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Athletes taking their skills to colleges
Four RHHS Wildcats, three BCHS Redskins sign; another expected
Hammesfahrs Sign
Rachel and Will Hammesfahr sign their letters of intent to join the Augusta University cross-country program during a ceremony Nov. 11 at Richmond Hill. - photo by Brent Zell

Those in Bryan County who own stock in ink-pen companies made a lot of money over the last week.

From Nov. 12 through Tuesday, seven local athletes signed letters of intent to join college athletic programs.
Additionally, Bryan County softball star Brooke Barfield was expected to sign with Georgia Tech on Wednesday afternoon.

Tuesday was a huge day for signings at Richmond Hill, as four athletes put pen to paper during multiple ceremonies at RHHS. Samantha Mault and Natalie Corbin signed with the Armstrong State softball program, Jordyn Gulle signed with the Georgia swimming program, and Kyle Luigs joined the North Georgia baseball program.

Mault and Corbin were the first to sign Tuesday and drew praise from coach Angie Hummeldorf.
“They have worked hard, they are the pure definition of commitment, heart. Hard work has paid off, obviously, with their accomplishment, and they couldn’t be more deserving of this opportunity,” Hummeldorf told the audience in the RHHS media center.

Corbin, an outfielder, and Mault, a pitcher, said they were excited about the signing. Corbin said she chose ASU because she “wanted to stay close to home, and the campus was beautiful, team was just great, and I loved it.” She plans to major in nursing.

Mault said the school has the physical-therapy degree she wants and has a good softball program. According to, the school’s softball program has made 13 NCAA Division II regionals in 15 seasons, including finishing third nationally in 2013 and fifth in 2014.
Gulle was next, dressed in the familiar red and black of UGA. According to Col, Gulle ranks 10th among the state’s top recruits and is one of five of the state’s top-10 recruits to commit to UGA.

“Not only is she one of the best swimmers in the southeastern part of the United States, but she is one of the best swimmers in the entire country,” RHHS swimming coach Kristin Arnold said.
The program Gulle is going to also ranks as one of the nation’s best. Arnold said UGA has amassed six national titles and 12 Southeastern Conference championships. That was a huge draw for Gulle, who also visited Florida Gulf Coast, George Washington and Georgia Tech on recruiting trips.

“I walked on campus and the pools are great, the coaches are great. I mean, all the facilities, the school — everything just made it the best thing for me,” she said.
Gulle said she probably will major in biology. She will swim the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes and the 200 and 400 individual medleys.

Prior to Luigs’ signing, Wildcats baseball coach Stacy Bennett commented on the large crowd gathered for his pitcher’s signing and how that reflects on the young man.
“I think that says a lot to Kyle and his personality, just his character that so many people have come to share this special day with him,” Bennett said.
The coach said he knew he had someone special in Luigs when he, as a sophomore, threw a few innings of shutout ball against state-champion Benedictine.

Luigs said UNG’s program “just seemed to fit,” judging by the main campus’s Dahlonega location being close to home; the academics, with his plans to major in exercise science or engineering; and the quality of the baseball program. Last season, according to, the Nighthawks went 38-17, won the program’s first Peach Belt Conference regular-season title and advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional final.

On Monday, Bryan County’s Layton Harrell joined the Shorter University softball program by signing a letter of intent during a ceremony in BCHS’ media center.
“I’ve always wanted to play college softball, and I have the chance now because I’ve put everything, since I’ve been playing softball, into working for this, and now I’ve reached my goal, and I’m very, very excited,” she said.
Harrell was a first-team All-Region 2-AA selection as an infielder this season, but will be moved to catcher at Shorter, which is in Rome, Georgia.

The Hawks made it to the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Women’s College World Series last season, according to goshor
Harrell, who said she plans to major in nursing, said her faith was an important part of choosing a school.
“Shorter is a Christian college, and I have a very good relationship with God, so the Christian school really pulled me in and helped me a lot,” she said.

BCHS head coach Al Butler told the audience that he was “blessed to have had her here,” and later described Harrell as a special kid who will not be denied.
On Nov. 12, Will and Rachel Hammesfahr were a package deal for Augusta University, as the two RHHS cross-country stars signed letters of intent to join the Jaguars’ program.

After making their signings at RHHS, the siblings thanked a multitude of people. Rachel pointed out the influence her teammates had on her.
“I would not have gotten to this point today with being pushed every day by all of you,” she said.
In his round of thanks, Will made note of RHHS coach Levi Sybert.
“He really taught me what hard work is and what you can really do when you put in the work,” Will said.

This season, Rachel was fifth in the Region 3-AAAAA meet as the Lady Wildcats won the region title, and finished 75th at the state meet, where RHHS finished 10th.
Meanwhile, Will was fourth at the region meet in helping the boys win the team crown, and was 119th at the state meet. The Wildcats were 18th in the state-meet team standings.

“They are phenomenal assets to our program in multiple ways,” Sybert said. “Not only are they really, really good athletes — one reason why they’re signing today — but their presence in the program has brought it to the next level.”
The Jaguars men’s and women’s programs each had a runner qualify for the NCAA Division II Championships, according to Jag

Rachel plans to major in biology, while Will plans to major in mechanical engineering.

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