The Greenbrier High School cafeteria is usually crowded during the school's signing ceremonies. But the festivities on Feb. 11 drew a larger-than-normal attendance.
Six Wolfpack soccer players signed letters of intent before heading into winter break.
From the Greenbrier boys team, Hunter Norton (Georgia Southern), Stephen Maxwell (Gardner-Webb) and Tyler Sanders (Palm Beach Atlantic University) all signed.
Among the girls who signed were Brittaney Borror (Georgia College and State), Riley Marschalk (Nicholls State University) and Kelsey Waechter (University of South Florida).
Norton's decision was made easier by his familiarity with the school. He grew up in Statesboro. His father, Tom, served as the men's and women's coach at Georgia Southern before moving to Augusta to lead the Arsenal program.
Norton received a late offer from UNC-Greensboro, but stuck with his instincts.
"They gave me an early offer," Norton said. "And I just felt like it was the best fit."
Norton played a part in teammate Maxwell securing an offer. At Norton's invitation, Maxwell participated in a December tournament in North Carolina. He played well enough to earn an offer from Division I-AA Gardner-Webb.
Maxwell, who suffered two ACL injuries playing soccer the past two years, had all but given up the sport and was a kicker for the Wolfpack football team.
"I came back stronger than I thought I would," Maxwell said. "Going to that tournament, I didn't think I'd be as good as I used to be. It was all still there, because I had been playing for so long."
Sanders, a Greenbrier sweeper, heard of Palm Beach Atlantic University from a friend. And after visiting the campus, a half-mile from the beach, he was sold.
Palm Beach Atlantic is Division II in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
"I went down there and fell in love with the school right away," said Sanders, who expects to play left back or defensive mid at his new school. "It's a nice area. The weather's great."
Climate and location were also factors for Waechter, who will play for the Division I Bulls. Waechter also liked the reputation of USF's medical school.
Bulls coaches saw Waechter play more than a year ago, and she has been committed for almost a year. The signing was just a formality.
The Bulls play in the Big East Conference, which includes the likes of Notre Dame, Marquette and Saint John's.
"They play a lot of good schools," Waechter said. "They usually do pretty good."
The decision for Borror, like her Greenbrier teammate, also hinged on academics. Borror chose Georgia College for its nursing program.
She decided as a high school freshman she wanted to be a nurse anesthetist. Georgia College will get her started.
Borror attended a soccer camp at the school two years ago. She played all over the field during her previous three seasons at Greenbrier.
Marschalk is headed to Nicholls State, in Louisiana, after her club coach introduced her to coaches there.
After a visit, she knew she had found the right place.
"They accepted me right away," she said.
She said Nicholls State, which is under new direction and in a rebuilding phase, could provide her a good opportunity.
"I'm hoping I'll be an asset to the team," she said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.