Adding to the program’s future on Wednesday, the Cal Poly women’s basketball team signed five future Mustangs to National Letters of Intent. The squad will welcome Faith Bergstrom, Sydney Bourland, Maia Garcia, Shannon Karlin, and Annika Shah heading into next season.
“The challenge of recruiting exceptional women via the Zoom age has proven to be successful. It has been the most unusual of years and these women have risen to the many challenges placed before them,” Cal Poly head coach Faith Mimnaugh said. “Spring and summer tournaments were taken away from them. Official visit opportunities were also stripped away from them. Yet, they really kept the faith.”
Each of the incoming signees is detailed below:
Faith Bergstrom (Camas, WA)
Camas High School / Upper Left Legion Basketball Club
6-2 • F/C
As a junior, Bergstrom helped lead the Papermakers to Washington’s 4A State Tournament, earning All-Regional accolades after averaging 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. She shot 56 percent from the floor and 75 percent from the free-throw line in 2019-20.
Not only a first-team All-Greater St. Helens League pick, Bergstrom was also a Columbian Athlete of the Week recipient and Scorebook Live Player of the Week. Meanwhile in AAU ball, she also helped lead the Columbia Cascades of Vancouver, Wash. to first place in the 2019 End of the Trail Tournament.
“The coaching staff and team feel like a family, and the campus is really nice,” she said of choosing the Mustangs. “The learn by doing philosophy really appeals to me, since I learn well that way.”
Bergstrom, who earned first place in the 2018 Imagine Tomorrow Boeing Aerospace event, will major in Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly (with possible aspirations for the product design field).
“Starting with Faith Bergstrom, we are really excited about her potential. She brings a strong post presence with good footwork in her back-to-the-basket ability and can also face up and shoot,” Mimnaugh said. “This was our first head-to-head recruiting battle with Harvard, so I’m equally excited that our great engineering program has secured another top-notch student.”
Sydney Bourland (San Jose, CA)
Archbishop Mitty High School / San Jose Cagers Club
5-10 • SG
Bourland was selected as an All-Bay Area honoree by Preps HQ following her 2020 season which included averages of 9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals as Mitty reached 15th in the ESPNW National Top 25 Rankings.
She also was selected to the West Coast Jamboree All-Tournament squad, All-Central Coast Section Team and San Francisco Chronicle’s All-Metro list.
“Sydney is a great glue player from one of the top girls basketball programs in the nation. She can play the 2-4 and has the ability to make everyone around her better,” coach Mimnaugh added. “She possesses a great work ethic and basketball IQ. She can start and finish the break and can defend multiple positions with her tough-nosed approach. She does all the little things that make a team successful. Sometimes her work doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but I can tell you that her impact is always felt in the win column.”
Bourland helped the Monarchs advance to the CIF State Open Division Championship as a junior, going 26-3 overall while winning the West Catholic Athletic League title in 11-0 fashion. Additionally with the Cagers club in the South Bay, she played at the End of the Trail Summer Swoosh, Rocklin and Aftershock tournaments.
“I chose Cal Poly because of the basketball program and the relationship I built with the coaching staff,” she says, adding, “I also loved the combination of great academics and a beautiful location.”
Academically, Bourland — set to major in Business Administration — is an honors recipient and California Scholarship Federation student, while also volunteering at Sacred Heart Community Service. Her career ambition is to be a leader in the corporate world and help strengthen women’s equality in the workforce.
Maia Garcia (San Jose, CA)
Pinewood High School / Fever Basketball Club
6-3 • F/C
Garcia helped lead the Panthers to the CIF State Division 1 Tournament as a junior, following a second-place Central Coast Section Open Division finish.
She earned all-league recognition after averaging 9.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.0 block per game this past season as Pinewood (out of Los Altos Hills) won the West Bay Foothill championship, via 25-5 altogether and 9-1 in conference play.
