Three more se­niors sign

Thomas Stone’s Hawkins, Nel­son ink for hoops, Lackey grad­u­ate Ething­ton for ice hockey

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

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.

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