Coaches, family and friends gathered at the Dawson County High School cafeteria on Wednesday, Dec. 15 to celebrate the three senior athletes who signed their national letter of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers collegiately next year.
Seniors Chandler Badgley, Rylie Erickson and Nick Mullinax all committed to play their respective sports in college. Badgley will run track-and-field at Truett McConnell University, Erickson will play softball at Piedmont University and Mullinax will play baseball at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri.
Track and field coach Arron Haynes joked during Badgley’s signing that he was not an athletic specimen, but was a testament to hard work and what dedication to your sport could look like.
Badgley said he thought Truett McConnell’s campus in Cleveland, Ga was “beautiful” and he hopes to be able to build off a collegiate career into possible other endeavours involving track and field.
“Hard work can get you anywhere. If you don’t give up, you’ll push yourself places you never thought you could go,” Badgley said.
In what may have been a clutch sports moment for the ages, Erickson said she did not even know that Piedmont’s softball coach was in the crowd for a travel ball game when she sent the ball over the fence.
Since then, it was a match made in heaven.
“This feels great,” Erickson said. “I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, especially with how far I’ve come since sophomore or junior year.”
Erickson was a key member of the DCHS softball team that finished in fifth place at the GHSA 3A state tournament in Columbus, Ga.
Similar to Erickson, it was his time playing travel ball that guided Mullinax to Columbia College. His travel ball coach worked with Columbia’s current coaching staff in the past and was impressed by their program. After sending some tape from his junior season, Columbia was impressed as well.
“I went there on a visit and enjoyed everything that came with it,” Mullinax said. “I decided that it was going to be my place to go to.”
Mullinax still has his senior baseball season to play at DCHS.