Franklin County seniors Colton Kent and Brayden Merrick are expected to make their non-binding verbal commitments to NCAA Division I programs official today at the high school.
Both are expected to sign national letters-of-intent: Kent with Charleston Southern (South Carolina) University of the Big South Conference and Merrick with Virginia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Today is the first day that senior student-athletes can make their commitments in such sports as baseball and softball, at the NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II or NAIA levels, binding.
Kent, who saw action at third base and first base for the Eagles last season, earned second-team Class 6 Region B accolades as a junior.
Kent, who begins his third varsity campaign for the Eagles this spring, is the son of Ferrum College assistant coach and former Radford University head coach Lew Kent.
As a junior, Kent batted .356 with six doubles, one triple, five home runs and 32 RBIs. He has belted nine home runs in his career.
Kent earned first-team All-Piedmont District laurels last spring and Merrick, the Eagles’ starting shortstop as a junior, was a second-team choice.
FCHS finished 14-7 last season and lost to Patrick County in the quarterfinals of the Piedmont District’s postseason tournament and to James River-Midlothian in the quarterfinals of the Region B playoffs.
FCHS begins play in the Blue Ridge District this spring.
Eagles end season with 3-1 loss in regional semifinals
VIRGINIA BEACH — Ocean Lakes, the No. 2 seed from the East Division, rallied from an opening-set loss for a 3-1 victory over Franklin County, the No. 4 seed from the West Division, in the semifinals of the Class 6 Region A volleyball tournament.
Set scores were 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-18.
FCHS (13-13), playing in a regional semifinal for the third straight year, ends its season with the loss.
Kaitlyn Dula finishes her second year as the Eagles’ head coach; her career record is 34-20.
Ocean Lakes (18-6) played Floyd E. Kellam, the No. 1 seed from the East Division, for the regional championship Saturday and Kellam was victorious, 3-2.
Kellam earned its berth in the regional final by besting Cosby, the No. 3 seed from the West Division in the semifinals.
Ocean Lakes and Kellam represent Region A in the Class 6 state tournament.
Region A is bracketed with Region B in the state quarterfinals.
The Region B representatives are Battlefield and Massaponax.
FCHS is 0-7 this season against teams that are playing for state championships: one each to Ocean Lakes and Massaponax in Class 6, Albemarle in Class 5, Grafton in Class 4, Hidden Valley in Class 3 and twice to Lord Botetourt in Class 3.
Eagles football jayvees finish 9-1 with 16-point win
VINTON — Franklin County’s junior varsity football team used a 22-6 scoring surge to claim its ninth victory of the season, 38-22 over Blue Ridge District rival William Byrd Thursday at Bob Patterson Stadium in the 2019 season-finale for both clubs.
The Eagles (9-1), who finish the season with a two-game winning streak, and the Terriers were tied at 16 in the second stanza before FCHS responded with its run of points.
Zac Stafford scored two touchdowns, both rushing for the Eagles and Reid Davis ran for one score.
Also Ja’ziem Hart returned a punt for a TD and caught a scoring pass for a second score.
The Eagles made four 2-point conversions.
FCHS has won 30 junior varsity games over the past four years: seven each in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and nine in 2019.
Current head coach Mike Guecia, who completed his third year as head coach with Thursday’s win, has guided the Eagles to 23 of those victories.
Ferrum wrestlers compete in Cougar Open at Averett
DANVILLE — Twenty-eight Ferrum College wrestlers, 13 of whom placed among the top six finishers in their weight classes, competed in Sunday’s Cougar Open, hosted by Averett University at the E. Stuart James Grant Center.
Jalen White, competing at 125 pounds, and Malik Barr, competing at 177 pounds, won individual championships.
White was seeded third, but finished 4-0. He won two bouts by pin and bested top seed Sam Braswell of Averett, 8-6, in the finals. Braswell is a season removed from qualifying for the NCAA Division III nationals.
Barr was the No. 1 seed and finished 3-0 with one victory by pin. In the finals, he won by decision, 6-3, over Stephon Halliburton of Queens (North Carolina) University.
Elijah Martin, competing at 157 pounds, finished second; he was 3-1 with one triumph by pin.
Cullen Nash-Cleek, competing at 197 pounds, was 2-1 en route to a second-place finish and Carlos Leyva, competing at 285 pounds, came in second with a 3-1 record. He won two bouts by pin.
Braden Homsey, competing at 197 pounds, lost his first bout, but rallied to win four in a row for a third-place finish. He claimed one of those bouts by pin.
Jacob Grady, competing at 174 pounds, wrestled six bouts; he was 5-1 and finished third.
Placing fourth were J.D. McMillin at 125 pounds, Caden Dalton at 149 pounds and Isaac Hudson at 165 pounds.
