Five Orange County High School student-athletes signed their National Letters of Intent to play college sports at a ceremony last Wednesday at the Hornet Sports Center.
Baseball players Canon Davies, Keenan Williams and Tucker Hensley, softball player Chloe Kinkopf and football standout Kyrie Carter were all smiles as they finalized plans to continue their athletic careers.
“It’s kind of a whirlwind, honestly,” said Kinkopf, who signed to play softball at York College in Pennsylvania. “I’ve been working for this since middle school and once I found York, it just clicked and I knew I was going to fit in perfectly. It’s just so great to finally be able to breathe.”
Kinkopf had interest from several schools in Virginia, including Roanoke College, Bridgewater College and Lynchburg University.
On the field, she expects to pitch and play outfield for York. In the classroom, she hopes to major in computer sciences.
The three Hornet baseball players are excited about their opportunities as well.
Davies signed to play in state at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s been a lot of nerves, but it’s good to sign and get it out of the way and continue with my season.”
Davies has been a standout at the plate and on the hill for Orange County for the past several years. The senior expects to play third base for the Eagles, but also will have an opportunity to pitch as well.
He chose Mary Washington because of its “beautiful campus and great facilities” as well as his relationship with coach Wayne Riser.
“Coach Riser is very straight-edge,” Davies said. “I’m excited to join the program. It means everything and it’s great to finally sign.”
Hensley also will remain in state after signing to play at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton.
“It’s been a lot of nerves, but it’s going to be good,” Hensley said. “It’s a big sigh of relief with all the hard work that I’ve been putting in. It’s very exciting.”
Like Davies, Hensley said his relationship with the coaching staff, the facilities and the location of the campus were the key factors in his decision.
On the field, he expects to play outfield and see some time on the hill for the Fighting Squirrels. He hopes to major in sports medicine.
“I just want to be a good ball player,” Hensley said. “It so nice to sign. It’s the biggest thing ever.”
Williams signed to play at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. The senior catcher couldn’t be happier to make the announcement official.
“It’s everything that I thought it would be,” Williams said. “Everybody is out here supporting us, great fans, my family, coaches, they made me into the man I am today and getting me to this moment. This is next-level.”
Williams, who plans to major in business, had interest from several schools, including Shepherd University, Shippensburg University, Virginia Military Institute and several Old Dominion Athletic Conference schools.
The lure of playing for the Braves was too enticing.
“The school and the accolades that they’ve picked up every year. It’s all-around a great place to be,” he said.
Carter also will venture out of the state after signing to play football at Alderson-Broaddus University in West Virginia.
“This is a day I’ve been dreaming of my whole life,” Carter said. “Watching my peers, like Darius Minor, coming up and sign and I wanted to be like them. I’ve always dreamed of this moment—to play college football.”
An All-Jefferson District performer at linebacker and tight end for the Hornets, Carter had interest from programs such as Glenville State, Christopher Newport, Bridgewater and Fairmont State before finding a home at Alderson-Broaddus.
“I know a couple of my peers were going there and it just felt like a brotherhood,” he said. “The coaches, the players, the weight room and the locker room, everything about it I fell in love with.”
He is expected to have opportunities on both sides of the ball for the Battlers. He also hopes to major in either communications or psychology.
“I’ve been dreaming of this moment my whole life,” Carter said. “I just can’t wait to get on campus and show them what I have on the football field.”
Also Wednesday, Orange soccer player Julia Munez-Delgado announced that she will play at Richard Bland College.