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By Joe Naiman
Village News Reporter 

Janikowski to play soccer at ENMU


Last updated 6/11/2020 at 5:33pm

Megan Janikowski will continue her soccer career at Eastern New Mexico University.

The lifelong Fallbrook resident, who played soccer for three years on the Cathedral Catholic High School varsity before graduating this spring, signed a letter of intent to play for the Greyhounds Nov. 13. She received both an athletic scholarship and an academic scholarship.

“I’m super excited to play,” Janikowski said.

Eastern New Mexico University is in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and is a member of the Lone Star Conference. The school is located in Portales, New Mexico.

“The reason I picked it was because of the community atmosphere it had,” Janikowski said.

Janikowski narrowed her choices to the University of Idaho, the University of Portland, and Eastern New Mexico. She also received other offers.

“I had some California schools interested in me,” she said.

She took her campus visit to ENMU at the end of October.

“When I visited all the girls were just so welcoming to me and I just created a lifelong bond with them,” Janikowski said.

Abbey Barnum took over as the ENMU soccer coach in March, so Janikowski has not yet met Barnum personally but has spoken with Barnum over the telephone.

Janikowski will double-major in pre-med and special education, although she plans to use those majors sequentially instead of concurrently.

“I want to be a trauma surgeon and then once I settle down and get a family then become a special ed teacher,” she said.

In addition to her athletic activity at Cathedral, Janikowski was also involved in the school’s Best Buddies program and worked with special needs students.

Both of Janikowski’s parents are Fallbrook High School graduates. Her father, Dan, played football for the Warriors. Her mother, Heather, was on the Fallbrook High School softball team.

Janikowski is the middle of three children. Her older brother, Dean, graduated from Cathedral Catholic in 2019 after playing football and soccer for the Dons and is now a football placekicker for Washington State University. He was on the 2019 roster but did not appear in a game. Her younger brother, Jack, completed ninth grade this spring and was in Cathedral’s football and lacrosse programs.

From kindergarten through sixth grade Janikowski attended St. Jeanne de Lestonnac Catholic School in Temecula. She attended Notre Dame Academy in the Del Mar Heights area of San Diego for seventh and eighth grades.

When Janikowski was 3 years old, she began playing recreational soccer in Fallbrook. She was eight when she joined the Hawks organization in Temecula and began the travel club portion of her soccer career.

She played youth softball with the Fallbrook Girls Softball organization from when she was eight to when she was 10.

“Then I quit to focus on soccer,” Janikowski said.

Although she didn’t play on the Dons’ varsity Janikowski played softball for Cathedral during her first two years at the school. She was on the junior varsity team both years and was a pitcher as a freshman and a catcher as a sophomore. Janikowski was also on Cathedral’s cross-country team as a freshman; she was not involved in organized running before high school. During her only cross-country season, Janikowski ran in grade-level races but not in varsity competitions.

The 2016-2017 school year was Janikowski’s freshman year at Cathedral, and she was on the Dons’ junior varsity soccer team. She made the varsity as a sophomore and was also on the varsity for her junior and senior seasons. In all three of those years, the Western League coaches gave Janikowski honorable mention all-league recognition. Janikowski was a center back for the Dons.

“Dawn Lee is the best coach I’ve ever had, and she truly has shaped me into the individual I am today both on and off the field,” Janikowski said of Cathedral’s head coach.

Cathedral’s 2017-2018 team finished 4-2-2 in Western League competition to place second in the final standings behind La Jolla, and the Dons were eliminated in the first round of the CIF Open Division playoffs. The 2018-2019 Dons had a 6-1-1 Western League record to finish second behind Our Lady of Peace, who also defeated Cathedral in the CIF Open Division semifinal.

The 2019-2020 Cathedral Catholic soccer team finished the season with a 23-3-3 record, and the third loss was in the Southern California Division I semifinals. The Dons won the CIF San Diego Section’s Open Division championship as well as the Western League title. Cathedral was undefeated in Western League competition.

Janikowski’s favorite soccer memory was winning the Open Division championship Feb. 28 and then holding up the CIF championship trophy and celebrating with her teammates. Her favorite overall school memory was watching the Friday Night Lights football games at Cathedral, she said.

Cathedral Catholic does not have a National FFA Organization program, so Janikowski continued her Fallbrook 4-H Club activity after she enrolled in the high school. She was nine when she joined Fallbrook 4-H Club and continued until she was 15. She showed animals at the San Diego County Fair during all seven of her 4-H Club years.

Janikowski graduated from Cathedral with a 4.1 GPA and received “A” grades in all of her high school classes.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected]


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