- Cullman, Alabama

November 13, 2013

WALLACE STATE SPORTS: Lions have handful of sophomores sign with 4-year colleges during Wednesday’s early period


HANCEVILLE — Wallace State had a handful of sophomore student-athletes sign letter of intents with four-year colleges on Wednesday.

Men’s basketball guard Jestin Lewis splashed some ink with Mercer University. The Virginia native becomes the first Lion to sign during the early period since John Meeks inherited the program less than five years ago.

Lewis is one of Wallace State’s returning players this season after averaging 17.1 points per game a year ago, good for second in the conference. He was a second-team All-Region selection and a first-team All-ACCC North Division member as a freshman, dishing out 85 assists and shooting a team-best 42 percent from 3-point land and 77 percent from the free-throw line.

“It definitely takes a lot off my shoulders to be able to sign early. It’s a blessing. I’ll be leaving good people and a good program and joining another like it,” Lewis said. “Coach Meeks and I talked in the offseason about how one of my goals was to  sign early, so we could focus even more on winning a state championship.”

Meeks was excited Lewis achieved one of his offseason goals.

“It says a lot about our program and how far we’ve come in the last four years athletically and academically. It speaks to the reputation of the college that we are sending students to four-year schools where they’ll fit in comfortably and be able to graduate,” Meeks said. “Mercer was very involved in recruiting process. It laid out its ground work last year in regards to making Jestin a top target. Mercer also has a high academic reputation. Our mission coordinates very well with theirs.”   

Wallace State golfers Aksel Olsen, Patrick Twesme and Jake Miller signed with the University of South Florida, UNA and Samford, respectively.

Earlier this year, Olsen became the first individual Wallace State national champion golfer after earning low medalist at the NJCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship in Lubbock, Texas. As low medalist, he earned the Arnold Palmer Award  and was recognized as a NJCAA All-American.

The trio helped Wallace State’s golf team finish seventh nationally among 24 teams in Texas.

Wallace State softball’s Kori Benson, last season’s ACCC Tournament MVP and the 2013 Most Outstanding Defense Player of the NJCAA Division I National Tournament, has hooked on with Shorter College in Rome, Ga.

Benson, an Oak Grove native, was one of the stars on Wallace State’s softball team, which won its second national championship last season, adding to the one previously achieved in 2008. Benson clubbed a school-record 23 home runs and finished with a .352 average, 62 RBIs and a .802 slugging percentage.

Other Wallace State sophomores, including women basketball’s Jaylan Snowden, volleyball’s Kianna Delaney, softball’s Madeline Lee, Maria Mitchell and Ashleigh McClure, and men’s basketball’s Quinterian McConico, are still mulling four-year opportunities and should commit as their respective seasons progress.