Garcia also has excelled in track & field as a high jumper, tallying third place at the USATF Junior Olympics in 2019 with a clearance of 5-foot-5 at the meet hosted by Sacramento State. Her career-best height of 5’ 6” won the SCVAL crown as well as the CCS title in 2019.
“Maia is a fantastic athlete. Obviously, she is also gifted in track so she can certainly become an All-Big West Conference performer in both sports. She can really run the court and we believe that she will become a double-double machine (scoring and rebounding) during her time at Cal Poly,” Mimnaugh assessed. “She plays for one of the finest shooting coaches in the business and has been working on incorporating a 3-point shot to add to her scoring arsenal.”
Having participated in student government and earning honors status every year, Garcia will major in Psychology at Cal Poly.
“I grew up visiting the campus every summer because my dad ran track there, and knew that SLO would be the perfect match for me,” she said, adding, “I love the positivity that surrounds the entire basketball program.”
Shannon Karlin (Shawnee Mission, KS)
Notre Dame de Sion High School / Eclipse KC Basketball
6-0 • SG
Karlin was named first-team All-District following both her sophomore and junior years with NDSHS of Kansas City.
As a team captain, she averaged 20.2 points and 9.8 boards as a junior for the Storm, and is less than a hundred points away from reaching the career 1,000-point mark at the school.
“Shannon is a versatile guard-forward who can knock down the 3 or punish her opponent on the block,” Mimnaugh commented. “Having a player that can bully her smaller opponent, or out-quick her bigger opponent enables us to use Shannon’s great versatility to maximum effectiveness. I love that when a shot is taken by a teammate, Shannon goes after the rebound as if it was a pass from her teammate. That constant pursuit of the ball and toughness on the boards will really help our team.”
As an honors recipient every term at Sion, as well as an NHS student set to graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, she heads to Cal Poly ready to major in Industrial Engineering.
“I chose Cal Poly because of my respect for and connection with the coaching staff and the competitive family team atmosphere they promote,” she said. “I also chose Cal Poly for their excellent academics and ‘Learn by Doing’ approach.”
Meanwhile, Karlin (also an all-district volleyball player) has participated in Student Council, as well as National Art Honor Society and the Medical Club.
Annika Shah (Palo Alto, CA)
Palo Alto High School / Peninsula Basketball Club
5-3 • PG
A Bay Area News Group All-Bay selection, as well as a 2019 CalHiSports First Team All-State Division 2 honoree, Shah averaged 29.8 points, 7.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds as a sophomore for the Vikings.
Shah was a varsity starter as a freshman, averaging 16.0 points for the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (De Anza division) champs. She was also a 2019 All-Central Coast Section guard & Division 1 MVP after leading Palo Alto through a 23-5 season including an undefeated league title.
On Jan. 30, 2019, Shah was selected as the Northern California Player of the Week by CalHi following a 41-point game including six 3s, during a road win at Saratoga.
“Annika is a basketball junkie. I love that she is a gymrat and constantly doing everything that she can to study the game,” Mimnaugh said. “I know that the injury she suffered during her junior year has fueled her even more to grow her game. A great 3-point shooter, Annika has the ability to stretch the floor and distribute to her teammates. She sees the court well and can really thread the needle on her passes. It is really hard to defend a point guard that can create off the dribble for herself or a teammate. While she might be small in stature, she plays mighty big.”
Shah, who missed her junior season due to an injury but helped out coaching from the bench during the year, has also excelled for her club based out of Portola Valley, playing at the Adidas Gauntlet U-17 Platinum series.
“I chose Cal Poly because of the amazing family environment provided by the women’s basketball program and the school itself,” she said. In addition to also previously playing tennis for PAHS, Shah contributes to her school’s Viking Sports Magazine, has a First Degree Taekwondo Black Belt, and plays guitar and drums in her spare time.
She’ll major in Business Administration at Cal Poly, with a concentration in marketing.
-Provided by Cal Poly