For highly-recruited Lafayette football prospect Cheyton Pine, National Signing Day on Wednesday morning was the culmination months of speculation on where the linebacker/quarterback would play in college.
Pine said he didn’t make the final decision until 8 p.m. Tuesday night despite having already committed to the University of Pittsburgh before the fall season began. Seated in between Lafayette teammates Tyrek Graham and Trey Neville, Pine looked over three caps representing his final three choices: Pitt, Virginia Tech and Iowa State. Then in front of a considerable crowd buzzing with anticipation in a corridor near the school’s main entrance, Pine grabbed the blue Pitt hat.
The scene wasn’t quite as dramatic several hours later at Bruton, where football player Daniel Jones made his August commitment to the University of Richmond official, inking with the Spiders in front of a robust gathering.
“I’ve been waiting for this day since freshman year,” Jones said. “I’m just blessed and happy.”
Jones, who was coached at Bruton by his father Reggie, said he expects to play either defensive back or outside linebacker for Richmond.
The Spiders finished the 2015 season in a three-way tie atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings with William and Mary and James Madison before advancing to the national semifinals.
There was no wavering of any sort for Walsingham Academy’s soccer star Christine McBeath, who signed with reigning Big East-champion St. John’s University of New York. Her final decision had been made well in advance.
“It’s kind of weird because I’ve known for such a long time where I wanted to go,” she said. “It’s been like two years and now I know it’s a done deal.”
McBeath scored 25 goals in 14 games for Walsingham last season with 10 assists on her way to earning second-team Virginia Independent School Athletic Association all-state honors and expects to play midfielder on the next level.
McBeath acknowledged the common thread between the metro-area schools.
“I just really like the city,” she said.
Former Walsingham coach Kat Dominguez initially came across a 13-year-old McBeath on the youth’s club trip to Germany, where Dominguez played professionally.
“The growth that I’ve seen out of this kid is the most I’ve seen out of any athlete I’ve ever worked with,” Dominguez said. “Her work ethic is beyond what you see from a lot of kids. The ceiling is unlimited for her with what she wants to do with soccer.”
McBeath also plays point guard for the Trojans’ girls basketball team, coached by athletic director Neil Bailey.
Bailey said McBeath’s offensive vision transfers from the pitch to the court and she’s one of the best competitors he’s coached.
McBeath celebrated signing alongside classmate Rachel Clancy, who represents how variously shaded both the path to college athletics and the athletes’ backgrounds can be.
Clancy will suit up for Division III University of Mary Washington’s field hockey team.
Two years ago, playing college field hockey wasn’t even on her radar. Then, she played in a Disney showcase event before a visit to Mary Washington cleared any doubt.
“I just fell in love with it,” Clancy said of the Fredericksburg campus. “I knew it was for me.”
“It takes so many practices, so many games, tryouts, travel, workouts to make something like this happen – to get an opportunity to play your sport at the college level,” Bailey told the cluster of supporters gathered to watch the ceremony. “It’s also a day for the parents as well; all of the support, the transportation, all of the talks in the car on the way home. It is definitely a team goal and a team accomplishment.”
In total, 10 Williamsburg high school athletes celebrated signing Wednesday in addition to former Bruton football star Kapri Doucet, currently of Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania, who inked with Oklahoma.
Football: Cheyton Pine (Pittsburgh), Tyrek Graham (Stony Brook), Mitch Barrick (Hampden-Sydney) , Trey Neville (Army).
Boys soccer: Reeves Trott (William and Mary).
Girls soccer: Carson Pokorny (Christopher Newport University).
Girls soccer: Shaye Doherty (CNU).
Football: Daniel Jones (Richmond).
Girls soccer: Christine McBeath (St. John’s).
Field hockey: Rachel Clancy (Mary Washington).
Holtzman can be reached at 757-298-5830.