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Hampton Vipers softball
(Left to right) Allison Jarrett, Nohealani Burden, Allison Mulvhill, Tuli Iosefa, Alex Nieves, Hayley Cannon and Grace Durant. (Justin Belichis)

Eight Virginia Beach student athletes signed offer letters Friday night to play softball at colleges and universities across the Commonwealth.

“I’m very excited. I’ve dreamed about this day since I was a little girl,” Allison Mulvhill said after posing by a banner featuring Norfolk State University. “I’ve always wanted to go to the next level for softball … I’m going to play my heart out until I can’t play anymore.”

Mulvhill said she’s inspired by her older sister, who played softball for the University of Charleston, West Virginia.

Hampton Roads Vipers
A Hampton Roads Vipers banner decorated with college and university logos. (Justin Belichis)

While many are excited to hit the ground running, Tuli Iosefa said there are some aspects of being a college athlete she can wait for.

“What I’ve been hearing about college sports are the morning workouts,” Iosefa said. “It’s having to get up at like four in the morning to get ready for five a.m. workouts, then going to class and studying.”

Iosefa will also attend Norfolk State University.

The only player leaving the state is Nohealani Burden, who will attend Barton College in Wilson, N.C.

Burden said she’s excited and nervous at the same time.

“It’s going to be a new place, so I’m excited to see how it is,” Burden said. “I’m going to be the only player from Virginia Beach on the team, so it’s going to be a little different. They all have accents.”

The girls play softball for a travel-softball club called the Hampton Vipers, which operates differently than playing a sport for a school.

Head Coach Jeff Bailey said he thinks playing in a travel organization gives student athletes more of an advantage to play college ball. Instead of playing local high schools.

“It does help them get to college because of the amount of time we can get them in front of the college coaches,” Bailey said. “Now, because their time is so limited, it’s ‘well I can’t just watch one player. Can I see 10, or 15 or 20 or 30 at any given time?'”

Coach and recruiting coordinator Bryan Jarrett said the showcase tournaments their athletes play in could be attended by 50 to 100 college coaches.

“By doing that, we get them the exposure they need,” Jarrett said. “In high school games, you won’t really see college coaches until you win your region.”

Jarrett said every girl on the 18-and-under team who expressed interest in playing college softball was able to get a deal.

This amount of success is unprecedented, according to Jarrett.

“It’s kind of hard to explain.,” Jarrett said. “Having been involved in several different organizations, I’ve never seen one that really puts this many in school.”

The full list of signees is below:

  • Kempsville High School’s Allison Mulvhill will play at Norfolk State University
  • Green Run High School’s Tuli Iosefa will play at Norfolk State Universtiy
  • Kellam High School’s Grace Durant will play at the University of Mary Washington
  • Kellam High School’s Hayley Cannon will play at the University of Mary Washington
  • Kellam High School’s Allison Jarrett will play at the Richard Bland College of William and Mary
  • Tallwood High School’s Alex Nieves will play at Christopher Newport University
  • Landstown High School’s Nohealani Burden will play at Barton College in North Carolina
  • Hickory High School’s Morgan Froy will play at at the Richard Bland College of William and Mary