Four scholar-athletes signed their letters of intent to play at the next level in 2014-2015. From Thomas Dale, swimmer Meredith Vay and baseball player Collin Fleischer signed. From Matoaca, volleyball standout Jaelyn Jackson and softball ace Jessica McCabe also signed on the dotted line.
Meredith Vay is an accomplished of a student as she is a swimmer, and signed to swim at the University of South Carolina. Currently, Vay is ranked 5th in her graduating class and is in contention for some of South Carolina’s most prestigious academic scholarships.
“Meredith will be the essence of the term ‘student-athlete,’” explained QUEST swimming coach Dudley Duncan. “She’s an excellent student and a hard worker.”
In the pool, Vay was mostly recruited by the Gamecocks for her work in the 200, 100 and 50 meter freestyle events. The senior also possesses a good backstroke and butterfly as well.
“Meredith has been excellent with perfecting her fundamentals,” explained Dudley. “She’s got a great will to win.”
Vay has been a part of teams at QUEST that have set and broken their own records in the 400 and 200 meter relay events in consecutive years. Individually, Vay is close to Olympic trial standards.
“I really felt at home in South Carolina and instantly made connections with the team,” said Vay. “I’m excited to be a part of the Gamecock family.”
Also signing for the Knights was Fleischer, who committed to Virginia Military Institute.
“VMI is a great school for academics,” said Fleischer. “I know the coaching staff is going to look out for me and do everything they can to get me to the next level.”
Fleischer, a versatile player on the diamond, plays third, shortstop and pitches for the Knights and has been named All-District at those three positions.
“He’s one of the most versatile players I’ve had during my tenure,” explained Thomas Dale baseball head coach Chris Marshall. “Collin is a great student and person.”
VMI is a program that Fleischer can contribute to early on and off the field.
“He’s going to bring leadership qualities to the table,” explained Marshall. “I expect him to be successful early in his college career.”
Fleischer chose VMI over Radford, Virginia Tech, Penn State, West Virginia and Norfolk State, verbally committing to the Keydets as a sophomore. He’ll join Dale alum Brandon Diamond on the VMI roster.
Jessica McCabe is a standout as a pitcher on the softball diamond for the Warriors and signed with James Madison University.
The rising senior was a great leader for the Warriors and their staff ace last year winning 15 games, pitching 125 innings while striking out 175 batters and limiting opponents to a 1.66 ERA. McCabe also hit .500 at the plate with 24 RBI.
“Jess is the kind of player you dream about as a coach,” explained Matoaca Softball Head Coach Scott Driskill. “She will do whatever is asked of her for the team and is the type of player who wants the ball when the game is on the line.”
McCabe chose JMU over Radford. Radford initially recruited her but when coach Mickey Deane moved to James Madison, so did McCabe.
“Coach Deane really made an impression on me,” said McCabe. “It’s also closer and my family can attend more of my games.”
Last season the rising senior pitched no-hitters vs. Meadowbrook and Thomas Dale and twirled a perfect game against Colonial Heights.
Finally, Warriors volleyball standout Jaelyn Jackson inked with the University of Maryland. The Terrapins are currently an ACC member but are moving to the Big Ten, a volleyball power conference.
Jackson’s leadership blossomed as a senior for Matoaca.
“Jaelyn isn’t only a great player, she encourages us to do better,” said junior setter Taylor Morris in an interview earlier this year. “She’s a great leader for the team.”
Jackson projects to be an outside hitter at the next level because of her size, (6-3) and her ability to attack and kill accurately. The senior amassed 233 kills in the 2013 season, leading her team to a 16-6 record before falling in the conference 12 tournament.
The senior played her AAU ball with the Richmond-based U-Turn Nationals, and is an Olympic hopeful.
The Village News congratulates these athletes rising to the next level. We’ll have updates on their high school and upcoming collegiate seasons on twitter @VNewsSports.