Seven Cove student-athletes participate in National Signing Day ceremony
By TJ MAXWELL
It’s a big day in every student-athlete’s career – National Signing Day.
That was no different for seven Copperas Cove student-athletes on Wednesday as they gathered with family, friends, coaches and teachers to celebrate the achievements on and off their respective fields (or courts) of play.
Two football players, two softball players, a soccer player, a cross-country runner and a golfer all celebrated the continuation of their academic and athletic pursuits.
Jeremy Carter will be attending the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton while teammate Thomas Holman will be attending Southeastern Oklahoma State in Durant, OK. Softball teammates Brooke Schmidt and Alina Salazar are going to Hill College in Hillsboro and Mississippi Valley State in Itta Bena, Mississippi, respectively. Madison Seibel will play soccer for Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas. Bre’onna McCarthy-Reese will run for Division I Abilene Christian University and, last but not least, Elle Fox will play golf for Division I Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi.
Fox has been dreaming of this day since her golf bag and she were nearly the same height and she was competing on the national stage in the Chip, Putt and Drive competition and now that day was here.
“It’s crazy. I never thought that I would get here,” said Fox. “I always wanted to be a Division I athlete. It’s finally here and I can’t wait. It has taken a lot of hard work, sweat and tears. I’m just thankful for my parents for letting me have this opportunity, so I’m really thankful for them.”
Fox has racked up accolade after accolade in her storied career, despite having her junior season on the links wiped away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Drive, Chip and Putt was one of the memories that stand out,” she said. “Being able to win district as a freshman and sophomore. I didn’t get to it my junior year because of COVID, but those are definitely among the highlights.”
She hopes to leave one final mark on the course and enjoy the time will her family in her senior season as she prepares for the intense competition she’ll face at the DI level.
“I’m just hoping to play in some more tournaments, some bigger ones,” she said. “I’m not trying to put my name out there because I’m already committed, I’m just hoping to stay with my parents as long as I can, because I’m going to miss them.”
Fox joins a talented Lady Bulldog team, along with a pair of top-500 players in Spain’s Ana Pina Ortega and Julia Lopez Ramirez.
“I’m really excited to play on those courses and being able to play with my teammates,” said Fox. “I have a new coach that just came in from Dallas so we can have some Texan blood in there. I’m really excited.”
Fox has aspirations of playing golf professionally, but knows how difficult that journey would be, so she’s got a back-up plan.
“I hope to be a pro, but that is going to take a lot of hard work and it’s really hard to be a pro,” she said. “Hopefully, my major will take me somewhere like a physical therapist or something. That would be really exciting.”
Carter and Holman have been pushing each other as teammates for years and were excited to share this moment.
“Thomas and I used to work out all the time together during the summertime,” said Carter. “We had our close friend, Tyrell Thompson from the Dallas Renegades, come help us and taught us some things and that turned out to be pretty good.Getting to share this with Thomas, it was really special to me.
“This means a lot to me, honestly. I really appreciate God and my coaches and allowing me to continue playing football.”
The duo had a challenging senior season as COVID wiped away most of the offseason and made the job of putting together a staff and team under first-year head coach Jason Hammett more difficult.
“This season was hard due to COVID and stuff,” said Holman. “But that helped in the long run to get us where we are right now.”
Holman was a late comer to the sport of football, but put it all into it once he found the sport.
“I only played basketball and I wanted to try something new,” he said. “When I started playing football, I wasn’t that good, so worked harder every day and that got me where I am now.”
Holman also had an angel in his corner as he had a picture of his brother, who died a few years earlier, displayed during the ceremony that had the rest of his family in attendance.
“He used to always tell me that he wanted me to go to college,” said Holman. None of my other siblings were able to and, since he wasn’t able to be here with us, I had a picture of him.”
Carter also had a tumultuous start to his football career due to frequent moves, but his second stint in Copperas Cove ignited a passion.
“I’m from a military family, so we kept on moving back and forth to different places,” said Carter. “We finally came to Copperas Cove for the second time and I was able to play tackle football. From the moment I put that helmet and pads on, I knew that was what I wanted to do. So, I kept on fighting and working super hard.”
Carter is excited for his opportunity with the Crusaders.
“I’m hoping to be able to do a lot of good things for UMHB,” he said. “Allowing me to have the chance to go play for them means a lot to me.”
Holman also found his new home in Oklahoma.
“I was automatically drawn to the scenery, then I got to know the players and coaches,” he said. “I liked their vibes and what they brought to the table. Plus, it was good financially for me and my family, so it was the right choice for me.”
Read Tuesday’s edition of the Copperas Cove Leader-Press to learn about the journeys of McCarthy-Reese, Schmidt, Salazar and Seibel.