Panthers pick their future schools

Panthers pick their future schools

Smiths Station held its National Signing Day ceremony last week which showcased seven student-athletes that signed letters of intent to play at the collegiate level. The sports that were represented were football, soccer (boys and girls), and volleyball. After the early signing period late last year, which had nine student-athletes and last Wednesday’s signees, Smiths Station had a total of 16 student-athletes to sign letters of intent to play at the next level from the 2019-2020 school year.

The ceremony started with the Boy’s Athletic Director Brian Nelson who welcomed everyone and thanked the parents for investing in their children over the years and he talked about the schools “Be Kind Week.” 

The school held the event to bring the students closer together by investing in each other and just talking. That day’s theme was “Be Grateful” day, which was appropriate since the school, the community and the students had a lot to be grateful for with these seven student-athletes to carry on the Panther Pride across the country.

Up First was the Head Coach Mike Glisson who introduced the three football team’s signees. QB Ashford is going to ASA-Miami Community College in Hialeah, Fla., Caleb Coleman is going to Hutchison Community College in Hutchison, Kan. and Christian Williams is staying closer to home at Huntington College in Montgomery. 

Glisson shared some personal experiences about his boys; “QB is someone who hates to lose and sometimes I have to tell him it’s ok.”

 “Caleb Coleman is going to one of the best junior college programs in the country at Hutchinson and I think Caleb was sold on this school since this past year they had four defensive backs to sign to Power-5 conferences.”  

“Two years and 45 pounds ago Christian Williams didn’t even play football and was convinced by his science teacher to tryout for the team. He’s still learning football and his best days are ahead of him.”

Before closing, Glisson gave underclassmen and juniors advice about getting to this level in the future, “Grades are number one, test scores are number two and your ability to play is third.”

Up next was Coach Jenna Walker for the Volleyball team who had one signee, Asiah Wiggins who was the program’s first signee in three years and the first under Walker. Asiah is going to play for Southern Union in Wadley. 

“Asiah has been an asset to our program since she’s been here, she is a vocal leader on the court.”

Coach Dennis Jones of the Varsity Girls Soccer team introduced his two signees, Reese Ponder who is going to Judson College in Marion, and Shelby Watkins is going to the University of West Alabama in Livingston. 

Jones shared some experiences from his girls. “Because of their commitment to play college soccer after these two ladies sign Smiths Station will currently have six players playing at the collegiate level.”

 “Reese Ponder has been a vital part of the program and progressed through the JV ranks with the representation of a player that is coachable and will do anything that is asked of her.” 

“Shelby Watkins joined the Smiths Station family three years ago after transferring from a high school down the road, this was a courageous move because she left a varsity spot on the team and lost a year of eligibility. She was the starting goalkeeper and was voted captain in her junior year.”

For the last signee Coach Jeff Carrero of the Boys’ Soccer team introduced Cam Burnett who is going to Faulkner University in Montgomery. 

“Cam’s work ethic is what got him here. He improved every year and I’m not talking about a little bit but big steps. HE set a goal and it wasn’t just me, he played traveled ball and went to camps and did everything he could to make himself the player he is today and that’s a credit to his parents and his family also.”