careers at the next level.
Four of them — Jon Joyner (George Fox), Michael Selmi (Clarke), Dallon Mendoza (George Fox) and Skyler Berntson (Southwest Baptist) — will be playing at the four-year level. Football standouts Julio Meza and Quinn Santana are going to DeAnza Community College and volleyball star Cheyanne Strong is going to Umpqua Community College in Oregon.
All seven signed with their respective schools in an on-campus ceremony after school on Wednesday.
Berntson, who gained 1,098 yards and scored 12 TDs in football, is looking forward to attending Southwest Baptist, a Division II school in Bolivar, Mo. He’s athletic enough to contribute on offense, defense and/or special teams.
“It’s a funny story,” Berntson said, explaining how he came to choose Southwest Baptist. “One of my grandmother’s co-workers, her son-in-law is the coach there. She kept talking me up. I went and visited the campus and liked it a lot.
“They are talking about playing me at running back. I think they only have two running backs (returning). If that doesn’t work and I don’t get a lot of playing time they can use me on special teams. That would be good as well.”
Joyner will be going to a Division III school that recently brought back football last year after a lengthy absence. He had a solid season with a team-leading 92 tackles, a sack and five stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Joyner is following his brother, Josh, to the Pacific Northwest. Josh Joyner plays for Western Washington.
“I’m only an hour away from him,” Jon Joiner said. “It’s a private Christian school. I liked the school, All the football facilities are almost brand new.
“They are talking about playing me at inside linebacker. They want me to stay about the same weight, just get in better shape and more fit. It’s definitely a good position for me.”
Santana rushed for 568 yards and five scores, and he also had 57 tackles in football. Meza, also a two-way player, had 371 all-purpose yards and 38 tackles from his cornerback spot.
Coach Rob Turner was excited for his seniors.
“I wrote some letters for the kids,” said the former DHS head coach. “I did a little bit of an e-mail exchange, but not that much. Jon did a lot of it. George Fox is a fairly new program. Last season might have been their first. He could play defensive end or linebacker depending on what kind of defense they can play.”
Turner thinks that safety might be Berntson’s natural position.
“He’s a run-stopping sort of kid,” Turner said. “He’s a real good athlete. I think defensive back is his natural spot.”
Selmi, a starter for Mike Burrows’ baseball squad this past spring, is looking forward to the new challenge. Clarke, an NAIA school, is located in Iowa.
“I’m really excited,” Selmi said. “It’s in a small town (Dubuque), and everybody at the school was really nice. I felt welcomed.”
Selmi credited his association with the Reno Muckdogs for helping him get noticed.
He said the team is looking at him as an infielder and middle reliever.
“He’s a great kid,” Burrows said. “He’s a grinder. He has the desire to play the game, and he’s going to play until they tell him he can’t. I’m really proud of him.”
Mendoza finished second in the 400 at last week’s state track meet, capping a successful season for the multi-sport star.
Mendoza chose George Fox over Milliken University where former Carson star George Pincock is an assistant track coach.
“He (Dallon) took a visit out there, and I really thought he would end up there,” Dayton track coach Mike Paul said. “He did this (recruitment) on his own. The school seems to be a good fit.
“I think the 400 is about right. They might want to test him at the 800. The speed range is about right.”
Strong was a key member of the Dust Devils’ volleyball team which compiled a 21-10 record under first-year head coach Mike Edmiston.
Strong had 253 kills and a hitting percentage of .242. She also served up 40 aces and had 162 digs.