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Cougars send nine student athletes off to college

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WAKE FOREST — Wake Forest High School had nine student athletes sign their papers to play at the collegiate level next year Wednesday Nov. 13. The list included two baseball players, two girls lacrosse players, a boys lacrosse player, a girls soccer player, a volleyball player, a softball player and a cross country runner. Ramsey Schlafer signed to play softball at Gardner-Webb University. She noted the size of the school and the Christian atmosphere as her top two reasons for committing to play for the Bulldogs. “It’s a small school and it’s a Christian school,” Schlafer said. “They have a good softball program as well.” As a three-year starter on varsity, Schlafer enters her senior season with a batting average of .371 with 63 hits, 62 runs and 43 RBIs. She also has four home runs in her career. As a pitcher, she has struck out 69 batters in her career with 11 total wins. Schlafer said she will study biology when she goes to college. “It’s been a long four years,” Schlafer said. “I’ve met a lot of good friends and teachers. I’m going to miss it.” Zach Joyner signed with Louisburg College to play baseball. He said the school gave him a feeling of being at home. “Louisburg felt like home when I visited,” Joyner said. “The coaching staff is great.” In his first season on varsity last year, Joyner tallied 14 hits, 14 runs and six RBIs with a batting average of .219. He will look to get an associate’s degree in science and hope to be a physical therapist. “It’s been a good ride,” Joyner said. “I want to thank everybody who helped me get to where I am. We want to try to get deep into the playoffs this year.” Joyner’s teammate, Hogan Stallings, signed to play baseball at Gardner-Webb University. He noted that it just felt natural to him to become a Bulldog. “Gardner-Webb felt like a good fit,” Stallings said. “I like the town a lot. I like the coaches. I thought it was the best place for me.” In his last two seasons on varsity, Stallings registered 45 hits, 46 RBIs and 38 runs with a batting average of .363, along with six home runs. He will study sports management in college. “I want to thank Wake Forest for everything,” Stallings said. “It’s been one heck of a ride. We’re going to do as much as we can to bring a title home this year. I want the younger kids to keep what we’ve got going.” Olivia John signed to play girls lacrosse at Florida Institute of Technology. She said the combination of competitive athletics along with challenging academics led her to the school. “Florida Tech has a very competitive lacrosse program,” John said. “I really wanted to go there to get an education. Playing sports is awesome. I love going to school. The campus is beautiful. I love the coach. The team is super nice. I’m really excited. It’s the perfect fit.” As a three-year varsity player and two-year starter, John accumulated 84 goals and 48 assists for the Cougars. She will study general biology at college. “Our team has made a lot of strides in the last four years,” John said. “We’ve made a lot of improvement. I hope we keep it up this spring, so we can do big things.” John’s teammate, Daisy Colvin, signed to play at the University of Indianapolis. She originally committed to play at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, but was persuaded by Indianapolis head coach James Delaney to join his program and become a Greyhound.

“Coach Delaney has been contacting me throughout the whole recruiting process,” Colvin said. “He was always there being a great coach and great person. I fell in love with the school and the team after he flew me out to Indianapolis. The team is full of players who play just like me. I know Coach Delaney won’t change my game, so I’m excited about that.” In her only season on the varsity squad last year, Colvin racked up 69 goals and dished out eight assists. She will major in biology and look to do pre-Med. “I want us to continue building what we have set in place here at Wake Forest,” Colvin said. “I want us to persevere through anything. If the girls work hard and put in the effort, they can accomplish great things.” Ian Howard signed to play boys lacrosse at Barton College. He said the lacrosse players there treated him like family right from the start. “Barton felt like home,” Howard said. “All the lacrosse players treated me like family. I felt like I was wanted there.” In his two years on varsity, Howard has scored 43 goals and recorded 35 assists for the Cougars. He wants to study sports marketing and possibly accounting. “I’m looking forward to getting a better overall record in lacrosse this spring,” Howard said. “Maybe we can produce some of the best we can. Wake Forest has treated me well.” Leah Given signed to run cross country and track for UNC-Asheville. She said it was simply the best place for her to continue racing. “UNC-Asheville is the perfect fit for me,” Given said. “It felt like home when I visited there.” Given’s personal best time in cross country is 19:13.30, which she set at the 4A east regional meet Nov. 2. In the 800-meter run, she ran a 2:22.12 at the 4A east regional May 11. Her best 1,600-meter run time is 5:40.39. Given said she wants to study environmental science at college. “I’m really thankful for the foundation Wake Forest has given me with my coaches and teachers,” Given said. “I’m really excited for the next step in life.” Ashley Finn signed to play girls soccer at University of South Carolina Upstate. She said the team gave her a welcoming atmosphere when she visited the school. “South Carolina Upstate felt like home to me,” Finn said. “The players and coaches gave me a really good feeling at the school.” In two years on varsity, Finn has scored 26 goals and registered seven assists. She said she is undecided on what she wants to study in college. “I want my fellow players to keep working for whatever they want,” Finn said. “If people doubt you, you will make it if you keep trying.” Rachael Stroot also signed to play at South Carolina Upstate as a volleyball player. She enjoyed her visit at the school so much that she wanted to join their program. “I got really good vibes from the coaches and players at Upstate,” Stroot said. “I think it’s a really good fit. I want to help the team build a good program. I’m really excited to get started.” As a middle hitter for the Cougars, Stroot spiked home 334 kills in two seasons. During that span, she also tallied 111 aces, 54 blocks, 111 digs and 31 assists. She wants to study either communications or political science in college. “I transferred here from Rolesville as a junior and I don’t regret it one bit,” Stroot said. “Wake Forest welcomed me as family. I’m going to miss it.”

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