HEADING OUT

Good Hope’s Kate Kent (front and center) signs a scholarship to play volleyball at Wallace State on Friday. Joining her up front are parents Jason and Ashley. Also pictured is Wallace State coach Randy Daniel, Good Hope coach Natasha Holcombe and assistant Jessica Coombs.

Jake Winfrey

GOOD HOPE — Kate Kent took a short break away from the basketball court on Friday afternoon to cement her future on down the road at Wallace State.

The two-sport athlete — surrounded by family, friends, coaches, teammates and administrators — signed a scholarship to play volleyball for coach Randy Daniel and the Lady Lions starting next fall.

Kent, who played middle for Good Hope throughout her tremendous high school career, led her team in kills and garnered numerous blocks this season, which ended at the North Regional Tournament in Huntsville.

Suffice to say, she was downright thrilled after putting pen to paper inside the library.

"I'm really blessed that I'm able to go play volleyball somewhere else and that it's all taken care of now," Kent said. "I had some interest from some other schools, but I have bigger goals in mind ... and this is the place I need to go to attain them."

Wallace State is certainly a place where success has run rampant in recent years.

The Lady Lions closed out this season with a 34-10 record after racking up a ninth straight NJCAA National Championship appearance and ninth consecutive ACCC Tournament title.

Kaylee Maddox — a 2015 Good Hope graduate — led the conference in kills and also scored All-ACCC/Region 22 honors as a sophomore following an equally impressive freshman season with Wallace State.

Though Kent is hoping for similar fortune, she knows it won't come easy at all.

"They're going to make me work real hard to reach my potential," the senior said. "They're going to challenge me to be the best player I can be. I know I can improve on everything, so that's what I'm going to try to do."

Natasha Holcombe, the first-year coach of the Lady Raiders, is not far removed from Kent's shoes, having been a talented player in her own right during her high school tenure with Holly Pond.

To put it simply, she knows a good one when she sees a good one.

"I'm thrilled for Kate," Holcombe said. "She got multiple offers, and I'm just happy to be a part of her journey. Kate was just a great leader and player on our team this year. We're all proud of her, and we all love her."

Daniel, meanwhile, shared similar sentiments about his latest signee.

"Kate's a strong, physical athlete with a great attitude and great work ethic," said the longtime coach. "Getting to know her and her family over the years, it was an easy sell for me. Kate's always been a good kid, so we're thrilled to have her here at Wallace State."

% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at jwinfrey@cullmantimes.com.​

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I'm an Auburn University graduate with a passion for sports, reading and diet Mountain Dew.