RICHMOND HILL -- Richmond Hill sent five Wildcats on their way on Wednesday, Dec. 8: four girls lacrosse player and one male swimmer.
Stephen Jones, Rei Voight, Allie Washington, Danielle Lester, and Chloe Andrews all signed their letters of intent to further their education and compete in collegiate athletics.
Jones signed on to swim at Georgia Tech.
“It’s an incredible experience,” he said. “When you’re practicing and you’re at these swim meets, you don’t really think about what it all ends to but signing this today is kind of like reaching a goal. It’s kind of unreal how all of this has paid off because you’re not certain that you can reach this level. Nobody is born being an incredible athlete.”
He also was drawn in by the location of Atlanta.
“The city of Atlanta is amazing, and I met the coaches and the team and it’s just an incredible institution and team,” Jones said. “I’m just really glad to join the family and I can’t wait to be their next year.”
Jones is a six-time GHSA 6A state finalist and owns seven school records during his time at Richmond Hill as he senior season awaits him in the spring.
Entering their fourth year of a varsity lacrosse program at Richmond Hill, they matched that number and got a quadruplet of players scholarships to play at the next level.
Attack and midfielder Rei Voight will be going to Rome to play at Division II’s Shorter.
“It was to my teammates,” Voight said with tears in her eyes. “We started this program in eight grade and it’s taken off and I love these girls to death. It really has been an honor working aside these girls. Especially Allie (Washington) who got me into this. I ended up getting her with Coach (Laura) Jordan. The girls before me who taught us how to really play were the base. We were just there to carry it along. To have this officially in the GHSA, it’s to say this is our age. We’re 6A. We’re going to kick some butt this year and it’s going to be really great.”
Voight won’t be alone as her teammate midfielder and attack Allie Washington will join her as a Hawk on the lacrosse team.
“We weren’t by no means close when she moved here in eighth grade, but we definitely have become really good friends,” Voight said. “I can’t wait.”
“It means a lot that I could work so hard and get somewhere like this,” Washington said. “Coach Jordan gave me an opportunity of a lifetime and the fact that I get to go with Rei, someone that I’ve been friends with for so long – she’s like my sports buddy. We do everything together. It’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me. In the middle of my sophomore year, everything was boring, and I wanted to do something fun and lacrosse kind of helped me get out of that funk and I was kind of like maybe this is something I need to take a little bit more seriously. After that point, I started getting more into it and practicing more.”
Danielle Lester, a midfielder will be going to Barton College of Division II in Wilson, North Carolina.
“It means a lot to me and that I’ve improved so much and where I am today,” Lester said. “I wouldn’t be here without my friends and so coming here in a place where I did not know a single thing and kind of learning my ways and figuring who I am as a player, and a teammate, and a person really helped me get to where I’m at today. It’s like I’m here and I did it. It’s a big accomplishment for me. The thing I really liked about Barton the most was the environment and teammates that really made me feel like I belong just like Richmond Hill did for me. And it also was a really beautiful school. I remember visiting and the coaches were super sweet. The whole environment just felt right. You get that feeling and you’re like this is the place for me. I’ve done four other college visits before, and I never got that feeling until I got to Barton. It so much pride. We worked so hard for this. We have plenty other girls on our team that are ready for that next step, and we just needed that push. So, Meg (McDonough) giving us that push got us to the point where we were like alright, we can do this. We all worked our butts off and we got here and did it.”
In the same state, Goalie Chloe Andrews will take her talents to Montreat, North Carolina to join Montreat College of NAIA lacrosse team.
“Instead of signing for yourself it’s putting yourself in front of your school and saying I go here and I’m going here,” Andrews said. “I’m merging the two – my past and my future and even my present a little bit because when you sign on your own, it’s just I’m going. So, I think today is really important for welcoming my future and saying goodbye to my past. It says so much that we’ve grown. Even last year we went to championships, playoffs, and we have an awesome coach that really pushes us to be our best and go forward with ourselves. We get to finally just move on and extend our capabilities. Montreat was one of the first colleges to reach out to me and I just went to Asheville for a Thanksgiving trip, and I just happened to love that town and realized that Montreat was in that area and was like ‘awesome, awesome place to be.’ Beautiful town. The coaches are amazing, so supportive, welcoming, and loving. And I just loved who they were as people. And that was the final push to be like this is where I want to be.”