Seven senior standouts from Laney make college commitments

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Seven senior standouts from Laney High School officially announced their desire to continue their education and athletic careers on Tuesday by signing letters of intent to various colleges across the Carolinas.

On the soccer pitch, Michael James will be playing soccer next year at Queens College in Charlotte. James was a key component on the Laney squad that went 21-4-2 in the fall of 2014, with a 10-2 mark in league play.

Michael James. Photos by Joe Catenacci
Michael James. Photos by Joe Catenacci.

He tallied 15 goals and recorded 14 assists as the Bucs fell in the fourth round of the 4A state playoffs. James was named to the All-State team and will play in this summer’s North Carolina East-West All-Star Game.

“Michael is extremely talented and gifted soccer player,” said Laney Coach Jamie Noble. “More than that, he’s a tremendous young man, and I’m so happy for him and his family that he will have the opportunity to continue his career at Queens.

“I could brag about him all day because he’s one of most awesome kids I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. If you know him he’s kind of a goofball, but no doubt about it–he was all business when it came game time.”

The Bucs’ baseball program will have two players joining the list of alums to compete in college as Kennedy Hardy is headed to Belmont Abbey College this fall, while Jon Kuebler goes to Guilford Technical Community College.

Jon Kuebler, left, and Kennedy Hardy.
Jon Kuebler, left, and Kennedy Hardy.
“We are very excited to be recognizing both Jon and Kennedy today as they sign play college baseball next season,” said Laney Baseball Coach Aaron Livengood. “Jon has been one of our hardest workers over the past four years and his desire to become a better player will be a characteristic that will allow him to be successful at the next level.
“Kennedy, although he was only with us one short year, made a positive impact to our program and season. He has a lot of next level tools that will allow him the opportunity to step in and compete for a spot right away.
“I would personally like to thank both of them for their hard work, dedication, and loyalty to not only our baseball program, but to Laney High School.”

Charlene Thompson, left, and Hannah Key.
Charlene Thompson, left, and Hannah Key.
Rounding out the list of Laney seniors to sign National Letters of Intent are a quartet of softball players, who were big contributors to the programs success over the last few years. Charlene Thompson, Hannah Key, Shelby Cook and Olivia Honeycutt have helped guide Laney to a 14-7 overall record this season and 9-3 mark in conference play.

Thompson is off to the University of Mount Olive as the speedy center-fielder is batting .371, with 10 RBIs and 17 runs scored.

“There’s no question Charlene’s speed and ability to run the bases will prove to be a valuable asset to Mount Olive,” said Laney Coach Jim Fisk. “She’s been a staple for us and with her ability to put pressure on opposing team sat the plate at the two slot is a perfect spot in the lineup. She has a ton of talent and has shown really good leadership qualities this season.”

Key will be going to Methodist University in Fayetteville. In the circle, Key has fashioned a 4-1 record this season, with a 2.08 ERA.

Olivia Honeycutt, left, and Shelby Cook.
Olivia Honeycutt, left, and Shelby Cook.

“Hannah has been our go to pitcher in some key situations this year,” said Fisk. “She’s come in and really shut down some other teams and saved some big games for us. Every time she’s been in the circle she’s down a great job. She’s also been a staple for us at first base. She has quick hands, serves as a good target for the infielders and brings a great attitude to the field.”

Honeycutt is headed to Surry Community College. The right-fielder is batting .320 this season. Cook has committed to Guilford College.

“I think Surry is a great move for Olivia,” said Fisk. “She has come a long way. The maturity on her part this season is really what made her valuable to us this year. She’s done a good job for us and has come up with big timely hits. Shelby has been consistent and always there when you need her.”

Joe Catenacci is a sports writer at Port City Daily and host of The Sports Connection on 103.7 FM at 6 p.m. Mondays and 11 a.m. Saturdays. Reach him at joe.c@portcitydaily.com.