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KINGSBURG - It was a special day for a trio of Kingsburg athletes who each signed a national letter of intent in a ceremony at Kingsburg High School on Feb. 7.

Ryan Flippo (basketball), Sam Heinrichs (track and field) and Rebecca Carpenter (cheerleading) signed in front of hundreds of classmates, teammates, family and friends in a ceremony in the Little Theater on the school campus.

Each athlete thanked their family, friends and coaches for support during the ceremony as they look forward to taking the next step in their lives.

Flippo will play basketball next year at the NCAA Div. III level Colorado College, which is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Heinrichs is staying local and will compete on the track and field team as a pole vaulter at Fresno Pacific University, a NCAA Div. II school. Carpenter will be joining the cheerleading squad at Vanguard University - an NAIA institution.

Flippo’s father, Robert Flippo, said Colorado College head coach Andy Partee called his son to offer him a scholarship while Ryan was at an academic showcase in Las Vegas. Partee also offered him an automatic spot on the men’s basketball team. An assistant coach from the squad saw Ryan Flippo play at the showcase and Partee was in contact with the current Viking before a scholarship was offered.

Academics was one of the main reasons Ryan Flippo had interest in the school.

“He wanted to get into a really good school because he works real hard in the classroom,” Robert Flippo said. “He didn’t want to jeopardize academics for just a chance to play basketball, so we got the best of both worlds.”

When Ryan Flippo visited the Colorado College campus, he was very comfortable.

“He absolutely loved it,” Robert Flippo said. “The coaches there were phenomenal. They were constantly talking to him and his interaction with both the head coach and the assistant coach were off the charts.”

The Tigers play in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. 

Ryan’s coach Todd Brown said it’s no surprise that the senior will go on to play at the next level.

“It’s awesome. Individually, I’ve been working with Ryan for a long time now,” Brown said. “His work ethic, it’s no surprise that he’s going to play at the next level because how hard he’s worked.”

For the second year in a row, the Vikings boys basketball team will have an athlete signing to compete at the collegiate level. Last year, Nick Sweening signed on to play in the NAIA level at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita.

Brown said it’s great for underclassman on the team to see guys make it to the next level.

“For our program, it’s big,” Brown said. “Just for the younger guys to see that, those guys are huge to the program.”

Denise Heinrichs and Sam’s oldest brother, Luke Heinrichs, are Fresno Pacific alumni.

“Fresno Pacific came right in and said [to Sam] ‘before you get any offers we’re going to give you a full ride,” Denise Heinrichs, his mother, said. “So Sam said he was going to choose that one.’”

Sam Heinrichs officially signed his letter of intent in November after he was offered a scholarship.  

Fresno Pacific’s athletics squads compete in the PacWest Conference.

As for Carpenter, she will be joining the Lions cheerleading squad at Vanguard University, a private four-year institution located in Costa Mesa.

Vanguard’s athletic teams compete in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 583-2413 or

News Reporter

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