Class of 2023’s College Committed Athletes—The Follow Up


Allison Balladares, senior, poses with her mother following West Potomac’s “Next Level” Signing Ceremony. Photography by Peter Rainey.

If you pay close attention to this newspaper, you may remember an article last November highlighting college-bound student-athletes in West Potomac’s class of 2023. Since then, that list has tripled. Last Thursday, May 18th, 21 student-athletes were honored at a joint signing ceremony; 14 of those 21 have committed within the last six months. It’s only right that these individuals enjoy their hard-earned spotlight, so with no further ado, here is a much-needed end-of-year follow-up.

In February, West Potomac wrestling duo Mohammed Fofana and Eddie Lewis announced their commitment and continued team up at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Fofana and Lewis each qualified for and competed in the 6A state tournament last February in Virginia Beach—Fofana placed fifth in his weight class.

“I’m excited to go to Marymount with my boy Eddie; he’s really taught me everything I know,” said Fofana. “I can’t wait to get better at wrestling and enjoy the new environment.”

There are two more pairs of West Potomac teammates sticking together at the next level, both in football. Teammates Charlie Armstrong, linebacker, and Camden Jackson, cornerback, will be continuing their academic and football careers in the Blue Ridge Mountains, attending Hampden-Sydney College. Hampden-Sydney carries a storied program at the Division III level, boasting nine conference championships in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

“We each chose the best spot for us, and it just happened to be the same place, which is awesome,” said Armstrong. “Our recruiting class is all already super tight; we’re like a family, and I’m excited to get to work.”

Senior receivers Emmanuel Ampem and Emmanuel Annor jointly committed to Monroe College, a private institution in the Bronx, New York.

“I’m excited to keep playing with [Annor],” said Ampem. “We grew up together playing ball, and now to continue that at the next level is really a dream come true.”

West Potomac football will send two additional athletes to the college level: captain Rooney Osei, defensive end, will play next year for Bonneville Football Academy, and tight end Zaid Patten will walk-on for Virginia Union.

“It was an easy decision for me (to commit to Virginia Union) … I’m excited to get on the field wherever they need me,” Patten said.

Behind football, West Potomac baseball earns a valiant silver medal, sending five athletes to the college ranks. I covered their first four signings back in November, but was lucky enough to catch up with their latest commit, Chase Meyer, who is headed off to compete for Chesapeake College next year in Maryland.

“I’ve been playing baseball since I was four years old; I wasn’t ready for my career to be over yet,” said Meyer. “To continue playing at the next level, keep having fun, it means everything to me.”

Field hockey captain Elaina Fseisi will continue her playing career at Johnson & Wales University. The Wildcats, out of Providence, Rhode Island, compete in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference at the Division III level.

“I’m excited to be with a new group of amazing people and getting to explore a new city,” Fseisi said. 

The Wildcats finished last season with a 19-2 record, winning the conference and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.

West Potomac’s soccer program is sending two athletes to the NCAAs:  Alexis Kirgan and Gerry Valoyi. Kirgan will continue her soccer career with Greensboro College in North Carolina, while Valoyi will stay local and compete for the University of Mary-Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

“It feels good to stay local at such a close school,” said Valoyi, who earned first-team all-district honors this season at midfielder. “[Mary Washington’s head coach] made it to all of my games this year, building a relationship with me and making me feel very welcomed. I’m excited to see what the school has in store for me.”

Our final two Wolverine commitments were added late into this spring; first coming from senior middle blocker Isabella Garey as she announced her plans to flip coasts and continue her academic and volleyball career next year with the Bulldogs of the University of Redlands in California. Garey completed her senior season with West Potomac volleyball this past November; the Wolverines finished with a 14-9 record.

“I’ve always wanted to go back to California at some point in my life, and by the beginning of senior year, I realized I could do that by playing volleyball in college,” said Garey. “The campus is beautiful, and it’s a great location … I’m very excited.”

Lastly, senior dancer Alison Balladares committed to the ranks of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)’s pom team. Balladares has been with West Potomac’s dance team for four years, and now she will continue her dancing career with the Runnin’ Rebels while pursuing a degree in hospitality management.

“It is going to be sad leaving Alexandria, as this has been my hometown for 17 years now,” said Balladares. “But it will also be a positive change as I will be in a new environment with all kinds of new challenges. I’m most excited about working towards my major and being a part of UNLV athletics.”

Whew, this has easily been my longest article to date. As we enter the final week prior to graduation, I want to extend another congratulations to all of our 2023 graduates and student-athletes. It’s been a pleasure to cover West Potomac athletics these last four years as the WP Wire’s head sports editor, and I hope that some of you have read and enjoyed the work I’ve published during my time here. As for me, I will continue my education next year at VCU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, majoring in journalism. Hail ‘rines, this is Peter Rainey signing off. 


West Potomac’s Class of 2023 “Next Level” Student-Athletes:

  • Emmanuel Ampem; Monroe College; Football
  • Emmanuel Annor; Monroe College; Football
  • Charlie Armstrong; Hampden-Sydney College; Football
  • Allison Balladares; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Dance
  • Luke Cardman; Catholic University; Baseball
  • Spencer Carfang; Marymount University; Lacrosse
  • Addison Clift; Denison University; Lacrosse
  • Samantha Dorn; Christopher Newport University; Volleyball
  • Elaina Fsesei; Johnson & Wales University; Field Hockey
  • Isabella Garey; University of Redlands; Volleyball
  • Arleigh Hanson; U.S. Naval Academy; Volleyball
  • Camden Jackson; Hampden-Sydney College; Football
  • Robert Johnston; Roanoke College; Baseball
  • Alexis Kirgan; Greensboro College; Soccer
  • Chase Meyer; Chesapeake College; Baseball
  • Rooney Osei; Bonneville Football Academy; Football
  • Zaid Patten; Virginia Union; Football
  • Brody Shawn; Wake Forest University; Baseball
  • Gerry Valoyi; Mary-Washington University; Soccer
  • Bennett Zippel: Randolph-Macon College; Baseball