E.A. Sports Today

Bulldogs sign track scholarships

Anniston’s Lunsford, Curry heading to Tennessee State, 3 others going to Montevallo

Anniston track coach Lisa Howard (third from left) stands with the five Bulldogs who signed college scholarship letters Monday.

Anniston track coach Lisa Howard (third from left) stands with the five Bulldogs who signed college scholarship letters Monday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Carsheuna Curry bounced down the steps into the Anniston’s gym with a satisfied look on her face that seemed to cry out, “I’ve got a secret and I’m not telling.”

She was one of five Anniston athletes signing track scholarships Monday and it was all they could do to keep the news quiet as everyone asked them before the signing ceremony.

No matter how many different ways the athletes or coach Lisa Howard were asked, they wouldn’t budge off their secret. Not even a hint.

The big reveal came a few minutes later when Curry and Zebedee Lunsford announced in front of the student body they were signing with Tennessee State, while teammates Davia Palmer, Hakeem Ross and Leonard Brown all signed with Montevallo.

All five have qualified in multiple events for this weekend’s Class 4A-7A state meet in Gulf Shores.

“I kept the secret because I did have other choices,” Curry said. “I wanted to just take out everyone’s opinion about where I should go and I wanted it to be a surprise about what I actually made my mind up to do.”

She did such a good job of keeping it quiet her best friend and basketball teammate J’Kyra Clemons didn’t even know until Monday – and she was going to TSU for academics.

“We’re so used to folks downing us that we just wanted to surprise everybody,” Palmer said. “In a way I think we did.”

Lunsford, the two-time reigning Calhoun County cross-country champion and current county 800 champ, had numerous offers but cited the Tigers’ Olympic heritage with influencing his decision. He is seeded fourth in the 800, ninth in the 1600 and runs legs on the second-seeded 4×400 relay and fourth-ranked 4×800 relay.

“They’ve got a couple of guys who run 1:48, 1:50 in the 800 and I feel like they’ll help me with my 800 time as well,” he said. “And hopefully with the guys up there we might be the next Team USA 4-by-8, 4-by-4 going forward.”

Curry has basically taught herself to be a strong jumper and is looking forward to some world-class level of coaching with the Tigerbelles. She won the long and triple jumps at this year’s county meet. She is seeded sixth in the long jump, seventh in the triple jump and also qualified in pole vault and discus.

“Their head coach (Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice) is a former Olympian,” Curry said. “I know she’ll be a great coach. She’s very firm but fair and I need somebody like that to push me. I don’t want to get cheated out of my workout. I think that’ll help me to become a future Olympian.”

Howard said she felt like a “very proud momma” as she watched all five players sign. Curry, Palmer and Lunsford have been in her program since their seventh grade.

“It’s just a thrill for me, a joy,” Howard said. “It feels really good to know that they’re going to the school of their choice to continue their running career while doing their academics.”

Ross has been running track for three years. Brown is running track for the first time; he lost his mother on the day of the Calhoun County Track Meet and made sure to mention her during his remarks.

“I knew I’d be good at track, but I didn’t think I’d be this good,” Brown said. “I never really viewed myself as a collegiate athletic person. I just always thought I’d go to college for academics. I’m just blessed.”

Ross is seeded in the top 20 in the high jump. Brown is top 20 in the 1600. Palmer is ranked in the top 20 in the 100 and 100 hurdles and top 25 in the 200.

Ross said he didn’t know Palmer had decided on Montevallo. He had a few other offers, but when Brown committed to the Falcons shortly after their visit, his choice was easy.

“I wanted to go wherever he wanted to go so he wouldn’t feel alone,” Ross said. “He’s one of my new brothers now and I just wanted to keep him up under my wing.”

Also at the signing ceremonies, Anniston football standout Tae Miller, the state’s top-ranked long-jumper in 5A, announced to the crowd he was going to be signing with Northeast Mississippi CC. He expected the actual signing would take place next week.

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