Three more seniors sign
Thomas Stone’s Hawkins, Nelson ink for hoops, Lackey graduate Ethington for ice hockey
A trio of athletes from Charles County High Schools signed their National Letters of Intent on three different days last week.
Thomas Stone High School seniors Octavia Hawkins and Rya Nelson signed their respective National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and basketball careers at Cheney University (Pa.) and Wheeling Jesuit University (W.Va.), while 2014 Lackey High School graduate Lucas Ethington signed with Kent State University in Ohio for ice hockey after spending two seasons with the Binghamton Juniors.
While most high school athletes are accustomed to being able to continue their college playing days almost immediately, hockey players face a different dilemma. Ethington is one of thousands of college hockey players who must endure the junior hockey route before playing collegiately. Ethington celebrated his 21st birthday April 27 when he signed with Kent State.
“College hockey is a lot different than other sports,” Ethington said. “Most colleges won’t even consider a kid until they’ve played a year or two of junior hockey. Unless you’re from New England or Minnesota, your chances of playing hockey in college right of high school are really slim unless you go the junior hockey route for one or two years.”
Ethington, who plans to major in communications/broadcasting at Kent State, is currently working two part-time jobs, including one as an English tutor at his high school alma mater. In more than one sense, Ethington admitted that signing with Kent State after spending two seasons at Binghamton was a much-awaited bonus.
“The last two years of playing junior hockey were really important,” Ethington said. “They allowed to me to grow and mature and be ready for the college hockey season. Someday I would like to play professionally, in the East Coast Hockey League or the Atlantic Hockey League and then maybe someday the National Hockey League.”
While Ethington is eager to don another set of skates for Kent State this winter, Hawkins is eager to continue her playing days at Cheney right away. After spending one year at the Forestville Military Academy in Prince George’s County — a school that has since closed — and another at St. Charles High School, Hawkins excelled for Stone during her two seasons and looks forward to playing in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
“My last two years at Thomas Stone were great,” said Hawkins, who plans to major in computer science at Cheney. “After coming to a new school after my freshman year at Forestville, I thought like I felt right at home at Thomas Stone. I thought the style of play in Prince George’s County was a lot rougher, but I felt like I was able to help my team at Stone.”
Hawkins concluded her high school career with 1,366 points, including 480 during her senior season with the Cougars. She was selected to the All-Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division team as a junior and senior and was named the Cougars team Most Valuable Player as a junior and senior.
Nelson, one of Hawkins’ former teammates and current classmates at Thomas Stone, will be heading to Wheeling Jesuit to continue her basketball playing days and major in computer science. Nelson signed her letter April 28 and both Cougars seniors met with rave reviews from Cougars head girls basketball coach Jermel Escalera.
“I’m happy for both young ladies that they now have a chance to continue playing basketball in college,” Escalera said. “But I know that I’m losing a lot of talent and basketball knowledge. As my point guard, Rya did a great job running the floor for me. She was outstanding for me for four years. Octavia was only with me for two years, but she was a real leader out on the floor. She could have scored a lot more points, but she was very unselfish and she would rather give other players a chance to score than dominate the stat sheet.”
“I really thought Wheeling Jesuit was the perfect place for me,” Nelson said. “They really welcomed me when I went up there. I thought our last two years at Stone were really good. We won a lot more games the last two years than we did my first two years there.”
Thomas Stone High School senior Octavia Hawkins signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and athletic career at Cheney University in Pennsylvania. Seated, from left, are Hawkins’ mother Kimberly Parham, Hawkins’ brother Tremayne Hawkins, Octavia Hawkins, and Hawkins’ father Tremayne Hawkins. Standing are Thomas Stone Vice-Principal Diane Roberts, left, College and Career Ava Morton, Principal Chrystal Benson, athletic director Brad Criss and assistant girls basketball coach James Davis.
Thomas Stone High School senior Rya Nelson signed her National Letter of Intent to attend Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia. Seated, her mother, Latricia Nelson, Rya Nelson, and father Ray Nelson. Standing are her brothers, Ray Nelson, left, and Rasheed Nelson.
Lackey High School graduate Lucas Ethington, seated, signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Kent State University this fall to continue playing ice hockey. Standing are his mother, Toni Ethington, brother Cameron Ethington and father Luke Ethington.