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Bless Your Hearts ECU administrators and trustees. Seems you have a champagne taste for athletics, but are stuck with a...

Rose athletes sign for college athletics

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J.H. Rose offensive lineman David Sawyer Jr. (center) signs his letter of intent to play football for Columbia University (NY).

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

College signings continued at J.H. Rose on Tuesday morning, as four more athletes across three sports confirmed where they will be heading to play at the next level.

Former Rose football captain David Sawyer Jr. announced he would sign with Columbia University (N.Y.). The prestigious Ivy League university was Sawyer’s top choice.

“This is a great feeling,” he said. “I knew I wanted to go to Columbia as soon as I went up there on my official visit. It’s a great feeling to have it (recruiting) all over and to start this next journey, this next step.”

Sawyer’s commitment comes after participating in the Blue-Grey All-America game in Dallas on Jan. 29.

“It’s a huge deal to have kids go on and further their careers academically and athletically,” Rampants head football coach Dave Wojtecki said. “An Ivy League School, that’s huge. He’s the first kid I’ve had go to an Ivy League School. I’m just proud of David and the impact he’s making academically and football-wise for our younger guys.”

Sawyer added that words from Wojetcki have stuck with him regarding his impact at Rose. 

“Coach has always talked about legacy,” Sawyer said. “That’s one thing I want to set, set a legacy of not only working hard on the field but also in the classroom.”

Golfer Carter Rains has had a storied career with the Rampants golf team. Rains will attend Southern Wesleyan University, located just five miles from Clemson, S.C following graduation.

“This feels good,” Rains said. “With all of the buildup and all the anticipation I was really excited. I had the pleasure of seeing a teammate sign when I was a sophomore, and watching him do that really motivated me and allowed me to have this opportunity.”

Rains was the first athlete to sign under golf coach Liz Barbee.

“Carter is a special kid,” Barbee said. “He’s a great guy, a leader on the golf team for sure. He always steps up and talks to the guys, being a mental leader as well as helping them with their game.”

Barbee, Rains and the rest of the Rampants golf team still have one final season together. Both feel this could be a special year for the program. 

“This takes off a lot of pressure to perform since I’m no longer in the recruiting process,” Rains said. “It’s now about playing for fun, but I still want to win. I get to represent Rose and SWU this season and there’s a lot of excitement. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Two players under coach Sam Lee and the Rampants girls soccer team also made their choices. 

Team captain McKinsey Walter signed with Bridgewater (Va.) College.

“Well, at first I was kind of iffy about signing there,” Walter said. “When I went out to tour and I got to meet the girls on the team they were really easy to get along with. I like the campus as well.” 

Teammate April Zeng also announced her decision to attend Haverford (Pa.) College.

“I wanted to go to a good school for academics, but I also wanted to play competitive soccer,” Zeng said. 

Lee expressed his pleasure with seeing Zeng and Walter head to the next level.

“Two signings in one senior class, it shows what we’re building here,” Lee said. “A lot of credit goes to their club coaches and the foundation that was set before them. It’s awesome to see two leaders we have on the field going to continue playing at a college level.”

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

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