Northwestern High School's Tierra Lewis is bidding basketball a fond farewell and will concentrate on track when she gets to Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga., in August.
Lewis signed a scholarship with the school Thursday morning and will compete in the throwing events. She is second in the track and field school record book at Northwestern in the shot put, 38 feet, and the discus, 118 feet.
"I want to throw the hammer and javelin in college,'' said Lewis, the daughter of Terry and Lorna Lewis. "But you can only do three events in college so I'm going to throw the hammer.
"I was contacted by Georgia Southern three months ago by e-mail. They invited me for a visit and I liked the school and the area. They've had track for only 10 years, so the program is still pretty new. I look forward to being a part of it.''
Location and the campus were not the only draws. Lewis wants to be a nurse and said the school has a good program for students wanting to go into that field.
She was drawn in by the throwing coach, Khadija Talley, who attended the University of Miami before coming home to coach at Georgia Southern under coach Natalie Smith.
Talley competed in the 2008 Olympic Trials and finished 10th in discus and 12th in the shot put.
With the good comes the bad, and for Lewis the bad is giving up basketball. She was the starting center for Northwestern's Lady Trojans' team that was ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA to start the season and finished with a 24-2 record.
"I'm missing basketball,'' she said, "but track is where basketball was right now. I'm focused on track. Georgia Southern has a good program, and I believe I fit right in. My goals are to win Southern Conference championships in the shot and discus by my sophomore year.''
Lewis' father is a former Northwestern quarterback. He, like any parent feels on signing day, is very proud of his daughter for what she accomplished and for earning a scholarship.
"I'm always giving her advice,'' he said with a chuckle. "I just don't know how much she listens.''