5 more Cove athletes sign National Letters of Intent

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

Dreams do come true.
At least they did for five Copperas Cove student-athletes as they celebrated signing to play the respective sports they love at the collegiate level during a signing ceremony Wednesday at Copperas Cove High School’s Lea Ledger Auditorium. 
Five athletes signed to compete in three different sports, starting with a pair of hoopsters in the 1,000 points club.
Cove basketball standout Quinton Ford signed to play for the Division I University of California Riverside Highlanders in the Big West Division.
“They really believed in me and I really believe in them, especially head coach David Patrick,” said Ford. “He really believes in me and I will be able to go there and be myself.
“I believe in what they’re doing with the program and I think we’re going to be a really good team.”
Ford averaged 24 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals as a senior for the Bulldawgs.
“Quinton’s athleticism and skills gives us added versatility on the perimeter,” said head David Patrick in a press release on the team’s website. “We are glad he chose us and committed to us early in his senior season. We are elated he is officially a Highlander.”
Women’s basketball standout Madison Griffon will continue her basketball career at Division I Furman University in North Carolina in the Southern Conference.
“It feels refreshing and stress-free,” Griffon said about her signing. “I am just glad that I know where I’m going.”
Feeling wanted helped her make the decision to go with the Paladins.
“They just made me feel at home when I took my visit,” she said. “They really wanted and needed me and that’s all I ever really wanted to feel.”
The three-time district MVP is a member of the 1,000-point club and Furman is glad to have her.
“We think we found a true diamond in the rough with Maddie Griffon,” said Furman head coach Jack Carson in a press release on the team’s website. “She will add more depth to our strong back court and is not afraid to take on a leadership role.  I know Furman fans will enjoy watching her energy, passion, and thrilling style of play at the point guard position. We are really blessed to have her join our program.”
District 12-6A leading rebounder Tyrese Taylor will continue his basketball career in Waco as a member of the McLennan Community College Highlanders. Getting to share this moment with Ford after four years together on the varsity was a big moment for Taylor.
“It feels pretty good standing next to my teammate I’ve been playing with for four years,” he said. “It’s really cool. Not a lot of people get to do this. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but we just love each other, and this is really cool.”
MCC head coach Kevin Gill’s future mentoring and perennial playoff appearances helped Taylor decide.
“My coach played my position and he knows how I am supposed to play and saw more potential in me that I could play the guard position as well,” said Taylor. “I like the way their program is set up and they make the playoffs like every year and they go pretty far.”
Multisport standout Mahal Thorpe will continue her track and field career at Dallas Baptist University. 
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “I visited the campus after visiting Texas State the day before and I really liked their campus. I was thinking about going to Texas State or LSU. It was a dream of mine to go to LSU, but I really fell in love with DBU’s people. It’s family-oriented and not as large as LSU so it’s just a better fit for me. I just felt the love.”
Thorpe excelled in both track and volleyball but knew track and Dallas Baptist was the right choice for her.
“The track program is great,” she said. My coach just really cares about getting better over time. The girls are great. They talk to me every day that I have a track meet. They are just very excited for me to come join them.”
Finally, long-snapper Keil Parkhurst will continue his football career for the Iowa Wesleyan University Tigers.
“It feels amazing,” said Parkhurst. It doesn’t feel real.”
Playing a back-up role, suffering multiple injuries and not having the size made him wonder if this day would ever come.
“I suffered three knee injuries but no matter what don’t give up,” he said. “This has been my dream since I was little, but I had to put the effort and the time in. That’s what I did and here’s my outcome.
“When we played Longview, I was crying because I thought I would never play again, but coach (Jason) Hammett told me that he appreciated me for never giving up. I know I don’t have the size and they know I don’t have the size, but it’s not about size - it’s about heart.”
Memories abound for these players, but it’s those times of elation after a big win that will stick out to most of them.
“It would definitely be the bus rides with my girls,” said Griffon. After wins, we would have the most fun, memorable rides.”
It was all of it for Ford.
“There are a lot of memories, but sophomore year was special because we went to the playoffs,” he said. “I think it was a fun ride all four years. Each of the four years had different personalities and I was blessed to be a part of all four different teams.”
For Thorpe, it was etching her name in the history books.
“I think beating the school record was really big for me. I wanted my name on the board ever since I was a freshman so, for me, that was a very big deal.”
Parkhurst, however, summed it all up.
“That family bond that I created with my coaches and my team. That’s always going to stick with me because I’ve been with them for a long time.” 

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