Five St. Joseph’s Academy student-athletes signed their national letters of intent/commitment papers on February 12 and will compete at the collegiate level next year. The signing ceremony was held in the Academy Student Center with a limited number of guests to ensure that social distancing could be observed.
Gabrielle Joffrion will join the swim team at Mount St. Mary’s University, Blakeley Lurry will join the softball team at LSU of Alexandria, Sophie Martin will join the cross country and track and field teams at Louisiana State University, Simone Moreau will join the volleyball team at Loyola University New Orleans and Taylor Walker will join the track and field team at the University of Montevallo.
Joffrion was a member of the Division I state champion swim team during all four of her high school years. She served as team captain as a senior. She was an All-Metro Team selection in 2019 and 2020 and named the team’s Most Improved Swimmer in 2018. She was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Danielle and Barry Joffrion; siblings Madeline Joffrion and William Joffrion; grandparents Jolie Joffrion, Terry Drolla and Jimmy Aime; SJA assistant coach Ali Buchart; and several friends and teammates.
“Signing was very fulfilling,” she said. “It took a lot of hard work to get here, and I am beyond thankful to be able to sign with my friends and family there. I am very excited to have a family waiting for me when I arrive in Emmitsburg, and I cannot wait for the memories to come.”
Lurry is a four-year varsity letter winner in softball. She was an All-District first team selection as a sophomore and junior and an honorable mention team selection as a freshman. She was a member of the 2019 and 2020 Outlaws World Series championship teams. She was joined at the signing ceremony by her parents, Tonya and John Lurry; siblings Kennedy Lurry and Layne Lurry; and grandparents Pam and Johnny Lurry.
“When signing my national letter of intent, I felt excited for the future and proud of myself,” Lurry said. “I felt like I made my family and friends happy and proud of me. As a college athlete, I’m looking forward to making new friendships, excelling in the sport I love and continuing my academics.”
Martin was the runner-up in the 2020 LHSAA 5A State Cross Country Championship. She was the 2-5A Regional Meet champion in 2019 and 2020. She is a four-time LTFCA All-State Team selection and a four-time All-Metro Team selection. She is the 2019, 2020 and 2021 LHSAA Division I 1,600m indoor state champion, the 2021 3,200m indoor state champion and the 2019 5A 1,600m outdoor state champion. She was named to the LTFCA and LSWA All-State teams in the 1,600 and 3,200m in 2019. She was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Rachel and Brad Martin; sister Georgia Martin; her middle school coach, John McLendon; SJA coach Mark LaHaye; and a number of teammates and friends.
“Today was really exciting for me, especially since my family and friends could attend,” Martin said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity that LSU has given me to continue my athletic career for them. I am looking forward to competing on a high level and growing as an athlete.”
Moreau is a three-time All-Metro and All-District Team selection and was named to the LVCA Division I All-State Team in 2020. In 2018, she was selected to the AVCA Sophomore 79 list as one of the top sophomores in the country and was named to the AVCA Watchlist in 2018 and 2019. She was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Stacey and Glenn Moreau; aunt and uncle Deb and Kim LaPrairie; cousins Ashley Ortego and Rob Reynolds; SJA volleyball assistant coaches Parker Harrell and Keenan Ruff; and several teammates and friends.
“Signing to play collegiate volleyball was always a goal of mine, and to have my family and friends there with me made it even more special,” she said. “I look forward to living the college life, making new friends and teammates and getting an education while I enhance my volleyball skills.”
Walker will join the track and field team at the University of Montevallo. She is a three-year varsity letter winner in track and field and the holder of the SJA indoor pole vault record, set in 2020. She is a member of the 2020 and 2021 Division I state champion indoor track and field teams and the 2019 state champion outdoor track and field team. She was a Junior Olympic qualifier in 2019. She was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Aimee and Robert Walker; sister Bailey Walker; grandparents Kaaren and Larry Dugas and Audrey Walker; cousin Jake Sagona; coach Joe Sarra; and several friends and teammates.
“It was amazing to be able to sign my national letter of intent with my family and friends there who have supported and encouraged me throughout my journey as an athlete,” she said. “I am excited to get to see and compete against and alongside many of my friends.”
WAFB and WBRZ covered the signing ceremony.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine