Four additional members of Walsingham Academy's Class of 2019 have signed on to play sports at the collegiate level, bringing the total number of athletic scholarships in this year's graduating class to six.
Catherine Williams will attend Clemson University for rowing; Jaylin Stewart will play basketball at Coker College; Clare Kinney will attend Roanoke College for track and field; and Patrick Murphy will run cross country at the University of Mary Washington.
"Years and years of hard work and perseverance got these four to this goal and what a tremendous accomplishment it is," Athletic Director Neil Bailey said.
Williams has only been rowing for two years and turned that limited experience into a scholarship at a Division I university.
"In [Williams'] first season, we went from being a mid-level team to not being beaten by anyone in Virginia in the last two years," her coach, Tom Rooks of Williamsburg Boat Club, said.
Williams can't wait to start bonding with her teammates and hopes to earn a spot on the varsity eight team.
Stewart, who his head coach at Walsingham Billy Barnes called "probably the most accomplished basketball player in school history," is looking forward to having the chance to play college basketball right away as a freshman and says he's already built a strong bond with Coker's head coach.
Over the course of his Walsingham career, Stewart amassed more than 2,200 points, making him second on the all-time school scoring list. He credits his coaches, teammates and teachers for helping him achieve his college basketball goal.
"Walsingham got me college-ready," he said. "I wouldn't be where I am without the Academy."
Kinney, a four-sport athlete at Walsingham, will participate in multi-events as part of Roanoke's track and field teams.
Coach Rich Higgins says she's been a key part of a Walsingham track and field team that recently won its fifth straight state championship.
"Any sport she decides to put her mind to she's going to be really good at," Higgins said.
Murphy is proof that hard work pays off, according to Higgins. His coach said he's watched Murphy grow from someone who had a hard time running a mile in eighth grade to a soon-to-be collegiate runner.
Murphy's journey to the University of Mary Washington is due in large part to Coach Higgins encouraged him to look into the college, he said.
"If it wasn't for my coaches at Walsingham, I would not have gotten this far," Murphy said.
In January, two members of the baseball team signed to continue playing at the college level. Christian Carter will attend California University of Pennsylvania and Zach Stanko is heading to Longwood University."I'm so proud of all of our signees," President Sister Mary Jeanne Oesterle said. "They've been exemplary representatives of the Walsingham way and I know they will continue to shine at the next level."