Etowah’s class of 11 signees leads county schools
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
April 18, 2013 12:48 AM | 3331 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Though Cherokee County’s class of spring signees wasn’t as large as the winter group was, there were still no lack of college destinations represented by the local athletes.
<Br>Photo special to the Tribune
Though Cherokee County’s class of spring signees wasn’t as large as the winter group was, there were still no lack of college destinations represented by the local athletes.
Photo special to the Tribune
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CANTON — Cherokee County welcomed more than three dozen athletes to its class of college-bound seniors at a breakfast ceremony Wednesday.

While smaller than the ceremony that was held in February on National Signing Day, it was the largest group honored in a spring ceremony.

Sequoyah girls basketball coach Derrick DeWitt said it was nice to see so many athletes honored for their hard work.

“This is the second county I have worked in and I’ve not seen this kind of turnout, especially for a second signing,” he said. “It’s really nice to be a part of. I think Cherokee has great academic students and athletic students going from swimming all the way to lacrosse, along with basketball, football, baseball and golf.”

Etowah had the largest group of signees with 11. Among them was kicker Ryan Hopper, who will attend Reinhardt University.

Hopper, who will join former Etowah teammate Vashaun Washington on the Eagles’ inaugural football team, said he looks forward to being a part of the new program, which currently does not have a kicker on its roster.

“It feels good to hopefully get a starting position there,” said Hopper, who added that the nearby location was also a big factor for him. “It’s a good school academically, plus they have a new football team, which gives me a chance to start my first year.”

Three members of the Etowah girls lacrosse team signed to play in college — Rachael Cramer (Chowan University), Kendall Sienon (Wingate University) and Alexandra Wright (Aurora University). Signing from the boys soccer team were Spencer Marks (Presbyterian College) and Isaac Walker (Queens College).

Baseball players Joseph Hume (University of Montevallo) and Clinton Tonini (University of Pikeville) signed, as did golfer Jake Forbes (Piedmont College), softball player Brittany Rosenberry (Georgia Military College) and swimmer Ira Vogt (St. Andrews College).

Woodstock baseball teammates Zach Zillweger and Dakota Kinney will continue to play together after they both signed with Morthland College in Illinois. Also signing from Woodstock were McKenzie Fortson (basketball, Oglethorpe University), J.C. Cornett (cross country and track, Western Carolina), Savannah McKenzie (lacrosse, Berry College), Dalton Baxter (swimming, Union College), Max Keeton (football, Rhodes College) and Keaton Wallace (cross country and track, Troy University).

McKenzie, who began playing lacrosse as a freshman, said Berry is the perfect campus for her. Originally a track athlete, she played lacrosse in the offseason, but it soon became her primary sport.

“I met the coach, and it’s a really good program,” McKenzie said. “I’m excited. I didn’t expect to play in college. It’s kind of cool. It just kind of happens. If you work hard and do your best and listen to what you are told, it just happens.”

Three students from Cherokee High School were recognized, including Nick Ragsdale, who will play football at Davidson College. Daylan Green, a cheerleader, signed with Berry, and Courtney Duc signed to compete in track and field at Oglethorpe.

Jared O’Kelley became the first Creekview golfer to sign a Division I scholarship when he inked with the University of Cincinnati. Also signing from Creekview were Trent Gilleland (football, University of the Cumberlands), Emma Cook (basketball, Berry College), Connor Fraser (football, Fort Lewis College), Hannah Hunter (basketball, Georgia College and State University), Stone Peterson (swimming, Darton College) and Whitney Stevenson (golf, Daytona State).

River Ridge saw four of its athletes sign, including football players Austin Bennett (Tusculum College), Austin Terrell (Methodist University) and Chris Robinson (Cumberland University). Austin Maxwell signed to swim at Berry.

Signing from Sequoyah were Kierra Smith (basketball, West Georgia Technical College), Colin Dozier (football, University of the Cumberlands), Blake Ingleton (football, Shorter University) and Nick Vogel (golf, Reinhardt).

Ingleton, who was joined by a large group of family at the ceremony, said it’s good to know that he has so much support.

“It’s nice,” he said. “It used to be hard to get my brothers and sisters out to the games, but ever since about eighth grade, they started supporting me more. It’s just really nice having them here.”
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