Three seniors at local high schools joined a growing list of student-athletes taking their game to the next level last week by signing letters of intent at separate signing ceremonies.
Oneida seniors Houston Byrd (football, Carson-Newman University) and Clay Jeffers (baseball, Bryan College), and Scott High senior Alora Beth Lowe (track and field, Tennessee Tech) signed letters of intent with their respective schools of choice during signing ceremonies at the Scott High School Library and Oneida High School Library on Thursday and Friday.
Beth Lowe, the daughter of Jerry and Lori Lowe, has been a standout in both the discus and shot put at SHS the past two seasons, following in the footsteps of her sister Ashley Lowe, who will also join her on the Tennessee Tech track & field team.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I am thankful I get to attend a school close to home but not too close,” Lowe said. “TTU is a great school. I was so excited when I went to tour the college and met Coach (Tony) Cox.
Lowe will major in elementary education at Tennessee Tech. On the field, she plans to add the hammer and javelin to her skills along with the discus and shot put.
“God has blessed me and I know he has plans for me at TTU and being on the track team,” Lowe said.
Houston Byrd, the son of pharmacist Mark and Trina Byrd of Oneida, anchored Oneida’s offensive line as the Indians won the District 4-A championship in 2012 and advanced to the Class 2A state quarterfinals in 2011.
“This is a good day for our school and a good day for our community,” Oneida coach Tony Lambert said Thursday as Byrd signed with Carson-Newman.
“Houston will represent our community in Jefferson City and wherever Carson-Newman goes to play.”
Lambert said Byrd can play center, guard or tackle on the offensive line and added that C-N coach Ken Sparks is looking forward to adding Byrd to the roster.
“I’m excited about this new opportunity,” Byrd said. “I look forward to trying to improve myself in the classroom as well as on the field.”
Byrd is the second player from Oneida’s 2012 district championship squad to sign, joining wide receiver Houston West, who signed with Maryville College a week earlier.
“Houston can pave the way for other Oneida players who want to go to Carson-Newman,” Lambert said. “He sends the message that if you take care of your business in the classroom, you’re going to open doors of opportunity for yourself.”
Clay Jeffers signed with Bryan College just days after pitching in the Indians’ first district championship win since 1981. He also played center field for Oneida and can play either position at Bryan College, though he said he had not been informed as of Friday where he would play on the school’s squad.
Oneida coach Shawn West called Jeffers one of the best natural athletes he has ever coached.
“He’s a great Christian kid, the kind of kid you want to be a part of any team you coach,” West said. “He turned into a great leader of young men. I wish we had more like him.”
Jeffers called Bryan College, a nondenominational evangelical Christian college located in Dayton, just north of Chattanooga, a good fit.
“I’m really excited to be going to the next level,” he said. “I hate to leave my teammates but it’s good to move on.”