A bevy of students from Ponte Vedra High School signed athletic scholarships to various colleges during Fall national signing day Nov. 9.
The Sharks had members a couple different sports take part in the day’s festivities, including the following:
Mack Gray - Dickinson
Maddox Johnson -Denver
Ava LaManna -Radford
Luke Lowery -Dartmouth
Ruby Lynch -Jacksonville
Anna Taraboletti -Vanderbilt
Emma Toole- Anderson
Parker Kemp - Lenior Rhyne
Zeta Washington – Cincinnati
Jessica Shattles – New Hampshire
Ava-Grace Redick – College of Charleston
Annie Wholgemuth – Georgia
There were smiles all around, as signing day ceremonies are always a joyous time for not just the players signing, but for their families as well.
The recruiting process is different for many people, with some, such as Maddox Johnson, who enjoyed the experience, but are also happy that it has finally come to an end.
“It’s just a huge weight off my back,” Johnson said. “There’s no more worrying and now with this, everything is pretty much set in stone, and I can just relax from here on and enjoy the rest of senior year.”
Signing their names on their letter of intent is just the final step in the process, but many have been putting the work in for years both on and off the field before they were even on the radar of college recruiters.
For some, the journey has been a dream of theirs since they were children playing in the front yard and playing at the college level was only a distant dream.
“I was probably 6 or 7 years old when I picked up my first lacrosse stick,” Mack Gray said.
It is the culmination of all that hard work and creates plenty of opportunities throughout the day to look back at their high school careers, something Ruby Lynch was doing ever since she woke up that morning and it hit her that signing day was finally here.
“I just been thinking back on when I started, and all the work and how far I’ve come,” Lynch said. “It’s great to know that all that hard work really paid off.”
However, there are so many emotions circulating on signing day, as the student-athletes begin to realize that they might be ending one chapter, but they will soon be embarking on another one.
“It really puts things into perspective, when you start thinking about how far we’ve come and what we have ahead of us in the future,” Taraboletti said. “It doesn’t just end after high school, and we’ll still have a lot more to work on and look forward to in our lives.”
According to Parker Kemp, one of the things that made the moment so special was the fact that he was able to have some of his teammates up there signing with him at the table.
“I’m just happy and thankful to be able to be here today and for the ability to not only play at the next level but to be able to sign alongside my boys,” Kemp said. “We’ve been together for each other all these years, so it’s pretty awesome.”
When choosing a college, a lot of factors come into play and it often varies depending on the personality of the player and the situations they are looking for at the next level.
For Lynch, going to Jacksonville will keep her close to home, which is something she is looking forward to, while for Ava LaManna, going to college out of state was always a goal that she pursued, and Radford seemed like the perfect fit for her.
“I’ve lived in Florida my whole life, so I knew I wanted to go out of state,” LaManna said. “I just love Virginia and I think it’s so beautiful there. I love what Radford is trying to do, and it was just all good vibes from the coaches and school there.”
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