Day of celebration for college-bound Flucos

PALMYRA, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Mary Washington first became Gracie Walton's top college choice during a visit to the school when she was an eighth grader.

Watson, a senior at Fluvanna County High School, was back at the school for a softball camp this past November. She applied to Mary Washington in December, and heard back a month later.

A softball player since she was five years old, Watson says playing for the Eagles is a dream come true.

"It's pretty amazing. It's pretty surreal," Walton said on Wednesday. "I still kind of find myself going, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to college to play softball.' It's pretty awesome."

Walton was one of seven Fluvanna County seniors on stage in the school's auditorium on Wednesday afternoon. The group was honored for their future college sports plans with a brief signing ceremony in front of classmates and teachers.

Like Walton, Catera Marsh will continue her softball career at an in-state school. She toured Bridgewater a month and a half ago. Now she plans to continue her career with the Eagles.

"Ever since I was nine years old I've always dreamed about it. And the past couple years I've definitely questioned whether I wanted to go, or if I was going to be able to," Marsh said. "And definitely the hard work and the commitment that I put forward for the past 10 years is great."

Runner Brianna Parker admitted that joining a college track team hasn't always been one of her goals. That changed after a conversation with a coach from Mary Baldwin during Parker's junior season with the Flucos.

Parker will run for the Squirrels next season. It's an opportunity she's ready to embrace.

"I challenge myself a lot," Parker said. "So that's one of the key components to me going to college for running, because I really want to challenge myself."

Colby Martin was looking for an opportunity to continue both his track and football careers at the college level. Last month, coaches from Emory and Henry told Martin that they will allow him to do both sports.

Martin will play either wide receiver or defensive back for the football team, while running sprints and jumping on the Wasps' track team.

"Honestly, I hope it feels like high school all over, but with a lot more work and a lot more success," Martin said.

Joey Vandyke was one of Martin's teammates on the Fluvanna football team. After what he called a "breakout" sophomore season for the Flucos, Vandyke started to consider the possibility of a college football career.

But he didn't have any about where he'd play until a visit to UVA-Wise following his senior season. Vandyke expects to play tight end for the Cavaliers.

"Coach Morris introduced me to UVA-Wise," Vandyke said. "Toured there, I loved the campus, I loved the education. I found the major that I wanted, and that's how I found it."

Ryan Grooms was out in front on his college decision. After touring Virginia Wesleyan, Grooms said he'd decided by early last fall that he intended to play baseball at the school.

"I've loved the game ever since I was a little kid, so I would do anything to keep playing," Grooms said. "Any kind of chance to play at the next level is good. So I'm excited."

Kent Snoddy began playing lacrosse as a freshman at Fluvanna County. He was a junior with the Flucos when he realized playing at the college level was a possibility. Snoddy says he's ready to embrace the hard work that will come with making that goal a reality at Randolph college.

"I'm just hoping to make my mark wherever I can. Even if it's from the bench, or starting," Snoddy said. "Whatever I can do to help out a team that needs it, then I'll do anything I can."

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