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Home News-Telegram Sports Four Sulphur Springs athletes sign letters

Four Sulphur Springs athletes sign letters

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    Four Sulphur Springs seniors had their lives changed forever Wednesday as they signed national letters of intent to continue their playing careers in college.
    Jaleigh Avery, the steady fielding all-district third baseman for the Lady Cats softball team inked with Blinn College to play in Brenham.

    Three Wildcat football players will be playing next year on three different college team.
    Willy Ivery, running back, will be playing for the Mean Green of the University of North Texas; Barry Stribling will be at defensive back for Tarleton State University in Stephenville while defensive lineman Garret Hood will take to the gridiron at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall.
    Sulphur Springs head football coach and athletic director Greg Owens welcomes the crowd to the 8 a.m. signing in a classroom in the multi-purpose building.
    “Congratulations to all of these student/athletes. It has been fun watching each of them develop into the men and women they have become and excel in athletics,” Owens said. “I remember watching Jaleigh play softball as a freshman and (Lady Cat head softball coach) David Carrillo telling me she is going to be special – he was right.”
    Owens continued, “Willy has always been so talented, but the thing I’m most impressed with him is how he has matured as a person. BJ (Barry Stribling) and Garret are outstanding young men and both really didn’t fully develop until their senior year – they have become great leaders and fierce competitors.”
    The coach added, “This is an awesome time for these young people and their families. Congratulations to each of these and we wish them the very best as they continue to represent SSISD.”
    Avery signed with Blinn to play softball for two years and keep her options open for attending a larger college later.
    “I’m excited that I get to go play for a good program like Blinn,” Avery said. “Since it is a two year program I will get to play pretty soon. I was recruited as a third baseman. I hope to finish here and have a good senior year and then go play for Blinn. I want to enjoy one more year and get the most out of playing with the good young players we have.”
    Avery was a first team selection at third base and admits she liked fielding more than hitting.
    “When you are on defense, you have to be focused,” Avery said. “Especially at third, the ball gets on you so quickly. I like fast action, I like to keep it moving.”
    Lady Cat softball coach Carrillo said he is going to be sad to see Avery leave. Just because of her playing ability, but her leadership.
    “She’s a four year starter and that says a lot,” Carrillo said. “She is always there, standing at third base and nobody is behind her. We know she has it and she has done an amazing job. She is such a hard worker, she puts in the work to make the team better.”
    Carrillo continued, “Blinn is a good place for her, she has a chance to play right away. They wanted her at third, but she could also play shortstop.”
    Avery hit .351 last year with 20 hits in 19 games. She had two doubles, two homers while making just two errors at third.
    Stribling will taking his defensive back talented west to Tarleton.
    “I’m happy and I feel blessed for this opportunity,” Stribling said. “I get to keep playing football and get an education. I just want to have fun and enjoy the experience.’
    Stribling added, “I took a visit to Stephenville, I liked all the coaches and they want me to play cornerback.  College will be more intense than high school, but I like that.”
    Stribling, 5-11, 165, played in 11 games and had 45 total tackles.
    Another member of the Sulphur Springs defense who will be in college is Garret Hood.
    The 6-3, 210-pound defensive end had 75 total tackles, eight for losses and six sacks.
    “I liked ETBU when I visited and I think it is a good fit for me,” Hood said. “They want me to play on the defensive line, they did not say where. But it is what I want to do, go over there and be a part of winning games.”
    Hood said, “I really look forward to going away to college and being on my own. I have to do it myself and I look forward to that.”
    Hood had considered Southeastern Oklahoma and Austin College.
    “I just think ETBU is best for me,” Hood said.
    The fastest member of the football team arrived some 26 minutes late to the signing.
    Willy Ivery, battling the stomach virus, attended the signing and apologized for being tardy.
    Ivery will be a running back and kick/punt returner for the University of North Texas.
    Ivery during senior season for the Wildcats provided many thrills and chills for the home fans.
    Ivery rushed for 1,673 yards  on just 192 carries. He had 21 receptions for 386 yards. He and was responsible for 34 touchdowns. He was district MVP for offense.
    “I had several offers, I was considering Texas State, Colorado State and Toledo,” Ivery said. “But I think North Texas is great. I liked everything about the school, coaches and Denton. It’s a pretty big town, but it looked nice in the areas I saw near the campus.”
    When Ivery took his visit to UNT he was taken under the wing of Mason Y’Barbo.
    Y’Barbo, an all-conference offensive lineman from Sulphur Springs, was glad to take the fleet-footed back around the campus.
    “It was neat, I got the tour from Y’Barbo,” Ivery said. “I also got to see Blake Macek, another Sulphur Springs former player who is the punter. Y’Barbo is going to come back and play his senior year and we should have a lot of fun.”
    Ivery said, “They told me they want me on the field as soon as possible and that includes playing next year.”
    Ivery said they also want him to add 10 pounds to his 5-9, 177-pound frame but not lose any of his 4.4 speed.
    “I got to keep the speed, that is what I am known for,” Ivery said with a grin. “It’s going to be good to up to North Texas and play on a program on the move with some guys I know.”
    North Texas recently opened a new stadium and were involved in a bowl game. They are members of Conference USA.
    Ivery added, “UNT is where I want to be. I have been thinking about this for a long while. I have been talking to their coaches. I already asking them about signing some other players from Sulphur Springs in the future.”




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