Several local high-school student-athletes signed on to play with colleges and universities last month.
For a student-athlete, there’s nothing like the hard work of a high-school career paying off and committing to playing at a university.
More than 30 local high-school students had the opportunity to do just that during an early signing period last month. Winter Park High School had nine student-athletes commit to schools, Trinity Preparatory School had three, Bishop Moore Catholic School had 18, and Orangewood Christian School had one.
Winter Park High School’s crew teams and Bishop Moore’s baseball team had strong showings, with five athletes from each school committing to play.
Among the Wildcats who committed was crew team captain Aubrey Fitts, who will be rowing for the University of Michigan next year. The fourth-year, varsity eight rower has an impressive résumé: two gold state tournament medals, a silver state tournament medal and two silver national tournament medals.
She is excited to get started at her new school, which finished seventh at the NCAA tournament last year and third the year before, she said.
“It’s an honor to pursue academics and athletics at such a high level at an institution,” Fitts said. “Coming from Winter Park High School — which also holds the same values — it’s really cool that I get to move to another big program.”
Winter Park’s long history of excellence has helped Fitts feel confident and ready for the next level, she said.
“Seeing girls ahead of me that I’ve looked up to go to great colleges and pursue rowing at a Division I level — including my sister (Abbi) even — just has inspired me to work at that and be active in the whole recruiting process,” Fitts said.
Out of Orangewood Christian School, senior catcher Brooks Rikeman said he was excited to further his baseball career at Jacksonville University.
“It seems like such a great place to be — just the atmosphere around there baseball-wise and the way the guys play,” he said.
Rikeman said he brings a tenacious style of play to the baseball diamond and hopes to contribute to the team’s success.
“They just get the kids that are gritty and the kids that just want to win,” he said. “It just seemed like such a good place to be and work for a spot.”