Five Indian River student-athletes sign on to play sports in college

DAGSBORO – Last Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 8 a.m., five Indian River High student-athletes put the pen to paper to make their college athletic decision official.

Four of the five athletes will be playing baseball at the next level, with one of the athletes continuing her lacrosse career for four more years in college.

During the brief ceremony held inside the IRHS library, IR athletic director Todd Fuhrmann introduced each one individually and, in front of friends and family, each athlete posed for photos during the ceremony as they signed their respective letter of intent.

The signing solidifies the next four years, both academically and athletically, for each of the five student-athletes.

Kealey Allison – lacrosse at McDaniel

Kealey, a two-sport star at IR on the basketball court and the lacrosse field, signed her letter of intent to play at McDaniel College next year.
She says her decision between the two sports was an easy one to make.

“I’ve just always wanted to go to college for lacrosse,” she said. “I’ve played lacrosse my whole life and I knew going into high school it wasn’t definite whether we were going to have a team or not, so I knew I really had to work hard and get all of my lacrosse in during the summer.”

Her freshman year of high school, IR had only had a junior varsity lacrosse team for the girls.

Kealey Allison signs her letter of intent (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Kealey’s sophomore year marked the first year IR competed at the varsity level. Although an injury shortened her sophomore season, she was excited to be a part of the varsity program’s launch.

“It was very fun,” she said. “It was a little stressful in the beginning because I was one of the only lacrosse players. It was the first year playing for a lot of girls, so I just thought I’d help those girls get better. But then I got hurt, so it was kind of a rude awakening, but I knew some of those girls were going to step up and it would help them learn better. They got more experience because of it.”

Myles Clark – baseball at Virginia Wesleyan

The recruiting process for Clark began back in August, and he says he knew almost as soon as he stepped on campus that Virginia Wesleyan would be a good fit for him.

“I had a lot of colleges looking at me, but Virginia Wesleyan was just the best fit for me and my family,” he said. “I just really enjoyed the atmosphere there.”

At Virginia Wesleyan, a Div. III school in Virginia Beach, Clark will be pitching for a program that went 21-20 last season. He hopes to step in and make an immediate impact next spring, stating he and the team’s pitching coach really connected when the two of them met.

Myles Clark is set to take the field for Virginia Wesleyan next year (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Clark will be taking a familiar face with him down to VWU next spring – teammate Mark Smith, who also signed on to be a VWU Marlin next school year.

“We’ve been playing baseball together since we were about five, and it’s pretty cool that we’ll be playing together again,” Clark said.

Heading into his freshman season this time next year, Clark just wants to work hard and improve each day.

“Basically, I just want to try to improve myself and get to where I want to be.”

Cole Hitch – baseball at UMES

Cole has been playing baseball all his life, but he didn’t think about playing ball in college until his sophomore year of high school.

“It probably started about my sophomore year, that’s when I decided to play college baseball,” he said of the recruitment process.

“I just love the game,” he said. “My dad played, my grandfather played, everyone loves the game. So, it was just something I was born into.”

Cole Hitch will be playing catcher for UMES baseball (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

Hitch is set to play catcher at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a school located in Princess Anne (MD).

“I thought it was the right school for me, because it had my major, it’s close to home, it just has everything I wanted,” he said of his college decision.

As a freshman, Hitch’s goal is to just go out there, work hard and earning some playing time.

Mark Smith – baseball at Virginia Wesleyan

Smith will be joining his long-time friend Myles Clark down at Virginia Wesleyan.

One of the aspects that lured Smith to VWU is the fact they stuck with him throughout the recruitment process.

“They started recruiting me at the end of sophomore year and at that time it was still early on and I didn’t really know what I was doing,” he said. “But, they stuck with me throughout the whole process. The coaches are amazing, and even when other schools were looking at me they still stuck with me.”

Mark Smith will be joining Myles Clark at Virginia Wesleyan (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

While Smith did have a few Division I schools interested in him, he chose to be a Marlin partly because of the coaching style. Having one of his buddies down there with him certainly didn’t hurt, either.

“The coaching style, they make it more about you,” he said. “I think it’ll be a good experience, especially with Myles there.”

Smith knows there’s only so much he can control, so his goal heading into his freshman year is simple: control what you can control.

“I can only control what I can control,” he said. “So, I just have to work hard and hopefully I’ll get some playing time.”

Brock Wingate – baseball at Wilson College

Wingate, a three-sport athlete at Indian River, had a decision to make. Will it be football, wrestling or baseball?

As a baseball player for 11 years, Wingate chose to continue spending his time fielding grounders and taking swings in the batter’s box for the Wilson College baseball program.

Three-sport athlete Brock Wingate will be heading to Wilson College next year (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“All my family plays it. It’s just really fun for me,” he said, simply.

The recruitment process took a lot of his time, hard work and patience, but it paid off as he feels comfortable in his choice of campuses.

“It’s a great school, with a lot of great people, and I really liked the coach a lot. It just caught my interest,” he said.

The third baseman has just one simple goal heading into his freshman year at Wilson:

“I just hope to do everything I can to help the team.”

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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