By Owen Gotimer
Purcellville (September 8, 2015) — Loudoun Valley High School junior Claire Ashworth has made an early verbal commitment to continue her lacrosse career at Radford University beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year.
“It’s very exciting, and I can’t wait to get to RU,” the 5-foot-7 Ashworth said. “I feel like all of my hard work over the years is paying off and providing me the opportunity to play at the next level.”
At the next level, Ashworth will join the Division I Highlanders during their second season in school history. First year head coach Haley Marvine will lead Radford into its inaugural year of competition — in the Big South Conference — in 2016.
“I think I’ll add a strong offensive aspect to the team,” said Ashworth who will play attack for the Highlanders. “I play a more physical style of game which I think will be a good fit with the team.”
As a first year program, Radford will face many challenges, but will also give student-athletes, like Ashworth, a new opportunity to play DI lacrosse.
“When I attended their camp this summer I fell in love with the campus, coaches and the current team members,” Ashworth said. “Radford also has a good sports medicine and health sciences department which is what I want to study.”
Located 200 miles southwest of Purcellville, Radford offers Ashworth a chance to play collegiately in her home state where her sister Sarah got her started in lacrosse at a young age.
“Ever since then I’ve never wanted to stop playing,” Ashworth said. “It was really cool my freshman year when Sarah and I got to play on the same team. It was the only time we ever had the opportunity to do that.”
During that one season playing together, the Ashworth sisters helped lead Loudoun Valley to the 2014 VHSL 5A state championship game where they fell to crosstown-rival Woodgrove High School.
Just a year later, the Lady Vikings did not have the same luck when they finished 9-6 including a 6-2 record in the Dulles Group before falling in a group semifinal to eventual 2015 VHSL 4A state semifinalist George Mason High School.
“Last year was kind of a rebuilding year for us, and now, we have more experience,” Ashworth said. “Only losing two seniors from last year’s team should provide us the opportunity to go far in the 2016 playoffs.”