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LEMOORE — A couple more local athletes found new places to call home last week. First was Kings Christian’s Julien Pierce on Wednesday for football and Lemoore’s Megan Van Allen followed on Friday for softball.

Pierce put pen to paper with Arizona Christian University at a signing ceremony at Kings Christian High School.

“Signing day was awesome,” Pierce said. “It was really awesome with a lot of family, a lot of people that have supported me and then having the school behind me it was a great overall experience.”

The Crusader played a variety of positions on the football field (running back, tight end, linebacker) and seemed to excel at all of them this past season. He finished with 1,295 all-purpose yards, including 679 rushing yards and 324 receiving yards, and 19 touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball he had 87 tackles, two sacks, eight tackles for loss and three interceptions

“It’s really just the love of the sport for me,” Pierce said about his motivation to play. “Football is just something that I really care about. It really brings me a lot of joy and it was easy to go put in work on the field every day, every Friday night.”

That hard work translated into earning all-league honors as a First Team linebacker and honorable mention on offense and special teams. Pierce also gained respect from his peers and was selected by his teammates as the team’s Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons. Pierce closed his high school career as a three-time all-league selection on First and Second Team and also was a two-time honorable mention selection.

Besides Arizona Christian University, Pierce had offers from Crown College, Whittier College, the University of Jamestown and others. Pierce, who signed with ACU as a tight end, said his visit to the school is what helped him make his decision.

“I took a visit up there and it really felt like a good fit for me,” Pierce said. “The coaching staff made it feel like my next home.”

Van Allen made her decision official with a signing ceremony at the event center at Lemoore High School. With her teammates, friends and family all present, Van Allen signed with MidAmerica Nazarene University.

“It was something I appreciated a lot,” Van Allen said about her support. “I was glad that all of them could make it and be there to see that step of my life.”

Her decision also came after a visit to MidAmerica Nazarene, located in Olathe, Kansas. She said the environment was welcoming and she enjoyed meeting all the different people on her visit.

It’ll be quite the change for someone who’s lived in California for the majority of their life, but it’s exactly what Van Allen is looking forward to.

“I love the campus and the people there and I think it’s good to go out and see new things,” Van Allen said. “I’ve been in California for all of my life anyways, so it’s nice to go out to another state — broaden my horizons.”

Last season, the Lemoore catcher slashed .314/.372./.313 and produced 27 hits, 14 runs and 11 RBIs. She was selected as an All-West Yosemite League honorable mention.

Her goal for this season is to continue working on her batting average, making accurate throws and being a good leader on her team. Then it’ll be off to Kansas.

“I’m looking forward to the new competition, the people I meet, just getting to continue playing ready,” Van Allen said.

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Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or ngarcia@hanfordsentinel.com. Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.

Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Sentinel

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