HANFORD — After two years as a goal-scoring machine at Hanford High School and on the heels of an outstanding senior season, Sheyenne Hodge’s hard work came to fruition on Friday. The Bullpups forward signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her soccer career at Fresno State.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Hodge said. “I’m extremely blessed to have so many people support me and being there for me. It really means a lot. I know I definitely wouldn’t be able to be here if I didn’t have all the support and love I had, so I’m extremely thankful.”
Her soccer teammates, friends and family all turned out for the big day in the Hanford High School conference room. Hanford Athletic Director Beau Hill called the signing ceremony one of the best turnouts he’s seen for an athlete and said it spoke to the kind of person and teammate Hodge was.
“It’s not something that happens every day, it’s a special occasion,” Hill said. “To see one of our athletes do well in the classroom and be gifted enough to get an athletic scholarship, it’s just awesome.”
Hodge was surrounded by her mother, Linda, and two brothers, Ty and Chance Carnely, as she signed her NLI. Cupcakes were served after for those in attendance.
Before making the transition from Bullpup to Bulldog, Hodge looked at two other schools in Sierra Nevada and Fresno City College. She ultimately settled on staying local after a visit to Fresno State on April 22.
“They showed their interest in me at a couple camps that I’ve been to and we were in contact for a while and then [Fresno State head coach Brian Zwaschka] set up a visit,” Hodge said. “I ended up falling in love with the school and I got along with the teammates, so I’m really excited to get this opportunity to be able to go there.”
Another deciding factor was the connection between Hodge and her mom. She said the two are close and it would’ve broken each other’s heart if she had to leave for a school far away. With Fresno State being close to home and their attention to athletes, it all but sealed the decision for her.
“When I got to the campus and they showed me around, it’s based on athletes,” Hodge said. “That really caught my eye because whenever I have a problem I want to be taken care of fast. I want to be back on the field as fast as I can, so I really like how they take really good care of their athletes.”
Hodge, who came to Hanford High School her junior year, was nothing short of spectacular during her two seasons as a Bullpup. She leaves a lasting impression after she scored a total of 55 goals and finished with 15 assists in 49 career games, according to MaxPreps.
She helped lead the team to deep postseason runs in both years, including an appearance in the CIF Central Section Division III championship game in 2018. Hodge was just as lethal in the playoffs where she scored a goal in four of six career playoff games and had two hat tricks.
Along the way, she also picked up some hardware for her stellar play. Hodge earned Offensive Player of the Year her junior season in the West Yosemite League after missing her sophomore season due to a torn ACL. She then turned around and became the co-Most Valuable Player this past season.
In her MVP campaign, Hodge totaled 35 goals and 10 assists. She averaged 1.3 goals per game and scored in all 10 league games. One of her finest performances came when she scored a career-high five goals in an 8-0 win over Lemoore on Senior Night. It was the final WYL game of her career.
“There’s a lot of ups and downs, but [high school season] is just so fun,” Hodge said. “The whole experience it’s taught me a lot and I think that’s what I’ll miss the most, being able to play in high school and I’ll miss these coaches that I have here because they’re amazing people.”
Despite her incredible talent on the field, Hanford coach DelRay Dias said what he’ll miss the most about Hodge is her personality.
“I could talk all about the soccer stuff, but what I’m going to miss is out there talking to her and all of a sudden just something goes right over her head — that’s Sheyenne,” Dias said. “She’s a wonderful young lady. She’s going to do great things in life. I’m going to miss that personality.”