School’s almost out so area student-athletes are hustling to get their futures squared away before breaking free for the summer. Three more Rock Hill Bearcats - wrestlers Kendrick Mackey and Babe Rigby and football player Emanuel Jones - sorted out their plans on Wednesday morning.
Kendrick Mackey will wrestle at Allen University. His brother, Cameron Bell, signed with the school last year, and gave Mackey a good recommendation. He seemed thrilled to get the chance, especially late in the school year.
“It was a surprise,” said Mackey. “I figured I’d wrestle four years of high school, maybe I’d be one of the statistics that didn’t get a chance to go. Most kids don’t get that chance to do any sport.”
Bell won the first match in Allen wrestling history last season and Mackey hopes to add to the school’s largely unwritten history in the sport. At 126 pounds, Mackey was a key contributor to the Bearcats’ state championship team, pinning his opponent in the dual tournament final, and will be joined by Rigby.
“Going down with a fellow teammate, that makes you work harder because now you’ve got somebody that knows how to push you to your limit,” said Mackey.
Babe Rigby, like Mackey, was also an integral part of the Bearcats’ state title win, pinning his opponent in the 145-pound bout to seal the victory. And like Mackey, Rigby was grateful for an opportunity to continue his career in college.
“I didn’t really expect it at the beginning of the year, but I was happy when I heard about it obviously,” said Rigby.
Rigby said the feeling he got from the Allen wrestling program was familial, like the Bearcats’ team, and that the small school and one-on-one teacher attention would be beneficial for his academics. Along with Mackey and Bell, Rigby expects to bring an expectation of success to Allen.
“I think that will help because we were all on a team together that won a state title. Maybe as a team we can bring something over there too,” he said.
Emanuel Jones signed with Chabot College in California, a two-year junior college. Jones, who excelled as a hybrid linebacker/safety for the Bearcat football team last fall, heard about the school through the grapevine from South Pointe graduate Jeremy Massey.
“He knew the coaches and then I got in contact with them and they’ve been talking to me like a little brother and a player already,” said Jones. “I’m just excited.”
Jones acknowledged leaving home for California will be a challenge. He hopes the experience leads to a Division I scholarship in two years.
“I know it’s gonna be challenging with the distractions but I can’t let that get in my head,” he said. “I’m going down there for a job.”
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T