Five area athletes sign college scholarships
Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 11:08 p.m.
School: Oak Hall
College chosen: University of Florida
Other schools considered: Clemson
Stats: The reigning Sun Girls Golfer of the Year, Tomlinson is ranked by Golfweek as the No. 11 overall prospect for the 2014 class, including international players. Tomlinson has won four straight individual district titles at Oak Hall and has also been named a first-team all-area golfer in each of the last four seasons. Last year, Tomlinson set a women's course record at Ironwood after shooting a scorching eight-under 64 to win her third district title. She matched that mark this season at Haile Plantation with another 64 at the District 6-1A championship. Before finishing in the top-20 overall at this year's Class 1A state meet, Tomlinson showed her potential at the national level with a top-30 finish at the U.S. Junior Girls Championship and a fourth-place result at the AJGA Girls Championship. In October, she was listed as an honorable mention AJGA Rolex All-American. Tomlinson is the lone commitment for the Gators' 2014 class. Her brother, Oak Hall graduate J.D. Tomlinson, is currently a junior on the UF men's golf team.
Quotable: “It was hard not to love the idea of going to Florida, growing up as a Gator. I just love the coaches, and I love everything about being a Gator. I know it's the school that will make me the best golfer.” — Taylor Tomlinson
Events: 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle
College chosen: South Carolina
Other schools considered: LSU, Alabama, Miami
Stats: A first-team all-area swimmer in both the 200 free and 500 free in 2012, she placed seventh in the 500 free at the recent Class 4A state meet (4:59.74).
Quotable: "I loved the team, I loved the coaches, everyone there (at South Carolina) were so welcoming. The first thing coach (McGee) Moody said to me after I committed was, 'Welcome to the family.' When I was there I truly felt like I was part of the family. I think everyone in Gainesville has been a big support system, from my friends at school dealing with me and from my friends on the team who pushed me through when practices were so hard.” — Tierney Shimansky
Position: Third base
College chosen: Florida
Other schools considered: FSU, Georgia, Alabama
Stats: The Florida Dairy Farmers Class 6A Player of the Year and The Sun's Big School Player of the Year in 2013 after leading the Tigers to their first state title in softball, batting .617 with six home runs, 11 doubles, 37 runs batted in and only two strikeouts. Had two hits in the 6-2 state title win over Pembroke Pines Charter. Also named Big School Player of the Year by The Sun as a freshman in 2011.
Quotable: "I enjoyed the coaches a lot. But my ultimate decision was if I could not play softball academically where I would want to be is Florida. We have a good shot at it (winning state) this year. But we have to work just as hard. Just because we won it last year doesn't mean we will win it this year. We have to work hard to win it again.” — Kayli Kvistad
Position: Center fielder
College chosen: South Florida
Other schools considered: Valdosta State, UCF
Stats: Second-team all area in 2013, outstanding defensive player who hit .337 with seven doubles, one triple, one homer and 19 RBIs for the state champion Tigers. Had the game-winning RBI in a 2-1 win over Lynn Haven Mosley in the regional finals.
Quotable: "It had just a family feeling and coach (Ken) Eriksen is such a good coach (at USF). Just something about it when you step on their campus is like a second home, there are no worries. You know it is meant to be. I think we have the ability to repeat (as state champions) if we keep our mindset like we did last year and everyone plays as a team and there is no drama, we will be good to go. We are all like sisters.” — Brandy Morgan
Position: Left fielder
College chosen: Valdosta State
Other schools considered: Tampa, Santa Fe College, Hillsborough College
Stats: Second-team all area in 2013, had key hits in both the regional final and state semifinal for the state champion Tigers, finished with .345 average with nine doubles, two homers and 21 RBIs.
Quotable: "I liked the coach (at Valdosta State) more than anything. The campus is beautiful. I felt at home. They have a very good program for my major of study (dental). I think we have a real good chance to repeat.” — Caleigh McCauley