Former Brookland-Cayce Bearcats, Byars brothers sign at CIU

Two Brookland-Cayce High School brothers will be back together when classes begin at Columbia International University this fall semester.

Dominik and Braydon Byars have both signed athletic scholarships at the Columbia school.

“It all just seemed to work out,” said Winn Fitzgerald, the boys’ mother.

Braydon signed for cross country and track at CIU. Dominik signed to play soccer at the school.

Fitzgerald, who lives in West Columbia, said she and husband Rod Fitzgerald had felt a little empty after Dominik left home a year ago to go to Coastal Carolina in Conway.

“From club soccer to high school, there always was a game to go to,” she said. That was until Dominik went to school three hours away.

Rod Fitzgerald, the boys’ stepfather, played soccer in college, at Spratanburg Methodist College. Dominik’s departure caused a void.

“Soccer is my heart, I really missed it when Dominik left,” Rod said.

And things did not immediately work out for Dominik at the next level.

“It was not a good fit at CCU,” Winn Fitzgerald said. And Dominik wanted to come home after a semester.

Rod said after the experience at Coastal, Dominik even entertained the idea of joining the U.S. Marie Corps. But then some doors began to open.

Winn said one of the soccer coaches from CIU attends The Harvest church with the family. He mentioned the possibility of Dominik coming to school there. Rod said the CIU coaches knew of Dominik’s talents. And even though Braydon was planning to go to Lander University on a track and cross country scholarship, he had scheduled a visit to CIU.

“We all went to CIU the same day,” Winn Fitzgerald said. By the time the family left, Dominik and Braydon had decided to become Rams.

“It was miraculous, said Rod. “It was like God stepped in for this to happen. You really could literally see His work in the events leading up to both of them choosing this school. Everything just fell into place.”

Winn was thrilled, too.

“Dominik should have gone there in the first place,” said Winn Fitzgerald. She also said Braydon is glad he’s there now. The brothers get along well and Winn Fitzgerald said they will room together at CIU.

“It all worked out,” the proud mother said.

PHOTOS: Winn Fitzgerald, Dominik Byars, Braydon Byars, Rod Fitzgerald. 

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