The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the DP Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

By Zach Cavanagh

Punters are people too.

Punters can be scholarship athletes as well.

Dana Hills’ Eric Fellenzer is now the latter as the Dolphins punter signed his national letter of intent to play football at the University of Nevada Reno in a Signing Day event at Dana Hills High School on Feb. 7.

“Ever since I started playing football, I wanted to play football in college,” an emotional Fellenzer said. “It just means so much, and I’m finally making this happen. So many sacrifices have been made to make this happen.”

Fellenzer’s path to becoming an NCAA Division 1 athlete started on the soccer pitch where his talented leg didn’t work within the constraints of being a goalkeeper.

“He kind of got frustrated with kicking the ball,” Eric’s mom, Janet Fellenzer, said. “It would go beyond midfield and it ended up, for lack of a better word, a penalty for him. Someone at that point in eighth grade said, you need to get that kid into kicking. And it just took off from there.”

Eric Fellenzer (Football, Nevada) signs his national letter of intent at Dana Hills High on Feb. 7. Photo: Zach Cavanagh

While the football team has struggled with results, Fellenzer was an undisputed bright spot. Dolphins coach Phil Skinner said Fellenzer was the special teams player of the week in all 10 games last season.

“He’s a kicker that has come through at the most clutch times, has impressed all the way through,” Skinner said. “He’s been a leader of our special teams world. He’s got that leg, and he works hard. This isn’t some natural thing where he just has to step on the field.”

Skinner and Janet Fellenzer all spoke to Eric’s hard work and dedication. Every athlete presented with Fellenzer at Signing Day has a background of sacrifices and strong work ethic that are essential to reaching that next level.

Each athlete also has their goals. Fellenzer’s goal comes with the reason he chose Nevada.

“Coach (Tommy) Perry, the special teams coach,” Fellenzer said of the reason behind the decision. “He’s had an All-American everywhere he’s coached. He hasn’t had one at Reno yet. Hopefully I can be that guy.”

Fellenzer will get that chance in the fall after a spring and summer of lifting weights and after-dark kicking sessions, as he continues to do now.

Other signees

Here’s the roster of the 17 student-athletes honored at Dana Hills on Feb. 7 listed alphabetically with sport and school:

Haley Alexander (Rowing, Alabama), Rosie Ballo (Volleyball, Pepperdine), Cam Cecil (Softball, Iowa), Averee Dovsek (Golf, Hofstra), Eric Fellenzer (Football, Nevada-Reno), Jake Greenberg (Diving, Virginia), Kai Hanson (Water Polo, Long Beach State), Cameron Kaemerle (Soccer, University of San Diego), Owen Kao (Swimming, University of Southern California), Claire Lisle (Rowing, University of California-Los Angeles), Reid Morrison (Soccer, Houston), Jessie Nagel (Softball, Holy Cross), Mia Onesto (Softball, Cal Lutheran), Peyton Romo (Basketball, Lewis and Clark), Zach Shenkin (Swimming, University of California-Santa Barbara), Jack Sterner (Baseball, Brigham Young University)

For a full photo gallery from Feb. 7’s event, go to

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>