Athletes at the Next Level


Photo provided by Evynne Stafford

(L to R) Andrew Ward, Walter Stribling, and Cameron Shields pictured together.

Evynne Stafford, FCHS Journalist

College athletics is not mandatory for most high school students, but for some it is a dream. For Cameron Shields, Andrew Ward, and Walter Stribling, that dream is coming true. These athletes have decided to continue their education and their athletics at the schools that suit them best. With hard work, encouragement, and a love for the game, these athletes were able to achieve the next stage of their careers. 

Cameron Shields

Shields has been playing baseball for many years. Growing up, the idea of playing in college was always his dream, one that he always thought was possible with hard work. After being on many travel teams and always making the school team, he decided that wasn’t enough. Shields has chosen to play at Hampden City College, majoring in Biology and minoring in Pre Med while playing Division III baseball. Shields was asked what was his biggest motive for wanting to play a college sport. “Simple: It’s my love for the game. I want to play baseball for as long as I can.” 

Andrew Ward

Baseball not only has a place in Shield’s heart but in Andrew Ward’s heart as well. This athlete has been competing in this sport with his twin brother, Kevin Ward, since birth, so naturally, they both have pushed each other hard. Andrew has loved baseball since he was four years old. He used to go to UVA baseball games with his family and his travel team when he was young. He used to think to himself,  “I want to play baseball like them when I’m older,” and now he is. This coming summer, Ward will head to VCU to play Division I baseball. His major at the moment is undecided, but he hopes to figure that out soon. “Baseball has always been a part of my life. If I were to lose it, I don’t know what I would do,” he said.

Walter Stribling

Since a young age, Stribling has always been the tallest. With him being so tall and big, colleges have always kept an eye out for him. Not only has his size helped him in his career, but his natural talent has played a key role as well. Stribling moved to the varsity football team as a ninth grader. Finishing his highschool career at a height of 6’7” and weighs 320 pounds, Stribling is proud of being a captain for his team and a four star athlete as well. He has committed to play at East Carolina University at the Division I level. “Having our own plane, getting free food, and playing with people that are as big as me is going to be a whole new ball game,” said Stribling. 

All of these athletes have put in countless hours to get where they are today. No matter what division, sport, or what school, playing a college sport is a huge accomplishment. It shows these athletes have commitment and competition.  So with a little encouragement, hard work, and a passion, one’s “dream” can become a reality. 

Editor’s Note: Evynne Stafford, writer of the article, has committed to play Division II volleyball at UVA Wise.