Western Albemarle senior Ashley Gale was sitting in class one day last month when her phone started ringing. On the other end was Virginia rowing coach Kevin Sauer, calling to offer her a scholarship.
And Gale couldn't contain her excitement.
"I got the call and started jumping up and down in my math class," Gale recalled Tuesday. "And one of my classmates was like, "Are you okay?" And, "Yes, I just got a call from the UVa coach." And it was an amazing feeling. I cannot explain how good it felt."
Gale had been getting recruited by programs from around the country. But she admits she was holding out for that offer from the Cavaliers.
"UVa has always been my passion. And I've kept that close all throughout my searches," Gale explained. "When they said they wanted me, that was it. That was all I needed."
Gale says she's a lifelong UVa fan, who grew up attending football games at Scott Stadium with her father. On Tuesday, her family and friends gathered in the gym at Western Albemarle to celebrate her official signing with Virginia.
"We'll sing the Good Old Song a whole lot more. And it actually means something now," Gale added. "Like, I can say "Yes, I am going to UVa." Rather than, "I just live here," or "It's just something my dad and I have done since I was little." But it's amazing."
Gale only began rowing competitively with the club team at Western two years ago, during the fall of her sophomore year. Now she's joining one of the elite college rowing programs in the country.
"I'm nervous," she admitted. "I know it's going to be hard. I know it's going to be a real test of my abilities. And I'm going to work hard, as hard as I can, and we'll see how it goes throughout my four years at UVa."