DA News FEED
Ear-to-ear smiles and a staccato rhythm of snapping camera shutters set the scene in the lobby of Kirby Gym on Wednesday as four Durham Academy seniors signed letters of intent to compete in Division I college athletics.
Jordan Barry will play field hockey for Stanford University; Eliza Dekker will run cross country for Dartmouth College; Chloë Lewis will play lacrosse for Duke University; and Anna Wears will play golf for Wake Forest University.
"Everybody standing here is really, really proud of you all," DA Athletic Director Steve Engebretsen said at the signing ceremony. "We're proud because of how well you've done in your sport and what you're getting to do. ... We're proud of what kind of young ladies you are, and it makes it easier to celebrate something like this, when you're standing here with four young women who are just great teammates and great students and represent the school so well."
Barry heads to Stanford with an impressive résumé: two-time NFHCA (National Field Hockey Coaches Association) All-America; three-time NCISAA (N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association) All-State; two-time TISAC (Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Association) Player of the Year; and two-time DA team MVP. Barry also lettered in swimming and was a three-time All-State lacrosse player.
"Jordan has been an amazing competitor at Durham Academy," said DA field hockey coach Judy Chandler. "Her athletic ability, competitiveness and desire to be the best have led her to where she is today. She was able to play any position, which has contributed to all the success we have experienced while she was part of our program."
The significance of the signing ceremony was overwhelming, Barry said.
"Everything we've worked for our whole lives, practically, has come together to get us to this day," she said. "I'm especially excited to be doing this today with my best friend [Lewis] by my side."
Lewis nodded in agreement, adding, " All of the sacrifices we're made — it's all worth it."
Lewis is a three-time NCISAA All-State player and was twice named DA's defensive MVP. She also lettered in swimming and has been named All-State and team MVP in field hockey.
"Chloe has shown through her focus, perseverance and positive attitude, on and off the field, that dreams can come true," DA lacrosse coach Debbie Rebosa said, noting that Lewis is the first recruit from North Carolina to play lacrosse for Duke. "She has been an inspiration."
Dekker will leave DA with a slew of records and titles to her name. Among her cross country honors: three-time NCISAA champion; five-time NCISAA All-State; five-time TISAC champion; and six-time DA team MVP. Dekker's track honors include state championships in the 800 4 x 400 relay and 4 x 800 relay; school records in the 800 (2:12.12), 1600 (4:53.4) and 3200 (10:38.67); and the state meet record in the 800 (2:12.85). Dekker has also lettered in swimming at DA.
Wearing DA cross country and track coach Dennis Cullen's letter sweater from his days at Dartmouth, Dekker said she's looking forward to the next chapters in her athletic and academic careers.
"I've always run, since I was 7 or 8," she said. "And now, the fact that I'll be able to continue to do that in college — especially at Dartmouth — means so much."
Dekker's love of running and competition has made her a thrill to coach, Cullen said.
"She knows that it takes a great deal of time and commitment to reach the level she aspires to," he said. "She should thrive in a college setting where her teammates are as dedicated as she is."
In Wears' sole season as a Cavalier, she's made a name for herself, earning the titles of team MVP, NCISAA All-State player, TISAC Player of the Year and TISAC co-champion.
"I have told Anna many times that the team and I would have been blessed simply to have her as a teammate, a friend, a supporter, an example of hard work — even if she couldn’t play… but boy, can she play!" said golf coach Greg Murray. "She is a humble, encouraging leader. Wake Forest is lucky to get one of our finest!"
Officially committing to play at the college level on Wednesday was both exciting and "a little scary," Wears said.
"It means so much," she said. "I know that it will be a lot of work, to compete on this level and do well academically. But you make time for the things that you love — and I love golf."
View more photos from the ceremony on Flickr, and view a video of the event below.