WILMINGTON, N.C. - A large group of UNC Wilmington student-athletes and coaches visited Alderman Elementary School early Wednesday to participate in the ninth annual "Reading Rocks" program promoting reading in schools.

Members of the men's basketball, women's tennis, men's soccer, women's soccer, baseball, women's golf and volleyball teams read to children in kindergarten through fourth grade.

"Reading is so important," said women's tennis coach Jenny Garrity, who organized UNCW's visit. "It's important for these kids to see UNCW students who have succeeded, and it really shows the impact of reading in their lives. They look up to these guys."

The Alderman students welcomed the student-athletes into their classrooms to read books such as "Salt in his Shoes," "Good Sports," and "Mia Hamm, Winners Never Quit."

UNCW senior baseball player Michael Rooney was a first-time volunteer reader. "It's nice to be able to come and talk to these kids and read to them. They enjoy having us out here and asking us question about reading and our sport and what we like to do."

Besides reading to the various classes, the student-athletes answered questions about their sports and shared stories. The women's softball team was even stumped by the riddles of Mrs. Walter's fourth grade class.

Freshman men's basketball player Will Ohuaregbe said the experience should prove beneficial to each of the Alderman students. "It helps them understand what we go through and how important it is to make it to college, and to make it through middle school and high school to get to college. They all have dreams to go to college."

In addition to reading and visiting with the children, the Seahawks posed for pictures with their student and PTA hosts.

UNCW's contingent included Jenny Garrity (women's tennis coach), John Ware (assistant tennis coach), Lindsay Leblang (women's tennis), Chelsea Kahle (women's tennis) Kim Friedl (volleyball), Tyler Clare (men's soccer), Michael Rooney (baseball), Ben Thielson (baseball), Will Ohuaregbe (men's basketball), Jeremy Basnight (men's basketball), Linsi Moy (assistant softball coach), Kelly Van Houten (softball), Kelsey Eddinger (softball), Lauren Buckworth (softball), Corrine Kalsky (women's soccer), Ashley Dohrer (women's soccer), Carmen Perez-Narbon (women's golf) and Sara Wagner (women's golf).