Two athletes sign early at PHS
Published 1:22 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2015
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— Top cross-country runner Mary Grace Strozier and star baseball player Cole Whitman signed with Samford University and Mississippi State University, respectively, Nov. 11.
“This is an awesome opportunity for Cole and Mary Grace to continue their education at the next level,” said Pelham High School athletic director Kim Kiel. “I just want to say thank you so much for your commitment to Pelham High School athletic department. You guys are role models, and we will always consider you to be a Panther.”
Strozier, who is ranked No. 1 in 6A cross-country and No. 3 overall, said she chose Samford because of the family atmosphere at the college, the small teacher-to-student ratio and the coaches she will be working with.
She will also be following in the footsteps of her mother, who ran at Samford when she was a student there.
“I am so excited,” Strozier said after signing. “It’s starting to feel real now.”
Whitman said this moment has been a long time coming for him, and signing with Mississippi State is exciting. He said he loves the school and has a friend who is also at the university.
“I like Coach (John) Cohen and Coach (Nick) Mingione,” Whitman said. “It’s just an atmosphere that I wanted to be in, they have a great program and they work hard. It’s where I wanted to go.”
Head cross country coach Marty Springfield and head baseball coach Sean Anderson both spoke to the character of Strozier and Whitman, saying the occasion was an important day for the athletes and Pelham High School.
Both coaches said they were looking forward to seeing what the two students will accomplish in the future.
“I just want to congratulate Mary Grace and Cole, this is a big day for them,” Springfield said. “For them to be able to follow, what I’m sure is their dream for a long time now, is a huge accomplishment, and it’s something that we are proud of for them.”