Five Fort Mill High athletes, including three swimmers, have committed to take their athletic prowess to the next level.
Swimmers Lucas Fairbanks, Jacob Kohlhoff and Zach Piedt will head in different directions, but will stay in the pool. Boys’ soccer player Corbin Amaya will head to Coker College and Maria Mathews will head to the University of South Carolina to cheer.
The most decorated male swimmer in Fort Mill High history, Piedt, 18, will swim for the United States Naval Academy. Piedt’s accomplishments as a Fort Mill High swimmer include two team state championships, five individual state championships and five relay team state championships.
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He is the state record holder in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and holds five school records. A six-time All-Region selection and four-time All-State selection and as a member of the YMCA won the 2015 national championship in the 100-yard butterfly.
Piedt could have gone anywhere to swim, but he felt a draw to the military.
“It has always been my dream to be an officer in the military,” he said. “The Navy and the Marine Corps have always been appealing to me.”
While at the Naval Academy, he will swim in the 50 and 100 freestyle, the 100 butterfly and possibly the 200 freestyle.
He plans to major in cyber operations and will serve a minimum of five years in the military after graduation.
A member of both the 2010 and 2011 state championship teams, Kohlhoff, 18, will attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
A three-time individual state champion and five-time relay state champion, Kohlhoff will most likely compete in three swimming events for the Hoyas – the 200 and 500 freestyle and an unnamed third event.
The chemistry major also looked at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Towson and Davidson College.
“Georgetown was the best fit for me,” he said. “I knew I could get the best of both words academically and athletically. I also wanted to go to a team where I could make an immediate contribution.”
Kohlhoff is a five-time All-Region and All-State swimmer. He is the state record holder in the 200-yard freestyle and holds four school records.
Fairbanks, 18, will attend Fairmont State University in West Virginia to swim. A member of the 2011 state champion team, Fairbanks is a two-time state relay champion member and will swim the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley in college.
Fairbanks is a four time All-Region selection and a two time All-State selection and holds two school relay records. He picked Fairmont State over Carson-Newman University, Limestone College and East Carolina University, because of the size of the college.
“I like the smaller class size,” he said. “I like the smaller team. It felt like a family.”
A mechanical engineering major, Fairbanks said that Fort Mill’s swim team would actually be bigger than Fairmont State, but that is what made it attractive.
“Their team is about the size of the team we would take to states,” he said.
Mathews, 17, took place in a three-day tryout about a month ago to make the South Carolina cheer squad. A flyer, Mathews has been cheering at Fort Mill for the past four years and started cheering while in middle school.
She was an MVP her freshman year and also won the Coaches Award her sophomore and junior years. She is a two time All-Region cheerleader and a three-time All-Star Cheer Worlds team member.
Mathews, who plans to major in biology, said that South Carolina was always her first choice in schools, but being able to cheer there is just icing on the cake.
“My parents cheered in college and I like being a part of their spirit program,” she said. “They have a really good program.”
Amaya, 17, has been on the varsity soccer team at Fort Mill for the past three years and has been a starter for the past two. He is an All-Region player in 2014 and helped the Jackets to a Region III title that season. He was team captain this year as a senior.
He also looked at Limestone College, High Point University, Francis Marion University and Pfeiffer University, but decided on Coker College. He will major in business.
“The coaches were real personal to me and made me a nice offer,” he said.