As the tension among college-bound seniors begins to ebb, on May 1, Marshall’s annual signing day, eight seniors officially locked their fate (at least for the duration of their college experience). Seniors Kelly Brown, Riley Cummins, Alec Dolton, Tim Garner, Mackenzie Haight, Olivia Martin, Adib Milani and Meaghan O’Meara all signed to continue their sports career through college.
Melani, who has 9-10 years of swimming experience, signed with Brandeis University in Boston.
While the school’s great academics and strong focus on social justice primarily lead him to the decision, Melani also noted that the program’s newness would “[allow] me an opportunity to break records and be the fastest breast stroker on the team as a freshman.”
Melani looks forward to meeting fellow swimmers and winning conferences, adding that he hopes to place highly at the NCAAs (National Collegiate Athlete Association).
Garner signed to West Point for football, a childhood dream come true.
“Not only did I want to play football there… I also wanted to go to that school,” Garner said. “It was kind of like a win win because I get to play my favorite sport and I get to go to my favorite school.”
Garner hopes that West Point, with its acclaimed military program, will put him on track to become an army officer.
Signing to Methodist University for soccer also fulfilled O’Meara’s thirteen-year aspirations.
“Ever since I was little and saw my older siblings playing sports I made it my goal to play soccer in college,” O’Meara said. “[Soccer] is what I loved to do and especially after putting in so many hours of training I figured I owed to myself to see how far I could go.”
O’Meara cites the school’s strong academics and medical field as one of her main incentives, along with the campus and its friendly atmosphere.
“It just felt like the right place to go,” O’Meara said.
Though staying loyal to the East Coast, the three student athletes are excited to venture from home.
“After four years, you need a little change,” Garner said, adding that he was excited to meet new people and new coaches.
Melani looks forward to exploring the unfamiliar city terrain and “breaking away from the NOVA stereotype” in the surrounding college town.
“I’m excited for the new experiences I will have both on and off the field, and getting into a new atmosphere after living in the same place for so long,” O’Meara said. “I think it will be cool to go to a new state and meet different people.”
O’Meara also sees new territory as an opportunity to improve her soccer skills.
“I think my new coach and teammates will push me to become a better player, especially because most of my teammates will be older and more experienced than me,” O’Meara said. “It is a little bit intimidating that I won’t know anyone else on the team, but I’m looking forward it.”
As for what they’re leaving behind?
Garner will be departing from the relaxed dress code for Westpoint’s iconic grey uniform.
“Although I don’t like to admit it, I definitely will miss Marshall,” Melani joked. “The students at Marshall, particularly the students in the class of 2014 are amazing, and it’s gonna be great seeing what everyone has accomplished in few years.”