St. Francis High School equestrian signs with university

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EAST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Local students, including those at St. Francis High School in East Sacramento, took part in marking National Signing Day on Wednesday.

Nine young women committed to schools like Chico State, University of California, Berkeley, and George Washington University for everything from volleyball to swimming to water polo.

At the end of the table came something that isn’t commonly heard of in Division I sports.

“My name is Sydnie Young, I’m an equestrian. I’m going to be attending TCU,” Young said.

Young has been riding seriously for eight years after her grandmother signed her up for a summer lesson.

“Ever since then I’ve been wanting to do it my whole life,” she told FOX40.

It is an unconventional life for a high school athlete. Unlike the other students at the table whose sports are part of the school athletic program, Young trains about 8 miles away.

“It’s a separate family than from school,” Young explained. “So, then you are able to be part of a larger family and taking time to go outside of the school has not been an issue. It’s been fun seeing the different things that the school might not offer.”

It’s not without its sacrifices though.

“I go home and do homework. Wake up early, do homework,” Young said.

And Young’s family lives in Loomis.

“Going to the different shows and competing. Driving to and from the lessons when she didn’t have a car,” said Young’s mother, Laurie.

Her father, Douglas, admitted he thought Sydnie’s riding was a hobby that would pass but said it took a village to get his daughter to where she is today.

“I’ve always been very academic and so, I think I was the push behind that,” Douglas said. “And Laurie was much stronger at keeping her focused on riding. So, between the two of us, I think we got her through this.”

Laurie said she “absolutely would recommend” students pursue their box passions. In the end, they can fuel a student's higher education aspirations.

“Something that’s not the ordinary sports at school. There’s a lot out there and I just think it was very rewarding as well,” she said.

“I really enjoyed the process and being able to sign is amazing,” Sydnie said.

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