When Connor Messick went to visit the University of Virginia in August, the Chantilly senior went expecting — almost hoping — that he wouldn’t like it. Messick grew up a Virginia Tech fan, thanks in part to his older brother attending the Blacksburg school. That meant the only orange was Hokie orange and rooting against the Cavaliers was something with which Messick was simply accustomed.
But the more Messick saw of the Charlottesville campus and the more he talked to the UVA golf coach and players, he found himself developing a soft spot for the Cavaliers. Then, when Coach Bowen Sargent ended the visit by offering him a spot on the golf team, Messick was hooked.
After sleeping on it and jokingly checking with his older brother, Messick committed to play for the Cavaliers.
“It was really surprising because I’ve always been known to love Virginia Tech,” Messick said. “But in looking at the Virginia schools I was considering, I couldn’t deny how great their campus is and how competitive their team is every year.”
With Messick’s decision, two Chantilly golfers will be headed to Virginia next fall. Senior Juhee Bae committed to the Cavaliers in June of 2012, giving U-Va, two players who are largely responsible for Chantilly winning its second straight region title last Wednesday and being in contention to capture the 6A/5A state title during next week’s tournament on Oct. 14-15 at Meadowbrook Country Club in Richmond.
Messick’s ascent to being a Division I golfer has been somewhat of a whirlwind. After picking up the sport just four years ago, Messick has steadily become one of Chantilly’s most consistent golfers.
“While all the big-time golfers at U-Va. have been playing all their lives, I’m a late bloomer,” said Messick, who finished tied with Bae for fifth in the 6A North region tournament with a score of 6-over par. “So I think my best golf is ahead of me and the U-Va. coaches feel like they can push me to more success.”
Bae’s golf career began around the age of 11, when her parents would take her out to the driving range while the family was living in Canada. Along with learning this new sport, Bae was working to pick up the English language after spending yhe first eight years of her life in South Korea.
Bae would soon master both, earning a spot on Chantilly’s varsity team as a freshman after moving to the area that same year.
“I got more competitive with it when I came here,” Bae said. “There were more opportunities to play at a higher level and the weather made it a little easier to play more often than it did in Canada.”
Since then, Bae has won three Concorde District individual titles and helped the Chargers finish as the state runners-up in each of the last two years.
The mutual interest between Bae and U-Va. began early. She visited the campus as a sophomore and junior before committing last June.
“It was hard because I had some other schools I wanted to see, but once I became a junior and knew I wanted to go to U-Va., I didn’t want to delay,” Bae said. “It’s a great school with a great team.”
Before joining the Cavaliers next fall, Bae and Messick hope to bring Chantilly its first team state title. The Chargers will be joined by South County, Jefferson and Briar Woods along with the 10 other medalists from the 5A and 6A North regions.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 2
Overtimes it took for Whitman to prevail 2-1 in a thriller against Montgomery 4A South rival Churchill on Monday.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Check out this week’s top plays, which include Hylton’s game-winning touchdown pass as time expired last Friday.
-Click here to find out who made the cut for the All-Met Watch.
-Five unbeaten teams remain in Prince George’s County football, which should make for an interesting second half of the season.
-T.C. Williams is off to a 4-1 start as it looks to end a playoff drought that’s lasted 22 seasons.
-Rockvillle quarterback Chuck Reese has put up dizzying numbers to lead the Rams to their best start since 2010.
-Wilson, H.D. Woodson and Anacostia’s defenses have been impressive during the first half of the season.
-It’s taken just five games for Southern to match its win total from a year ago, and DeJuan Neal deserves a lot of the credit.
-In her first year of football, Sam Frowen came up with the game-winning field goal kick for Osbourn in last Friday’s win.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Two of the top girls’ soccer teams in the area face off in a critical Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game