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Class of 2024 reflects on four years of Virginia Athletics

From women’s swim and dive to men’s lacrosse, this year’s senior class has seen it all

<p>Three members of the Class of 2024 reflect on the strongest and most memorable parts of Virginia athletics during their time at the University.&nbsp;</p>

Three members of the Class of 2024 reflect on the strongest and most memorable parts of Virginia athletics during their time at the University. 

On the heels of an incredible seven championships over the past four years, three graduating sports writers from The Cavalier Daily share their thoughts on what it means to be a Cavalier.

What was the most memorable moment of the past four years of Virginia athletics?

Katie Costin:

The 2021 men’s lacrosse championship capped off a pandemic-plagued first year for the Class of 2024. The No. 4 Cavaliers defeated No. 3 Maryland 17-16 for their ninth national title. The Terrapins had been on the road to an undefeated season until Virginia spoiled it, making the victory that much sweeter. A phenomenal offensive effort from then-redshirt freshman attack Connor Shellenberger, senior attackman Matt Moore, junior midfielder Jeff Conner and then-sophomore attackman Payton Cormier secured Virginia’s victory. These standout performances set the standard for what to expect from men’s lacrosse in the following seasons. 

Max Jensen:

The 2023 season for Virginia baseball was one of ups and downs. The team started the season winning 14 straight games but hit a tough stretch in the middle of the season. However, despite dropping the first game in their super-regional matchup against Duke, graduate pitcher Brian Edgington put on a legendary performance versus the Blue Devils to send the Cavaliers to Omaha for the College World Series. Edgington struck out 11 in a complete game outing and was helped by then-sophomore utility player Ethan Anderson and then-sophomore outfielder Anthony Stephan, who both sent balls into the bleachers. With the win, Virginia baseball cemented itself as a force to be reckoned with, making two of the last three College World Series. 

Will Krehmeyer:

It is relatively recent, but women’s basketball’s thrilling 80-75 win over Virginia Tech March 3 looks to springboard the program into the future. The Cavaliers took down their No. 5 ranked rivals in front of the largest recorded women’s basketball crowd in the state of Virginia. It was an extremely high-level game, and both fan bases were well represented in John Paul Jones Arena. While Virginia’s season did not go on to end how they had hoped, this win proved what the program is capable of under second-year Coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton, and it showed Cavalier fans that there is a lot to look forward to with this team.

Which program has had the most impactful senior class?


With defender Aidan O’Connor and forward Leo Afonso being drafted 12th and 32nd in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft, the men’s soccer senior class is arguably one of the best that Virginia athletics has seen in recent years. While O’Connor and Afonso contributed uniquely to the success of the team this year, goalkeeper Holden Brown, midfielder Mouhameth Thiam, mifielder Axel Ahlander and defender William Citron will also be sorely missed on the field next season. Though this elite talent never resulted in a championship, this group had an exciting journey as Cavaliers highlighted by five top-10 wins over the past four seasons.


When a program has won four consecutive NCAA Championships, it is hard to credit anything else than the senior class that has been along for every step of the way. Women’s swimming and diving has established itself as a dynasty, and they could not have done it without these seniors. Alex Walsh has led the way with 19 NCAA championship wins during her four years and will likely find her way to the Paris Olympics this summer. Additionally, Maxine Parker has also racked up six championship wins, and Anna Keating and Abby Harter were both All-Americans. It just does not get any better than winning a championship every year of your collegiate career. 

WK: The men’s tennis Class of 2024 are winners in every sense of the word. Two NCAA Championships, three ACC Tournament titles and zero regular season conference losses across four years comprise their incredible resume. These seniors have played a role in building a dynasty, not only by their ability on the court, but also by the leadership that they have demonstrated off of it as well. Regardless of whether they are able to bring home their third consecutive National Championship May 19, this senior class has reestablished the standard for Virginia tennis, and they have certainly left the program in a better place than where they found it.

Which athlete has meant the most to the University community?


Alex Walsh has embodied every aspect of what it means to be a Cavalier in her time at Virginia. With 19 national titles and 26 ACC championship wins — the most in history — Walsh has given everything she has to this community and helped continue a legacy of excellence in the program. Before the conclusion of the 2024 NCAA Championship, Walsh thanked her teammates for her time with the team. Her statement, “It’s just my greatest joy in life to be a Virginia Cavalier,” perfectly encapsulates how lucky we are to have had Walsh represent Virginia on the conference and national level.


Without a doubt, the heroic Mike Hollins has meant the most to the University community. Unspeakable tragedy struck Charlottesville in November of 2022, when the lives of Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry were taken. While the community will never move on, Hollins brought the strength and resilience needed to move forward and carry on each of these men’s legacies. Hollins’s recovery and determination to get back to the football field was nothing short of inspiring and played a central role in uplifting the Charlottesville community. 


I have to go with Connor Shellenberger. Coming out of high school as the No. 1 ranked recruit by Inside Lacrosse, the Charlottesville native has represented his hometown Cavaliers with a winning pedigree. Along with playing a key role in the 2021 National Championship, Shellenberger is the program’s all time career assist leader, which is indicative of his selflessness as a teammate. Off the field, he has taken a reduced scholarship this season to support those of his teammates and is always looking to pass first on the field. Shellenberger is the ultimate role model for unselfishness and a winning culture, and he has had an incredible impact on Virginia men’s lacrosse. 


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