Pinecrest’s signing day for its student-athletes has grown in recent years to the point where so many athletes are honored that the school’s media center cannot contain the crowds who wish to witness the life-changing moment. senior stars on the sports fields.
At the Pinecrest Auxiliary Gym, 11 seniors were honored for signing up to play their respective sports at the next level, the largest event of its kind that athletic director Jeff Hewitt knows.
The baseball team had four players – Cam Bunker, Nick DiCarlo, Jackson Kuhn and Syklar Mathis – honored at the event. Bronwyn McVeigh and Kylie Harris from the women’s lacrosse team have signed, along with footballer Jayden Scott and Cullen Martin. Aniyah Jackson of softball, Chloe Peters of women’s golf and Tyler Steele of men’s lacrosse have also signed to play at the next level.
Jackson is taking her talents as an infielder and a key part of the Patriots batting order to Winston-Salem State next year. The all-conference shortstop finished the regular season with a .320 batting average and 10 RBIs.
“I have been able to watch and see Aniyah grow over the past four years, and it has been an honor and a privilege to do so,” Pinecrest softball coach Tyler Ross said. “You can put Aniyah anywhere on the court and she can make an impact. Her goal was to play softball at the next level. Through hard work and determination, she is able to do just that.
The senior has been a big part of the turnaround this season for the Patriots, winning eight games this season following a victory a season ago.
“I want to thank my teammates for supporting me and making the game fun,” Jackson said, also thanking his family and coaches. “I’m extremely excited to go to Winston-Salem and experience the next chapter of my life.
Switching to the defensive side of the ball during his high school career, Steele has played a big part in Pinecrest’s defense by allowing an average of less than six goals per game this season. He is now heading to Hampden-Sydney to pursue his lacrosse career.
“Fortunately, Tyler wasn’t very stubborn and decided to make the transition to becoming a defenseman. He’s really found his calling,” coach Brad Thomson said. “He’s worked hard and shown more maturity than probably any player I’ve had in recent years in coming as close to greatness as possible.”
For the Patriot defense this season, Steele has been near the top of the team in ground balls, with 66, and takeouts, with 27.
“I would like to thank my family who sacrificed their time and money for me. My mom used to drive me to Raleigh, just so I could train two to three nights a week,” Steele said. “They put 100% of their support into me the whole time.”
Peters will play golf next season at Montreat after being a key part of Pinecrest on the course for the past few years.
“I was very lucky to be hired here last year as a golf coach,” said Rick Hanchen. “I was able to coach Chloe for a year, but I wish it had been more. She was a senior manager in our team.
Peters posted a nine-hole average of 41 shots last season. She was the entire conference for three of the four seasons.
“I want to thank Coach Hanchen and Coach (Rich) Wainwright for giving me such an incredible opportunity to continue playing such an incredible sport,” Peters said.
After going through a transition on the football team during the last two years of their high school careers, Scott and Martin were leaders on both sides of the ball.
Scott has helped anchor the defensive line this season.
“Jayden at that defensive tackle, captaining our team, was just amazing. People and teams must have plotted against him,” said Bob Curtin, who coached the football team last season. “We planned our whole defensive scheme around guys like Jayden Scott last year because we could count on him.”
Pinecrest’s defense has held opponents to 19 points per game this season. Scott will play football at Guilford College.
“I want to thank my teammates for pushing me early in the morning, for supporting me. I would sometimes yell at them and hit them hard in the morning, and I knew they didn’t like it,” Scott said.
Martin was the Patriot’s second-best receiver with 17 catches and 215 receiving yards last season. He signed with Randolph Macon to play at the next level.
“He’s an absolute silent assassin when it comes to leadership,” Curtin said. “Cullen continues to pursue perfection relentlessly because he knows he will catch excellence. Just like he caught every ball thrown his way.
Of his 17 catches, Martin also had five touchdown passes as a senior.
“I would like to thank my family for supporting me over the past few years and throughout this recruiting process,” Martin said. “I would like to thank all my coaches, there have been many, and not just in football but in any sport for molding me to be the person I am.”
McVeigh continued the Pinecrest pipeline to play lacrosse at Bryn Mawr next season, joining Maya DiFrischia there.
“She’s one of our fundamental defenders on this team,” coach Cameron Vestermark said. “She leads by example, plays with a lot of passion and strives to get the best out of her teammates and coaches. She will provide them with a strong and determined defender who will give her best for the success of the team.
As part of the Pinecrest defense, McVeigh has collected 20 ground balls and caused seven turnovers this season.
“I want to thank my coaches for helping me a lot and for making me the player I am now,” McVeigh said.
Harris will stay in the state to continue his lacrosse career at Catawba.
“Kylie’s time at Pinecrest was marked by perseverance. She worked through injuries and interruptions in her seasons, but she kept herself going,” Vestermark said. improve, and never settled for just enough.”
An injury sidelined him this season, but Harris scored 12 goals as a junior.
“I would like to thank my teammates, with whom I have played a lot for almost nine years. It wasn’t the season I expected, but they supported me through it all,” Harris said.
The baseball foursome signed with two pairs going to the same college. Kuhn and Mathis signed with Methodist, while Bunker and DiCarlo signed with Louisburg.
A brick wall behind the plate this season for the Patriots, Kuhn has been a starter for the past two years at receiver.
“He controls the whole game. Being a receiver in our program is not the easiest thing in the world because often it’s all your fault. Jackson grew as a player,” Hewitt said. “I really find it hard to believe that there are many who surpass Jackson.”
His hard work has paid off behind the plate and in the batting box with an average of .261 and 15 RBIs this season.
“I would like to thank my parents for supporting me throughout my baseball career and for doing everything they can to help me through life,” Kuhn said.
Mathis has been praised for his willingness to do what’s best for the team. This season, he’s been a main arm outside the bullpen.
“He’s a real team player. He’ll do whatever it takes to make sure our team is successful,” Hewitt said. “Skyler’s level of commitment is at an all time high. committed to our program. He is committed to himself. He is committed to doing what is right.
The right-hander has made nine appearances this season, pitching over nine innings and recording 14 strikeouts.
“I would like to start by thanking all of my coaches, friends and parents for helping me get to where I am right now,” Mathis said. “Without them, I would not be the student or the athlete that I am capable of being today.”
Flying atop the roster this season for the Patriots, DiCarlo has been a spark plug. He’s batting .279 this season with 15 RBIs and four extra hits.
“He wants to be a competitor and wants to pursue that,” Hewitt said. “It’s the outfield guy who takes full control. Where we were at with our program, we needed to throw a lot of these young guys right into the mix.
DiCarlo also moved into the center role to record 28 error-free strikeouts.
“I want to thank the coaching staff at Pinecrest. You have done so much for me and made me a better player,” DiCarlo said. “I want to thank Louisburg and all of their coaches for giving me the opportunity to play.”
Bunker takes a consistent glove and a strong pitching arm with him to Louisbourg. This season, he’s hitting .236 with 12 RBI and an .814 field percentage as a shortstop.
“Camden has the ability to keep improving. He’s a leader on our infield, and everyone knows that when you think of a quarterback for an infield, he’s going to be your shortstop,” said Hewitt: “We can’t wait to see our team go even further and a big part of that will be.”
On the mound, Bunker was the No. 2 starter in the Pinecrest rotation, recording 51 strikeouts in 41 innings.
“I want to thank my parents for dedicating countless hours to me and getting me where I need to go,” Bunker said. “I want to thank my coaches and all my friends who taught me a lot and created an environment in which I can thrive.”