Eight Wando High School seniors signed letters of intent to play college athletics Monday.
Natalie Tucker signed with Limestone College volleyball, Britney Vallez with College of Charleston volleyball, Morgan Howard with Spartanburg Methodist softball, Sarah Lee with U.S. Naval Academy track and field, Tucker Dodson with U.S. Merchant Marine Academy lacrosse, Jackson Karolczyk with Wofford soccer, Tyler Kimbrell with Spartanburg Methodist baseball and Ben Crutchfield with U.S. Coast Guard Academy wrestling.
“Days like today make me proud to be the athletic director here,” Wando athletic director Bob Hayes told the group of athletes. “You're going to be successful because of your leadership ability, scholastic ability and willingness to work hard. We're proud, very proud.”
Tucker helped lead Wando to the state championship as the Class AAAA Player of the Year. She has more than 3,000 career sets and was a North-South All-Star this year. Vallez, also a North-South All-Star, led the Warriors in kills and had a .431 hitting percentage.
Dodson is the first Wando boys lacrosse player to sign a letter of intent in the program's five-year history. He's a two-time state champion, an all-state selection and the team leader in points.
“For me, it's been a difficult process and I'm sure it is for all the student athletes,” Dodson said. “So it feels good to have this day finally here and to know where I'm going and that I've got four more years to play. It's not going to end. I'm happy I can have that honor to keep playing after high school.”
Lee is a nationally ranked pole vault state champion. She's been on the Wando track team for six years and is competing in four different events this season.
Howard is a four-year member of the Warriors varsity softball and is helping lead the team into the playoffs this season, hitting .400 at the plate.
Wando soccer coach Shilo Tisdale says Karolczyk is “the type of player every program wants to have.” Karolczyk is a North-South All-Star, team captain and has a 4.7 GPA.
Kimbrell is a five-year member of Wando baseball and a key cog in this year's starting pitching rotation. Wando assistant coach Tyson Azevedo describes him as “a major part of our success, tremendous leader and competitor.”
Crutchfield is the career leader in wins at Wando, a four-time Region VII champion, three-time state qualifier and a North-South All-Star this season.
“It feels great to sign with everybody today,” Crutchfield said. “We have classes together, we support each other's teams. Even though we're going off to different schools, we'll all still be Warriors.”
Frankie Mansfield, the sports reporter for the Moultrie News can be seen all around the state following teams to meets, games, and matches. For score updates, breaking sports news, and more follow @fjmansfield on Twitter and like Moultrie News Sports on Facebook.