Four former Seminole Ridge High School flag football players are continuing their winning ways on the gridiron at the collegiate level for Keiser University in West Palm Beach.
In its second season of intercollegiate flag football competition, the Seahawks have a roster of 16 players, four of whom played flag football for head coach Scott O’Hara and the Hawks at Seminole Ridge — freshman Chloe Griffin, sophomore Emma Wagenman, freshman Haylie Young and sophomore Ariana Payne. Each player is making a solid contribution to Keiser’s flag football season.
To date, Griffin is having a breakout season as a freshman. After 10 games as one of the team’s wide receivers, Griffin has 31 receptions for 507 yards and five touchdowns. She has an impressive 16.35 yards per catch.
Wagenman is another one of the key receivers for Keiser. Through the first 10 games, she has caught 47 passes for 304 yards and five touchdowns. She also has five rushing attempts for 28 yards. On defense, Wagenman has four tackles, three of which were for quarterback sacks.
Young, one of the top quarterbacks in high school, is serving as an understudy to sophomore starting quarterback Jazmin Rhoden, a graduate of Tampa Alonso High School. In addition to occasional appearances as the team’s quarterback, where she has thrown for 309 yards and four touchdowns, Young has been utilized as a running back and as a receiver. Young has eight rushing attempts for 45 yards and has caught 19 passes for 124 yards.
Payne, who plays as a wide receiver and as a cornerback, spends most of her time playing defense. Through the team’s first 10 games, Payne has 36 tackles, 13 of which took place on Feb. 26 against Warner University. She has also grabbed three interceptions so far this year, two of which took place on April 14 against Webber International University. On offense, she has one reception for 15 yards.
In addition to the four players from Seminole Ridge, one other player on the roster has roots in the western communities. It’s sophomore linebacker/wide receiver Allyson Goolsby, a 2020 graduate of Wellington High School. On offense, she has 15 receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. On defense, she has 25 tackles and three pass deflections.
There are three other players on the roster with roots in Palm Beach County. They are freshman linebacker/wide receiver Samya Bryant from Park Vista High School, freshman wide receiver Lizandra Amor from Forest Hill High School and sophomore wide receiver/defensive back Kennedy Foster from William T. Dwyer High School.
The head coach for Keiser is Justin Hilliker, who also has strong local roots, specifically in the western communities. Prior to joining Keiser, he spent 22 seasons in the local high school ranks coaching at Seminole Ridge, Park Vista and Jupiter high schools. In his first year as the head coach, which was also the inaugural year of flag football as a varsity sport at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level, Hilliker led the Seahawks to the national championship game, losing 7-6 to Ottawa University from Kansas.
After 10 games this season, the Seahawks are 8-2 and now getting ready for their regular season finale against St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens on Saturday, April 23. The Sun Conference postseason tournament takes place on April 30, followed by the NAIA national tournament on May 7.