LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - Thursday was a special day for a half-dozen student-athletes at Lee County High School who signed their National Letters of Intent, officially taking the first step to making their dreams of playing college sports come true.
Ansley Cain will run cross country at Columbus State, while softball players Ally Clegg and Sydney McLain are both taking their talents to Chipola College. Three Lee County baseball players will be competing at the Division I level. Josh Hatcher signed with Mississippi State, while brothers Tyler Simon and Malik Spratling are both Kennesaw State bound.
"It just made it seem real," Cain said of signing. "I don't really feel like I'm headed off to college, but this made it seem real."
All six were able to sign in front of family, friends, and classmates in the LCHS auditorium.
For the three baseball signees, doing it together made this moment even more special.
"This has always been my goal," said Hatcher. "To do it with my two lifelong best friends, it's really a dream come true. It's something I'll remember forever."
For Clegg, college softball has long been the goal. She says inking her name on her NLI Thursday is just another step in the process of making that goal a reality.
"I never want softball to end," she says. "Knowing that I'll have a full two seasons, or four more seasons, just makes feel really good that it's not over."
All six had their own reasons for signing with the school of their choice. For McLain, the chance to win at Chipola was appealing.
"They get rings," she laughs. "I know a lot of people that go there, and the coaches seem real nice."
For Spratling, Kennesaw State offered him a chance to play college baseball in a program that competes every year for a postseason spot. But when asked his favorite part of the Owls program, the senior was quite honest.
"One of the things I like the most is they don't run a lot," he says with a smile. "At least, that's what the coaches told me. I don't really like to run a lot."
Spratling will join the Owls, running a lot or not, with his brother, Tyler Simon. Simon also signed his letter of intent Thursday, and says going to play college baseball together is something he's looking forward to.
"We already have a strong bond," he says. "This will just make us closer. We'll make endless memories together at college. It's going to be great."