Mesa Ridge signing

From left: Mesa Ridge's Caleb Dannels, Serin Dunne, Reece Bishop, Kylee Bunnell, Kyle Gaster and Alan Wallace participate in this year's 2020 National Letter of Intent signing class. Photo taken on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Chhun Sun, The Gazette)

It's easy to look at Serin Dunne and think the Mesa Ridge girls' basketball star has it all. But, of course, looks can be deceiving.

"It's been an up-and-down process," she said. "It's been 'Oh, I'm definitely going to make it!' to 'I'm not going to make it. I'm not even going to play JuCo.'"

On Wednesday, she participated in the Grizzlies' National Signing Day ceremony that featured five other college signees. Though she officially signed her Letter of Intent to Division I's South Alabama in November, Dunne was happy once again to celebrate a dream she's had since the eighth grade.

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Since then, she battled through an autoimmune disease and worked through what she called "family problems," though she did not go into details about that. Through it all, she managed to be one of the best players from the Pikes Peak region.

Dunne was an all-state selection last year, in addition to her appearance in The Top 20 Colorado All-Star Game. The 5-foot-7 guard averaged 20.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals her junior season. Those numbers and accolades caught the attention of South Alabama, which beat out other D-I offers from San Diego State, Tulsa, UTEP and San Diego.

This season, she was named a McDonald's All-American nominee.

Dunne, who is averaging 16.1 points at Mesa Ridge during her senior prep campaign, is expected to compete for South Alabama's starting point guard position next season.

"We are about to lose Shaforia (Kines) and were looking for a scoring point guard," South Alabama coach Terry Fowler said in a statement. "Serin is an aggressive point guard who also knows what the team needs and can distribute the ball."

The five other Mesa Ridge signees were:

• Kyle Gaster, a quarterback who will play for DII's Western State. He is Mesa Ridge's record-holder in passing yards (2,199) and completions (171);

• Reece Bishop, who will play baseball at NAIA's Kansas Wesleyan. He's a first-team all-conference shortstop who batted .481 and boasted a .900 fielding percentage;

• Kylee Bunnell, a softball pitcher who signed with NAIA's Calumet College of St. Joseph in Illinois. She completed her prep career with a 4.21 ERA and 196 strikeouts;

• Caleb Dannels, a tight end who will play at at NAIA's Kansas Wesleyan. He caught 11 passes for 122 yards during his senior campaign and also played defense;

• Alan Wallace Jr., an offensive lineman who will play at NJCAA's Minnesota State Community and Tech. He was named an all-conference first-team selection the past two seasons.

Reporter

Chhun Sun is the editorial assistant of the four Pikes Peak Newspapers. A Thailand-born Cambodian-American, he joined The Gazette's staff in April 2015 — covering everything from public safety to sports and outdoors to local/state politics.