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Eight South Aiken Athletes Participate in National Signing Day

Eight student-athletes from South Aiken High School gathered Wednesday evening in the school’s library with their friends and family to sign to play at the next level.

National signing day is marked around the country each year with high school seniors signing letters of intent to play college athletics. Of the eight South Aiken student-athletes, five were football players and there was one athlete each from baseball, women’s soccer and wrestling.

“It’s always exciting on a night like this to see the young student-athletes accomplish their goal, their dream and achieve something that they worked so hard for,” said Bob Polewski, the school’s athletic director.

Jonathan Burns is moving on to play football at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, which is about 20 minutes north of Gaffney. Burns said he loves the team aspect of the sport and chose Gardner-Webb in part because he wants to go into health science and the university has a good program

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Burns said.

Tracey Gamble will continue his football career at St. Andrew’s University in Laurinburg, North Carolina, which is about an hour north of Florence. Head football coach Chris Hamilton said Gamble was one of the strongest athletes on the team and works extremely hard in the weight room.

Ryon Gilmore and Jabez Oliphant will both play college football at Limestone University in Gaffney. Hamilton spoke highly of both players as being great on the field and in the classroom, and said it makes recruiting easier when players have good GPAs.

Oliphant said he loves the bonds created with his teammates and getting to “go on the field and battle with your brothers.”

E.J. Hickson is moving on to the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, Kentucky. Hickson is the second South Aiken QB to attend the university, after Bowen Smith, who graduated from South Aiken in 2016.

Hickson said the school felt like home to him.

“It wasn’t just my decision, it was a family decision,” Hickson said. “I wanted to make sure they were comfortable with it too. It just fit.”

Jordan Myers will be playing women’s soccer at USC Aiken, keeping her close to home. Myers said she’s excited about that because her friends and family can come see her and it’s where she felt the most comfortable.

Jalen Raysor will continue his baseball career at Lander University in Greenwood. Raysor said he enjoyed watching Dustin Pedroia and the Boston Red Sox growing up, and knew he wanted to play college baseball when he was going into middle school.

“It’s a big dream come true for me,” Raysor said. “I’m totally excited and ready to go.”

Camden Taylor will also be attending Lander as a member of the wrestling team. Taylor said he wasn’t expecting much when he started wrestling, but he fell in love with the sport.

“I’m glad I have the chance to make it to the next level,” Taylor said.

Read the full Aiken Standard article here

Landon Stamper/Aiken Standard