Former WHS Athletes ‘Lace up’ Beyond High School

Being a high school athlete has its challenges, but becoming a collegiate athlete takes a whole different level of dedication and drive. Known for its sports, Woodgrove has had many athletes play at the collegiate level and even a few at the pro level. Some of these athletic stand outs share their experiences.

Brittany Basinger: Class of 2013

When entering college as an athlete, many things contribute to success: exceptional academics, passion for the sport, and sheer determination. Brittany Basinger, WHS class of 2013, had all of these attributes and committed to Pennsylvania State University to play Division I soccer.

Basinger has had one of the most impressive careers of a former Woodgrove athlete, helping to lead the Wolverines to their first soccer state championship in 2012 and as a captain in 2013. In 2013, Basinger was named Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year and also competed as a member of the 2012 FIFA U-17 and the 2014 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup teams.

After a stellar career at Penn State and leading her team to a national title, Basinger was then drafted in the 5th round of the NWSL by the Washington Spirit but ultimately decided to play overseas with the Stjarnan Women’s Football Club in Iceland.

She said the biggest challenge was, “Competing against the older women that had been with a strength and conditioning coach for the past four years. I had to spend extra time, along with the other freshmen on my team, building my strength and fitness! It was just a different level of strong and fit that I had never been pushed to.”

Basinger attacks the ball in one of her Penn State soccer games. Photo provided by Brittany Basinger.

Basinger followed that up with saying the experience was mentally challenging, and there were no easy practices. In college they had an athletic advisor that monitored the team grades, and they also set aside time for the players to make up assignments missed while traveling.

Basinger said the one thing she carried from her high school athletic career was to “enjoy every moment – the ups, the downs, and most importantly, the people around you throughout the entire experience!”

Nick Lockhart: Class of 2019

Every athlete has a different journey to success. Nick Lockhart, WHS class of 2019, was drafted in the 11th round of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft by the Texas Rangers. He spoke on the topic of going right past college and onto the pros.

Lockhart poses with teamates at Pet Co park in San Diegeo, California. Lockhart is to the far right. Photo provided by Nick Lockhart.

Lockhart emphasized the pros and cons of the opportunities he was given, saying “My dream since I was a young kid was to be a professional athlete, so why delay the process? I get to start my career now, and I’m one step closer to my ultimate goals. The down side is that I am missing out on the college experience and the education college had to offer.” Ultimately he decided he wanted to start his baseball career as soon as possible, in his words, “Why wait?”

Dakota Stephens Schrimsher: Class of 2014

Even student athletes stay passionate about their academic careers while pursuing their athletic careers. Dakota Stephens Schrimsher, a teammate alongside Basinger, helped lead WHS to two state titles during her tenure. She went on to play D1 soccer at North Carolina State, and completed a degree in education. Schrimsher is now a high school teacher.

She said many don’t realize what they’re actually doing when committing to a college for a sport, saying, “When you make a verbal or official commitment, you’re a offered scholarship. That is literally an institution investing in you to be successful for their program. If you don’t take great care of your body (the product), it becomes pretty useless.”  She followed up by saying, “It’s imperative you stay mentally healthy, because the schedule is so demanding.” When it got too tough or mentally unhealthy, she said you always have your older teammates to mentor and push you to your best ability.

Stephens smiling at her NC State soccer team photoshoot. Photo provided by Dakota Stephens.

Schrimsher talked about the stress level of having to fight “tooth and nail” for a position to play. But with the tough environment, came lifelong friends, some even served in her wedding as her bridesmaids.

Schrimsher finished off with a helpful tip to all athletes who want to commit and pursue their athletic career. “Train to be the fittest athlete you can and everything will be easier. That, and your sport is not your identity. You are so much more than your sport.”