Kristi Vaughn from Sonoraville High School and the North Georgia Rage Volleyball Club has received her second national accolade from the Junior Volleyball Association in a month. Already on the JVA "Junior Watch List," Vaughn now is one of seven rising seniors in the United States designated for the JVA "AthLeader Award" for comprehensive excellence beyond the court. With a 4.0 grade point average, she is ranked first in her class of 227, which she serves as vice president, and a Georgia Merit Scholar. She also is a certified nursing assistant and a volunteer in church ministry activities. She will be the co-president of Sonoraville's Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle this year. She has received the Gold Presidential Community Service Award and was a member this past year of Youth Leadership for Calhoun-Gordon County.
• Silverdale Baptist Academy first baseman and pitcher Loren Hilton signed scholarship papers Tuesday to continue her softball career at Tennessee Temple University. "What I like about her is she hits them out," Temple coach Randy Crawford said. "She's a strong girl, and she throws hard. I'm going to be fair with everybody, but she'll have the opportunity to play first and try pitching for us. I'm tickled that we're going to have depth this year." Crawford's Lady Crusaders advanced from one win in their debut season of 2012 to 26 wins in 2013, and they finished second in the National Christian College Athletic Association Mid-East Region tournament to the team that won the national title. "It's a new program that's already moving up, and I'd like to contribute to building it," said Hilton, noting that she also talked to Cleveland State, Roane State and Berry College. "And I like that it's close to home."
• In addition to welcoming Southern Conference commissioner John Iamarino to make East Tennessee State's return to the league official, officials at the Johnson City school announced in the Tuesday news conference that former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball standout and assistant coach Richard Sander had signed a one-year extension as athletic director. Sander, who got his UTC degree in 1968 and began his coaching career at Howard High School, was Virginia Commonwealth's AD for 20 years until retiring in 2006. He became ETSU's interim AD this past January.