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The PrepZone team gets you ready for the upcoming high school football season with our daily preview from every training camp in the Southwest Florida coverage area. Today: Community School of Naples. Kelli Krebs / Naples Daily News

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The two Community School seniors who signed Division I letters of intent on Wednesday initially thought their path to college athletics would be in different sports.

Katie Markham started out as a skier in Utah. Alex Murphey played hockey in Massachusetts. But after switching sports relatively late, they’re headed to college for something else.

Markham will play tennis at Providence College in the Big East. Murphey will run track in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Wake Forest.

No matter how they got there, both Seahawks were thrilled to officially become Division I athletes at a signing ceremony in Community School’s new Student Union.

“It’s been so much work,” Markham said. “I’ve been doing this every day for five years. For that work to finally pay off, to really pay off, it’s indescribable.”

Markham was a competitive mogul skier in Park City, Utah, as a young kid. At the age 12, she abruptly pivoted sports after seeing a high-end junior tournament in her town.

She told her mother, Annie, who was a tennis player herself, that she wanted to go play tennis in college. After Annie Markham saw her daughter was truly serious, the family committed to Katie’s dream.

The Markhams owned a condo in Naples. They moved down full time so Katie could train year-round.

Markham played her freshman and sophomore years at Barron Collier, advancing to the state finals in ninth grade and going undefeated at No. 3 singles in 10th. She transferred to Community School as a junior but hasn’t played for the Seahawks.

Instead, Markham has traveled the juniors and USTA circuits, playing matches around the country and the world.

Once she started getting serious about her college recruitment, Markham got in contact with Providence. After one visit, she knew it was the place for her.

“I fell in love with the school,” Markham said. “I loved the girls on the team. I wanted to play Division I but I wanted a small school. It was the ideal fit for me.”

Murphey grew up in Naples, where his mother, Heather, is an attorney who has done with the ECHL, the hockey association that includes the Florida Everblades. Heather Murphey also has worked with the NHL.

So Alex Murphey became a hockey player. He was good enough to get recruited to play at an elite boarding school in Massachusetts.

After Murphey’s freshman year, the school switched coaches and brought in new players, leaving Murphey out. The family already had paid his tuition, so Murphey stayed at the school as a sophomore.

Without hockey, Murphey took up track. He moved back home as a junior and enrolled at Community School.

“I’m just very thankful for the opportunity to run track,” Murphey said. “I never really think about (giving up hockey) too much. I just go with things and have faith they’ll all work out.”

Murphey finished sixth in the 200-meter dash at the Class 1A state finals last season. He also was on the 4x100 relay team that finished third in the state.

Similar to Markham, Murphey wanted to attend a small school with a strong sports program. He reached out to Wake Forest, got invited to a camp, and did well enough to earn a scholarship offer.

“It’s all about the school and using track to get the best education possible,” Murphey said. “I just want to thank (Community School). If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been able to sign a letter. It feels great.”

Katie Markham

School: Community School

Sport: Tennis

Signed with: Providence

Notes: Markham played for Barron Collier her first two high school seasons, advancing to the state finals as a freshman and going 14-0 as a sophomore. She transferred to Community School as a junior but has not played high school tennis, instead focusing on junior events. Providence plays in the Big East.

Alex Murphey

School: Community School

Sport: Track and field

Signed with: Wake Forest

Notes: In his first year at Community School, Murphey placed sixth in the state in the 200-meter dash last season. He also was on the 4x100 relay team that finished third at state. A Naples native, Murphey played hockey at a boarding school in Massachusetts for two years before attending Community School.

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