Pelham signing day ceremony celebrates nine new college athletes

Published 10:46 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – It was a day worth celebrating at Pelham High School on Tuesday, May 21 as nine different student-athletes took the next step of their journey and signed their National Letters of Intent to play college athletics.

Pelham’s third signing day ceremony of the year honored a diverse group of student-athletes across five sports and nine schools ranging from Division I to junior colleges.

The Panthers track program had a big day celebrating not one, but two SEC signees across their three athletes who made their decisions official at the stand.

Sprinting star Will McGough, who finished in second at the state championship in the 100-meter dash with a school-record time of 10.68 seconds, officially signed with Alabama after announcing his commitment over the weekend.

He said that signing with the Tide motivates him to keep working to improve even more ahead of his move to Tuscaloosa.

“It feels amazing,” McGough said. “Now I’m just ready to pursue and get better at track.”

Tyler Mason also closed out his high school career with a school record in the shot put at state, and he donned the Mississippi State maroon cap to seal his decision to throw for the Bulldogs.

Mason’s journey was unique as a two-sport athlete in football and track and field. After an emotional speech where he honored both sets of coaches, including track coach Jennifer Argo, who he called his “second mom,” he said both sports were crucial in his journey.

“Football and track, both of them worked together to get me where I am,” Mason said. “Like I said in my speech, football taught me hard work, but track was like a family.”

Jayden Hayes also thanked his track coaches after signing with the University of Mobile to continue his athletic career.

“My coach was a big help,” Hayes said. “They influenced me to do really great things. They helped me from going to a lower tier athlete and build me up to a very high athlete to where I am now, and it’s just amazing with how they did things with the training workouts and all the things they did, workouts and strength and conditioning, stretching and many more things I could never explain.

The track and field program was not the only one with multiple signees as Mike Grayson and CJ Tolbert will represent Pelham football at the next level.

Tolbert beamed with pride as he signed with Delta State and saw the fruits of his labor pay off with an opportunity to play wide receiver in college.

“It feels amazing,” Tolbert said. “It’s just a dream come true. I worked so hard for this and it’s just finally here now.”

Grayson was similarly proud and grateful after making his decision to play for Lane College official. After thanking their friends and family, he and Tolbert both remarked on how football coach Mike Vickery helped open doors for them to continue their careers.

“He’s changed everything around,” Grayson said. “He changed it to the better.”

After starring on the basketball floor for the Panthers, Joe Wimberly will now take his floor general skills to Bethel University. He thanked the many people who supported him, believed in him and pushed him to achieve the success he has earned.

“It feels great,” Wimberly said. “It feels amazing. I’m glad I got this opportunity to be able to play the next level.”

Wimberly won’t be the only member of the Class of 2024 to play college basketball as Alayna Noble will spend the next two years with Gadsden State’s women’s basketball program. After a long and challenging journey to get to this moment, she is happy that her hard work paid off.

“It feels good just to know that I don’t let adversity stop me and I finally got here after everybody told me that I would make it,” Noble said.

Jordan Howard will represent Pelham softball at Oakwood University and she is grateful to her coaching staff for helping prepare her for life after high school.

“My teachers have really impacted my life because not only have they taught me lessons for the softball field they’ve taught me life lessons as well, and I’m very thankful for their help in my lifetime,” Howard said.

Brock Isbell also talked about the impact his coaches had on him, especially since his head coach Sean Anderson announced his retirement at the end of the season. After giving thanks to God for giving him the chance to sign with Lawson State, he said Anderson helped him take a big leap this past season.

“He definitely impacted me a lot,” Isbell said. “My junior year, I played about half the season. Going into senior year, he helped me a lot through practices, teaching me things and just making me better overall.”