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Of Lambert's 16 early signees, one rows to her own pace
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Lambert senior Peyton Smith signed to play lacrosse at Kennesaw State. - photo by Michael Foster

Lambert athletic director Drew Ferrer proudly announced 16 signees during a signing day event held Tuesday in the school's auditorium.

“Over the four years they've been here this group has earned many accolades including 20 region titles, 15 state championships and two state Directors Cups, all while combining for an average grade point average of 3.73,” Ferrer said.

The 16 athletes spanned 10 sports, including one not sponsored by the Georgia High School Association.

Victoria Shelton took the stage with her brother, parents and club coaches before signing the dotted line to travel all the way to Corvalis, Oregon, where she will join the women's rowing team as a cockson—the facilitator of the boat. It's a unique opportunity, and one she didn't foresee coming.

“Oregon State actually was the first school to reach out to me, while I was actively just looking for places to row,” Shelton said. “I didn't really ever seriously consider them, even when I planned an official visit there. But once I got out there I realized that it was the place I needed to be. It's beautiful, I'm big on the outdoors and there's so much to do there. Everything is so green.”

In the past few years Shelton has been a part of a men's rowing club — unlike the primary rowers which are built more like swimmers, cocksons are shorter, light-weight and keen communicators.

“When you're getting recruited for that, it's not about how tall you are or how fast you can do one thing,” Shelton said. “You sit on the front of the boat with a headset and your job is to be organized and communicate. I had to send in a recording of my voice and what I would be saying to the rowers. So it's much more of a subjective process than an objective one.”

Another athlete who will travel some ways is Jaryd Jean-Felix, who followed through on his long-time commitment to play lacrosse at Rutgers — even though football programs have come calling in his senior season. He'll be fairly close to teammate Eric Overbay, who signed with Villanova. Other lacrosse signees included Jacob Alesia (Lenoir-Rhyne) and Cameron Barnes (Rollins College).

Baseball's Josh McAllister followed in what has become a pipeline of Lambert players to Florida Southwestern, a well-funded junior college program in Fort Myers, Florida led by former Longhorns head coach Jaime Corr.

Overall, 11 of the signees committed to Division I schools. The rest of the pack: Zachary Keenan (College of Charleston baseball), Tiffany Kang (Mercer golf), Christine McDonnell (Navy golf), Morgan Berman (Virginia Tech lacrosse), Peyton Smith (Kennesaw State lacrosse), Marissa Guimbarda (Furman softball), Jane Johnson (Auburn swimming) and William Harper (Dayton tennis).

Kara Kidwell will head to North Georgia for basketball, while gymnastics Madison Lord will head north to Wisconson-Stout.