Hilton Head Prep’s athletic programs know what it takes to develop quality athletes for the college stage. On Wednesday morning, the tradition continued.
Led by standout football kicker Trevor Weldon (Miami) and basketball phenom JJ Hayes (Palm Beach Atlantic), eight Dolphin student-athletes officially signed their letters of intent Wednesday at Hilton Head Prep’s gymnasium.
The eight signees ranged from six different sports, including soccer players Ashlyn Parsick (Limestone), Haley Majors (The Citadel), and Josh Terry (Coker), beach volleyball sensation Haylee Hopman (Tampa), tennis star Kensington Payne (North Central College), and baseball player Reese Malon (William & Mary).
After a phenomenal five-year career as a placekicker for Hilton Head Prep, Weldon landed a chance to play football at his dream school and take “The Leg of the Lowco” to South Beach at the University of Miami, a lifelong dream for a former Miami resident and lifelong ‘Canes fan.
Weldon finished his Dolphin career with a monster senior season, making all 21 of his extra-point attempts and knocking through 10 of 14 field goals including a school-record 50-yard kick. He also handled the punting and kickoff duties while serving as a valuable mentor on the sideline. Weldon participated in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl at AT&T Stadium in January and made both of his extra-point attempts to help Team Lowco win the 2022 Blitz Border Bowl. A Miami fan throughout his childhood, Weldon will be ready for the opportunity to compete at a top-tier ACC program.
“It feels great, it’s always been a dream to be there,” Weldon said. “I couldn’t have written it any better for myself. Recruiting was very stressful. I went to a lot of different schools, camps, and visits. A lot of times things weren’t working, but I kept my faith in God, and I had some smaller schools, but I trusted that something else was going to happen, and I’m happy that it did.”
The leader of Jerry Faulkner’s basketball team over the past two seasons, Hayes also will head south to continue his career at Division II Palm Beach Atlantic. A former member of the Atlanta All-Stars, Hayes transferred to Hilton Head Prep from Pinecrest Academy in his junior year and quickly showcased his dynamic play on the court for his new team.
A floor general with the athleticism and shooting ability to score from anywhere, Hayes racked up 16 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest in his senior year and led his Dolphins to the SCISA 3A state semifinals. Originally committed to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Hayes decided to join head coach Cole Rose at Palm Beach State and help the Sailfish compete for a conference title.
“I’m very excited, this is a moment that I’ve been waiting on for years,” Hayes said. “I’ve realized that I’ve accomplished a goal which is playing college basketball, and now it’s clicking in my head that it’s time to set some new goals. Next year, I’ll try to get on the court and try to make as much of an impact as possible.”
A standout on Chris Wells’ baseball team, Malon will join the Division I ranks at William and Mary this fall. Ranked as South Carolina’s top first baseman in his class by Perfect Game, Malon led his Dolphins to a flawless 22-0 regular season in 2021 after transferring from Hilton Head Christian Academy. A terrific contact hitter at the plate with outstanding discipline, Malon will look to carve out a role for the Tribe in Williamsburg.
“This means the world to me,” Malon said. “I’ve worked for this; since I was eight years old, it’s been a dream of mine. My dad and I set that goal, and it’s so surreal it’s finally here. I’m so excited to go up there under first-year coach Mike McRae and his staff and win championships.”
Parsick and Majors have starred for Hilton Head Prep’s soccer program, helping lead the Dolphins to a strong 9-2-1 start in 2022. An anchor of the Dolphins’ stout defense, Parsick will continue her career at Limestone while studying health science.
Known for her superior leadership throughout her time at Hilton Head Prep, Majors will stay in South Carolina to play Division I soccer at The Citadel.
Josh Terry will also play his college soccer in the Palmetto State and will lace up his cleats at Coker College in Hartsville. Terry earned the right to travel to Italy and play with AS Roma and will look to take his knowledge to the collegiate level with the Cobras.
A three-sport star over her Hilton Head Prep tenure, Hopman will continue her career on the sand and play beach volleyball at the University of Tampa. She was a force for the Dolphins on the court this past fall, recording 160 kills alongside a team-high 312 digs in her senior campaign. A terrific student of the game, Hopman has taken the initiative to study and improve her craft whether on the beach or in the gym.
A stellar academy tennis player on Hilton Head Island, Payne will make the jump to the college game this fall at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Payne has played the sport for 12 years and has trained at the prestigious Van Der Meer Tennis Academy. She plans to study dentistry during her time in college.
With the eight signees during the spring period, Hilton Head Prep will send 21 total student-athletes to play at the college level from the class of 2022.
By Wes Kerr / LowcoSports.com
Photos courtesy Hilton Head Prep
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