By Owen Gotimer
Viva Loudoun College Editor
(March 7, 2014) – The journey for most student-athletes from high school to college is a simple one: you pack your bags, say good-bye to your family and friends and jump in a car for a trip to your next home. But for former Heritage High School basketball star Necole Sterling, the expedition took more twists and turns than she would have ever imagined.
Sterling – who transferred from Heritage to Stonewall Jackson High School following her junior year with the Pride – originally committed to play basketball for the NCAA Division I Indiana Hoosiers. Upon her arrival in Bloomington, Indiana, Sterling reconsidered her decision and after one season with the Hoosiers decided to transfer to Gulf Coast Community College located in Panama City, Florida.
The 5-foot-10 forward made an immediate impact at Gulf Coast, and University of Miami head coach Katie Meier took notice. Miami was on Sterling’s original list of possible colleges in high school, and she could not have been happier when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join the Division I Hurricanes for the current 2013-2014 school year.
The junior from Los Angeles, California helped lead “The U” through the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with the long-shot hopes of rebounding from a .500 mark into the NCAA tournament.
On Feb. 6, Sterling – who has averaged 5 points, 3 rebounds and an assist this year with the Huricans – scored a team high 14 points and added 3 rebounds and two assists off the bench, hitting a game tying three-pointer with 30.2 seconds left in regulation, but Miami (16-14) fell to the Florida State Seminoles, 72-67, in overtime in the second round of the ACC tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Other notes from the past weeks in college sports:
- Sterling’s former Heritage basketball teammate Erika Grabbi (2011) decided lacrosse was the sport for her at the next level, she now plays lacrosse for the Division I Princeton Tigers . On March 1, in a game against the No. 19 Georgetown Hoyas, Grabbi scored her first career collegiate goal as the No. 17 Tigers went on to win in overtime 17-16.
- Another Loudoun lacrosse star and Dominion High School graduate Nick Kirschke (2013) was named the Capital Athletic Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week two weeks ago. On Feb. 22, Kirschke set the school record for most consecutive faceoff attempts won with 15 before ending the day 18-of-21 as the Division III Captains picked up the win over the Ferrum Panthers. The faceoff specialist’s 18 wins at the X are tied for the third most in a single-game in program history. He also scooped up nine groundballs in the contest which is good for sixth all-time in a single game by a Captain.
- The Captains did not fare as well in the CAC men’s basketball championship on March 1. Broad Run graduate Taylor Johnson (2011) helped lead the University of Mary Washington to the win knocking off Christopher Newport, 65-48. Johnson scored 11 points and led the Division III Eagles with 7 rebounds. Following the game Johnson was named to the second-team All-CAC. Loudoun Valley graduate John Yoxthimer (2012) saw only seven minutes of action in the title game but did score 2 points. With the win, the Eagles earned the No. 17 overall seed in the DIII NCAA tournament.
- Johnson was a popular name on the 2010-2011 Broad Run High School basketball team as the Kansas State University freshmen point guard Nigel Johnson played for the Spartans during his sophomore and junior years of high school before transferring to Riverdale Baptist where he graduated. Now, Johnson averages 13.6 minutes per contest, splitting time with starting guards Marcus Foster and Will Spradling. On March 1, Johnson had 7 points and 3 assists as the Division I Wildcats upset No. 16/17 Iowa State, 80-73. Kansas State is a lock for the NCAA tournament so look out for Johnson and the Wildcats throughout March Madness.
- Broad Run High School graduates made a lot of noise in the news this past week and class of 2011 grad Taylor Clarke is no different. Clarke is now playing baseball for the Division I College of Charleston Cougars after transferring from Towson University before the 2013-2014 school year. On March 1, Clarke got the start for the Cougars going five innings, allowing one run on one hit, improving to 2-1 on the season as Charleston took down the Marist Red Foxes, 7-3. Clarke has a 1.80 ERA and has averaged 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings as a redshirt sophomore this season.
- Georgetown freshmen and Stone Bridge High School baseball standout Jake Kuzbel (2013) doubled down the right field line scoring two runs on March 2 as the Division I Hoyas fell to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 10-9. The second baseman – who has started all nine games in his collegiate career – also scored two runs and added a sacrifice bunt in the loss.
- Kuzbel’s Stone Bridge classmate Sydney Broderick (2013) helped lift the Division I Brigham Young University softball team over Portland State, 4-3, with a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning on March 7. The Bulldog outfielder turned Cougars catcher went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBI in the first game of the doubleheader.
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University. Follow Owen on Twitter (@BigO_Gotimer) for up-to-date college signings and news. Contact us if you want Owen to do an article on the college commitment of your favorite local athlete or a story on a Loudoun County graduate playing in college!