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Four from Midland sign to run at college level

May. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

ONA -- Four Cabell Midland seniors signed letters of intent Wednesday to run track, cross country and in some instances both at the college level.

Alex Ellis, a member of the girls track and cross country team, will attend the University of Rio Grande and continue in both sports.

Niles Dailey will attend West Virginia Wesleyan College to run track, more specifically hurdles, and the Bobcats are also getting Nate Moore, who will run track and play football.

Jeremy Waugh will run cross country at Marshall University.

Cabell Midland now has six members of the 2013 class signed. Distance runner Jacob Burcham signed to run at the University of Oklahoma, and distance runner Avery Campbell signed with Xavier University.

Coach Chris Parsons said there are two more athletes from the senior class who might sign before the school year ends.

"This is one of the most talented, if not the most talented, senior classes we've had," said Parsons, who has headed up the program for 19 years. "We have 10 seniors and you're talking about maybe eight who we'll be going on to the next level, that's a pretty high percentage.

"And it's not just that they're talented, it's the work they put in. Some of them come in and maybe they're not that talented but they keep working and by their senior year they're running alongside the best in the state, or they are the best in the state. To see that transformation, that's so rewarding."

All of the student-athletes thanked their parents, coaches and teammates for getting them to this point, but each had an individual story to tell about what it takes to get to the college level.

"I really loved baseball and I gave up baseball for track," said Dailey, who is also on the Knights' basketball team. "It was a hard decision for me, but I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't made that decision. The teams I've been on at Midland, it's been really special."

Moore said he had always dreamed about playing football and running track in college, but hadn't visualized it beyond a dream until Parsons and Midland football coach Luke Salmons made him see the potential that was there for him.

"They were a big factor. As soon as track season starts coach Parsons has me out there getting in some extra distances on my sprints and he's always there motivating me and playing music and stuff to get me going," Moore said. "Coach Salmons, he pretty much knows your limits, and he tries to push you there every day and keep pushing, and then you realize what you're capable of and what you can do."

It was also a special day for Moore to sign because it was his grandmother's birthday.

Waugh also heaped praise on Parsons.

"He always has time for me and I can always sit down with him and talk things over," Waugh said. "Words can't describe what kind of a coach he is."

Ellis, who also played on the girls' basketball team, said she gained a lot of confidence from the court that translated over to the track.

"Being a college athlete was always a dream of mine, and today it's a dream come true," she said. "I've never had the drive and dedication in other sports that I've had for running. I'm just thankful coach Parsons saw the potential in me."

Parsons said it's the athletes who deserve the credit.

"All coaches, we want it for them, but they have to want it too," Parsons said. "And they do, because they give up so many things that the average high school student doesn't. They do it through hard work."

As for the future of Midland's program, Parsons said all you have to do is look at the students who were in the auditorium for the signing.

"These young ones, they see what these kids are doing and they want it too," he said.