Four from Walsingham to compete at college level

Jimmy LaRoue

Four Walsingham Academy athletes have made commitments to continue taking part in their sports at the college level.

Carson Cooper, who became involved in sailing when he was 12, will sail at Christopher Newport. Delaney Riggs, who has played soccer at Walsingham and with the Virginia Legacy club team, will continue with soccer at N.C. Wesleyan. Having played tennis since the sixth grade, Emily Daigneault, will play collegiately at Bridgewater. And Jason Covaney is following in his father’s footsteps by going to Hampden-Sydney and swimming there.

“It takes a lot of time and commitment and perseverance and the kind of qualities that we really work hard to instill and to foster in our students,” said Walsingham athletic director Neil Bailey. “And these four young people are great examples of that.”

Below is more about the four commitments:

Carson Cooper (sailing — Christopher Newport): ‘There are all these wonderful moments it brings’

Cooper, who plans to study business management, is already familiar with Christopher Newport’s sailing coach, Max Plarr, who coached Walsingham’s sailing team when Cooper was in eighth grade. It should make for a smooth transition between high school and college.

Being able to compete in the sport at Christopher Newport is the next big step for him, Cooper said. He has been sailing since he was 12 and got involved with the sport after his mom made him choose one. He chose sailing and fell in love with it.

“There are all these wonderful moments that it brings,” Cooper said, “and it’s just the feel of having wind rushing through the sails. You feel powerful when you’re moving fast and you’re coming ahead of the competition.”

Delaney Riggs (soccer — N.C. Wesleyan): ‘It’s just fun to play here’

Riggs, who plans to major in psychology, began playing soccer when she was 4. She said she appreciates her chance to fulfill a dream of playing college soccer by going to Division III N.C. Wesleyan, choosing the school so she would have a chance to play.

Riggs said she has kept with soccer because it has allowed her to play at a competitive level for two teams.

“Club has allowed me to compete at a more competitive level than high school, but what I have here (at Walsingham) is a group of girls I can rely on,” Riggs said. “It’s just fun to play here because I can be a leader on the field, and then in club, I can learn from other players.”

Emily Daigneault (tennis — Bridgewater): ‘A surreal experience’

Daigneault, who plans to major in biology, began playing tennis in sixth grade, drawn to the sport by its individual nature within a team structure. She said the signing ceremony was a surreal experience.

“I’m still trying to let this sink in, actually, that it’s my senior year and this is actually happening and I won’t be here next year,” Daigneault said. “So it’s like, ‘Oh my God,’ it’s one of those moments.”

Jason Covaney (swimming — Hampden-Sydney): He chose swimming after a fifth-grade bet with friend

Covaney, who plans to major in psychology, said his hard work has paid dividends, and is looking forward to swimming at Hampden-Sydney, where his father went to college. However, his start in swimming came on a dare.

“Me and my friend in fifth grade actually made a bet,” Covaney said. “’Hey, I’ll do this if you do this,’ and so he kind of fell off, and I was like, ‘Well, I’m not half-bad at it, so I thought I’d continue it.’”

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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