That’s no different this year.
With Gate City basketball superstar Mac McClung and Union football superstar James Mitchell grabbing previous headlines by announcing earlier in the academic year where they intend to play after high school — Georgetown and Virginia Tech, for those who missed it — several other athletes from Southwest Virginia are also headed to the college playing fields and floors in the fall when the new school year begins.
Among those who recently announced they will be continuing their education both in the classroom and in athletics are:
Blake Stinson, Honaker
Stinson announced Saturday on Twitter that he will continue his baseball career at Virginia-Wise.
After thanking God, his coaches, family and friends for helping and supporting him in making his decision, Stinson tweeted: “I’m happy to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at UVa-Wise.”
Stinson joins Dobyns-Bennett standout Isaac Whitehead on the Virginia-Wise list of baseball signees. The Indians shortstop announced in January he would continue his playing days for the Cavaliers.
Tori Powers, Gate City
The Gate City standout will be following in the footsteps of Lady Blue Devils coach Kelly Houseright as a basketball player at Emory & Henry.
Powers announced recently her intention to play for the Wasps.
She will join a team featuring several area players on its roster, including Lauren Salyer (Dobyns-Bennett), Sydney McKinney (Union), Kara Stafford (Sullivan East), Chloe Harris (John Battle), Peyton Williams (Northwood), Lexy Vance (Honaker), Josie Salyer (Volunteer) and Taylor Blevins (Abingdon).
Colyn Sturgill, Eastside
The 6-foot-7 Sturgill, a defensive star, signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky., on Friday.
Jacob Bush, Union
Bush, an All-Mountain 7 cross country runner in the fall, will continue his running career in college. He recently signed a letter of intent to run cross country for the Eagles of Alice Lloyd.
Nicole McMurray, Gate City
McMurray will likely cross paths with Bush at Alice Lloyd. She plans on signing her letter of intent to run cross country at the college later this month.
Callie McMurray, Gate City
The talents of one of the top female soccer players in Southwest Virginia will be going up the road just a bit next season. McMurray plans to sign a letter of intent next week to play soccer at Emory & Henry.
Bailey Hensley, Gate City
Hensley will take her talents across the state line into Tennessee where she plans to be a part of King University’s aerobic and dance team.