Riley League and Josh Crump share a number of things in common. They both are Northwestern Trojans, both have straight As on their report cards, and each one excels in his chosen sport.
On Wednesday they also both signed national letters of intent, sealing their college decisions in pen ink. League will swim at Davidson College, while Crump will play baseball at Coastal Carolina.
It feels like its been forever, said Crump, who verbally committed to Coastal over a year ago. Im glad its finally came, happy to be here, happy to have everybody here with me, and Im just excited about going to Coastal Carolina and signing.
League said Its a big sense of relief to know where Im going, and its exciting to look forward to the opportunities ahead of me.
League began swimming at the high school level as a seventh grader, and he left an indelible mark on the Northwestern swimming program in his six years. Coach Grace Magyar pointed out during a brief speech that League will graduate with 10 of the schools 11 records, but it was the one state record he set in October that will be remembered most. League won the 100-meter breaststroke race, touching the wall in 57.82 seconds, a new state mark.
That was a lot of fun, he said. You work hard in the pool all day, all year, and finally getting that little taste of success makes it all worth it.
Leagues excellence in the classroom was a more common occurrence.
Ive worked real hard in the classroom and have been blessed with a lot of success there, League said. Davidson of course is academically just a great school. Im not sure what Im going to study right now, Im thinking economics, but Im just real excited.
Crump also excelled in both ends of the student-athlete gig. A 5-foot-9 speedster in the outfield and three-year starter, he drew interest from a number of power baseball schools, including North Carolina, Furman, Charlotte and Winthrop. A big advantage for the Coastal program was its proximity to Rock Hill.
It was pretty important to me. I wanted to stay close to my family but also get far away enough to where they couldnt make a quick drive to come see me, Crump said, grinning.
Only two goals left for these outstanding student-athletes: Crump and his Northwestern teammates will chase state championship rings in the spring, while League will try and claim valedictorian honors for his class in late May.
Georgia Military College finishes regular season undefeated, to play for NJCAA title
Georgia Militarys football team finished the regular season 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation at the junior college level. The Bulldogs will face fellow undefeated and No. 2-ranked East Mississippi in the Mississippi Bowl on Dec. 8 in a game that will decide the junior college national championship.
The Rock Hill area has long supplied Bert Williams GMC program with student-athletes whose lives needed some military-style polish, or whose athletic careers needed a jump-start, and this seasons squad is no different. Former South Pointe Stallions Corey Neely and Buddy Byers have patrolled the Bulldogs secondary all season, with Neely even picking up a National Defensive Player of the Week award from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Both freshmen, Neely has played in all 11 games, recording 28 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three interceptions. Byers has 15 tackles in eight appearances, an interception and four pass break-ups.
Ricky Garbanzo named Big South Attacker of the Week
Former Northwestern Trojan soccer standout Ricky Garbanzo was named the Big Souths Attacker of the Week for mens soccer action last week, his second such award this season. Garbanzo scored four goals in a pair of Coastal Carolina wins, including a dipping free kick that he hammered in off the crossbar against Campbell. That goal drew worldwide Internet attention and earned his Goal of the Week honors from the web site TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Garbanzo, who finished the regular season tied for second in the conference in goals with 11, was also recently named to the All-Big South first team; he and the Chanticleers face Radford in the second round of the Big South Conference tournament on Friday in Greensboro.
Clover softball field wins award
Not only does Clover have a winning softball program, the Blue Eagles field is a winner to boot. The South Carolina Sports Turf Managers Association (SCSTMA) voted Clovers patch as the 2013 Softball Field of the Year recently.
Lee Clinton, Will Rogers, T.C. McCarter, Frank Falls, Doug Collins, Allison Knapp and head coach Shea Hall are the crew that keep the Blue Eagle diamond in top condition. Representatives from the school will travel to the SCSTMAs annual convention on Dec. 10 to receive the award.