Making the Best of the Situation

There was no interscholastic sports competition this past spring thanks to COVID-19, but that harsh reality doesn’t mean there isn’t any Collegiate sports news to share.
Hunter Milligan, a 6-1, 185-pound rising senior, has verbally committed to play football for the United States Naval Academy.
He was recruited as a defensive back. For the Cougars, he’s split time between cornerback and safety.
This past fall, despite suffering a left shoulder injury, he was credited with 14 solo tackles, 10 assists, four tackles-for-loss, four interceptions (which he returned for a total of 78 yards), four pass break-ups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. As a wide receiver, he caught four passes for 49 yards before his injury and also saw spot duty at quarterback.
“Hunter’s a tough kid who’s very passionate about football,” said Mark Palyo, the Cougars’ head coach. “He’s a great athlete capable of doing great things.”
Milligan entertained serious offers from seven other FBS and FCS schools. Why Navy?
“I’ve always loved everything about the Naval Academy,” he said. “I fell in love with their sense of brotherhood, their sense of family. They let you know what you’re getting into. It’s bigger than football for them. It’s a football commitment, but it’s more a lifetime commitment.”
Milligan’s shoulder is 100 percent healthy thanks to diligence in the Collegiate’s training room and weight room and, during his time in quarantine, the gym in his garage.
“Just continuing to get stronger every day,” he said. “Once you commit, that doesn’t mean the work’s done. That’s for sure.”
While all competitive sports activities in the area – high school and otherwise – fell victim to the pandemic during the spring, the Richmond Golf Association managed to stage its men’s amateur championship June 18-21 at the Meadowbrook Country Club.
In the field were George Montague ’21 and Ian Quindoza ‘22, both members of Collegiate’s golf team.
Practice opportunities were limited for about a month until courses opened again, so Montague rigged a net in his yard to work on his game the best he could. His last competitive event, though, came last fall when he placed 8th in the Tarheel State Junior Tournament (Chapel Hill, NC) and 6th in the Michael Breed Junior Invitational at the Independence Golf Club (Midlothian).
For Montague and Quindoza, two of a dozen junior-aged golfers in an 80-player field, the RGA venture was a leap of faith.
“I was a little bit rusty, but I thought I played pretty well,” said Montague, who qualified for the championship flight. “I made a couple of mistakes I don’t think I would have if I’d been playing competitively, but overall I played pretty solid.”
But just to compete…
“It was great to be playing again,” he said. “It’s so much more enjoyable when it actually means something. It’s a much different experience playing against competition.”
Quindoza, who’s also a standout distance runner, reached the semifinals of the third flight. His return to action was his first competitive endeavor since shared in the Cougars’ VISAA Indoor Track and Field championship in mid-February.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been that nervous at a golf tournament in my life,” he said. “I’d been out with my friends on my home course (Independence), but it’s just a different feeling when you’re in a real tournament. I was nervous, but I was really excited to get out on the first tee.”
Next up for both are the qualifying rounds for the Virginia Amateur and State Open in early July at Old Trail Golf Club in Crozet.
“It felt great to have the opportunity to compete again,” Quindoza said. “I was just very grateful to be out there testing myself.”
Back in the fall of 2018, Quin Timmerman fulfilled a dream, so he thought, when he committed to play lacrosse for Furman University.
The 2020 graduate began playing the sport when he was in the first grade and has since split time between the attack and midfield positions.
“Lacrosse has been a sport that I loved,” said Timmerman, a four-season varsity athlete. “I’ve always tried to be versatile enough to play both ends of the field, even though I spend a lot of my time on the offensive end.”
Furman seemed perfect. Family had lived in the area. The campus was beautiful. Academics were strong. The coaching staff was interested in his growth as both a player and a person. The culture of the program spoke loudly to him.
Then, in mid-May, came the gut-punch. As a cost-saving measure, the Greenville, SC, school disbanded its men’s lacrosse program.
“Having where you’re going to college figured out since the fall of 2018, it was a shock,” Timmerman said. “It was, Wow, I’m really going to have to get back into the whole recruiting process which is so chaotic as is. I was angry at Furman for cutting the program, but then I changed my perspective to, That’s not going to happen anymore. Let’s find the next best place.”
After consulting with Collegiate head coach Andrew Stanley and college counselor Andrew Reich and taking a whirlwind tour of possibilities in the mid-Atlantic region and the South with his father Price, Timmerman settled on Rollins College, a Division II signatory located in Winter Park, FL.
“Went and visited, and everything fell into place,” he said. “It’s hard to pass up Florida weather, on the water, beautiful Spanish architecture. Academically, they have a program where you graduate in five years with your master’s in business. And Coach (Chris) Lewis made it feel like a place where I could thrive.”
Rollins was never on Timmerman’s radar until recent weeks.
That said…
“I’ve developed a mindset that I wouldn’t change any of it for anything,” he said. “I wouldn’t be going to Rollins if Furman hadn’t cut the program. I wouldn’t have the perspective on life that I do now. That’s the biggest thing I’ve taken from this boondoggle of a situation.”