Thursday, September 18, 2014 • 04:54
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Much, Ricks sign college letters of intent



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February 13, 2014
Valley Center High School seniors Melina Much and Anthony Ricks were among the 132 athletes who signed letters of intent to play college athletics during a February 5 ceremony at the San Diego Hall of Champions.

Much will play soccer at Francis Marion University, which is located in Florence, South Carolina. Ricks signed a letter of intent to play football at Idaho State University. "I'm very excited about it because it's been really important to me," Much said.

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"It was a really exciting experience. I've pretty much worked my whole life for this day," Ricks said. "For it to finally come true has been a blessing for me." Ricks, who is slated to play cornerback at Idaho State, was a three-year starter on Valley Center High School's football team. Ricks also ran track for the Jaguars - he was the 2013 Valley League champion in the 200-meter dash and was also on the league champion 4x400 relay team - and may also run track for Idaho State.

Much has undergone three surgeries for a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She noted that she was still able to obtain a scholarship to a National Collegiate Athletic Association university. Francis Marion is in the Peach Belt Conference, which is at the NCAA Division II level. Much, who carries a 4.2 grade point average, also received a partial academic scholarship.

Due to surgery Much did not play high school soccer as a freshman. She was a captain on the varsity as a sophomore and as a junior. Her most recent surgery has kept her from playing during this high school soccer season. Much also played field hockey and swam for the Jaguars, and she plays to compete in track and field during the spring season. Idaho State is in the Football Championship Subdivision of Division I. The Bengals play in the Big Sky Conference.

Ricks was also considering Weber State, the University of San Diego, and Azusa Pacific. Weber State is also a Big Sky school, USD is a non-scholarship FCS program, and Azusa Pacific is in Division III, which does not have athletic scholarships. The opportunity for a scholarship was a major reason Ricks chose to attend college in Pocatello, and his January 17 visit to the school led to a verbal commitment the following day.

"When I went there I kind of knew it was the place I should be," he said. "I loved it up there." Much also considered Haverford (Pennsylvania) College, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and American University (Washington, DC) before choosing the Patriots. "The small school feel is what I really liked and I felt the team was more like a family than the bigger schools," she said.

Much also cited the political science department professors at Francis Marion as a reason for her decision. She is contemplating a post-college career as a lobbyist or other interest-group representative or as a political analyst. Ricks will likely major in business or kinesiology. "I'm just really happy for getting this opportunity," Ricks said.

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