Keep your eye on the ball

 FROM STAFF REPORTS

The past few weeks have brought good news from all corners of the county.

Student-athletes in their final year of high school are signing letters of intent to join college sports teams.

Years of hard work, sweat and probably more than a few tears have culminated in this moment. Their coaches, parents and siblings have sacrificed too – driving student-athletes to practice, helping them maintain grades and cheering them on from the sidelines at late-night games.

For these teenagers, their dedication has paid off with the chance to continue to compete at a collegiate level, not to mention the accompanying scholarships.
Thompson High senior Melvin Owens, who signed to play football at Mississippi Valley State University, began playing the sport when he was 4 years old.

“I’ve always wanted to make sure my parents didn’t have to pay for school … I was able to use my athletic ability and the game that I love to further my athletic career and my academic career,” he said.

Chelsea High senior Katie Davis similarly fell in love with her sport, softball, at a young age and went on to pitch for the Hornets. According to Davis’ softball coach, her success on the mound wasn’t a guarantee when she first joined the team. Davis’ hard work secured her the spot as pitcher for the Hornets and now for Andrew College in Georgia.

Briarwood senior John Hayden recently accepted a golf scholarship from UAB. The talented golfer has also raised more than $42,000 for the Bradley Johnson Memorial Foundation, which supports underprivileged golfers.

To all of the student-athletes graduating this year, both those who will continue playing in college and those whose athletic careers will end in May: It has been a privilege to share in your wins and your losses, to watch you mature into the young adults you are today.

Thank you for bringing the Shelby County Reporter along on your journey, and don’t forget to keep your eye on the ball.