Local student-athletes make commitments on early signing day

PH’s Cook heading to Murray State.

ROANOKE, Va. – The early signing day period had many of our local student-athletes signing letters of intent and making commitments to further their academic and athletic careers.

At Patrick Henry, basketball standout Jada Cook signed on to play hoops for Murray State ahead of her senior season.

Cole Devine will take his lacrosse talents to Roanoke College while Kate Cumins will play lacrosse at the University of Rhode Island.

“I think the signings have the opportunity for their teammates to be down here with them to see it happen when they are in their freshman and sophomore years. They start to be able to see what it takes to get to that level and the hear over and over the characteristics of an athlete that gets to move on to the next level. I think in their head they think ‘I wanna be that person sitting behind that that table being able to sign to play the next level’ so that’s why I think it’s so important to do these,” Roanoke City schools athletic Director Patricia Sheedy Atkinson says.

Another lacrosse standout will be taking her talents to the next level. Hidden Valley’s Sarah Thomson will suit up for Virginia Tech. Thomson, who has excelled for the Titans and her nationally ranked club lacrosse team, said she chose the Hokies in large part to the relationships built with the new coaches.

“It means truly a lot to me,” Thomson said. “This is something that I’ve thought about for a very long time and worked really hard towards. But I think to be successful at something, you have to work really hard at it and work a lot more than you would think.”

Virginia Tech was always a dream school for Thomson, who said she had to turn away schools like Liberty, George Mason and Cornell.

At Lord Botetourt high, standout swimmer Layne Jones is headed to nearby Liberty University. Jones is the Blue Ridge district swimmer of the year and longtime CC Marlins standout. Fellow senior Cavaliers soccer standout Emma Rice will play at VMI--following in her talented brothers’ footsteps.

“As a young swimmer I definitely looked up to my role models so being able to be a role model for the younger and how the community is - such a blessing,” Jones says

“Having the support system behind you and be able to go D-1 like we both are and have that for younger kids to see -- I mean they’re gonna grow up and hopefully there’s a lot of other girls that come into LB that can go swim somewhere or go play soccer somewhere,” Rice says.

Other area signings from Wednesday included Rockbridge County’s Libba Erkskine signing with Florida Southern lacrosse, and a pair of talented softball stars are headed to D-1 schools from Appomattox Co. High. Aubrey Fulcher to Liberty and Bree Carrico to the Hokies of Virginia Tech. Congrats to all.

About the Authors:

John serves as the Sports Director at WSLS 10. From Virginia Tech, to NASCAR and everything in between, WSLS 10 Sports covers the names making big plays in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.