Six Iron Horses ink college sports scholarships
Last week, Philip Simmons High School celebrated the college signing ceremony as six student-athletes announced their matriculation plans.
The ceremony could also serve as a snapshot of the future as more and more Iron Horse athletes will make the school a must stop on the recruiting trail.
“It’s the most we’ve had sign since I’ve been here,” said athletic director Dan Minkin, who is completing his third year at the school. “We had one my first year, and two last year. I can see this continue to grow and grow." He said the signings should continue to grow at a healthy rate and that double-digit signing classes will be here “sooner than you might expect.”
The April 26 signings showed great diversity in the demographics and opportunities.
The girls who signed included the state’s top sprinter in track and field, Naj Watson. The Class AA defending state champ in the 100- and 200-meters, will compete for Georgia Southern. And, standout De’Andra Brown will attend USC Beaufort.
Iron Horse athletic trainer Ella Cooper connected with the SEC, signing with the Kentucky Wildcats. Cheerleader Tori Parulis will go to Charleston Southern in the fall. Volleyball standout Ludy Borges will attend North Carolina Wesleyan.
Cooper’s scholarship might be the most intriguing of the group. She takes a trainer’s class taught by Alli Kunze. She is one of seven student-athletes who were selected for Kentucky’s training program. It’s not unusual to find her working on the sidelines during autumn night’s working with members of the varsity and junior varsity football teams. This spring, she is on the Iron Horse softball team, which has qualified for the Class AA state playoffs.
“It’s amazing that one of our student-athletes was selected, one of seven around the country,” Minkin said. “And it’s in the SEC, such a successful conference.”
Two sport star Tripp Williams will stay close to home, playing football for The Citadel.
The term is student-athlete, and there’s no variance at Philip Simmons.
“Signing a scholarship goes hand-in-hand with what we’re trying to accomplish on and off the field,” Minkin said. “We feel you really can’t experience athletic success if you don’t have academic success.”
The school is in position to win its second Class AA Carlyle Cup, which is given to the top athletic programs in all five classifications in the Palmetto State.
“We use the Carlyle Cup to measure the success of our teams,” Minkin said. “We use scholarships to measure the success of our students on and off the field.”