McCallie School seniors Scott Hughes and James Cupo will be continuing their lacrosse careers at the NCAA Division I level. The two key members of the Blue Tornado offense took part in a signing ceremony Friday at the local prep school.
Cupo signed a national letter of intent with Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. Hughes signed a commitment to play for the Air Force Academy.
Both were lacrosse All-Americans last year, when the 5-foot-9 Cupo had 29 goals and 13 assists and the 5-7 Hughes had 24 goals and 23 assists as McCallie was state runner-up for the second time in their three seasons.
"Both are four-year varsity guys, and every four-year varsity guy we've had here has had an opportunity to play in college," McCallie coach Troy Kemp said. "This is a flag planted for lacrosse. It is fantastic for McCallie, but it's even greater for the sport of lacrosse in Tennessee."
Kemp said both "should be able to make an immediate impact on their respective teams. Their combination of athleticism, intensity and competitive nature has helped them become two of the more dominant lacrosse players in the Southeast. Scott and James can play anywhere on the field."
Hughes played football and wrestled through the ninth grade before sticking exclusively with lacrosse. His father, David, started the McCallie program in 1989, and his brother, David Jr., preceded him as an All-American in the sport.
"I started playing in sixth grade, but I've always had a stick in my hand," Scott said.
He was similarly drawn to the family's military background in wanting to play for the Air Force Academy. A grandfather was in the Air Force, and David Sr. was a Marine. Scott considered Hampden-Sydney, Washington & Lee, Gettysburg College and Holy Cross, but he applied only to the academy and Tennessee.
"I am blessed to be given the opportunity to play the sport I love while serving my country, and I plan to make the most of it," Hughes said.
Cupo began playing lacrosse in New Jersey before the family moved to the Chattanooga area and became instrumental in starting the Middle Valley youth program. Also a starting football cornerback, he talked to Lynchburg, Loyola (Md.), Penn State, Hampden-Sydney and VMI coaches, among others, before committing to Presbyterian's second-year varsity lacrosse program.
"I like being part of something being built and helping them become a successful program," he said, "and the potential is definitely there. I like the atmosphere there, too. I found it was a lot like McCallie, and Coach (Jason) Childs was a big part of my decision."