by Mike Cipolla
Seven graduates from the Bishop Sullivan Class of 2015 play college football. Four are playing at the NCAA Division I level, which is the highest level: quarterback Blake LaRussa at Old Dominion University; last year’s TCIS player of the year; running back Kevin Hicks at West Point; safety CJ Epps at the University of Virginia; and stud athlete George Wahee at Norfolk State University who is playing wide receiver, cornerback, and kick returner for the Spartans. Dimitri McKay is a fullback for Division 2 Elizabeth City State University. At the Division 3 level there is wide receiver Nick Pearce at Ferrum College and linebacker Thomas Bilokon at Christopher Newport University.
All of these athletes achieved a lot during their high school careers as a team and individually; from state championships, VISAA D2 All-State recognition, All-Tidewater recognition, and even a VISAA D2 State Player of the Year.
“My freshman season went really well at Ferrum. I got a ton of playing time and had a lot of fun. Playing college sports is a lot of hard work though. As a team we went 2-8 but hopefully in the future I can have a bigger impact on the game and lead the team to more wins,” said Mr. Pearce about his first season.
Mr. Pearce also commented on the adjustment from high school to college academically. “I feel like the teachers at Bishop Sullivan did a great job preparing me for college. The biggest difference from high school to college is just staying focused because there is nobody telling me what to do and there is more freedom.”
Mr. Pearce is a great example of how Bishop Sullivan prepares graduates for success on the field and in the classroom at the next level.
Blake LaRussa is another example of excellence on and off the field translating to college. The former All- Tidewater quarterback, Mr. LaRussa walked on to play football at Old Dominion University, starting school in January. Even as a walk on he was quickly named the second string quarterback for the Division I football program in Norfolk. Although Mr. LaRussa redshirted this season, which means he was not able to play in any of the games but in return does not lose a year of eligibility, he has still set himself up for success in future years with the Monarchs.
“Leaving high school in January and being able to participate in spring practice really helped me find the success that I have had so far. I wish we had made a bowl game, but I am definitely looking forward to getting back to work for next season,” said Mr. LaRussa, who was the VISAA D2 State Player of the Year in 2013.
Alumni are essential to the Bishop Sullivan community and these alumni will use their football talents to put Bishop Sullivan on the map. It is also evident that these athletes are enjoying their success and they are thankful for the opportunities they have been given so far. All of these college football players work very hard and we look forward to seeing them continue their success in the classroom and on the field.