Area high school seniors who have signed or are expected to sign college scholarships soon:
Bradley Central: Tyler Carpenter (Lee); Heritage: Dylan Bice (ETSU); McCallie: Ethan Cady (Lipscomb), Quinn Smith (VMI); Ringgold: Cade Gilbert (ETSU), Jacob Justice (Bryan College), Devin Lancaster (Tennessee Tech); Soddy-Daisy: Tre Carter (Tennessee), Colin Kearney (Bryan College).
Hamilton Heights: Ezekiel Balogun (The Citadel); Walker Valley: Kenny Bunton (Lipscomb).
Baylor: Kaleigh Clemons (Vanderbilt); Boyd-Buchanan: Maddie Wright (Belmont); Central: Shawnia Anderson (North Georgia); Hamilton Heights: Akia Harris (Tennessee Tech); Meigs County: Taylor Boggess (Lee); Silverdale: Megan Lewis (Union University); Van Buren: Lakelyn Bouldin (UTC).
Baylor: Oliver Simonsen (UTC); Heritage: Sport Allmond (Dalton State), Ben Rebne (Dalton State); McCallie: Evan Spence (Lee); Notre Dame: Zachary Riddle (Trevecca), Reese Scobey (Trevecca); Walker Valley: Dylan Lillard (Lee).
Baylor: Katherine Holmes (MTSU); Signal Mountain: Bethany Burns (Dartmouth); Walker Valley: Katie Medley (Carson-Newman).
McCallie: Jeff Durden (Navy), Zach Hutchko (Denver), Andrew Klementz (Greensboro College), Jonathan Lipman (Rochester Institute of Technology), Nic Najjar (Denison).
GPS: Nicki Backus (Tulsa).
Baylor: Chloe Maize (Alabama); East Hamilton: Nicole Ford (Lee).
Baylor: Mari Gardner (Drexler), Crosby Huckabay (Georgia Tech), Kayla Hughes (Tennessee Tech); Calhoun: Kinsey Liscio (Western Carolina), Emily Mitchell (Harding), Emily Weatherman (Mississippi State); Gordon Lee: Emily Armour (Georgia College), Courtland Middleton (Georgia College); Heritage: Brooklynn Frazier (Lee), Shelby Hammontree (North Georgia), Olivia Tamewitz (Kennesaw State), Hannah Wills (Mobile); NW Whitfield: Shelby Ralston (Bryan); Ooltewah: Monica Thompson (Howard University); Red Bank: Jasmine Simpson (Alabama A&M); Rhea County: Amy Lewis (UTC); Ringgold: Taylor Chadwick (Georgia State); Silverdale: Ali Birchfield (Trevecca Nazarene), Taylor Moran (Lee), Lindsey Newell (Shorter).
Dalton: Ethan Young (California).
TRACK & FIELD
Rhea County: Chase Sholl (Tennessee); Signal Mountain: McKenzie Ethridge (Mississippi State).
Baylor: Haven Bethune (Army); Central: Rebekah Hill (King); Gordon Lee: Juliana Spradlin (Truett-McConnell); Ooltewah: Alex Biro (Carson-Newman), Hannah Matthews (Trevecca Nazarene).
Baylor: Michael Murphy (Virginia).
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball program added five recruits in the early signing period, and they include three players from the Illinois Force travel team: middle infielder Maddy Adams from Hobart, Ind.; pitcher Celie Hudson from Paris, Tenn., and Henry County High School; and all-state outfielder Aly Walker from Median, Tenn., and South Gibson High.
The other two signees are versatile Amy Lewis from Rhea County High School and the Frost Falcons and outfielder Hayleigh Weissenbach from Moreno Valley, Calif.
Lewis has played center field, catcher and shortstop, according to the UTC release. She is a left-handed batter and a two-time Best of Preps honoree.
"One of the things we like about Amy is she is always willing to take an extra base and how gutsy she is getting down to sliding," UTC coach Frank Reed said.
Weissenbach, he said, "is strong and has speed. She slaps it and can hit some home runs. We really like that aggressiveness she has."
In general about the signees, Reed said, "We looked at speed and adding to the pitching and middle infield positions when recruiting this class."
Adams led Hobart High with a .521 batting average as a junior and "has really good hands, a good eye for the ball and runs bases well," Reed said.
Hudson is a pitcher known also for offense, with 15 home runs as a Henry County junior, and Walker is a two-time all-state selection who "brings speed to the game and aggressiveness on the bases (and) hits well," according to the UTC coach.
New heights for Hawks
Hamilton Heights basketball standouts Ezekiel Balogun and Akia Harris signed Division I scholarships last week with The Citadel and Tennessee Tech, respectively.
Harris is new with the Lady Hawks after starring for three years at GPS. She averaged 19.5 points and 5.5 assists for the Bruisers last year.
"Akia is a wonderful student-athlete," Hamilton Heights coach Keisha Hunt said in the announcement release. "She possesses an amazing work ethic on the court and in the classroom."
Duke Stone, who heads the school, had similar comments about Balogun, a three-year starter for the Hawks and their first four-year international student. Citadel coach Duggar Baucom said about him on Citadelsports.com: "EZ is an extremely athletic wing that can play a variety of positions and can defend any position on the court. He can shoot 3-pointers but also finish and make plays above the rim."
Simpson to Alabama A&M
Red Bank catcher Jasmine Simpson accepted an early scholarship offer from Alabama A&M, and third-year Bulldogs coach Nakeya Hall is thrilled to have her.
"I like her presence. She's a big, tall target back there — almost 6-foot — and that's something different than we've had in the past," Hall said Wednesday. "And she's just a great all-round kid athletically and academically, which also caught my eye. She has a 3.89 GPA and did very well on her test score, and I want players who compete as much in the classroom as on the ballfield. We had the highest GPA on campus last year."
Simpson, who has played summer ball for the Chattanooga Lady Storm, also plays basketball and volleyball for Red Bank. Tennessee State also was recruiting her, according to Lady Storm coach Craig Thompson.
"When I took my official visit in October, I fell in love with the campus at first," Simpson said. "Then I met the coach and the team and I fell in love again. It was like my select team all over again."
She loves catching but can play almost every other position. "I don't pitch and I don't play second base," she said.