published Monday, May 12th, 2014

Mackenzie Cagle signs to play softball at Bryan

Red Bank outfielder Mackenzie Cagle has signed scholarship papers to play softball at Bryan College in Dayton.

"I went just to visit the campus," Cagle said. "I loved it. It was the first college campus I had been to. It was great."

Cagle plays left field and bats leadoff for Red Bank, which finished second in the District 6-AA regular season. Cagle had a batting average around .400 this season and a slugging percentage better than .600 and led her team in doubles.

"She's an all-around great kid," Red Bank coach Mandi Munn said. "She's a hard worker. She'll do well with her grades. She's a quiet leader. She leads by example. I think the closeness of Bryan is big a factor for her, too. She comes from a real close family. They're very family-oriented."

Cagle plans to major in business administration.

Ford pledges to Berry

Baylor outside hitter Rachel Ford has committed to continue her volleyball career at Berry College near Rome, Ga.

"The first thing, the campus is gorgeous," said Ford, who among her trips to Berry had an overnight stay in early January. "There are deer running around down there. The buildings are so beautiful. And academically it's the perfect school for me. I'm planning on majoring in exercise sciences, and they have a great exercise-science program."

Ford attended the Vikings camp last year and Berry coach Mika Robinson liked what she saw, particularly Ford's competitve spirit.

"She has great ball control and an intimidating swing, but it is her volleyball IQ and ability to perform under pressure that excites us the most," Robinson said in a release. "Our fans will love her infectious smile and never-say-die attitude, and our team is excited about her character, team-first attitude and her leadership skills. There is no question in my mind that Rachel will have a great career in a Viking jersey."

Among her 2013 honors, Ford was chosen all-state after helping the Lady Red Raiders to a 41-8 record and a second-place finish in the TSSAA Division II-AA state tournament. She was a member of two state-runner-up teams and two third-place teams in her Baylor career and totaled 896 kills, 723 digs and 160 aces.

"I can't thank Rachel enough for her hard work, leadership and the example she sets both on and off the court for the players in our program," Baylor coach Sarah Lail said. "We will miss her and look forward to her continued success at Berry."

Motlow signs Gholston

Whitwell's Tanika Gholston recently signed scholarship papers to continue her basketball career at Motlow College near Tullahoma, Tenn.

Gholston averaged 9.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.1 steals and a team-high 2.8 assists per game last season for the District 6-A runners-up. She was an all-district selection was made the Region 3 all-tournament team.

"First of all, she's worked really hard the past four years to be able to play college ball," Whitwell coach Eric Zensen said. "I know she's done a lot of work on her own in the offseason. She really improved a lot from her freshman year to her senior year. I don't have any doubts she'll do well at the next level."

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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