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This high school senior could soon become the first woman to play NCAA football at a position other than punter or kicker

It’s a busy and exciting time for high school seniors, as national signing day marks the opportunity for football players to sign a national letter of intent with the college of their choice.

It’s also National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Along those same lines, Haley Van Voorhis has her own future, and possible historic moment, to look forward to. She may yet be the next name to belong to the list of firsts for women in football.

She plays safety for Christchurch School, a boarding school in Virginia, and has garnered interest as a collegiate athlete, including from Division III Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, The Washington Post reported in a recent profile on the high school senior.

The 5-foot-6, 150-pound Van Voorhis could become the first woman to play NCAA football at a position other than punter or kicker. It’s been a significant year for women in the sport: Last fall, Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller was the first woman to play in a Power Five conference game; this weekend, Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl.

“I’ve been playing football as long as I can remember,” Van Voorhis told the Post. “There’s just something about it that I really love.”

Van Voorhis participated in a college scouting combine in December 2020, the Post reported, and caught the attention of Shenandoah defensive backs coach Byron Mitchell.

“I still haven’t completely decided, but I’m definitely leaning to Shenandoah. It would be a big opportunity,” Van Voorhis said. “The day after (the combine), coach Mitchell contacted me and offered me a spot on the team. I was really excited, especially after not having a senior season (at Christchurch). I’m also talking to the basketball coach at Shenandoah. I’d really like to be a two-sport athlete.”

Her Christchurch coach, Edward Homer, is confident in Van Voorhis’ abilities, and told the Post she would have been the team’s starting slot receiver last fall, if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t canceled her senior season.

“She’s gotten so strong, and she’s in such great shape,” Homer told the Post. “She’s learned how to protect herself, how to take a hit. And she can hit back, too.”