Twenty student-athletes in Louisa County High School's class of 2020 have committed to keep playing their sport in college.

“Elite athletes in years past have made it an expectation for college coaches to pay closer attention to what we have going on here,” said George Stanley, the high school's athletic director. “I’m glad to see that more and more people are noticing the talent that our kids have here.”

Normally, once a student makes up her mind which school she wants to attend, a signing day ceremony is held where she signs a letter of intent. Friends, family, coaches and teammates come out to mark the occasion. 

Louisa County High School held two such ceremonies earlier in the school year. In December, football player Noah Robinson committed to Old Dominion University and in February, Jarett Hunter and Michael Barber signed to play at Howard University and Mary Baldwin University, respectively. A third ceremony for the remaining 17 student-athletes was planned for March 28, but that was before schools were closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“I was a little disappointed to not be able to have it at the school,” said Alex Washington, who is going to play football for William & Mary next year. “There are a lot of people who helped me get to this point that I would have liked to have been there.”

Even though they couldn’t hold a large ceremony at the school as originally planned, Stanley still wanted to make sure the athletes were celebrated. The remaining athletes signed their letters at home with their families and took pictures for Stanley to use in a slideshow that he published to the school’s athletic department Facebook and Twitter pages.

“The response has been great,” he said. “The kids have posted their pics and they’re proud to show off such an achievement.”

For many of the athletes, the fact that the school was willing to do this speaks volumes.

“It shows how much Stanley cares about us to do something like this for us,” said Michael Menton, who plans to join the dive team at the Virginia Military Institute.

For Stanley, doing things like this for Louisa’s student-athletes is the “most rewarding” part of his job as athletic director.

“It’s all about the kids, and that’s what I need everyone to know,” he said. “Putting things like this together takes a great deal of time and effort, but they deserve every bit of it.”

The former Lions will be taking their talents to 18 different schools next year. Ethan Snyder and Evan Cash will continue their baseball careers at Hampden-Sydney and Marymount University, respectively. Softball player Saniya Jones will be heading to Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland; girls’ basketball standout Alexis Miller is joining the University of Mary Washington Eagles; and Anna Filipkowski will play goalie for the girls’ soccer team at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg.

Hunter, Washington and Robinson have several teammates going to play in college. Wide receiver Xavien Hunter plans to play both football and basketball for The Apprentice School in Norfolk and Jefferson District Defensive Player of the Year Austin Sims takes his skills as a linebacker to Christopher Newport University. Four of Louisa’s linemen are moving on as well. Henry Alexander will play for Randolph-Macon College, Logan Yancey heads to Bridgewater College and Dylan Brown and David Munoz have signed to play for Shenandoah University.

Louisa’s track team will also be represented at the collegiate level, with Dahja Price and Isaac Haywood both committing to Norfolk State University, Sophie Karney competing at Missouri State University and Bowen Varney heading to Bridgewater College.

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