Covenant Athletes Ready to Continue Careers in College

By: Nate Sulham Email
By: Nate Sulham Email
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Their time playing high school athletics coming to a close, six Covenant School student-athletes were recognized in a ceremony Wednesday at the school.

Softball players Alexis Steljes and Cameron Wright are gearing up for a VISAA state semifinal game Friday, but first took time to celebrate their achievements.

Steljes is off to Randolph College in Lynchburg, while Wright is headed over the mountain to Eastern Mennonite, where she plans to focus on a nursing career in addition to her time on the diamond.

"I really like the academics there, they have one of the top nursing programs there which is what I want to be," Wright explained. "Softball was just a plus for me, I really like it, and I enjoy it. Definitely looking forward to it. I can't wait."

"I've been on cloud nine since I had the opportunity and made the decision," Steljes said. "It just made the whole year easier. I actually verbally committed in the fall and just to have that weight lifted off your shoulders is really awesome."

Girma Fekadu-Baker is the reigning Division II Boys Soccer Player of the Year in Virginia, and scored the game-winner in Covenant's recent state championship. His talents are taking him to Christopher Newport University --- a long way from growing up on the streets of Ethiopa.

"This is one of my dreams come true," said Fekadu-Baker, who came to the States just a few years ago. "That's what I want to do with my life, play soccer. That's what I would love to do. And I'm excited. I'm glad to have had a great time here at Covenant. I'm happy with everything in my life and I'm just blessed."

DeNeil Bryant was also a first-team Division II pick at Covenant. The senior point guard will head south to Lynchburg College to continue his playing career.

"I've been playing since I was like nine years old and to see it pay off is a blessing," Bryant said. "It's definitely going to be a challenge. Any college is a challenge from high school to college. Hopefully I'll have some friends to help me with that transition, professors, and even the coach there is going to help me a little bit. So I'm looking forward to that."

College lacrosse is a Godine family tradition and Spencer will be the latest to join that trend. The senior captain is headed to Christopher Newport and will follow in his father's footsteps as a college lacrosse player.

"It means everything to me," said Godine, who has 21 goals in 16 games this season. "My dad played lacrosse in college. Got to continue the legacy, see if I can improve. I talk to him about it all the time, he's helped me as a coach this year so lot of lacrosse in the family."

Trent Jenkins will hold off on his college football plans for at least one more season. Jenkins was a second-team Division II offensive lineman for the Eagles this season but will spend a post-grad year at Fork Union as he attempts a position switch to tight end in hopes of landing a Division I scholarship.

"I mean physically and football-wise I think I need an extra year to develop and get bigger and stronger and also learn the position," Jenkins said. "Academically I think it's another year to get my GPA higher than it was already and after this I hope to play Division I football."

Covenant juniors Drew and Jay Gaffney were also recognized Wednesday for their verbal committments to St. Joseph's and Christopher Newport, respectively.

Full List of Attendees
Girma Baker: (Soccer) Christopher Newport University
Spencer Godine: (Lacrosse) Christopher Newport University
Trenton Jenkins: (Football) Fork Union Military Academy (PG Program)
Alexis Steljies: (Softball) Randolph College
Cameron Wright: (Softball) Eastern Mennonite University
DeNeil Bryant: (Basketball) Lynchburg College

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