It was a historic moment for Dawson County High School and the school system when Madalyn Walters signed with the University of Georgia on Feb. 2.
Walters has received a full Division I cross-country and track and field scholarship to the university.
According to DCHS Athletics Director Grady Turner, Walters is the first female student in school history to sign at a Division I level, and only the second student at the school since 1983 to earn a cross-country and track and field scholarship at any level. Former DCHS student Leah Stowers ran at Mercer University five years ago, according to Turner.
Not many people get to be trailblazers, Turner said to Walters prior to her signing ceremony as friends, family members and DCHS staff gathered.
Walters, who plans to major in exercise science, is ready to get to work at UGA.
I just love to run, its my favorite thing to do in the world, said Walters. I sometimes talk to God when I run ... [running] just gives me purpose.
Madalyn has been instrumental in the success of our womens team over the past few years, said cross-country and track coach Brian DeRose. Maddys leadership and work ethic will be missed next year.
DeRose called Walters the most successful female cross country runner in the history of DCHS.
In a statement released to the News & Advertiser, Walters parents, Tom and Karen, stated Madalyn is such a blessing to her family and friends, and [we] know UGA will be equally blessed by her love for God, friendship and non-stop dedication to running.
DCHS Principal Jute Wilson stressed that the school day does not end when the 3 oclock bell rings for dismissal, but rather, that it extends into extracurricular activities.
This achievement speaks for her academic progress as well, said Wilson, adding that colleges, particularly UGA, do not sign sports scholarships to just anyone. We expect her to do very well at UGA.