Family, friends, coaches and students gathered in the Estes Athletic Center on Wednesday morning to support and celebrate 6 seniors who made the college decision concrete by signing their national letters of intent to compete in intercollegiate athletics next year.
- Brian Curley ’22 (baseball) — Virginia Commonwealth University
- Josiah Harrison ’22 (baseball) — Longwood University
- Sara Murphy-Payne ’22 (girls lacrosse) — Winthrop University
- Lainey Nichols ’22 (field hockey) — University of Richmond
- Garrett Kuhla ’22 (golf) — James Madison University
- Connor Erlenbach ’22 (boys lacrosse) — Hampden-Sydney College
Head baseball coach Tim Merry started off by reflecting on the journeys that brought seniors Brian Curley and Josiah Harrison to Trinity baseball and how both players have made him a better coach. Coach Merry highlighted the work ethic and dedication of Brian Curley ’22. “First one there and the last one to leave,” said Merry. “I don't know anyone in my 12 years [of coaching] who has brought in more to the process of getting to the next level.” Merry believes that Curley's drive to get better at his craft ultimately transformed him into a legitimate Division I player.
Josiah Harrison ’22 received high praise from Coach Merry. “Josiah is the most talented player I've seen at Trinity in all my time,” said Merry, describing him as a different type of talent — not outwardly energetic but always ready and in-tuned. “He’s effortless in the way he competes and plays,” said Merry. “You have forced me to understand what great talent is and does.”
Head field hockey and lacrosse coach, Margie Vaughan Snead ’85 couldn't hold back the tears as she walked up to speak to the audience about two student athletes that have been in the Trinity program since the 8th grade.
“She jumped right in and contributed,” said Snead as she looked back on the Trinity lacrosse career of Sara Murphy-Payne ’22. “In her 8th and 9th grade year we knew there would be great things to come.” Coach Snead was impressed not only with Murphy-Payne’s growth on the field but also both socially and academically. “She has developed the necessary skills in and out of the classroom to take her to the next level,” said Snead. “I couldn’t be more proud of her efforts and for the example she has set for others.”
Coach Snead then looked over to senior field hockey captain Lainey Nichols ’22 and started to talk about Nichols’ unassuming and low-key persona. “We will certainly miss her larger than life abilities on the field but we will also miss her quiet demeanor and supportive leadership,” said Snead. In terms of on-the-field attributes, Lainey is described as the team’s most threatening player on the field in transition while also taking pride in her defensive efforts. “She can defend against and dispossess our opponents and then instantly change the momentum,” said Snead. “She will finish the season as our leading scorer and will be remembered by our opponents for her electrifying speed and tenacity.”
Head lacrosse coach, Chris McQueeney, reflected on the impact Connor Erlenbach ’22 made in the lacrosse program and around campus. ”From the first day I met Connor on campus, he’s made an impact — not only in the lacrosse program, but as a football player and around campus,” said McQueeney. Coach McQueeney said he admired Connor’s determination to get better throughout his career, noting how he often finds a way to outwork others. “He’s inspired me by his work ethic and his approach,” said McQueeney. “It’s definitely paying off now.”
Assistant golf coach, Jonathan Weiler, immediately thanked the parents and grandparents of Garrett Kuhla ’22 for their endless support of the Trinity golf program. After earning a spot on the varsity golf team as an 8th grader, Coach Weiler knew that the program had a special talent in Kuhla. After a strong 8th grade campaign, Kuhla garnered Player of the Year honors in his 9th grade year. He followed that up with multiple All State and All Metro honors as an upperclassman. “He’s gotten a lot more mentally sharp, both on the course and in practice,” said Weiler, as he explained Kuhla’s maturation from an underclassman to now. “Garrett’s results speak to the kind of focus that he puts into practice everyday.”
These seniors will join dozens of other Titans over the last four years who have committed to play NCAA athletics and represent Trinity while competing at the intercollegiate level — with a commitment to hard work, discipline, character and respect for community. For a complete list of current Trinity alumni college athletes, please visit https://www.trinityes.org/athletics/alumni-athletes