LAURINBURG — A pair of Scotland seniors put pen to paper inside the high school’s media center Thursday afternoon to officially sign with their college of choice.
With family, friends and coaches looking on, Ashlyn Dial and Cameron Sharpe inked National Letters of Intent to St. Andrews University and Southeastern Community College respectively.
Laurinburg-based St. Andrews is an NAIA school that competes in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, and Southeastern, located in Whiteville, is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Scotland head coach Patrick Williams said both players have showed tremendous growth since joining the program as underclassmen, and he expects the two standouts to have successful collegiate careers.
“They’re quality kids and I think they’ll really do good,” Williams said. “In a sense I get to be selfish because they’re local and on a nice, sunny day I can ride out, drop my tailgate and sit in the back of my truck and watch them play. You can’t ask for any better.
“I’m excited for them and their families.”
Dial, a third baseman for the Scots, elected to stay in the same county for college and committed to the Knights, who are coached by Elizabeth Burris. The two-sport star, who is also a three-time all-Southeastern Conference performer in basketball, said she hopes to man the shortstop position at St. Andrews.
“I chose St. Andrews for one because it’s close to home and I wanted to stay home,” Dial said. “I really like the team, it’s a big family so that’s something that attracted me. I looked for new things and being part of a new team and hopefully I’ll do well there.”
Dial, who mentioned she has visited campus a handful of times leading up to her decision, plans to major in special education.
Williams praised Dial for her commitment to academics and athletics, as the Civitas Media Scholar-Athlete for the month of December excels in the classroom while balancing a hectic schedule on the diamond and the hardwood.
“She is one of the few kids who can do something of that nature,” Williams said. “The first available date, she’s out there on the field with her softball gear and bag and bats and her steal cleats and she’s ready to roll. She makes the transition pretty smooth and makes it pretty quick and makes it pretty easy.”
While Sharpe elected to leave Scotland County for her softball pursuits, she isn’t straying too far from the confines of home as she heads east to join the Rams and coach Karlyn Stephens. Sharpe has been sideline by a knee injury for the first part of the Scots’ season but she expects to return to the mound before the year ends. The senior expects to toe the rubber for Southeastern when she arrives on campus.
“It was small, and I don’t like big things or big changes,” Sharpe said of her decision to sign. “The team and the coach really reminded me of my travel ball coach and team and we’re just like a big family.
She hopes to join the medical field after high school, though she is still deciding which path to take.
Sharpe started for Scotland in several of its big games late last season as the Scots upset rival Richmond Senior in Rockingham to clinch the Southeastern Conference tournament title before advancing to the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
“She’s been a workhorse,” Williams said. “She understands the game, being a senior, and I look forward to big things from her.”
Dial and Sharpe reflected fondly on their time at Scotland and also cited their time with the Carolina Rebels, the travel team both play for, as a key reason for their prep success. The pair mentioned Rebels coach Dee Harris as an integral figure in their development.
“What I’ll miss most is the people that I’ve grown close to and the mentors that I’ve got here, but being right here at St. Andrews they will always be a phone call away,” Dial said.
“We’re all going on to different places so it’ll be hard to still see them and stuff, so that’s the biggest thing I’ll most,” added Sharpe.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.