By Derrick Richemond
Denmark hosted its second spring signing Tuesday, honoring six athletes who are taking their athletic careers to the next level.
Denmark seniors Drew Clare [Mercer University, football], Kenon Dicks [Reinhardt University, football], Tavian Anderson [Berry College, XC/track], Jessica Perriello [Gardner-Webb University, XC/track], Nicole Counter [Lee University, XC/track] and Xavier Anderson [Berry College, XC/track] signed each signed their National Letter of Intent Tuesday.
Xavier and Tavian said they both pushed each other to become the runners they are today.
“I would say it feels amazing, even though we compete against each other," Tavian said. "We have a pretty tight relationship. We do almost everything together, so to spend the next four years with him is going to be amazing."
“My brother is really my biggest motivation,” Xavier said.
Tavian placed first in the 800m at the Region 6-7A championships, and finished second in the event Saturday at sectionals to qualify for this weekend's state meet.
Dicks plans to accomplish as many goals as he can, become a leader, and play to the best of his ability when he steps foot on Reinhardt's field
“It feels great, you know. Over the years I put in a lot of hard work, and it paid off putting me onto the next level,” Dicks said. “My family pushed me, motivated me to be great, and to be the best player I can."
Despite playing nine games his senior season due to injury, Dicks compiled 37 tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups in his final season with the Danes.
Clare said he is eager to get to play football for Mercer. Most players take time off to relax their bodies before heading out for summer workouts, but Clare took the opposite approach by preparing himself in the weight room.
“Honestly, the coaching staff is unbelievable, you know," Clare said. "They were extremely nice to me and consistently gave my mom and my dad phone calls to make me feel truly wanted. That’s the biggest separation from the other schools."
“My whole family is athletic, and they drive me to be the best I can. They’re all about worth ethic,” Clare said.
Dicks and Clare helped deliver the program's first region championship in the fall.
Athleticism runs through Counter's family; her cousin is Lolo Jones, who ran track at LSU and won three NCAA titles as a hurdler and two gold medals at the World Indoor Championships.
“She inspires me a lot to push myself every day,” Counter said.
Counter will advance to this weekend's state championships after finishing third in pole vault [9-06.00] at the sectional meet.
“It’s pretty incredible. I’ve been pole vaulting a long time and I’ve been through just about anything you can be with this sport. To see all my hard work payoff is an incredible feeling,” Counter said.
“The main thing that attracted me was that they kept their team small on purpose. When they recruit you, it is because they don’t wanna fill a spot on the roster they want you as an athlete and as a student. That’s what drew me in the most."
Perriello captured the Region 6-7A champion in the 1600m and placed second in the event [5:18.32] at sectionals to qualify for the state meet, adding a fourth-place finish in the 800m [2:22.63].
On Tuesday, she signed to continue her career at Gardner-Webb University.
“It feels great," Perriello said. "I’m going to the next chapter of my life and I’m so excited to do that with new coaches and new teammates. I’m definitely going to miss Denmark."