Bridgewater College gets two Lake Forest student-athletes

FELTON – Making the jump from the smaller world of high school athletics to the much larger scene of NCAA sports can be a bit daunting at times.

Fortunately for a pair of Lake Forest senior athletes, they’ll have a bit of hometown company when they begin classes next fall at Bridgewater College in Virginia.

Boys’ lacrosse attacker/midfielder Austin Aguilar and field hockey goalie Ali Bishop last month each inked their own Letter of Intent to play their respective sports for Bridgewater.

And, as it turns out, both will be majoring in communications. Aguilar chose the major because of interests in video editing and production. Bishop, who grew up on a farm, is looking to learn about advertising and marketing and apply the gained knowledge in the agricultural field

Surrounded by family members, Lake Forest senior Ali Bishop inks her Letter of Intent to play field hockey at Bridgewater College.  (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Surrounded by family members, Lake Forest senior Ali Bishop inks her Letter of Intent to play field hockey at Bridgewater College. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

“We have different places we want to focus, but we went to orientation and were sitting together,” Aguilar said. “And it’s kind of a good thing to already know someone when you’re in college.”

For Bishop, attending college with a high school friend is more icing on the cake. Bridgewater’s smaller enrollment helped her choose the college.

“I love the school and the atmosphere around it,” she said. “It feels like home.”

While their academic and athletic futures might be similar, their paths to Bridgewater were vastly different.

With Bishop, her love of field hockey began when she was in the fourth grade. From there she continued to excel at the sport, eventually finishing her high school career as the first team All-State goalie last fall.

“It’s a sport I’ve loved and gotten better at over the years, and I have a field hockey family here at Lake Forest,” Bishop said. “It’s great.”

She added that the memories of playing at Lake will be vast, although she is looking forward to the next challenge.

“My teammates are family,” she said. “We’ve grown together and always stayed as a unit. My freshman year we didn’t even have enough players for a JV team. But by our senior year we were making records and memories at our own school. We just stayed together, and none of us ever wanted to go to any other school.”

Aguilar, meanwhile, is new to the sport of lacrosse.

An ice hockey player in his days of youth sports, Aguilar decided to try lacrosse when Lake Forest added it his sophomore season. Since then he has been a mainstay on the squad and helped lead the Spartans to a winning record during their inaugural varsity season last year. Currently he is a large reason why Lake (7-3 entering this week) could defy the odds and qualify for the state tournament.

Having played lacrosse for just three years, Lake Forest senior Austin Aguilar still earned a spot on the men’s team at Bridgewater College next fall. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Having played lacrosse for just three years, Lake Forest senior Austin Aguilar still earned a spot on the men’s team at Bridgewater College next fall. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

“When I started playing here I knew it was something I could develop and get better at, so I put a lot of my free time into it,” Aguilar said of lacrosse. “It’s just something I fell in love with. I love getting better and I love the people I play it with.”

Lake Forest Athletic Director Freddie Johnson said both Bridgewater signees will continue to make the school proud. He added that each should be thrilled with what they have already accomplished.

“Most importantly, I’m happy for those kids because there are so many who don’t get to play after high school,” he said. “That’s a huge accomplishment. And it’s a good school, so that shows they worked hard academically to get in there as well. It shows hard work pays off.”

Two more Lake Forest High athletes also signed to play their sport in college last month. Football players Noah Feague-Johnson and Ben Moore each inked their own Letter of Intent to play for Salisbury University and Wesley College, respectively. Their story will be in next week’s “The Journal.”

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