Mustang senior saddles up for Fullerton

West Valley’s Kamryn O’Brien signed her letter of acceptance to Cal State Fullerton last Wednesday before friends and family

Photo by Corey Evan / The Valley Chronicle
Seated: Kamryn O’Brien. From left to right behind Kamryn: Sister Cassandra, father Sean Sr., mother Julia, brother Sean Jr., sister Christine.

■ Corey Evan / Reporter

Despite having to balance school, extracurriculars and preparing for university studies, many of today’s young women have proven they can do it. An example of these young women is 12th grader Kamryn O’Brien of West Valley High School.
O’Brien signed her letter of acceptance to Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in the West Valley gymnasium with family and friends gathered to witness her signature and to congratulate her.
But why did she choose CSU Fullerton over the two other schools she looked at? “Education is really good there, I want to be an elementary school teacher and they have a good program for that,” O’Brien explained. That’s not to say she didn’t think about family when choosing Fullerton. “It’s not too far and not too close, so I felt it was a perfect distance for me to be away and be close to my family.” A girl does need her space, doesn’t she?
Already to date, O’Brien’s soccer career has spanned over 13 years–she started early, and hasn’t stopped kicking that ball around since. O’Brien spent her high school career playing varsity soccer for the Mustangs, acting as team captain this year. Although her team had a tough season this year (going 4-12-5 this season, 3-3-4 in league), she alone took 21 shots, scored 16 goals and brought in 35 points and 12 GP, all beating national averages according to Maxpreps. Also this season, according to Maxpreps, she was selected as “Player of the Game” in matchups against San Jacinto, Beaumont, Citrus Hill and Nuview Bridge. O’Brien also ran track and field and cross-country for West Valley.
At the signing event, O’Brien’s teachers gave rave review after rave review. O’Brien’s conditioning coach, Anthony Gabriel said, “she’s a hard worker, enthusiastic and a great player.”
Her club coach Deborah Lawler gave her top marks as well, “my impression of Kamryn is she’s a joy to coach. She’s one of the best kids, let alone soccer players that we’ve ever had. She’s a team captain and all of her teammates respect her and look up to her and love her,” said Lawler. “And she’s going to do great!”
Calvin Prentice, her soccer and track coach at West Valley since her freshman year, says she is “a model student, citizen, everything. She’s a coach’s dream. Easy to coach, and very coachable.”
Coach Celene Long said O’Brien has already demonstrated her ability to teach. “I’ve only been in her life for about two years,” said Long. “I think instead of me teaching her, she’s taught me a lot of things. She leads by example by far. It’s been a blessing to be a part of this journey, so I can’t wait to go see her play in college.”
Her cross-country coach since freshman year, Kim Hyde, says she really knows how to work a busy schedule. “She is a busy one! She makes it work, she can balance a high level of academics and obviously a high level of athletics,” explained Hyde. “Work ethic, work ethic, work ethic; that’s what she’s made out of.”
As far as cost of tuition, that’s one thing O’Brien’s father, Sean O’Brien Sr., is happy to have off his back. “She’s done all this hard work on her own,” he said. “We’ve yelled at her a little bit, but it’s all paid off. She actually gets to go to a Division I school and play Division I soccer. The big part is, she gets that education for free, which is nice.”
When asked if they approved of Kamryn’s future plans, her family and friends all responded with a resounding thumbs up. Well, on behalf of The Valley Chronicle, Kamryn, you get our thumbs up as well!

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