Five N.A. student-athletes sign to play in college

  • Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 9:24 p.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, February 27, 2014 11:20 a.m.
Staff Photo by Scott Rodgers
Five North Augusta High School student-athletes signed to continue playing in college including, from left, Nik O達rien, Kaleigh Busbee, Taylor Hearst, Ronald Williams and Willie McCloud.
Staff Photo by Scott Rodgers Five North Augusta High School student-athletes signed to continue playing in college including, from left, Nik O達rien, Kaleigh Busbee, Taylor Hearst, Ronald Williams and Willie McCloud.

In training for his state championship in the 2-mile, Nik O達rien probably covered the 782 miles from North Augusta to Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y. That痴 where he signed Wednesday to continue his competing.

Along with O達rien, North Augusta had athletes sign from the football program, girls soccer and softball.

O達rien considered Texas, Florida and Iowa State before deciding on Fordham.

的t痴 a great feeling, he said. 的致e worked a long time at this and I don稚 see my career ending anytime soon. It痴 a great continuation of that. I知 really blessed to have this opportunity.

The cross country and track star still has a few events that he aims to conquer in his final season as a Yellow Jacket.

的 would say being a state champion in the 2-mile for 2013 is definitely an achievement that I知 proud of, he said. 的 would like to be track and field champion in the 3,200 (meters) this year and maybe even the 1-mile.

Kaleigh Busbee, the third baseman for the softball team, signed to play at Spartanburg Methodist College.

的t means a lot, because I致e worked hard throughout the years, she said 的 don稚 have a lot of time off because I知 always playing softball.

Busbee said she chose to become a Pioneer because of the coaching staff.

典he team is great, the coach is amazing, she said. 滴e痴 really family-like.

As a freshman, Busbee is looking to start immediately, something she痴 capable of according to North Augusta coach Derrick Quinn.

鉄he has all of the tools, he said. 摘xcellent ball player and a really nice glove. Very strong arm. Swings a very strong bat. Solid all-around player.

Joining O達rien and Busbee in signing was Taylor Hurst of the girls soccer team. The midfielder is headed to Lander.

的t痴 paying for my education and I love the sport, she said. 的 don稚 think I ever want to stop playing.

Hurst, whose final soccer season is underway, said she hopes to start immediately at Lander.

的 know I値l be playing (at Lander) the first couple of games, hopefully I値l start toward the end of the year, she said.

Matt Sawicz, North Augusta痴 head coach, called Hurst a 菟henomenal athlete.

典aylor has been on varsity all four years, he said. 鉄he is already a three-time all-region player. You can稚 teach speed and she痴 got plenty of speed. She痴 worked really hard to be a good soccer player on top of that.

From the gridiron, Ronald Williams and Willie McCloud each took the next step in their athletic pursuits.

McCloud, who rushed for more than 1,400 yards in his senior season, is headed to the University of Pikeville in Kentucky.

的t痴 a big deal, I知 the first male in my family to go on to play football, McCloud said. 的t痴 a chance to get a free education, so that痴 really humbling. Pikeville runs the same offense that we ran and they have a pretty good program. They have a really good media program, which led me to Pikeville. I知 going to major in communications or teaching.

McCloud, who shared the running back position with Williams, who was also an All-Aiken Standard selection at linebacker, called his teammate a great player and person.

迭onald and I have been friends since fifth grade, McCloud said. 迭onald is a heck of a player and one of the best people I致e ever been around. He痴 going to go far in life.

Williams, who will be a Livingstone College Blue Bear next season, is excited to play in Salisbury, N.C.

的t means a lot, because I really want to show my talent to everybody that痴 outside the state, he said. 的致e loved football ever since I was little, since rec league. I really was a baseball fan, but when I started playing football I started loving it more and kept working at it and became better at that.

With the signings, the Jackets football team now has eight players headed to the college ranks.

的t痴 big (for the program), said Dan Pippin, North Augusta痴 outgoing head coach. 的t says a lot about the kids, the assistant coaches and the program. It痴 neat that we池e to that point, where we can sign eight kids. They池e great kids, great team guys. They helped us win a whole bunch of football games. They池e good kids going to good schools. I couldn稚 be prouder.

T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for the North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj.

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