Family and familiarity with the program helped guide Tory Kemp's decision on where she will continue her athletic career. The GPS senior verbally committed to sign a track scholarship with the University of North Carolina Wednesday, where she will join her older brother T.J., who is on a lacrosse scholarship at UNC after an all-state career at McCallie.
Kemp has been a starter in three varsity sports -- track, basketball and volleyball -- since her freshman year and was a finalist for last year's Times Free Press Scrappy Moore Female Athlete of the Year award. She was also being recruited by Virginia, Notre Dame, Penn and Miami.
"My brother and I are very close, so being at the same school did factor in," Kemp said. "It will be easier in general to be at the same school as him and I was already familiar with the campus.
"They have a really strong track program and once I met the coaches and they showed me some of the former Olympians that had trained there, I knew I would be making the right choice. It's a big relief to know where I'll be for the next step in my career."
One of the state's top hurdlers as well as long jumpers and triple jumpers, Kemp has been a qualifier for the state meet since her eighth-grade year and has either won or finished second in eight events at the state meet the last two years.
Last spring she won the state title in the triple jump, and although she finished second in both the 100-meter hurdles and 300 hurdles, she has by far the fastest time of any returning athlete in those events. She said she will likely compete in the heptathlon, which will allow her to take advantage of her versatility.
"She's such a hard worker and great competitor," said GPS coach Stacey Hill. "She's an outstanding athlete. She stretches herself thin by doing so much with volleyball, basketball and track. She hasn't really touched her potential in track because of her time spent in other sports. With year-round training in track, and at such a quality program, I'm excited to see how good she really can be now."
With Kemp's commitment, four of GPS' five starters in basketball have now either signed or will sign a Division I scholarship. She joins teammates Chadarryl Clay who will play basketball at Auburn, Simone Busby, who will play soccer at Evansville and Jeneh Perry, who will play basketball at Loyola, Maryland. The Bruisers' other starter is a junior.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...