The celebration for the River Bluff Spring National Letter of Intent signees looked quite different in some ways than the typical celebration for Gator NLI signees. With the school closure due to COVID-19 and social distancing policies put in place by our state and school district, RB Athletics had to come up with a creative way to honor this special achievement. So, since the athletes, their families, their friends, their coaches, and the RB community could not go to school to celebrate this momentous occasion, the celebration was taken to the athletes’ homes and shared with the Gator community. On May 13th, River Bluff principal Dr. Luke Clamp, Athletic Director Blair Hardin, and a handful of special coaches visited the homes of the seven athletes signing National Letters of Intent during the spring signing day. Check out RBHSGatorGameday.com for a video of the honorees and the words from their coaches. Big thanks to Dr. Luke Clamp for capturing the footage and Jay Overbay for the editing and production work.
Here is a little information about these extraordinary Gators:
Teyvon King committed to Wingate University to continue and better his career in track & field, running at the NCAA division 2 level. Teyvon starting running track in 9th grade at Richland Northeast High School. He’s been a member of the River Bluff Track and Field team for the last three years. Due to injuries and a COVID 19-eclipsed 2019-20 season, Teyvon was only able to progress to the Lexington 1 Region Meet in 2019. Teyvon excels in many events – 110m Hurdles, 400m hurdles, 100m dash, triple jump, and the 4x100m relay. and has earned numerous achievements and medals throughout his high school seasons and his indoor track season in 2019. He is looking to add to these accomplishments as well as improve as a track runner at Wingate University.
Gabrielle Wessinger will be attending Anderson University, where she will continue Cheerleading with the Anderson Cheer team. Gabrielle has been cheering since she was 12, competing on the Meadow Glen, and River Bluff JV cheer team, as well as cheering for the Varsity Game Day team. She is a varsity letterman for River Bluff’s Game Day cheer team. She was also a part of the JV competitive team that won Debbie Rogers Classic in 2017. In 2018, Gabrielle was awarded the UCA All-American award, where she was invited to cheer in the New Years’ Parade in London. Gabrielle plans to major in Kinesiology, and later attend medical school to pursue a career in Forensic Pathology, hopefully with the FBI. Gabrielle said “I am so excited to continue cheerleading in college. Thank you to Coach Carl, Coach Snipes, Coach Whipple, and Coach Haney for helping me grow into the athlete I am today. I will forever be grateful for the time spent as a Gator Cheerleader.”
Shaq Garvin signed with Ramah Juco Academy in Rock Hill, SC to continue his football career. Shaq plans to major in Sports Management with his eyes set on his future in football. “I want to go into coaching after my football career. I have been playing football five years; I’ve always loved the game,” says the future Ram. Shaq didn’t get the opportunity to play football until his 8th-grade year, but has made the most of his chances, despite adversity. He earned an All-Region award and a Team Defensive MVP his junior year. Even though he missed half of his senior season due to injury, Shaq still earned Second-team All-Lexington County and won the Bounceback Award at this year’s Metro Bowl. Shaq is also a successful two-sport athlete, having won many medals and awards, including capturing 4th in the state in the long jump. Unfortunately, he was unable to compete for a state championship this spring because of COVID-19 shutdowns.
Another Gator football player who will be taking their talents to the football field of Ramah Juco Academy is Lindan Coulter. Lindan made the varsity squad his sophomore year, earned the Most Improved award his junior season, and won the Heart-and-Soul Award as a senior. Lindan earned 2nd team All-Region honors this season and was one of the defensive captains for the Gators this year. He was 2nd-team All Chronicle selected by the Lexington Chronicle Newspaper and was selected to play in this season’s Metro Bowl as a team captain. Lindan also participated in track and field for River Bluff for 2 years. Once he finishes at Ramah Juco Academy, Lindan wants to go to a 4-year college and major in Sports Management. Lindan tells us, “My dream job is to be an Athletic Director and a coach of a championship-caliber high school football team.”
A third Gator football player from this spring’s signees, Tyson Trottier, will be continuing his career and education at The Citadel. After a breakout junior year in 2018, Tyson enjoyed a tremendous season at wide receiver for the Gators this season and joined Coulter and Garvin on this year’s Metro Bowl squad. Tyson pulled in 34 receptions for 495 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 14.6 yards per catch and 41.3 yards per game for the run-heavy Gator offense. Up until his senior year, Tyson was also a pivotal member of the River Bluff basketball program. Although he was an accomplished 2-sport athlete for the Gators, Tyson decided to focus primarily on football during his senior season, a decision that appears to be paying dividends.
Gator Elijah Padowicz will be taking his talents and skills in Lacrosse to Lees-McRae College in North Carolina. Eli has played lacrosse for six years, four of those at River Bluff. In fact, he is a three-year letterman with the Gator men’s lacrosse program. Eli plans to major in Outdoor Recreation Management. Upon graduation, Eli hopes to have a career in the timber management industry or to own a zip line in Costa Rica.
Sam Smith committed to Winthrop University, where he will continue his soccer career at the NCAA Division 1 level. Sam’s love of soccer began at four years old, first playing for South Central Soccer Academy and Alliance in Greenwood, Indiana. He played with nationally competitive teams traveling throughout the midwest both with his club and the Indiana Olympic Development Program beginning in the third grade. He also trained under Brazilian soccer coach Carlos Florido for four years. Sam’s family relocated to South Carolina prior to his sophomore year of high school in 2017, and he was able to continue his club career at SC United and later GPS, traveling to Las Vegas, Boston, and Orlando. He was blessed to have the opportunity to be a 3-year varsity letterman for River Bluff’s men’s soccer program coached by Phil Savitz. He plans to major in Business while at Winthrop. Sam attributes his success to excellent coaches and perseverance through all obstacles.