Appalachian State, North Carolina Central, UNC-Wilmington among picks on National Signing Day is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

WILMINGTON – It’s an exciting time for student-athletes across the country as many high school seniors continue the journey of finding their next landing spot following graduation in spring. As part of National Signing Day on Wednesday, seven local standouts announced commitments to various colleges and universities in the Tar Heel State.

Leading the list are three Division 1 bound athletes. Fans of Laney High School’s Caroline Cahill will be able to keep close tabs on the reigning Mideastern Conference Golfer of the Year as Cahill joins the UNC-Wilmington Women’s Golf Team under the direction of Coach Cindy Ho.

Tess Cairney (Appalachian State) and Kaela Groseclose (Barton College) were surrounded by family and friends for Wednesday's announcement.
Tess Cairney (Appalachian State) and Kaela Groseclose (Barton College) were surrounded by family and friends for Wednesday’s announcement.

After an appearance at the North Carolina/South Carolina Shrine Bowl in December, Jomaious Williams will join a pair of fellow New Hanover High School alums with his decision to continue his football career at North Carolina Central. While Williams has not yet signed a national letter of intent, the defensive lineman made his official visit and verbally committed in January.

Tess Cairney has grown up around the  game of soccer her entire life as the daughter of longtime UNC-Wilmington Women’s Soccer Coach Paul Cairney. Her desire to play at the next level continues when Tess heads to Boone to join the Appalachian State University program.

Click here for a complete list of 2017 graduating seniors who committed to continue their athletic careers during “signing day” events earlier this school year.


  • Tess Cairney, soccer, Appalachian State
  • Kaela Groseclose, soccer Barton College

Cairney and Groseclose are preparing for their senior season this spring. They’ve seen significant time on the pitch since joining the team as freshman, guiding the Screaming Eagles to a 9-8-1 overall record and 7-5 mark inside a competitive Mideastern Conference in 2016. As two of the veterans on the squad, Coach Greg Marinich looks for big things from the pair with a young and talented bunch following behind.

The duo has been friends since middle school and excelled in the classroom as a members of the National Spanish Honor Society. Cairney is an All-Region player, while Groseclose competes in cross-country as a two-sport athlete. They both plan on studying nursing at their respective schools. Groseclose had a few words of advice for some of the up-and-comers on the Ashley High School team.

Appalachian State is a member of the NCAA Division I Sun Belt Conference. The Mountaineers finished 10-8-2 overall and 4-4-2 in league play during its 2016 fall campaign. The Cairney family will have a date to be determined circled on their calendar for later on this year as Tess is scheduled to come home to compete against her dad and UNCW when Appalachian State visits the Port City.

Located in nearby Wilson, Barton College is a member of Conference Carolinas as an NCAA Division II member.

New Hanover

  • Jomaious Williams, football, N.C. Central

Williams anchored the defensive front over the past two seasons and guided New Hanover to back-to-back Mideastern Conference Championships.

N.C. Central is coming off a third straight MEAC Title and an appearance at the Air Force Reserve Celebrations Bowl as part of the historically black college national championship. Williams will join former New Hanover athletes Ramone Simpson (New Hanover ’13) and Jacen Murphy (New Hanover ’12) under Coach Jerry Mack in Durham.

  • Brantley Moore, golf, Cape Fear Community College
  • Thomas Hill, golf, Cape Fear Community College

West Brunswick 

  • Taye Vereen, football, UNC-Pembroke


  • Caroline Cahill, golf, UNC-Wilmington

Cahill is the fifth-ranked senior in North Carolina and the 10th-ranked overall player. She led Laney High School to back-to-back 4A Mideastern Conference championships and earned All-State honors twice, including a first-team nod as a senior.

Caroline Cahill. Photo courtesy- UNCW sports.
Caroline Cahill. Photo courtesy- UNCW sports.

She finished third at the 2016 AJGA Greg Norman Junior Championship and had a fifth place showing at the Dustin Johnson Junior Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In addition, she earned a share of fifth place at the 2017 Carolinas-Georgia Junior Championship.

An outstanding student, Cahill was also the 2016 recipient of the Carter Cheves Memorial Scholarship based on academic, athletic, community and leadership excellence.