While the 2005-06 sports year is coming to an end, many high school seniors are seeing their athletic careers just begin. Five Columbia County athletes put their names on the dotted line last week to secure a spot on athletic teams at the college level:
As one of several top athletes on Augusta Christian's state championship football team this past fall, Morris made his home in the middle of the offensive line as the team's starting center. Staying true to form, Morris made sure that as his friends gathered around him during his signing. To his left sat his left guard, Paul Alewine, and directly behind him stood his quarterback, Lee Banks.
"It's been that way since my freshman year so I wanted it that way today," Morris said.
Morris will join LaGrange in its first year as a football program. The NCAA D-III school is only 30 minutes away from Auburn, where teammate Robert Clifton will play next season.
As a member of the 2005-06 Evans Knights, one of the best boys basketball teams in the history of Columbia County, Miller consistently wowed spectators and electrified the student section as the top 3-point shooter on the team. His biggest shot came during the Region 2-AAAA Tournament with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send Evans to the championship game. Aiken Tech coach Bruce Capers said he hopes to see the same shooting performance at the college level.
"We've been watching Glen for two years," Capers said. "We're losing two guards and who better to replace them than the best shooter in the area?"
Miller said he hopes a career at Aiken Tech will be a springboard to an NCAA D-I program two years down the road.
One year after leading the entire Augusta area in RBI, Ward has stayed consistent with strong offensive numbers during his senior year. He was one of the main contributors on last season's state playoff final four team and has played a strong role in the maturation of this year's squad. Like his classmate Glen Miller, Ward said he hopes a two-year career at a junior college will grow into a spot on a roster at a four-year college.
"I would rather go to a two-year school and play than go Division I and sit on the bench," Ward said. "Hopefully starting off at a junior college will give me what I need to end college at the division one level."
Harlem High School isn't exactly a breeding ground for tennis athletes. In fact, Moore said he's the first boys tennis player to ever sign a college scholarship.
Moore's dedication to the sport is as strong if not stronger than that of any other athlete in the county. The Harlem senior drives a half-hour three times a week to train in North Augusta. The result has been a four-year high school career that's seen Moore lead the Bulldogs as the team's No. 1 singles player.
"It's all been worth it. I'm going to be the No. 1 player at a Division I school," Moore said. "Today's signing, being able to play tennis in college. That makes it all worth it."
One of many talented swimmers on the Lakeside swim team, McCauley turned in several first place performances through this past winter's high school season. The senior took first place multiple times this past season in the girl's 200-meter freestyle, the girl's 500-meter freestyle and as a part of the girl's 200-meter freestyle relay.
University of Arizona
Lawton has been told all his life he can't do the things his peers do.
Then he does them.
"Everything he's done we've always tried to hold him back." Lawton's father, Brewtie Lawton said. "Driving, A.P. classes and college, but he's doing them all."
Despite suffering from cerebral palsy and using a wheelchair to get around, the Grovetown resident still drives himself to school, is currently cruising through three Advanced Placement courses and has earned both an academic and athletic scholarship to the University of Arizona. Lawton has played on one of the top 16 wheelchair basketball teams in the nation and one of the best wheelchair rugby teams as a member of BladeSports out of Atlanta. Lawton said he has little concerns with making the cross-country trip to play wheelchair rugby at the next level.
"They're more worried about it than I am," Lawton said, pointing to his parents. "The only thing I'm worried about is I have to learn to wash my own clothes."
Softball has always been a part of Turner's life. The Evans senior was an original member of the Grease Lightning softball travel team, and has been a regular third baseman for the Lady Knights. She'll continue her softball career at Aiken Tech, a college not-so-far from home.
"I didn't want to go too far. I'm a daddy's girl," Turner said. She'll have plenty of friends at college with several former Lady Knights suiting up at Aiken Tech. Turner said she'll come in as a third baseman but can also play catcher.
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