Congrats to athletes

Published 10:00 pm Friday, February 14, 2014

National Signing Day arrived last week with all the excitement many elite young athletes have dreamed about and worked hard for since they were children.

Lakeland High School’s field hockey team, as usual, had the largest crop of players making commitments. Kristen Vick signed with Old Dominion University, Alexis and Jamee Albright committed to play for and attend the Virginia Commonwealth University and Kelsey O’Leary clinched her decision to go to Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Nansemond River High School soccer player Chad Kozoyed signed on the dotted line for Longwood University, and Nansemond River track and field standout Mia McClain committed to the Virginia Military Institute. Warrior football players Marvin Branch, Andre Butler and Tracey Parker Jr. signed for Christopher Newport University, St. Augustine’s University and Bluefield College, respectively.

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And at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, John Mobley, Michael Tyler Lepore and Jared Morse made football commitments for Virginia Military Institute, Hampden-Sydney College and Bucknell University, respectively.

All these commitments are the payoff for years of hard work these young people have put in both on and off the field. In addition to excelling at their sports, they also had to keep their grades up, participate in other extracurricular activities and maintain good character in order to attract interest from the best colleges. Many of them likely put in extra work to make sure their names showed up on the radar of coaches and scouts.

We applaud them for their hard work and dedication, and we are certain they will continue their commitment to excellence in college.

Unfortunately, the night before National Signing Day, Lakeland field hockey players Summer Parker and Kasey Smith had their hopes dashed when they learned Radford University, to which they were prepared to commit to play field hockey, was discontinuing that sport. Both Parker and Smith worked hard to earn that commitment from the university, and for the school to break that verbal promise was an inconsiderate move toward all its recruits.

We wish Parker and Smith much success in finding another college opportunity that will allow them to play the sport they love and get a good education in the process.