Park City lacrosse player Sam Riely signs to play for UC Davis

Riely finished last season second on the team in points

Park City High School senior lacrosse player Samantha Riely, middle, announces her intention to attend UC Davis and play for the Aggies at the next level. Riely was a key part of the Miners’ undefeated state title run last spring.
David Jackson/Park Record

Sam Riely took plenty of pictures with friends, family and teammates before putting pen to paper Friday morning during a ceremony at Park City High School as she signed her national letter of intent to play lacrosse for UC Davis.

Riely was one of Park City’s top players on the road to a state title last season, scoring 50 goals and dishing out a team-high 42 assists. She’ll spend the rest of her senior year playing on Park City’s girls basketball team and defending the Miners’ lacrosse state championship in the spring before heading off to college.

“It’s always been a dream (to play Division I lacrosse), but I really didn’t believe it until it happened,” Riely said.

Riely cited UC Davis’ coaching staff, the team’s cohesion and the school’s academics as reasons why she signed to play for the Aggies.

“I decided to play at UC Davis because I really liked the coaching staff, and the team really bonded and I loved the team dynamic,” Riely said. “The school overall is a great school. I love all the majors there, so I’m really excited.”

Miners coach Mikki Clayton has coached Riely since she was in middle school and has watched her develop into a Division I-caliber lacrosse player. Clayton lauded Riely’s work ethic and drive.

“Sam is such a hard worker, I think she always brings all of her teammates up around her,” Clayton said. “She just works hard, she’s worked so hard for this in particular, to play D1 lacrosse, and so we’re just immensely proud of her and what she’s going to go on to do next year.”

The coronavirus pandemic complicated Riely’s recruitment, like other high school athletes across the country. Riely didn’t commit to UC Davis until this summer due to the pandemic, and the whole process was mired by uncertainty. Riely once made a trip to UC Davis and walked around an empty campus because there were no tours or camps.

“I was very happy that it happened, it’s a process that she had to go through and there was no certainty behind it,” said Riely’s father, Jeff. “But it worked out in the end, and I’m real proud of her because she worked so hard, she worked so, so hard.”

For her part, Riely thanked her parents for all of the help that they’ve given her as well as her teammates for assisting her up to this point.

“My dad really helped me, he did a lot of research on school for hours and hours, so that really helped me a lot,” she said. “My mom more focused on school and really pushed me to keep good grades. My siblings really pushed and had fun playing lacrosse with them. All my teammates, they really helped me.”


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