By David McGregor
For the Forsyth County News
On a stage where most students receive ovations for acting, 12 North Forsyth senior student-athletes received plenty of ovations for their athletic and academic achievements Wednesday during the Raiders' fall signing day ceremony at the school's performing arts center in Coal Mountain.
The ceremony was emceed by athletic director Scott Tilden, who opened with a heartfelt speech that kept the crowd and students engaged. Tilden told the student-athletes, "You are always a Raider and will always have a home here.” With such a tight-knit community in the North cluster, who could deny the truth of that statement.
Five Raider softball players from the class of 2020 will be playing in college next year, highlighted by Mallorie Black, who will attend Georgia Tech.
“(She) is the best softball player at North Forsyth, ever,” softball coach Jim Cahill said of Black's career at North Forsyth. Black pretty much rewrote the record books in Raider Valley during her four years and hopes to add to those accolades in college.
“Georgia Tech has been the goal for as long as I can remember. I am so excited to be able to sign today to play softball.” Black said.
Other Lady Raiders that helped the team to 84 victories over the past four years were: Kyleigh Sanders (Truett McConnell), Sarah Lowe (Union College), Abby Martin (Samford) and Anslee Anderson (Shorter).
One cross country/track and field athlete (Caleb Hall) and a lacrosse player (Chris Smith) also signed letters of intent Wednesday morning. Hall will attend Mississippi College.
"Caleb is the hardest-working guy I have ever met and I have met a lot of people,” North Forsyth coach David Shivley said.
Hall has already enlisted in the Army and thanked Mississippi College and the Army for allowing him the ability to run in college. Smith will be attending Montreat College in North Carolina. Smith thanked his current and former coaches for pushing him since middle school to make his dream of playing lacrosse in college a reality.
Five Raider baseball players put pen to paper as well during the ceremony. Once again, Cahill sang the praises of his seniors, also noting that many school records that have stood for decades could fall this spring on the diamond.
Garrett Sagro will attend Kennesaw State, Noah Gilbert signed with Emmanuel College, Miles Hartsfield committed to Georgia Southwestern, Garrett Staton will play for Samford and Anthony DiMola will play at Georgia Southern this year.
Cahill mentioned Staton and DiMola as possible draftees in the 2020 MLB Draft. DiMola was very honest when talking about that possibility.
“(I am) excited about college baseball, focused on my senior year and college (after that)," he said. "If I get drafted, that is great, but I am really focused on playing (at least) three years of college baseball.”
All told, every player thanked their parents, coaches and friends for being supportive through their journey to the next level. Whether they are a Bulldog, Yellow Jacket, a Bear, a Hawk or whatever their respective college mascot is, these 12 athletes will always be a Raider.