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June 1, 2012

PREP SPORTS: Fairview’s Stancil signs with UNA

FAIRVIEW — A recent Fairview graduate and three-sport athlete will continue to wear purple and gold after signing a scholarship offer to attend and compete in cross country and track and field at the University of North Alabama. MarLah Stancil made it official Friday at the high school’s library by signing on the dotted line with family, friends, coaches and an administrator looking over her shoulder.

“I’m really excited actually,” the new Lion said. “My sister (ChaLyce) ran for Troy and then transferred to Alabama, so it’s kind of keeping the family thing going on.”

UNA recently added women’s indoor and outdoor track and field for the 2012-13 school year. That gives the university 14 varsity sports and helps the Lions meet another requirement in their ongoing pursuit of NCAA Division-I status.

Scott Trimble, already UNA’s cross country coach, will take on the same role with the track and field teams. Stancil said she was ultimately sold on the school because of her new coach’s character and personality. Trimble kept up with Stancil’s season, called her weekly and even attended a few of her events.  

“I was skeptical at first, but Coach told me if I came and saw the campus and met the people, I would know I would want to go there,” Stancil said.

So she made the visit to Florence, ultimately liked what she saw, and the rest is history. Stancil, who won MVP honors at this year’s Cullman County Track and Field Championship after sweeping the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-meter events, said she’ll run those last two distances for the Lions in track and field.

After watching Stancil excel as an Aggie, Fairview track and field coach Whitney Haynes said she fully expects the departing senior’s success to continue at the collegiate level.

“She’s one of our leaders that we’re going to miss a lot, but she’s going to do well wherever she goes,” Haynes said of Stancil, who finished second in the 800-meter run at the state meet in early May. “She’s just got that personality where she’s a hard-worker and she’s dedicated.”

Both Haynes and fellow track and field coach Cody Rasco emphasized that they’ll miss Stancil’s leadership when she heads north for school in August.

“I keep thinking about who is going to step up and take her spot because she’s been such a great leader,” Haynes said. “When she gets out on the track to work, the kids follow her and they watch what she does. You can tell the younger girls especially look up her and want to work just as hard as she does.”

Rasco added: “All the other kids respect her. That’s a big thing with track and field. She was a leader on this track team, so we’re going to miss her a lot.”

Although track and field is her favorite sport, Stancil said she’ll also compete in cross country for UNA. Fairview cross country coach Rick McDonald said Stancil joined the team as a seventh grader and improved every year, finishing second and third, respectively, in the section the last two seasons. That helped the Aggies finish fourth in the state in 2011 after consecutive fifth-place results the two preceeding years.

“Cross country-wise, we’ve been doing really well, and she’s a big part of why,” McDonald said. “If anything, I believe she’ll probably elevate what she is now because she’ll have more competition to run with. Here, we had two or three girls who could kind of hang with her and push her a little bit. When she gets there, she’ll blend in. She’s not going to be a fish out of water by any means. The competition level is going to step up for her, and I expect her to step up with it.”

Between ChaLyce, who graduated in 2009, and MarLah, there’s been a Stancil running for Fairview since 2002 — and they’re not done yet. Their youngest sister, August, is a rising eighth-grader who won’t graduate until 2017.

“She’s outstanding. I’m going to miss her. I’m going to miss her bad,” McDonald said of MarLah. “Luckily we still have August. We’ve been really lucky to have all three of them here at Fairview. All three compete on a state level in cross country. That’s a pretty good stretch of family tradition.”

MarLah said she plans to study nursing at UNA. Ultimately, she’d like to become a registered nurse and then go to UAB so she can earn her bachelor’s degree and work as a nurse practitioner.

Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at robk@cullmantimes.com.

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