Virtually surrounded by coaches, teammates, teachers and friends — and with an abundance of hugs and high-fives from family members at home — six Durham Academy seniors committed to continue their athletic careers in college on Wednesday. In introducing them via video, Director of Athletics Andy Pogach said the student-athletes “represent the best of our school” who have excelled in the classroom and on athletic fields, courts and tracks.
Mark Alkins will run track at UNC-Chapel Hill; Tanner Barry will play soccer at Brown University; Ryan Kirschner will play soccer at Stevens Institute of Technology; Millie Loehr will play volleyball at Wofford College; Caroline Sapir will play lacrosse at Tufts University; and Madeline Towning will play tennis at Sewanee: The University of the South. They join Peyton Goldthwaite, who last fall signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at the University of Virginia.
Mark Alkins, who will run track at UNC-Chapel Hill, lettered in track and field all four years of his time at the Upper School. He was crowned NCISAA (N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association) champion in the 800m event and 4x800m relay in 2019. Alkins was named TISAC (Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference) champion in the 400m, and 4x400 and 4x800 relays in 2019; in the 800m and 4x400 relay in 2018; and in the 4x400 relay in 2017.
Tanner Barry will play soccer at Brown University. He was a member of the DA varsity boys soccer team from 2016–2018 and earned the DA Soccer Coaches Award in 2018. In the 2019–2020 season, he played with the North Carolina FC U-18/19 team.
Ryan Kirschner, who will play soccer at Stevens Institute of Technology, has lettered in soccer at DA from 2016–2019. In 2019, he was named to the NCISAA 4A All-State team, the TISAC All-Conference team and the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association All-Region team.
Millie Loehr, who will play volleyball at Wofford College, lettered in volleyball at DA from 2017–2019. She earned NCISAA 4A All-State honors in 2018 and 2019 and TISAC All-Conference honors in 2018 and 2019.
Caroline Sapir, who will play lacrosse at Tufts University, has been a member of DA’s varsity girls lacrosse team for the past five years. She was named to the NCISAA All-State team in 2018 and earned TISAC All-Conference honors in 2018 and 2019.
Madeline Towning will play tennis at Sewanee: The University of the South after earning varsity letters at DA for the past five years. She was named to the NCISAA 4A All-State teams in 2018 and 2019 and to the TISAC All-Conference teams from 2016–2019. She was crowned TISAC Player of the Year in 2019. Towning helped the Cavaliers to back-to-back NCISAA state championships in 2017 and 2018 and, with 125 career wins, stands at No. 2 in the DA record book.
Wednesday’s six signees join Peyton Goldthwaite, who committed to play soccer at the University of Virginia in the fall. A midfielder with the U-19 NC Courage Academy team, she has played with the U-16 U.S. Girls’ National Team, the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program regional and state teams, the U.S. Club Soccer iD2 National Identification and Development Program, the U-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy and the U.S. Soccer Girls National Team training camps.