A large crowd gathered in Richmond Hill High School’s LINK Wednesday afternoon for what Athletic Director Mickey Bayens called “hashtag girl power” as three female athletes signed to continue their careers in college.
Destinee Rivera signed to wrestle for Life University, while Caroline Infinger will play soccer at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Haley Taylor will take to the diamond for East Georgia State College softball.
“Destinee is one of the finest athletes I’ve had the pleasure of coaching during my career,” Wildcat wrestling Coach Bob Parker said. “She is the perfect example of the kind of person you want in your program.”
Rivera, who also participates for the Team Georgia wrestling program, thanked not only her immediate family, but also her “other family” after she signed, acknowledging the Richmond Hill wrestlers who were present.
The Wildcats won both the team dual and team traditional state titles this season, and Rivera competed for the team in the regular season, picking up a win at 145 pounds against Metter.
“She has left an amazing amount of blood, sweat and tears on the mat, going against the guys in practice for four years,” said Bill Evans, assistant coach for the Wildcats. “The work ethic she has is something you wish ever athlete at Richmond Hill had.”
Life University, in Marietta, is a chiropractic college and competes in the NAIA Mid-South Conference. Its women’s wrestling team finished sixth at the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association dual meet in January.
“I’m ready for the challenge,” Rivera, who is planning to major in biopsychology, said. “I’ve had such a great support system here.”
Infinger becomes the fourth Wildcat girls’ soccer player this season to sign. The defender also plays in travel leagues for the Richmond Hill Soccer Club.
“Caroline is the true representation of what high school sports has to offer,” said long-time Wildcats Coach Steve Kollman. “She stuck with it through the hard times to become a tough-minded defender. She is proof that you can get to the next level no matter what if you are willing to put in the work.”
Infinger, who wants to study nursing, said she was recruited by ABAC as a defender, but is willing to play any position.
“I’ve been playing ever since I was little,” she noted. “If you love something enough and try hard at it, you can be successful.”
Taylor, an all-region second-team pick, is the third member of the softball team to continue her career collegiately.
“Haley is a dedicated, driven leader on and off the field,” said Jessica Cooper, the Wildcats’ assistant coach. “She loves to play hard and East Georgia is getting an athlete who is the epitome of class and poise.”
Taylor, an infielder, said she expects to play second base for the Bobcats and wants to eventually get an MBA.
“I’ve worked all my life to get to this point,” she said. “I’m thankful to my family, my coaches and my teammates for always supporting me.”