College recruitments in the Upper School

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Westminster students not only excel in the classroom, they also excel on the sports field. This year, Westminster has a large number of athletes committed to play in college for everything from baseball to lacrosse to soccer and more. The athletes have a variety of commitments in Division I and Division III programs that have different approaches to commitment between them. They also have to abide by governing principles for NCAA athletics and the regulations on their contact with a university. Nevertheless, the Cats have worked hard and are sending athletes all over the country to continue competing at the sport they honed in on at Westminster.

Westminster has a strong crop of senior golfers this year. Senior Walker McPhail is committed to Washington and Lee, a Division III school that plays in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Senior David Dickey is committed to play golf at Furman University, Division I, in the Southern Conference where he will join his cousin, Sam Lape, Class of 2019, on the golf team. Other golfers finalizing their recruitments are seniors Cole Bergman and Adam Rubinger. All four will be strong senior leaders for the Varsity golf team this spring. 

As Rubinger and Bergman navigate the final periods before their commitments, they have several rules and regulations they have to abide by. Since they are seniors, many of the restrictions on coaches contacting golfers have been lifted, but a few are still in place. For instance, golfers can make one official visit to a college and a total of five official visits. They also cannot have face-to-face contact with a coach off-campus more than three times until they sign their Letter of Intent that states they plan to play golf for a university. There are strenuous rules the athletes have to abide by. 

“It was a lot to keep straight, but I feel like I traded having all that stress for not having to stress over college applications,” said Dickey. “It’s a give and take I guess.”

The boys will look to defend their state title this spring.

Westminster also has a strong group of lacrosse players committed this year. Paul Weathington, senior, is committed to play lacrosse at Princeton University. Unlike most commitments, Weathington and all other Ivy League commits have to “commit to the academic process,” meaning that the coach of their sport can support the athlete’s acceptance into the school, but the admissions department at each university must decide if they will attend or not. Senior Will Graves is committed to play at Haverford College in Philadelphia. Senior Ryan Chambliss is committed to play at Swarthmore College. Both Haverford and Swarthmore play in the Division II Centennial Conference, meaning Graves and Chambliss will be seeing each other on the lacrosse field as opponents in the future. 

“I can’t wait to wear out Ryan in an actual game instead of practice,” said Graves. “But seriously, it will be fun to compete against a familiar face at the next level.”

Similar to golf, these recruits can only go on a maximum of five official visits and only one to a specific college before they sign. Coaches are also only allowed to contact the boys once they are juniors. Fortunately for these lacrosse players, they are the reigning AAA State Champions, boosting their recruiting stock over this past summer. 

“It was nice that I had that extra ring to add to my resumé, but that never really entered my mind until this summer,” said Graves. “We really just wanted to win for our school and for each other. I bet the rest of the guys would tell you the same thing.”

Perhaps the most recruited team at Westminster is Girls Varsity Soccer, scattered amongst SEC, ACC, and Ivy League schools. Senior Tori Penn is committed to play at the University of Georgia. Senior Tyler McCammey is committed to the academic process at Princeton University. Senior Maggie Graham is committed to play at Duke University, where she will join her sister, Delaney Graham, Class of 2018, on the team. Senior Alex Wagner is committed to Vanderbilt University, where she will join Raegan Kelley and Ella Shamburger, Class of 2018, on the team. 

The senior girls are among the last classes that have had a more relaxed set of communication rules with coaches. Going forward, soccer players will have the same restrictions on communication as other sports. These new regulations pushed some athletes to commit early before the rules changed. For instance, freshman Evelyn Shores committed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last year. 

For baseball, Westminster has two baseball players committed to play in college. Senior Parks Harber has committed to play at the University of Georgia for his collegiate baseball career. Harber has a different set of issues to weigh as he moves forward, as he has generated some MLB draft buzz ahead of this coming summer. Similarly, senior William Lybrook has committed to the academic process at Harvard University to continue playing baseball in college. The baseball players have the same restrictions on them as other sports.

As the Cats go off to their new homes and compete for a different school this fall, there is no doubt they will continue to inspire the next generation of Westminster Athletes to compete for hard-earned opportunities to play at prestigious universities.

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