The last college Nicki Douma applied to turned out to be her first choice in continuing her running career.
On Thursday, the Fluvanna County senior signed a ceremonial Letter of Intent to run cross country at Longwood next season. Douma listed James Madison, Radford, Belmont, Roanoke, and Lynchburg as schools she was considering -- until the Lancers popped up on her radar a few weeks ago.
"It just, it clicked," she explained. "Like, last-minute I was like, "I need to go here. This is where I'm meant to be.""
Douma said the nursing program at Longwood was a big selling point for her. She also said she liked that the Lancers don't have a track program -- which will allow her to focus on her studies when cross country isn't in season.
"I love the team at Longwood, and I clicked with the coach," Douma said. "And it's just a great place for me to be."
Douma was one of five seniors honored in a ceremony in the cafeteria at Fluvanna County High School on Thursday. Matt Fragola signed with Emmanuel College, becoming the first member of the Fluvanna lacrosse program to earn a college scholarship.
"It's pretty exciting just to be kind of the first person to go to play college lacrosse," he said. "We has two other people, but that was club level. So it's pretty exciting to be the first one, and hopefully my other teammates can follow the path and go play college lacrosse also."
Jessie Van Dyke will continue his football career at Emory and Henry next season. The wide receiver picked the Wasps over ODAC rival Hampden-Sydney.
"I feel like I'm about to restart my entire four years," Van Dyke said. "Because ninth grade, when I first started football, it was pretty tough. You know, I was a little weak link, kind of. And now I'm about to restart that entire thing, going into college."
"High school was so much fun," Van Dyke added. "I just can't wait to go onto the next level."
Dylon Garrett also considered Hampden-Sydney, as well as Christopher Newport, before the pole vaulter decided to attend Mary Washington. Garrett called the Eagles "a perfect fit" on Thursday.
"It's probably going to be a very difficult challenge to keep excelling at heights," Garrett said of pole vaulting in college. "But I know I'm going to put in, work as hard as I can."
Volleyball player Emily Haden looked at several in-state ODAC programs -- including Emory and Henry, Randolph-Macon, and Eastern Mennonite -- before choosing Virginia Wesleyan.
"I just started volleyball in eighth grade, kind of on a whim. I wanted to try it out," Haden said. "And freshman year I started taking it seriously, and I wanted to, it was a dream for me to play in college."
"I can't wait to play at the next level, and get to know all the girls. And I think Virginia Wesleyan is a really good school for me, so I can't wait."