Skowhegan Area High School senior Jaycie Christopher signs her letter of intent to play basketball at Boston University in the school gym Wednesday afternoon. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — The long wait is finally over for Jaycie Christopher.

The Skowhegan senior signed her national letter of intent on Wednesday to play Division I basketball at Boston University next year. Christopher will be playing on an athletic scholarship.

A national letter of intent is a document recruits sign for Division I or Division II athletic programs, a mutual guarantee between schools and student-athletes in regards to athletic-based financial aid. Wednesday marked the first day of the signing period for high school seniors in all sports except football. The signing period will last until Nov. 17 for Division I basketball players, and Aug. 1, 2022 for all other Division I and II sports.

“This is really exciting for me,” Christopher said. “This has been a dream of mine since I was in fourth grade. Just to know that it’s a reality now is just so exciting.”

Christopher verbally chose Boston University in March, after a months-long recruitment process. Christopher was recommended to the program by former BU player and Lawrence standout Nia Irving last season. The University of Maine was also among schools that tried to recruit Christopher, she said.

Christopher surpassed the 1,000-point scoring mark last season for the River Hawks, the first underclassman to reach the mark in program history. She was named the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A North Player of the Year two seasons ago, after averaging 27. 3 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Skowhegan Area High School senior Jaycie Christopher signs her letter of intent to play basketball at Boston University in the school gym Wednesday afternoon. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Christopher joins a movement of Maine girls basketball players making the jump to Division I, a list that includes Irving, current BU guard Emily Esposito of Gorham, former Messalonskee standout Gabrielle Wener (Monmouth University) and Gorham’s Mackenzie Holmes (Indiana).

“I think it’s amazing for our state,” Christopher said. “Knowing that young kids can watch all of the high school players and see them succeed. Then all the college players go on to places all around the country and have success there. Little kids can look at that and go, ‘That can be me,’ maybe work a little bit and get there themselves.”

Only a month after Christopher made her verbal commitment to the program, BU head coach Marisa Moseley resigned to take over the same position at the University of Wisconsin. The Terriers quickly hired former Wake Forest assistant Melissa Graves as their new head coach.

Christopher was concerned at first about her recruitment status with the school, but those concerns were quickly put to rest by the incoming coaching staff.

“There was a lot of worry for a while,” Christopher said. “As soon as Coach Graves go hired, she called me, talked to me and basically said that the offer was still there. For me, that was a huge relief, because BU is really where I wanted to go. It was a perfect fit beyond basketball as well. Just to know how welcoming (the staff was), that was really comforting and reassuring and it felt really good to know that I still had a home there.”

Skowhegan Area High School senior Jaycie Christopher signs her letter of intent to play basketball at Boston University in the school gym Wednesday afternoon. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

The Terriers went 12-3 last season, falling to Lehigh in the Patriot League championship. BU beat UMass-Lowell 76-47 in its season opener on Tuesday.

“We pretty much talk weekly,” Christopher said. “Whether it’s on the phone or text messages or whatever. I’ve been able to go down for a couple of visits. When I went down in September, I was able to spend a lot of time with the players, so that was pretty awesome.”

Christopher wasn’t the only athlete to sign a letter of intent Wednesday. Messalonskee senior Journey Charles committed to play women’s lacrosse at Division II Anderson University in South Carolina on an athletic scholarship.

“I went to a showcase (during the summer) and I had a tour of a bunch of schools and programs, meeting coaches, just discovering different areas,” Charles said. “I knew I wanted to be in the south. I just didn’t know exactly where and what would be the perfect fit for me. I did a whole planned tour, had some different offers, but nothing really stood out to me.”

Journey Charles signs her letter of intent with Anderson University on Wednesday at Messalonskee High School. Photo provided by Matt Charles

What stood out to Charles — one of the Eagles’ leading scorers last season — was that Anderson was starting a women’s lacrosse program from scratch. The school hired head coach Gail Wallach in July, and the Trojans will begin play in the 2022-2023 academic year.

“We happened to see an announcement that Anderson was starting a women’s lacrosse team,” Charles said. “And it was in an area (of South Carolina) that I loved. So we decided to go and visit there. Somehow, it was just everything that I wanted and was just perfect. The people there were so nice, and cCoach (Wallach) was great.”

 

Dave Dyer – 621-5640

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Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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