Callaway has 11 student-athletes sign to play sports in college

Published 6:50 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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The Callaway Cavaliers had a whopping 11 (!) student-athletes from four different sports sign to play at the next level on Monday. It was a packed house with baseball, basketball, football and soccer represented.

The lone baseball player, Bryce Hubbard, will be heading to the University of North Georgia.

“Honestly, this feels like a big relief and just knowing it’s done because this is everything that I’ve ever worked for,” he said.

Hubbard is about as Callaway as it comes. As the son of baseball head coach Dusty Hubbard, he has grown up on the Cavaliers diamond. With his hair freshly dyed blonde with his fellow teammates, Hubbard is gearing up for one last run in red and black.

“We are not done yet, I can promise you that, ” Hubbard said with a laugh. “We are determined to do something big this season.”

His senior year has been his best yet with an ERA under 1.00 and a batting average north of .420 while leading the team with 24 RBIs.

Basketball also had just one signee as center Lacey Thomas made the jump to the next level. Thomas will be traveling halfway across the country to attend Cloud County in Kansas, an exciting yet daunting prospect.

“It will be a chance for me to really branch out and focus on myself without any distractions,” Thomas said. “It’s definitely exciting and scary, but I’m more excited to see where this journey takes me.”

Thomas has had as big of an impact on the Callaway girls basketball program as anybody who has ever put on that jersey. She tallied her 1,000th career point with the Cavaliers during her senior season and helped the team make history by going to back-to-back Elite Eights during her freshman and sophomore seasons.

“Making history those years was special and I really wish we could have made another run like that,” Thomas said, chuckling.

Thomas was always one of the volleyball and flag football team’s most impactful players and will be difficult to replace for all three programs next year.

The football team saw four of its players — D’Arcy Harris, Koryon Hoard, Cam Tucker and Treyonn Tucker make their next destinations known on Monday. All four of these players helped the team capture a state title during their freshman seasons and helped the team make deep runs in the subsequent years.

Harris can play on both sides of the ball as a wide receiver or defensive back but believes he is best suited to play on defense at the next level.

Harris will be heading to Warner University which is led by former LaGrange High coach Dialleo Burks.

“I tore my ACL before the season, so recruiting was a little slow at first, but I was able to come back and play late in the season,” Harris said. “I used to play for coach Burks when I was younger, so this felt like a natural fit.”

Harris was also a key figure for the Cavaliers baseball team that won a region title this season as was Hoard.

Hoard has been a bruising tight end for the Cavaliers these last four years. He had bigger opportunities for this fall, but he chose to attend Northwest Mississippi State so he could build himself for a transfer. 

“I was thinking about going to a Division II school, but the more I thought about it the more I thought about going Juco and building my skills up before transferring hopefully to a Division I school,” Hoard said.

Hoard was an all-region tight end during his senior season while also playing sparingly along the defensive line.

Cam has been a Swiss army knife for the Cavaliers. His athletic abilities will be a huge asset for Kentucky State.

“I can play anywhere they want me to, but they really want me to play as a slot receiver and on special teams,” Cam said.

“I wanted to play both ways and kept asking the coaches for more snaps on defense.”

Cam played offense, defense and special teams last season. Cam finished his senior season with 440 yards receiving and 440 yards rushing with 14 total touchdowns to his name.

Treyonn was also a versatile weapon for the Cavaliers. He could line up in the backfield, out wide or just about anywhere he was needed.

All this will serve him well as he heads to Andrew College.

“To have everybody here for a moment like this is special,” Treyonn said. “It’s been a blessing to play here, but I’m excited to start my new life at Andrew.”

Treyonn led the team in receiving yards his senior year with nearly 800 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Callaway soccer program had its biggest signing class in history as five total players signed to play in college — four girls and one boy.

The Cavaliers girls’ soccer program will have a reunion at LaGrange College. Midfielders Mary Kate Baswell and Kadence Leithleiter both signed to play with the Panthers starting in the fall.

“I wanted to keep playing soccer in my hometown and I got accepted to LaGrange College and started talking with their coach, so it just made sense for me to go there,” Baswell said.

Leithleiter was looking for a place to play close to home and Baswell was instrumental in getting her the chance to play at LaGrange College.

“I was looking for a place to play and had some offers, but Mary Kate was able to get me in touch with the coach at LaGrange College, and we hit it off and it just went from there,” Leithleiter said.

Baswell has played just about every sport available at Callaway High School, but her home has always been on the soccer field. 

“I really started to think about playing in college going into my sophomore year,” Baswell said. “When I was younger I never really thought about playing at the college level, but the older I got the more I didn’t want to let soccer go.”

Leithleiter is passing the torch to her younger sister Alayna, who will be a junior on next year’s team. Leithleiter will still get to stay close to home and be in her sister’s corner during Callaway games.

“I really didn’t want to go too far from my family, and I was really stressed out about that until I got the offer from LaGrange College,” she said.

Baswell also had an impact on Autumn Brown getting a chance to play in college. When Brown transferred to Callaway before her sophomore year, she knew next to nothing about soccer. Baswell recruited her and it has been Brown’s passion ever since.

“Mary Kate is the whole reason that I started playing soccer in the first place,” Brown said. “She conceived me to come out there and it’s been the best thing that’s happened to me.”

Brown will be heading up to North Carolina to play for Truett-McConnell.

This was a difficult season for Brown, who played in just two games — the first game of the season in which she broke her collarbone and the final game of the season in the playoffs. Despite the game not going their way, it was a remarkable achievement for Brown to play in the game.

“This season really sucked, but I was glad that I got to play that final game even though I couldn’t be as aggressive as I wanted to be,” Brown said.

Baswell and Leithleiter will not be the only Cavaliers who get to continue their soccer careers close to home. Kaylie Flores signed to play at Point University in the fall.

Flores really started to think about continuing to play past high school last fall and finally got her chance.

Flores, like Brown, also had an extremely difficult senior season. Flores suffered a knee injury in training before the season and missed the entire campaign, but is looking forward to her chance to get back in the field.

“I didn’t want this to be the end of my soccer career, so I’m really excited to be able to keep playing,” Flores said. “It has been really difficult these last few months, but I’m going to get through it because I want to get back on the field.”

Surrounded by his female counterparts, Journee Jordan was the only member of the boys soccer team to sign. Jordan will be heading to Andrew College to continue his soccer journey.

“I’ve been wanting to play college soccer since I first started playing when I was like eight,” Jordan said. “I came out to a camp here with my brother when I was in fifth grade and I loved it.”

Jordan found the love of soccer through his brother and it has been his passion ever since. Using his pace and athleticism, Jordan is a menace cutting in from the right wing.

The Cavaliers are likely not done sending student-athletes from their 2024 class to college. Multiple athletes have offers on the table as they sift through their options to make a decision. In the meantime, 11 Cavaliers got to celebrate their big day with family and friends.