Manchester at Colonial Forge football

Zack Kindel of Colonial Forge dodges a hit from Manchester's Sincere Adams in the Region 6B final at Colonial Forge on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. Manchester won the game 21-7.

Colonial Forge senior Zack Kindel held an offer from the Princeton football team to continue his career as a wide receiver.

But while the Ivy League school placed him on the waiting list as it reviewed his academics, Kindel discovered another opportunity.

The University of Virginia invited the speedster to Charlottesville as a preferred walk-on.

The interest was mutual and Kindel recently decided to play for head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Kindel (6-foot, 175 pounds) said the Cavaliers were enticing because they play in a Power Five league, the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Mendenhall is known to make players earn their way each season.

“I like that they have an ‘earn everything’ system,” Kindel said. “I feel like based on my work ethic I can succeed there with that type of mentality.”

Kindel led the Fredericksburg area with 12 receiving touchdowns in 2018. The two-time All-Area performer was fourth in the area in receiving yards (630) on 45 receptions last fall.

He’s also a track and field standout for the Eagles. He said Virginia coaches aren’t opposed to him joining the Cavaliers’ track team.

He’s an all-state middle distance runner who has won multiple district and region titles. He was a member of the Eagles’ 1,600 meter relay team that won a national title at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals last spring. He’s yet to compete this spring as he recovers from a stress fracture in his shin. He returned to practice earlier this week and will “play it by ear” whether or not to return this season.

Kindel said in addition to Princeton, he held scholarship offers from Division II programs. He ultimately chose the Cavaliers, who are coming off an eight-win season and Belk Bowl victory over South Carolina.

BAD BREAK FOR WILDCAT

Mountain View junior tight end Brendan Heatherman suffered a torn ACL at a recent recruiting showcase event, Wildcats coach Lou Sorrentino said.

Heatherman (6-foot-4, 245 pounds) holds Division I offers from Appalachian State, Army, Charlotte, Penn, William & Mary and Youngstown State.

Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest had shown interest in Heatherman, who added 10 pounds of muscle since the end of the 2018 season.

The timetable to return from an ACL injury is typically six to eight months which makes it unlikely Heatherman will play his senior season.

BLAND ENTICES SMITH

Caroline senior basketball standout Mykai Smith will go the junior college route to continue his career. Smith has committed to Richard Bland, a JUCO in Petersburg.

Smith was named Battlefield District player of the year and a first-team All-Area performer this past season after he averaged 26.1 points per game and helped lead the Cavaliers to a share of the district regular season title and the tournament championship. He was also named first-team all-Region 4B and second-team all-state in Class 4.

The 5-foot-10 combo guard said he held Division II scholarship offers from Alderson-Broaddus (W.Va.) and West Virginia State but wants to see if he can reach the Division I level or an upper-tier Division II program after two years with the Statesmen.

Smith was recruited to Richard Bland by incoming head coach Andrew Lacey, a Westmoreland County native who directed Varina to the Class 5 state championship in 2018.

Lacey saw Smith play the past two years when the Cavaliers participated in the Varina Blue Devil Classic and earned wins over Louisa and Armstrong, respectively.

HORNETS FETE SIX

On Wednesday, Orange honored six of its student-athletes who have committed to or signed with college programs in the past school year.

Baseball standout Keenan Williams is headed to Division II University of North Carolina–Pembroke. He was a first-team all-Jefferson District catcher a year ago.

Williams’ teammates Canon Davies (Mary Washington) and Tucker Hensley (Mary Baldwin) were also recognized by the school.

Kyrie Carter will play football at Alderson-Broaddus after being named honorable mention all-district at linebacker in 2018.

Chloe Kinkopf will join the softball program at York (Pa.) and Hannah Snodgrass will compete for Roanoke College’s track and field team.

SOLORZANO HEADED NORTH

Mountain View senior soccer standout Anthony Solorzano has committed to Marymount University in Arlington.

Solorzano holds a 3.9 GPA and plays travel ball for Fredericksburg Soccer Club Phoenix. With the Wildcats, he was an honorable mention all-Commonwealth District forward last spring.

CHARGERS’ UPKEEP HONORED

Pioneer Athletics has named Chancellor one of 91 winners nationwide of the 2018 Fields of Excellence award.

The award is granted to schools faced with tightened budgets that have been asked to do more with less. Pioneer Athletics’ website states that the field crews of the winning schools exemplified teamwork and dedication in 2018.

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Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526 tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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