Nipomo's Kacie Slover and Leila Martin sign with four-year programs

·4 min read

May 26—Nipomo High athletic director Russ Edwards and girls basketball coach Chris Litvinchuk are two respected members of the Titans' athletics program.

Edwards coached Nipomo to a CIF title in football before serving as the school's athletic director for much of the last decade. Litvinchuk has been the head coach of the girls program at NHS for two seasons, winning a CIF championship his first year and leading the team to back-to-back state tournament appearances.

Their words carry some weight. Judging by what they said Wednesday, Kacie Slover and Leila Martin have had truly tremendous careers at Nipomo High.

Edwards, who coached Martin in wrestling, and Slover, who Litvinchuk coached the last two seasons, spoke at a ceremony on the Nipomo High campus as Slover and Martin signed with four-year programs.

Slover will play at Cal Poly Humboldt and Martin will wrestle at Chadron State, located in Chadron, Nebraska.

"Kacie Slover is amazing," Litvinchuk said. "She's one of the greatest student-athletes I've ever had the chance to work with. She has a great attitude and positive behavior with tremendous leadership and unselfishness, those are some of the biggest characteristics that come to mind. She's driven, self-motivated and humble all at the same time."

Edwards spoke of Martin's ability to overcome a devastating knee injury in March of 2021 to make it back on the mat for her senior year of wrestling. Martin advanced to the state tournament this past season.

"She can be scary at times. The intensity, the emotion and the passion that she wrestles with is second to none," Edwards said. "She dealt with a lot this year, coming off a horrific knee injury that, frankly, most athletes don't recover from."

Martin said she tore the ACL and MCL in her knee and needed reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to those ligaments.

"It's been a goal of mine since to wrestle in college since I entered high school," Martin said. "Last year, when I got injured, I didn't think that would happen. After 15 matches, I made it to state and I've signed to a college. I also placed at Nationals this year, so it's a lot all at once. It's a really good feeling of success and being who I used to be before my injury."

Chadron State, which has produced a few notable NFL players, is a school of about 3,000 students in Chadron, Nebraska, about 40 minutes from South Dakota.

Martin, who actually attended New Tech High on the Nipomo campus, was also drawn to Chadron's criminal justice and psychology program.

"Ideally, I want to go into the FBI," Marin said. "That's something I've been wanting to do since the eighth grade. I went to the FBI headquarters on a school trip to D.C. That piqued my interest and now I know what I want to do."

Martin was a three-time league champ at Nipomo, three-time CIF area champ, a CIF Masters champ and two-time state qualifier.

Slover has racked up numerous All-League, All-Area, All-County, All-CIF and All-State honors while at Nipomo. She guided the Titans to the CIF Central Section Division 3 championship last year as a junior. The Titans also earned state tournament berths the last two seasons. In the 2021-22 season, the Titans set school marks for wins and were placed in the CIF Central Section Open Division as one of the top four teams in the section.

"It's great to be surrounded by the people who have helped me throughout my time here at Nipomo," Slover said. "I'm excited for the next four years."

When asked about how it felt to hear her coach and athletic director speak so highly of her, Slover said it was an honor.

"I had coach Edwards as my track coach and coach Chris has been the most amazing coach I could've asked for in the last two years of high school," Slover said. "I just truly value what they say and I'm so glad they're here today."

The Lumberjacks are an NCAA Division II program and members of the California Collegiate Athletics Association. They went 7-16 a year ago.

"I'm just looking to compete, I'm a big competitor so I'm excited to play with people at such a high level," Slover said. "To be surrounded by amazing players and amazing teammates."

Slover is a versatile backcourt player, able to run the point or play as a shooting guard. She can defend multiple perimeter positions and has played just about every position for the Titans.

Slover averaged 12 points, six rebounds and two steals per game this past season, earning First Team All-Mountain League honors. She was the Kiwanis All-Star Game MVP after scoring 28 points.

Slover says she's intent on studying Kinesiology at Cal Poly Humboldt.

"I'm not exactly sure what I want to do out of that for a job, but we'll see," she said.