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Cal Poly women’s basketball team lands top recruit in unique signing ceremony

Natalia Xavier, 12, wipes away tears of happiness as the Cal Poly women’s basketball team applauds during a special letter of intent signing ceremony Saturday at the Student Athlete Lounge.
Natalia Xavier, 12, wipes away tears of happiness as the Cal Poly women’s basketball team applauds during a special letter of intent signing ceremony Saturday at the Student Athlete Lounge. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The Cal Poly women’s basketball team landed a special recruit Saturday, signing top prospect Natalia Xavier of Grover Beach.

The 12-year-old signed an official letter of intent to become a member of the Mustangs team at the Student Athlete Lounge.

Xavier’s memorable day was made possible by Boston-based nonprofit Team IMPACT, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing serious and chronic illnesses through the power of team. Xavier was diagnosed in 2012 with Type 1 diabetes.

Cal Poly head coach Faith Mimnaugh, who joined Xavier for the ceremony along with the rest of team, spoke about the inspiration her players draw from the youngster’s efforts to fight her disease.

As a team member, Xavier will attend Mustangs practices, games, team dinners, events and more, according to the university.

Since 2011, Team IMPACT said it has matched nearly 1,700 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 49 states, reaching over 50,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child’s support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can’t learn in a classroom, the nonprofit said.

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