In the last four years Richmond Hill’s girls track and cross-country and volleyball teams have ranked among the state’s best and four athletes who played key roles in that success have seen their efforts rewarded.
In ceremonies held last Wednesday in the school’s East Cafeteria before a large gathering of family, teammates, fellow students and friends track and cross-country’s Julia Wilson and Jayla Lawrence signed to continue their careers with Georgia Southern.
Carson Reeves and Courtney Joseph from the school’s highly successful volleyball team signed with Wingate University and Auburn-Montgomery, respectively.
Wilson and Lawrence, who was also the Homecoming Queen this year, are the 14th and 15th track athletes to sign with Division I schools since Coach Levi Sybert took over the program in 2010 with Noah Sybert and Memphis Rich expected to sign with D1 schools on Dec. 6.
“Georgia Southern is a great fit for Julia,” Sybert said. “Julia is dedicated in all that she does and has constantly grown in all aspects as an athlete over the years at RHHS. I know that personality is going to provide her the perfect backdrop to continue her growth as an Eagle.”
Lawrence is a sprinter and last spring she ran anchor on the Wildcats’ 4X200 relay team which finished third in the state. She was the third runner on the 4X400 team which finished fourth in the Class 7A meet.
“Jayla is a dynamic track athlete that can do more than one direction of athletics,” Sybert said. “She is also a competition cheerleader, can do hurdles and has a range of events that she excels in from the 100 to the 400.
“Jayla will bring a strong physical ability to the Eagles squad that is going to give them depth wherever they need her most. She has worked hard to get this opportunity and I am curious to see how she adapts to the level that D1 athletics demand.”
At Wingate Reeves will be joining one of the top volleyball programs in Division II. Wingate was a Final Four team last year and has won 17 of the last 18 South Atlantic Conference championships and is 25-2 going into this week’s conference tournament.
In Reeves’ and Joseph’s four years on the varsity Richmond Hill has compiled a 115-40 overall record while winning three region championships and advancing to the Elite 8 twice including this year when they were 30-9.
Reeves was first team all-region and the region Offensive Player of the Year. She was also an honorable mention all-state selection by the Georgia Volleyball Coaches Association, the first player in program history to receive an all-state award.
The middle blocker and team captain was second on the team with 230 kills and 47 blocks. Joseph was a second team all-region pick as she had 194 kills and a team high 92 blocks.
“Carson has made a huge impact on this program,” Coach Kaitlin Bean said. “She is the athlete every coach wants the opportunity to work with.”
“She’s a positive leader on and off the court,” Bean said. “She shows up every day to give 110 percent on the court, in the weight room and in the classroom. She has worked extremely hard to have the opportunity to play at the next level and we couldn’t be more proud of her and excited for her.
“Courtney makes her presence known on the court by being a playmaker. She will make plays that can change the momentum of a game, especially when it comes to blocking. I cannot wait to see what she does at AUM.”