Hemphill chooses Central Oklahoma
Bentonville High senior basketball standout Jordan Hemphill has made Central Oklahoma his choice and signed a letter of intent with the Edmond-based NCAA Division II school Thursday.
Hemphill, a 6-foot-4 all-state selection and member of the
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Division I basketball team, averaged 17.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 7A-West Conference play for the Tigers this season. He chose Central Oklahoma over John Brown and West Virginia State.
“I’m very happy because I know that’s where I wanted to go right away after I took my visit,” Hemphill said. “I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I like the location and the city, and I connected with the coaching staff and the team. The school’s atmosphere is what I like.”
Hemphill was a point guard/shooting guard for Bentonville, but he said the Bronchos may look at him more as a small forward because of his height. He said he will hit the weight room heavily during the offseason in preparation for college.
Bentonville High swimmer Austin Winters signed his letter of intent with University of the Ozarks during Wednesday’s ceremony at the Tiger Athletic Complex.
“The campus there is beautiful, in general,” Winters said. “Once I started meeting students, they just wanted me to come. I know the swim coach there, and he’s pretty good.”
Winters competed in the breaststroke, backstroke and individual medleys with the Tigers and expects to work on the same events at Ozarks.
Lady Tiger picks
Bentonville High tennis standout Taylor Cheung-Damonte signed a letter of intent Wednesday with Westmont College, an NAIA school based out of Santa Barbara, Calif.
Cheung-Damonte, who moved to Bentonville from Canada before her junior year, was one-half of the Lady Tigers’ state championship doubles team the past two seasons. She teamed with Bessie Sullivan to win the Class 7A state title in 2015, then shared the state doubles championship with Avery Hargrove last fall.
“The number one thing for me was academics,” she said. “They have a really good pre-med program, and that’s what I want to do. The tennis team was very welcoming when I visited there, and I love the atmosphere. It’s also a small school, so I’ll have more attention from teachers.”
Cheung-Damonte expects to play both singles and doubles at Westmont.
duo signs letters
Bentonville High baseball players Cade Lastovica and Mike Andrus took the next step toward their playing careers by signing letters of intent Thursday evening at the Tiger Athletic Complex.
Lastovica, the Tigers’ starting second baseman, signed with Centenary College, an NCAA Division III school based in Shreveport, La. Lastovica has played in 16 of Bentonville’s 18 games and is currently hitting.222, and he won his only pitching decision, where he pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed one run on five hits.
“I like the aspect of being in Louisiana,” said Lastovica, who said he could play second, shortstop, third or pitch here. “I liked it down there, and the coaches are awesome. They treated me really nice, and the facilities there are nice. I really enjoyed it.”
Andrus will stay inside the state’s borders as he signed his letter with Ouachita Baptist. He has made six appearances on the mound for the Tigers and has a 1-0 record with a 4.50 ERA, pitching in 14 innings and allowing 14 runs (nine earned) on 15 hits.
“The people and the coaches there provided a great atmosphere,” said Andrus, who is viewed as a pitching prospect there. “I feel welcome there. I’m really excited about furthering my education there and my baseball career there. I’m looking forward to it.”
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