It’s been just over a month since Woodgrove rising sophomore Nora Bowen wrapped up her first season of high school lacrosse for the Wolverines. The midfielder has yet to fill out a college application or write an admissions essay, but if all goes to plan, she already knows where she’ll be headed three years from now.

Bowen verbally committed to Virginia last Thursday, agreeing to join the Cavaliers a full three seasons before she’ll be eligible to put on an orange and navy blue jersey.

As the number of early verbal commitments by lacrosse players has grown over the past few years, so too has concern that such early decisions are not quite as beneficial as they might seem. But Bowen said the decision to commit to the Cavaliers was an easy one.

“U-Va. has always been my top school since, like, forever,” Bowen said. “I grew up around girls, family members going to U-Va., family friends that have gone there and played lacrosse.

“Now, seeing that they’re such a great academic school and also a great lacrosse program has got me really excited for the next three years.”

Bowen scored 38 goals last season as a freshman starter for the Wolverines and finished as the team’s third leading scorer. Bowen was especially effective in the postseason for Woodgrove, averaging three goals during the Wolverines’ five-game playoff run, including four goals in a season-ending loss against Osbourn Park in the first round of the Virginia state tournament.

While Bowen spent the bulk of the spring playing for Woodgrove, Virginia’s coaching staff did its scouting by watching her play with her club team, the Alexandria-based Capital Lacrosse Club. The official offer came last Thursday following a four-day camp in Charlottesville.

Accompanied by her parents, Bowen met with Cavaliers Coach Julie Myers and associate head coach Colleen Shearer on the last day of the camp. The conversation began with Bowen’s academic plans for the rest of her time at Woodgrove and how to keep her grades up, followed by discussion of Virginia’s offerings, both academically and athletically. The Cavaliers coaches eased into the idea of a verbal commitment, but Bowen’s mind had already been made up.

“They asked me about my timeline, like when I’d be ready to make a decision,” she said. “I was all for it… I didn’t know what to think. It’s kind of unbelievable.”

“All in all, having it been my top school, and looking at what a great school it is, there really wasn’t any hesitancy at all.”

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