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OHS student-athletes make decision official on signing day

Nine+student-athletes+signed+their+National+Letter+of+Intent+in+the+OHS+Library+on+Wednesday%2C+November+9.
Nine student-athletes signed their National Letter of Intent in the OHS Library on Wednesday, November 9.

Nine student-athletes signed their National Letter of Intent in the OHS Library on Wednesday, November 9.

Kelly Graeber

Kelly Graeber

Nine student-athletes signed their National Letter of Intent in the OHS Library on Wednesday, November 9.

Jared Redding, Sports Editor

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Many student-athletes have signature wins, signature games, and signature moments throughout their high school careers. A select few student-athletes also have signatures awaiting them on a piece of paper on a special day in high school athletics.

Nine senior student-athletes at OHS made their college decisions official on Wednesday, November 9, signing their National Letter of Intent to their respective future colleges.

“Knowing that you get the chance to do what you love for four more years, that’s a wonderful feeling. To be on the other end of that, as the coach, that’s actually an even better feeling, seeing the smiles on these kids’ faces who are moving onto the next level and competing in a sport that they’ve been competing in since they were little kids and doing it for four more years, it’s a great feeling,” OHS cross country head coach Chris Patton said about the experience of signing day. Patton signed his NLI (National Letter of Intent) to Ole Miss to run track when he was in high school.

November 9 was one of three signing periods in the 2016-2017 academic year. The next signing day will be on February 1.

Three players were signed from the back to back defending state champion baseball team. Catcher and infielder Ben Bianco signed with the University of Louisville. Bianco returns to the diamond this season after a torn labrum injury put him out for the season early last season. Bianco’s younger brother and current OHS junior, Drew, is currently an LSU commit. Bianco’s teammates, Chase Kessinger and Reed Markle both signed with Northeast Mississippi Community College. Kessinger is a pitcher and a outfielder for the Chargers. Last season, Markle had a 3-1 record as pitcher with a 1.75 ERA and 22 strikeouts. All three seniors have been successful in their high school careers, on the field, and in the classroom.

“All those kids are kind of the quiet kid that just do what you tell them to do when they are out there [the field]. They take care of their business in the classroom and outside of the classroom,” assistant baseball coach Chase Goolsby said about his baseball players. Goolsby signed his NLI to go play baseball at East Mississippi Community College when he was in high school.

The softball team had one representative from the signing day: Kaytlon Pegues. She made her decision to sign with Calhoun Community College. She had a strong year playing for a team coming off of a playoff birth last season. Pegues had 22 hits last season with nine RBIs and 21 runs scored.

The girls soccer team, coming off a historic last season with their first state championship, also had three of their players sign their NLI. Goalkeeper Bailey O’Conner signed with Holmes Community College. O’Conner had 94 goals saved last season and allowed only 15 goals all season. Forward Addison Meadows signed with Itawamba Community College. Meadows had three goals scored with 10 assists. Defender Michelle Reed signed with Hinds Community College. Reed was productive on the defensive end last season preventing opposing teams from getting the chance to score.

Swayze Elliott signed with Mississippi College and will run track there after finishing a phenomenal track and cross country career at OHS. Elliott was “really excited” about signing after committing in June. Elliott has a personal best of 5:22.06 in the mile and runs a 19:58.00 running the 5K in cross country.

In boys basketball, guard Jarkel Joiner signed with California State University at Bakersfield. Joiner has been a scoring machine in his long career at OHS, particularly in his junior season. Joiner scored a record 28.9 points per game.

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OHS student-athletes make decision official on signing day