PAWLEYS ISLAND – It was a special day for two Waccamaw High School lacrosse players.

Midfielder Marshall Heyward and defender and long pole midfielder Tyler Kobylarz signed with Coker University and Lees-McRae College, respectively, in a special signing ceremony in the school auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 6.

Heyward chose Coker for several reasons.

“Well, first of all, my sister went there, so I knew a lot about it,” he said. “It’s not too far away from home; it’s just right. I love the people there and I love the coach. I’ve been on two recruiting visits there, junior year and this year, and I just had a great time and just loved the energy and team family. I loved it all.”

Heyward credits the coaches at Waccamaw High and his family for helping him get to where he is today.

“Everything,” he said when asked what he learned about lacrosse while at Waccamaw. “I didn’t know anything going into eighth grade playing, now I know everything I know and I thank all my coaches, my family, everything.”

Heyward is grateful to have had a signing day.

“It means everything,” he said. “My parents are proud of me, my friends, everyone. It feels good. Today feels good.”

Like Heyward, Kobylarz decided on his school for several reasons.

“I visited a couple other schools, but when I went to Lees-McRae, it was different,” Kobylarz said. “They players treated by family differently. They went out of their way from practice to talk to them and make them feel like they were at home. And I like the atmosphere there; it’s up near Sugar Mountain and Grandfather Mountain up in Banner Elk (North Carolina). It’s a really nice place.”

Kobylarz learned a lot about lacrosse while playing at Waccamaw.

“I learned a lot from my coach, Coach (Justin) Annunziato, he teaches defense,” he said. “And really I just learned how to become a family. Our defense is really tightknit; we’re a family. And our whole lacrosse team is a family, too, but I just learned how to play good defense and become a bigger man outside and inside the field.”

Waccamaw lacrosse head coach Chris Bergeron is proud of his players for signing.

“It’s phenomenal,” he said. “We’re in our eighth year of lacrosse here at Waccamaw High. It shows that our program has been improving every year and that’s been the goal. We’re now one of the top programs here in the Grand Strand area, and certainly we’re going to try to make a bigger name for ourselves in South Carolina, and moving forward that’s the next step for us. So it means the world when we’ve got kids going on to play college lacrosse.”

Bergeron has seen a lot of growth out these two players during his time at Waccamaw.

“The funny thing is, this is my first year as the varsity head coach,” he said. “So I’ve been the JV coach the last four years, so, Tyler didn’t play at the time, but I had Marshall Heyward on my first JV lacrosse team four years ago. To see them grow as young men, individuals, improve their play; Tyler changed his position, he played attack for me and now he’s playing long stick defensive middie; just their competitiveness, their growth in the game of lacrosse and their growth as young men has been tremendous.”