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CMHS trio holds athletic signing

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By Sean Arnold

Three Chiefland seniors – now graduates – held a joint letter-of-intent signing ceremony May 23 in the CMHS auditorium.

Sydney Allen, Chiefland’s lead attacker in volleyball, and Seth Thomas, a middle infielder for the Indians’ baseball team, signed on to play ball on scholarship at Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky. Tramaine Brown, meanwhile, penned his commitment to Warner University in Lake Wales for football and track.

Brown joins his friends Michael Weaver and Eli Scozzaro, a couple of 2017 CMHS graduates who run track for the Royals.

Allen didn’t think she had what it took to play college volleyball, but her outlook changed last winter when she started receiving interest.

This isn’t the first time she’s gone from marginal prospect to a success story. The lanky heavy hitter was cut from the squad in eighth grade, and then put in extra time with CMHS volleyball coach Debra Weeks to improve her game.

“I was so bad, but she stayed after practices with me and did what she could to get me where I am,” Allen said. She said Brescia, a Catholic University in Western Kentucky, appealed to her both athletically and academically. She also loves the campus.

“I’m really excited to go because it’s a good school overall,” Allen said. “It’s so different from Florida though. It’s gorgeous; I love it.”

The Chiefland alumnus plans on studying marine biology. Allen said her mother, Darby was a major influence in helping her through the recruiting process. She said she’ll miss the camaraderie with her teammates the most, along with her friends, of course.

“I’m going to miss my team a lot. We had our differences like every team does, but when we were on the court, we got along and worked together.”

Thomas said he was getting interest from other schools but the Kentucky University felt special.

“I went up there on a visit with a friend and it just seemed right – the school, the coaches, the relationships, everything.”

Thomas batted .300 his senior year and led the Indians in runs scored. The versatile infielder played shortstop, second base and third base.

His favorite memories as an Indian include a trip to the state finals as a sophomore and a thrilling win in nine innings at Fort Meade in the regional semifinals in May.

Thomas said Brescia liked his ground-ball hitting style, and offered him a spot when he visited the campus.

On leaving Florida for college, he says he feels “anxious and nervous all at the same time.” He credits his father, Scott, for pushing him to be his best on the field.

“He’s always taught me to be the best I can be when it comes to athletics,” Thomas said.

The former Indian is looking to major in business and minor in sports management as a Bearcat.

Brown has dreamed of playing college ball ever since his first days in youth ball. His spate of injuries in high school – a couple of broken wrists, an ACL tear – have made him appreciate his time on the field even more.

Along with his versatility as a multi-sport athlete, and his potential as either a safety or running back, Warner coaches told Brown they took note of his positive attitude and leadership qualities.

“They said they like my motor, how I never give up,” Brown said. “They see how I lead the team and I’m never a downer.”

Brown sees himself working with kids in the future and is considering a career in the medical field.

“It’ll be fun and exciting to help out others,” he said.

Brown said CMHS coach Adam Gore, his parents Kenny and Angela and his uncles Willie and Deuante have been significant influences.

He’s especially excited to be joining his old friends, and appreciates the relative proximity of Warner University, which is located in Lake Mary.

Brown’s favorite memory as an Indian came in his freshman season against Williston. He scored his first high school touchdown in the game before breaking his wrist, and then learned at the hospital that Chiefland went on to pull off the win over its rival.