By Doug Gorman
Four Eagle's Landing Christian Academy athletes are taking their game to the next level after signing college scholarships Wednesday afternoon.
Softball players Julia Echols (Georgia) and Kacie Patterson (Georgia Perimeter), golfer Will Evans (Georgia Southern) and baseball player Patrick Long (Jacksonville University) all achieved athletic success during their high school careers.
The ELCA seniors made their college choices official by signing on the dotted line during a ceremony at the school Wednesday.
"Whenever you see kids get a chance to go on to the next level, it's always a special time for them and their families, but it is excited time for our program, too," ELCA athletic director Scott Queen said. "It shows our other athletes what hard work can do."
Echols and Patterson helped put ELCA softball on the map, leading the Lady Chargers to four Class A titles in a row.
"I grew up a Georgia fan from the day I was born," said Echols. "I knew I had to go to Georgia."
Patterson is starting her career at Georgia Perimeter, but is expected to move on to the Division I level after a year or two.
"I can't wait to get started," Patterson said. "Georgia Perimeter is a great program, and I am happy to be going there."
Evans began playing golf as a 7-year-old, winning the first tournament he ever entered. He was hooked on the sport from that day, and he has parlayed the success on the links to a college scholarship.
"I know my mom is excited for me, and that I am going to be playing for a good program," Evans said. "I regret that I am leaving some really good friends behind, but I am excited about the upcoming season. I think this program can go far."
Long has been part of the Chargers' baseball team for four years. Even before playing for the varsity, he served as a bullpen catcher for the team when he was in eighth grade, the same year ELCA won the Class A state title.
"It's been my goal to play college baseball since day one," Long said. "This is a dream come true. I would love to get a chance to play in the major leagues someday, and l know playing there is going to help me maybe get there. I will also learn a boat load of things while there."
ELCA is expected to have at least one more athlete sign a college scholarship before the end of the school year.
Carli Shultis is expected to sign a soccer scholarship to Georgia later this year.