Currituck sends 9 athletes to college ranks
By Malcolm Shields
Friday, May 18, 2018
BARCO — From state champions, regional finalists and conference champions, athletes from the class of 2018 at Currituck have accomplished a lot.
Some members of the class that excelled in athletics over the past four years confirmed their commitments to their respective college programs at a signing day at Currituck County High School on Thursday afternoon.
Ayanna Walton is set to join the Brunswick Community College women’s basketball team.
Golfers Britney Tyndall (Methodist) and Sarah Conley (Virginia Wesleyan) will compete at NCAA Division III programs.
Conley will also swim for the Virginia Wesleyan women’s swimming team.
Sarah Dover will continue her tennis career at Salisbury University, while softball players Morgan Owens (Pitt Community College) and Jessica Smith (Queens N.C.) will remain in the state to continue their careers.
Chase McLaughlin signed to swim with the Virginia Wesleyan men’s swimming team.
Currituck will also send two athletes to the college level in track and field as Amberine Brown will attend Fayetteville State, while Ryan Camden will run at North Carolina-Wilmington.
Tyndall and Conley were both part of the Lady Knights’ NCHSAA 1A/2A state champion and East Regional champion girls golf team last fall.
“It’s incredible,” Conley said of confirming her commitment at the ceremony.
Conley noted that she spent a lot of time preparing for Thursday’s signing day. “I’m super excited.”
As for her commitment to swimming, Conley noted that she began swimming at Currituck during her senior year.
Conley along with McLaughlin also made history as Currituck swimming coach Susan Buzzard announced during the ceremony that both were the first student athletes from Currituck to sign with college programs in swimming.
Conley will have the luxury of being within a reasonable distance from home.
“It’s nice,” she said. “I can come home and see my family.” she said.
Virginia Wesleyan, in Virginia Beach, had two golfers listed on the team this past season.
Tyndall will join the Monarchs, which finished in eighth place at the NCAA Division III women’s national championship tournament on May 11.
McLaughlin, who qualified to the NCHSAA 1A/2A state championship meet in the 4x400 freestyle and the 4x200 freestyle relay teams, will join a Marlins team that completed their first season as a program this academic year.
Dover, who is a multi-sport standout at Currituck, will continue her tennis career at the Division III program in Maryland.
Dover career accolades at Currituck include a 2A East Regional championship during the 2016 season as a junior and a regional runner up in 2017.
During her senior season, Dover was 15-1 in singles, won the Northeastern Coastal Conference singles title and advance to the 2A state championship tournament in singles.
Walton played in 27 games for the Currituck girls basketball team that won the NCC tournament championship this past winter.
The Lady Knights (16-11) advanced to the third round of the 2A state playoffs in February.
Brunswick, a junior college program, went 17-12 last season and advanced to the semifinal round of the NJCAA Region X/District J women’s basketball tournament this winter.
Owens and Smith were part of the Lady Knights softball team that won a least a share of the NCC title the past four seasons.
Currituck softball coach Karen Booker noted during the ceremony that both had done an outstanding job for the program.
Both were vital in the Lady Knights posting a 15-6 records this season en route to the outright NCC league championship and a berth into the second round of the 2A state playoffs.
Owens will join one of the top junior college softball programs in the nation.
The Bulldogs (33-12) are competing in the NJCAA Division II World Series in Mississippi this weekend.
Pitt won its second consecutive Region X tournament championship earlier this month.
Smith will join the NCAA Division II college in Charlotte that posted a 35-17 overall record and advanced to the South Atlantic Conference tournament semifinal game and qualified to the NCAA Division II Southeast regional.
Brown will take her sprinting accolades to the Division II program in Fayetteville.
Brown, who finished third at the 1A/2A state championship meet in the 55 meters during the indoor track and field season this winter, also qualified to the 2A East Regional in the 100 meters and as a member of the 4x100 meter relay team for the current outdoor season.
Fayetteville State announced last June that its women’s track and field program would return after years out of competition.
Camden, who also entertained interest from the University of Mount Olive, will run at the Division I program in Wilmington.
“All the effort that I have put in is finally paying off,” Camden said.
Camden is a member of the Knights’ 4x800 meter relay team that is scheduled to run at the 2A state championship meet this Saturday at North Carolina A&T State University.
He was also a regional qualifier this season in the 800 meters.
Camden noted that he could not have reached the point of joining the Seahawks without the support from his teammates and coaches.
Academics also played a role in Camden’s decision to go to UNC-Wilmington.
“They had the perfect program for me, which is marine biology,” he said. “That is what I am going to study.”