Wednesday was opening day of the fall signing period for NCAA-bound high school athletes, and East Chapel Hill led the way locally with seven Wildcats committing to NCAA programs: Dylan Bedell (soccer, Lenoir Rhyne); Ben Gerber, (tennis, Johns Hopkins); Ben Griffin, (golf, UNC); Annabelle Kayye (swimming, Sewanne); Ian Levin (lacrosse, Hampden Sydney); Koya Osada (swimming, Harvard) and Max Smith (tennis, Kenyon College).
Every one of the Wildcats competed on a team that won either conference or state championship.
At Chapel Hill High School, Catherine Romaine signed to play basketball next year at Bucknell and Perry Ramsey signed to play volleyball at North Carolina State.
Both Romaine and Perry have played for coach Sherry Norris. They played together on the 2013 volleyball team that finished 22-9 and reached the NCHSAA East Region final. Ramsey was named the Big-8 Conference's Volleyball Player of the Year. after leading Chapel Hill in kills (451) and ranking second in aces (52).
"I am really proud of Catherine and Perry, both," Norris said. "Perry always came up with the big hits and big serves when we needed them.
"Catherine has excelled at both volleyball and basketball. Also, academically, she's a brilliant student."
Romaine, a 6-3 center who was MVP of the 2013 NCHSAA East Regional tournament and Most Outstanding Player in last spring's state championship finals, averaged 10.7 points a game and led Chapel Hill in rebounds (7.2 a game) and blocked shots (47).
"Ultimately we wanted Catherine here because of her athleticism and skill set both around and away from the basket," Bucknell women's basketball head coach Aaron Roussell said. "She is already capable of being a good player at our level, but we believe she has only scratched the surface of what kind of player she can be.”
Griffin, who won the 2011 and 2013 NCSAA 4A golf championship, is currently ranked No. 4 nationally and is a 2013 AJGA Rolex First Team All-America. He has 23 top-10 finishes in his amateur career including five wins, three in 2013.
Since middle school, Griffin has never made a secret of his plans to attend the University of North Carolina. He said "it feels great to be a Tar Heel."
"I chose Carolina because of not only it's great academic reputation, but it's stellar golf facility and sports environment," Griffin said. "While making my decision, I knew I wanted to stay close, if not in North Carolina, and choose a team with the potential to win national championships.
"Committing early definitely relieved a lot of pressure because I knew I had a place to go regardless of what was to happen."
Griffin join next year's UNC team along with William Register, a senior at Burlington Williams and the nation's No. 6 ranked junior player.
"When you can get one Top-10 player in the country, that is great, but this year we are signing two,” exulted North Carolina men’s golf coach Andrew Sapp. "This is one of the best recruiting classes in the country this year."