Placing fifth were Galilee Kissell at 165 pounds and George Mitchell at 285 pounds.
Placing sixth was Tatum Tyree at 157 pounds.
“(The tournament) was a mixed bag. I thought we did some things well and bounced back after a few early losses, but we still have a lot of mistakes to fix,’’ Ferrum head coach Nate Yetzer said.
“Malik and Jalen did a great job winning titles. I’m proud of the effort so many of our guys displayed,’’ Yetzer said.
Ferrum is hosting two events this weekend at the Salem Civic Center.
Saturday, the Panthers face Millikin (Ill.) University at 2:45 p.m. and Otterbein (Ohio) University at 6:15 p.m. in the VBR Sports/Southeast Duals.
Sunday, the Panthers host the U.S. Marine Corps-Star City Classic.
Otterbein lost to Ferrum, 33-18, in last year’s Southeast Duals at the Salem Civic Center.
Besides Ferrum, Millikin is wrestling Greensboro (North Carolina) College, Washington and Lee University and Averett in the event.
Otterbein and Millikin are entered in the Star City Classic.
BFMS girls top Cave Spring, 19-11
Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s girls basketball team defeated Cave Spring Middle School, 19-11, Monday at home in a Roanoke Valley Middle School League contest.
The Eagles’ victory is their fourth this season and their third in a row.
Kenzie Board paced BFMS (4-1 in the Roanoke Valley Middle School League, 4-1 overall) with 10 points.
Also scoring were Kaniah Copeland with four points, Aleah Davis and Maggie Hypes each with two points and Maddie Caron with one point.
BFMS, led by head coach Joshua Cox, returns to action Thursday in Roanoke against Hidden Valley Middle School. Tip off is 5 p.m.
BFMS girls edge Read Mountain, 12-10
CLOVERDALE — Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s girls basketball team edged Read Mountain Middle School, 12-10, in a Roanoke Valley Middle School League contest Thursday.
Kenzie Board and Reese Smith each netted four points to pace the Eagles (3-1 in the Roanoke Valley Middle School League, 3-1 overall) and Kaniah Copeland tallied two points.
BFMS boys split league games
Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s boys eighth grade basketball team split a pair of Roanoke Valley Middle School League games, leaving its record at 3-2 in the league and 3-2 overall.
The Eagles, led by first-year head coach DeMario Mattox, defeated Cave Spring Middle School, 30-25, on Monday, to end a two-game losing streak. Last Thursday, the Eagles fell 44-33 to Read Mountain Middle School in a home league game.
Against Read Mountain, BFMS led 19-14 at halftime after outscoring the visitors 10-7 in the first quarter and 9-7 in the second stanza.
Read Mountain equaled the count at 21 in the third period, then it broke that deadlock with a 5-0 scoring spurt.
BFMS trailed by four, 27-23, until Javier Holland netted the last four points of the quarter for the Eagles to produce a stalemate.
Read Mountain, which netted 30 points after intermission, outscored BFMS 17-6 in the final frame to earn the victory.
BFMS trailed by one twice in the quarter, 31-30 and 33-32, before Read Mountain tallied 11 of the game’s final points, nine of which it scored consecutively.
The Eagles were within two points, 35-33, with 3:19 to play.
Read Mountain started its game-deciding surge with 2:46 showing.
Read Mountain converted 16 field goals and was 12 of 33 (36.4 percent) from the free-throw line.
Five players scored for Read Mountain, two of who finished in double figures with 13 and 12 points. Three other players accounted for 19 points.
BFMS made 11 field goals, two of which were 3-pointers, and was 9 of 14 (64.3 percent) from the free-throw line.
Branson Leduc led the Eagles with 13 points.
Holland and Kendall Mattox each tallied eight points, while Zach Swanson netted three points and David Casey scored one point.
Mattox swished both of his team’s 3-point field goals.
BFMS returns to action Thursday at home against Hidden Valley Middle School. Tip off is 5 p.m.
BFMS wrestlers face Andrew Lewis
Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s wrestling team takes on Roanoke Valley Middle School League rival Andrew Lewis Middle School today at home.
Match time at BFMS’s West Gymnasium is 5 p.m.
Pure Pro Wrestling is slated for YMCA Nov. 16
Pure Pro Wrestling returns to the Franklin County Family YMCA Saturday, Nov. 16.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Bell time is 7:30 p.m.
The YMCA is on 235 Technology Drive in Rocky Mount.
Youth ages 6 and younger are admitted free of charge.
Front-row tickets are available for purchase in advance at Misty Mountain Wares on 1455 Franklin Street Rocky Mount.
The business, which is sponsoring the card, can be reached by phone, (540) 263-8247.